AMD's Holiday Game + GPU Bundles

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 14, 2013 - 07:54 PM |
Tagged: never settle forever, never settle, battlefield 4, amd

UPDATE (11/14/2013): After many complaints from the community about the lack of availability of graphics cards that actually HAD the Battlefield 4 bundle included with them, AMD is attempting to clarify the situation.  In a statement sent through email, AMD says that the previous information sent to press "was not clear and has led to some confusion" which is definitely the case.  While it was implied that all customers that bought R9 series graphics cards would get a free copy of BF4, when purchased on or after November 13th, the truth is that "add-in-board partners ultimately decide which select AMD Radeon R9 SKUs will include a copy of BF4."

So, how are you to know what SKUs and cards are actually going to include BF4?  AMD is trying hard to setup a landing page at http://amd.com/battlefield4 that will give gamers clear, and absolute, listings of which R9 series cards include the free copy of the game.  When I pushed AMD for a timeline on exactly when these would be posted, the best I could get was "in the next day or two." 

As for users that bought an R9 280X, R9 270X, R9 270, R9 290X or R9 290 after the announcement of the bundle program changes but DID NOT get a copy of BF4, AMD is going to try and help them out by offering up 1,000 Battlefield 4 keys over AMD's social channels.  The cynic in me thinks this is another ploy to get more Facebook likes and Twitter followers, but in truth the logistics of verifying purchases at this point would be a nightmare for AMD.  Though I don't have details on HOW they are going to distribute these keys, I certainly hope they are going to find a way to target those users that were screwed over in this mess.   Follow www.facebook.com/amdgaming or www.twitter.com/amdradeon for more information on this upcoming promotion.

AMD did send over a couple of links to cards that are currently selling with Battlefield 4 included, as an example of what to look for:

As far as I know, the board partners will also decide which online outlets to offer the bundle through, so even if you see the same SKU on Amazon.com, it may not come with Battlefield 4 as well.  It appears in this case, and going forward, extreme caution is in order when looking for the right card for you.

END UPDATE (11/14/2013)

AMD announced the first Never Settle on October 22nd, 2012 with Sleeping Dogs, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, and 20% off of Medal of Honor: Warfighter. The deal was valued at around $170. It has exploded since then to become a choose-your-own-bundle across a variety of tiers.

This bundle is mostly different.

AMD-holiday-bundle.png

Basically, apart from the R7 260X (I will get to that later), all applicable cards will receive Battlefield 4. This is a one-game promotion unlike Never Settle. Still, it is one very good game that will soon be accelerated with Mantle in an upcoming patch. It should be a good example of games based on Frostbite 3 for at least the next few years.

The qualifying cards are: R9 270, R9 270X, R9 280, R9 280X, R9 290, and R9 290X. They must be purchased from a participating retailer beginning November 13th.

The R7 260X is slightly different because it is more familiar to Never Settle. It will not have access to a free copy of Battlefield 4. Instead, the R7 260X will have access to two of six Never Settle Forever Silver Tier games: Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite (V2), Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, DiRT 3, and (for the first time) THIEF. It is possible that other silver-tier Never Settle Forever owners, who have yet to redeem their voucher, might qualify as well. I am not sure about that. Regardless, THIEF was chosen because the developer worked closely with AMD to support both Mantle as well as TrueAudio.

Since this deal half-updates Never Settle and half-doesn't... I am unsure what this means for the future of the bundle. They seem to be simultaneously supporting and disavowing it. My personal expectation is that AMD wants to continue with Never Settle but they just cut their margins too thin with this launch. This will be a good question to revisit later in the GPU lifecycle when margins become more comfortable.

What do you think? Does AMD's hyper-aggressive hardware pricing warrant a temporary suspension of Never Settle? I mean, until today, they were being purchased without any bundle what-so-ever.

Qualifying R9-Series Cards (purchased after Nov 13 from participating retailers) can check out AMD's Battlefield 4 portal.

