Subject: Graphics Cards | May 29, 2015 - 11:05 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: rumors, radeon, hbm, graphics, gpu, Fury, Fiji, amd
Another rumor has emerged about an upcoming GPU from AMD, and this time it's a possible name for the HBM-powered Fiji card a lot of us have been speculating about.
The rumor from VideoCardz via Expreview (have to love the multiple layers of reporting here) states the the new card will be named Radeon Fury:
"Radeon Fury would be AMD’s response to growing popularity of TITAN series. It is yet unclear how AMD is planning to adopt Fury naming schema. Are we going to see Fury XT or Fury PRO? Well, let’s just wait and see. This rumor also means that Radeon R9 390X will be a direct rebrand of R9 290X with 8GB memory."
Of course this is completely unsubstantiated, and Fury is a branding scheme from the ATI days, but who knows? I can only hope that if true, AMD will adopt all caps: TITAN! FURY! Feel the excitement. What do you think of this possible name for the upcoming AMD flagship GPU?
Big Things, Small Packages
Sapphire isn’t a brand we have covered in a while, so it is nice to see a new and interesting product drop on our door. Sapphire was a relative unknown until around the release of the Radeon 9700 Pro days. This was around the time when ATI decided that they did not want to be so vertically integrated, so allowed other companies to start buying their chips and making their own cards. This was done to provide a bit of stability for ATI pricing, as they didn’t have to worry about a volatile component market that could cause their margins to plummet. By selling just the chips to partners, ATI could more adequately control margins on their own product while allowing their partners to make their own deals and component choices for the finished card.
ATI had very limited graphics card production of their own, so they often would farm out production to second sources. One of these sources ended up turning into Sapphire. When ATI finally allowed other partners to produce and brand their own ATI based products, Sapphire already had a leg up on the competition by being a large producer already of ATI products. They soon controlled a good portion of the marketplace by their contacts, pricing, and close relationship with ATI.
Since this time ATI has been bought up by AMD and they no longer produce any ATI branded cards. Going vertical when it come to producing their own chips and video cards was obviously a bad idea, we can look back at 3dfx and their attempt at vertical integration and how that ended for the company. AMD obviously produces an initial reference version of their cards and coolers, but allows their partners to sell the “sticker” version and then develop their own designs. This has worked very well for both NVIDIA and AMD, and it has allowed their partners to further differentiate their product from the competition.
Sapphire usually does a bang up job on packaging the graphics card. Oh look, a mousepad!
Sapphire is not as big of a player as they used to be, but they are still one of the primary partners of AMD. It would not surprise me in the least if they still produced the reference designs for AMD and then distributed those products to other partners. Sapphire is known for building a very good quality card and their cooling solutions have been well received as well. The company does have some stiff competition from the likes of Asus, MSI, and others for this particular market. Unlike those two particular companies, Sapphire obviously does not make any NVIDIA based boards. This has been a blessing and a curse, depending on what the cycle is looking like between AMD and NVIDIA and who has dominance in any particular marketplace.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 26, 2015 - 05:29 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: rumors, leaks, Hawaii XT, Fiji, amd radeon
This sounds like disappointing news, but it might be a little misleading as well. First of all the report, another from the folks at VideoCardz, details information about these upcoming GPUs from a leaked driver.
Here’s the list VideoCardz came up with (200-series name on the right):
- AMD6658.1 AMD Radeon(TM) R7 360 Graphics Bonaire XTX [Radeon R7 260X]
- AMD67B0.1 AMD Radeon R9 300 Series Hawaii XT [Radeon R9 290X]
- AMD67B1.1 AMD Radeon R9 300 Series Hawaii PRO [Radeon R9 290]
- AMD6810.1 AMD Radeon(TM) R7 370 Graphics Curacao XT [Radeon R9 270X]
- AMD6810.2 AMD Radeon (TM) R7 300 Series Curacao XT [Radeon R9 270X]
- AMD6811.1 AMD Radeon (TM) R7 300 Series Curacao PRO [Radeon R9 270/370]
- AMD6939.1 AMD Radeon R9 300 Series Tonga PRO [Radeon R9 285]
VideoCardz further comments on this list:
“FIJI was not included in this driver release. Radeon R9 Hawaii is neither shown as R9 380 nor as R9 390. Right now it’s just R9 300, just like R9 285-rebrand. Both Hawaii cards will get a small bump in clock speeds and most importantly 8GB memory.”
And this is where the news might be misleading, as the “300-series” naming may very well not include a new GPU due to AMD shifting to a new scheme for their upcoming flagship, just as NVIDIA has used the “TITAN” and “TITAN X” names for flagship cards. If the rumored AMD Fiji card (which was recently pictured) is the all-new GPU featuring HBM memory that we’ve all been waiting for, expect iterations of this new card to follow as the technology trickles down to the more affordable segment.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 26, 2015 - 05:03 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: rumors, nvidia, leaks, GTX 980 Ti, gpu, gm200
Who doesn’t love rumor and speculation about unreleased products? (Other than the manufacturers of such products, of course.) Today VideoCardz is reporting via HardwareBattle a GPUZ screenshot reportedly showing specs for an NIVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti.
