AMD is said to be launching their first GPUs built on the new 28 nanometer process by the end of the year. But don’t get your hopes up as the launch will likely be on a very small scale initially and new graphics cards probably won’t hit retail until early 2012.

The news comes from German website heise.de who claims multiple industry sources have pointed to a December launch with one source specifically mentioning December 6. It’s unknown at this point if the new GPUs will target notebook or desktop markets. If the latter, we still don’t know if they would appeal to high-end users or mainstream gamers.

Another industry source is convinced that this is more of a symbolic launch than anything else, most likely in an effort to tout the fact that they beat Nvidia to market with a 28nm offering. TechPowerUp thinks that just enough GPUs will be shipped in December to head to OEMs and perhaps review sites for performance articles. They suspect initial retail parts will be lower-end or mid-range products, while Tom's Hardware has reason to believe that we will see performance desktop boards first.

AMD showed off a working 28nm notebook GPU last month at a media event in San Francisco. That chip is expected to be part of the upcoming AMD Radeon HD 7000 series and was shown running Dirt 3, although no graphics settings, resolution numbers or frame rates were provided.