After being stuck quite a bit of time with the 40nm fabrication process, rumors suggest that AMD is getting ready to launch its first graphics cores based on the 28nm node, code named Southern Islands, in the third quarter of this year. No firm release date was set, but SemiAccurate believes the Sunnyvale-based company plans to launch its first GPUs based on this architecture in September of this year. Their assumptions are based on the fact that TSMC has confirmed that it will start to release 28nm parts in Q3 2011, which means that by September AMD could have the volume required to officially launch the first graphics cards based on these cores. According to the same source, the only hurdle that sits in front of AMD's launch of the Southern Islands architecture is TSMC's ability to mass produce 28nm chips. AMD's future Southern Islands graphics processing units are built using the 28nm fabrication node and are based on the same VLIW4 arrangement introduced with the Cayman architecture (AMD HD 6900-series). However, this will receive some minor tweaks that are meant to improve the performance and the energy efficiency of the cores. Combined with the increased number of shader processors and improved operating frequencies (both advancements are enabled by the new fabrication process), top of the line Radeon HD 7000 parts should be able to deliver the same performance that is now offered by dual-GPU solutions. The first Radeon HD 7000-series GPUs will be manufactured by TSMC, but Globalfoundries is also expected to join the action later down the line, provided that everything goes well with their 28nm fabrication technology. Earlier this month, an AMD official confirmed that the company will release a new series of graphics cores by the end of this year.