Qualifying R7 260X owners, on the other hand, can check out the Never Settle Forever portal.

Source: AMD

Podcast #274 - NVIDIA G-SYNC, R9 290X Benchmarks, and Process Technology for Next Gen Graphics

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2013 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, R9 290X, g-sync, gsync, never settle, the way it's meant to be played, carmack, sweeny, andersson

PC Perspective Podcast #274 - 10/24/2013

Join us this week as we discuss NVIDIA G-SYNC, R9 290X Benchmarks, and Process Technology for Next Gen Graphics!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

 
Program length: 1:16:43
  1. Week in Review:
    1. 0:07:10 NVIDIA "The Way It's Meant to be Played" 2013 Press Event
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Did you know (Windows 8.1 safe mode)
  4. podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

Never Settle Forever now with Saint's Row IV

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems | September 10, 2013 - 12:51 AM |
Tagged: amd, never settle forever, never settle, Saints Row IV

A month after the launch of the choose your own adventures, "Never Settle Forever", we get another entry for the gold tier: Saint's Row IV.

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Yet another territory they claim.

Two Radeon cards, the HD 7950 and the HD 7970 (with or without GHz edition), qualify for this tier in AMD's promotion. Desktop PCs built with a Radeon HD 8900 installed also count toward this promotion. When you go for the gold, so to speak, you can choose three of the following (now) eleven games to enjoy your new hardware with:

  • Saint's Row IV
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • DMC
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Far Cry 3
  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • DiRT 3
  • DiRT: Showdown
  • Sniper Elite V2

AMD prepared a statement about their partnership with Saint's Row IV publisher, Deep Silver:

“AMD and Deep Silver have a long and successful history of collaboration across their many excellent games, and Saints Row IV is another example of their outstanding development talent.  We are very proud to have their partnership in the AMD Gaming Evolved program and Never Settle Forever bundle,” said Ritche Corpus, director of developer relations and alliances team, Graphics Business Unit, AMD. “As a result, PC gamers with AMD Radeon™ graphics cards can fire up their copy of Saints Row IV knowing that they are receiving the best possible experience. And as the exclusive hardware partner for Saints Row IV, the AMD Gaming Evolved program continues to demonstrate its relentless commitment to ensuring the world’s most exciting games are exclusively optimized for AMD Radeon™ hardware.”

AMD is not finished with Never Settle and claims more will arrive in the coming months. I would expect the switch to choose-your-bundle gives the company slightly more freedom to add extra titles without ballooning costs or removing popular entries. I hope we will see titles available in other tiers, except for the HD 7990 which should keep its 8 game promotion, along with more gold entries.

Either way, we will keep you updated as we hear more.

Source: AMD

AMD Pushing PC Gaming at Gamescom 2013 in Cologne

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2013 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: never settle, gamescom, amd

In much the same way as it was at E3 this year, AMD has plastered themselves all over the show floor at Gamescom 2013 in Cologne, Germany.  The annual game celebration in Europe focuses not just on PC gaming but consoles as well but with AMD APUs at the heart of both the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4, they are about as universal as you can get.

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The AMD booth at Gamescom obviously leans heavily on the world of PC gaming with both next-generation consoles not coming until November but the big draw is obviously the Battlefield 4 section that allows gamers to walk up and play.  Due out October 29th here in North America, BF4 is likely to be one the biggest titles of the year available on current consoles, PC and the PS4 and Xbox One.  And though nothing is confirmed it will likely be bundle game for Radeon graphics cards at some point as well...

gamescom3.jpg

Red capes and Battlefield 4

Much like the Penny Arcade Expo coming up next month in Seattle, Gamescom is an event where the public is invited to get hands on with impressive games and impressive technology without having to filter it through the eye of the media.  AMD showcases unique capabilities of the PC gaming market in the booth as well like the 5-screen Eyefinity configuration seen here DiRT Showdown.

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As is usually the case with public events, you're going to meet some interesting characters while you walk around but that is part of the fun!  If you have never attended Gamescom, PAX, Blizzcon, Quakecon or anything like it, I would highly encourage you make plans to do so as it will really revitalize your excitement for gaming!  While shows like CES and Computex drain me of energy, these public-facing experiences are much more spirited.

gamescom4.jpg

Charlie?

Other booths at the show are also running AMD-powered gaming systems for all of their demonstrations including Gaming Evolved partners like Deep Silver, Square-Enix, EA/DICE and Red5.  If you haven't seen games like Thief or Saints Row IV in action then you are missing out and locals in Cologne still have the opportunity to do so.  AMD claims that all the demo systems running these PC games are Radeon-powered: Battlefield 4, The Sims 4, Firefall, Saints Row IV, Need for Speed Rivals, FIFA 2014, Murdered Soul Suspect, and Final Fantasy XIV.

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Even with all the other discussion and debate about AMD graphics technologies, the second half of 2013 is going to be incredibly exciting on all fronts!

Source: Gamescom

AMD Launches Never Settle Forever: Choose Your Own Game Bundles

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 14, 2013 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: radeon, never settle forever, never settle, amd

It should come as no surprise to our readers that we at PC Perspective have been big fans of what AMD has been doing with game bundles over the last year.  With the start of the Never Settle campaign in October of 2012, AMD began down a path to help sell Radeon cards with amazing game bundles and pack ins that NVIDIA and its GeForce brand still have yet to match.  It was an amazing move for a company that really wanted to drive sales and gain market share in the discrete graphics space.

Fast forward to today, past the Never Settle Reloaded and Never Settle Level Up campaigns and AMD has another offer for gamers looking to upgrade their GPU: Never Settle Forever.  The crux of this new campaign is choice.  AMD is allowing gamers to select the free game or games they get out of a curated list rather than having AMD select them for you.

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Depending on the card you buy and the tier it falls in, you'll be able to select 1, 2 or 3 games from a list.  There are a few catches though that we need to discuss.  First, the game list for each tier is NOT the same.

nsf3.jpg

For example, Tomb Raider is only avaiable in the top tier.  The currect tier sets work out as follows:

  • Gold Tier (3 games): HD 7950 and HD 7970
  • Silver Tier (2 games): HD 7800 series
  • Bronze Tier (1 game): HD 7770 and HD 7790

The Radeon HD 7990 is not included on these tiers but it will continue with the "8 free games" bundle for the life of the card we were told.

When you buy a card from a participating retailer you'll get a code that you can then take to AMD's Radeon Rewards website and redemption portal.  You enter your reward code, register yourself and then you get to browse the games in the available packages.  Here are some of the interesting notes:

  1. Once you register your code, you have until December 31st, 2013 to perform your transaction.
  2. You can only perform a SINGLE transaction meaning you must use all of your game choices at one time.  You CANNOT select one game now and another game later.
  3. Other games can be added or removed at any time in the Never Settle Forever bundle so once something leaves you cannot get that game anymore.
  4. There are no promises on what other games may or may not be added to the program between now and the end of the year.

Not being able to split up your selections is a hard pill to swallow as you means you cannot pick up Tomb Raider today and then plan on getting another title next month; if Tomb Raider is gone when a new game is added you will not have access to it.  There is likely no techical reason for this restriction other than publisher and business agreements in place with AMD.

It is a letdown that AMD has not included any new games with this bundle refresh.  All 9 of the available titles in the Gold tier have been bundled with AMD cards before.  Even worse, arguably the two best titles from the previous campaign are missing: Bioshock Infinite and Crysis 3.  We do expect other games to be added but AMD would only allude that "new retail games will be added on several occasions" before the end of the year.  Does that mean Battlefield 4, Thief or watch_dogs?  While I can't say for certain I think it is pretty likely.

So where does that leave us with the new Never Settle Forever bundle today?  It's kind of a mixed bag as it stands with the games avaiable in the tiers today getting long in the tooth.  Of the 9 games available in Gold only DMC, Tomb Raider and Blood Dragon were released this year.  Dues Ex and Dirt 3 were released in 2011 and the rest were sometime in that magical year of 2012.  And of those 9 games only two of them are currently for sale for the $49 value (DMC and Tomb Raider) that AMD places on a single game title.  Others can be found for $39 (Far Cry 3), $24 (Hitman) or $14 (Blood Dragon). 

nsf1.jpg

AMD is still the leader in the bundle and add-on battle for discrete graphics cards but this particular launch is a bit less astounding than the previous ones have been.  The upside though is that AMD can now very easily add other games to the mix without having to re-launch the entire program which was obviously the point of this revamp.  So while Never Settle Forever doesn't have me as excited as the original campaign, I have a feeling 2013 holds some very good things for it!

Source: AMD

AMD Drops Radeon HD 7990 to $699 with 8 Free Games

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 7, 2013 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, hd 7990, never settle, never settle reloaded

An interesting bit of information just came to PC Perspective this morning and it revolves around the price of the AMD Radeon HD 7990.  If the title didn't tip you off, we have found that Newegg.com is listing various HD 7990 dual-Tahiti graphics cards for $699!!

7990price.png

When the card launched in April, it had a retail price of $999 and since then had come down to the ~$880 range.  Today though, AMD has definitely made an aggressive move against NVIDIA by lowering the price of its flagship product a full $300.

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Not only that, but the Radeon HD 7990 6GB dual-GPU card will still include 8 free PC games, while supplies last.  As part of the Never Settle series of bundles, the HD 7990 includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Deus Ex.  If you don't own all or some of those titles, that makes the HD 7990 price drop even MORE appealing.

The Radeon HD 7990 hasn't been a card to avoid controversy.  Our initial review of the card showed that CrossFire scaling was resulting in very poor perceived performance and our Frame Rating system was able to detail how and why very precisely.  But on August 1st, AMD released a new Catalyst 13.8 driver that introduced a frame pacing fix for the problem for single monitor (non 4K) users. 

BF3_2560x1440_PLOT.png

I would highly encourage any user thinking about buying the Radeon HD 7990 to read over my Catalyst 13.8 updated article to see if the hardware makes sense for you.  With a $699 price tag, compared to the $999 of the GeForce GTX 690 or GTX TITAN from NVIDIA, the product is spectacularly interesting as long as you don't use multi-display Eyefinity or one of the new 4K dual-head displays like the ASUS PQ321Q

For gamers that are using a single panel though, hopefully at 2560x1440 or 2560x1600, this price drop might turn things around.  Check out those new $699 prices at Newegg!

Source: Newegg

AMD wants you to know there is a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition for $419

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2013 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, hd 7970 ghz edition, HD 7970, never settle

AMD just passed me a note that I found to be very interesting.  In an obvious response to the release of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 that offers the GK104 GPU (previously only in the GTX 680) for a lower price of $399, AMD wants you to know that at least ONE Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition card is priced lower than the others.

sapphire7970ghz.png

The Sapphire Vapor-XHD 7970 GHz Edition is currently listed on Newegg.com for $419, a cool $30 less than the other HD 7970 GHz Edition cards.  This is not a card-wide price drop to $419 though.  AMD had this to say:

In late May I noted that we would be working with our partners to improve channel supply of the AMD Radeon™ HD 7970 GHz Edition to North American resellers like Newegg.com. Today I’m mailing to let you know that this process has begun to bear fruit, with the Sapphire Vapor-X HD 7970 GHz Edition now listing for the AMD SEP of $419 US. Of course, this GPU is also eligible for the Never Settle Reloaded AND Level Up programs!

Improving supply is an ongoing process, of course, but we’re pleased with the initial results of our efforts and hope you might pass word to your readers if you get a chance.

This "ongoing process" might mean that we'll see other partners' card sell for this lower price but it also might not.  In AMD's defense, our testing proves that in single GPU configurations, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition does very well compared to the GTX 770, especially at higher resolutions.

I did ask AMD for some more answers in regards to what other partners think about a competitor getting unique treatment with AMD to offer this lower price unit, but I haven't received an answer yet.  I'll update here when we do!

For today though, if you are looking for a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that also comes with the AMD Never Settle game bundle (Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Tomb Raider), it's hard to go wrong with that $419 option.

Source: Newegg.com

Never Settle Reloaded Bundle Gets a Level Up Bonus

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 15, 2013 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: tomb raider, never settle reloaded, never settle, level up, Crysis 3, bundle, amd

AMD dropped us a quick note to let us in on another limited time offer for buyers of AMD Radeon graphics cards.  Starting today, the Never Settle Reloaded bundle that we first told you about in February is getting an upgrade for select tiers.  For new buyers of the Radeon HD 7970, 7950 and 7790 AMD will be adding Tomb Raider into the mix.  Also, the Radeon HD 7870 will be getting Crysis 3.

Here is the updated, currently running AMD Radeon Level Up bundle matrix.

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Now if you buy a new AMD Radeon HD 7970, HD 7950 or HD 7870 today you will get four top-level PC games including Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Tomb Raider. 

This is a limited time offer though that will end when supplies run out and we don't really have any idea when that will be.  Check out AMD's Level Up site for more details and to find retailers offering the updated bundles. 

I am curious to find out how successful these bundles have been for AMD and if NVIDIA has had a feedback on the Free-to-play bundle they offered or the new Metro: Last Light option.  Do gamers put much emphasis on the game bundles that come with each graphics card or does the performance and technology make the difference?

UPDATE: I have seen a couple of questions on whether this Level Up promotion would be retroactive. According to the details I have from AMD, this promotion is NOT retroactive.  If you have already purchased any of the affected cards you will not be getting the additional games.

Source: AMD

Upcoming Never Settle Bundle Games Leaked

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 23, 2013 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: amd, never settle, never settle reloaded, bundle

While browsing around on Twitter today I saw mention of a leaked slide on the Tech Report forums that seems to point in the direction of upcoming games to be included in future AMD Never Settle gaming bundles.  AMD has been knocking the ball out of the park when it comes to bundled software with graphics card releases as they have gotten essentially every major PC game in the last 12 months. 

neversettle.jpg

This slide indicates that Grid 2, Company of Heroes 2, Rome: Total War II, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Lost Planet 3, Battlefield 4, Raven's Cry and Watch Dogs will all eventually make their way to the AMD bundle list at some point this year.  Whether it will be in one mega-bundle or several different promotions throughout the year isn't known, but AMD is serious about keeping up appearances in the PC gaming front.

Source: Tech Report

AMD Never Settles: Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon Bundled

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 14, 2013 - 02:22 AM |
Tagged: never settle, never settle reloaded, amd, far cry 3

So when AMD reloaded their Never Settle bundles, they left an extra round in the barrel.

Some of my favorite games were given to me in a bundle with some piece of computer hardware. You might remember from the PC Perspective game night that I am a major fan of the Unreal Tournament franchise. My first Unreal Tournament game was an unexpected surprise when I purchased my first standalone GPU. My 166MHz Pentium computer also came bundled with Mechwarrior 2 and Wipeout.

As we discussed, AMD considers bundle-offers as a way to keep the software industry rolling forward. The quantity and quality of games which participate in the recent Never Settle bundles certainly deserve credit as it is due. Bioshock: Infinite is a game that just about every PC gamer needs to experience, and there are about a half-dozen other great titles as a part of the promotion depending upon which card or cards you purchase.

As it turns out, AMD negotiated with Ubisoft and added Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon to their Never Settle bundle. The coolest part is that AMD will retroactively email codes for this new title to anyone who has redeemed a Never Settle: Reloaded code.

So if you have ever Reloaded your Never Settle in the past, check your email as apparently you can Never Settle your reloads again.

Source: AMD