Image credit: HardwareBattle via VideoCardz.com
First off, the HardwareBattle logo conveniently obscures the hardware ID (as well as ROP/TMU counts). What is visible is the 2816 shader count, which places it between the GTX 980 (2048) and TITAN X (3072). The 6 GB of GDDR5 memory has a 384-bit interface and 7 Gbps speed, so bandwidth should be the same 336 GB/s as the TITAN X. As far as core clocks on this GPU (which seems likely to be a cut-down GM200), they are identical to those of the TITAN X as well with 1000 MHz Base and 1076 MHz Boost clocks shown in the screenshot.
Image credit: VideoCardz.com
We await any official announcement, but from the frequency of the leaks it seems we won’t have to wait too long.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 23, 2015 - 09:46 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, hbm, high bandwidth memory, amd, Fiji
During this week's podcast, Josh and the team went through an in-depth discussion of the new memory technology that AMD will be using on the upcoming Fiji GPU, HBM (high bandwidth memory). In case you don't regularly listen to our amazing PC Perspective Podcast, we have cut out the portion that focuses on HBM so that everyone can be educated on what this new technology will offer for coming GPUs.
Enjoy! Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel for more videos like this!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 22, 2015 - 09:39 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: wce, radeon, Fiji, amd, 390x
UPDATE (5/22/15): Johan Andersson tweeted out this photo this morning, with the line: "This new island is one seriously impressive and sweet GPU. wow & thanks @AMDRadeon ! They will be put to good use :)" Looks like we can confirm that at least one of the parts AMD is releasing does have the design of the images we showed you before, though the water cooling implementation is missing or altered.
File this under "rumor" for sure, but a cool one none the less...
After yesterday's official tidbit of information surrounding AMD's upcoming flagship graphics card for enthusiasts and its use of HBM (high bandwidth memory), it appears we have another leak on our hands. The guys over at Chiphell have apparently acquired some stock footage of the new Fiji flagship card (whether or not it will be called the 390X has yet to be seen) and it looks...awesome.
In that post from yesterday I noted that with an HBM design AMD could in theory build an add-in card that is of a different form factor than anything we have previously seen for a high end part. Based on the image above, if this turns out to be the high end Fiji offering, it appears the PCB will indeed be quite small as it no longer requires memory surrounding the GPU itself. You can also see that it will in fact be water cooled though it looks like it has barb inlets rather than a pre-attached cooler in this image.
The second leaked image shows display outputs consisting of three full-size DisplayPort connections and a single HDMI port.
All of this could be faked of course, but if it is, the joker did a damn good job of compiling all the information into one design. If it's real, I think AMD might finally have a match for the look and styling of the high-end GeForce offerings.
What do you think: real or fake? Cool or meh? Let us know!
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 21, 2015 - 07:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rumour, nvidia, 980 Ti
The source of leaks and rumours is often unexpected, such as this import data of a shipment headed from China into India. Could this 6GB card be the GTX 980 Ti that so many have theorized would be coming sometime around AMD's release of their new cards? Does the fact that 60,709 Indian Rupees equal 954.447 US Dollars put a damper on your excitement or could it be that these 6 lonely cards are being sold at a higher rate overseas than they might be in the US?
We don't know but we do know there is a mysterious card out there somewhere.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 19, 2015 - 03:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: memory, high bandwidth memory, hbm, Fiji, amd
Ryan and the rest of the crew here at PC Perspective are excited about AMD's new memory architecture and the fact that they will be first to market with it. However as any intelligent reader is wont to look for; a second opinion on the topic is worth finding. Look no further than The Tech Report who have also been briefed on AMD's new memory architecture. Read on to see what they learned from Joe Macri and their thoughts on the successor to GDDR5 and HBM2 which is already in the works.
"HBM is the next generation of memory for high-bandwidth applications like graphics, and AMD has helped usher it to market. Read on to find out more about HBM and what we've learned about the memory subsystem in AMD's next high-end GPU, code-named Fiji."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD HBM High Bandwidth Memory Technology Unveiled @ [H]ard|OCP
- Diamond Wireless Video Stream HD 1080P HDMI @ eTeknix
- KFA2 GeForce GTX 980 ‘8Pack Edition’ 4096MB @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte GTX 960 OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- eForce GTX TITAN X Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
High Bandwidth Memory
UPDATE: I have embedded an excerpt from our PC Perspective Podcast that discusses the HBM technology that you might want to check out in addition to the story below.
The chances are good that if you have been reading PC Perspective or almost any other website that focuses on GPU technologies for the past year, you have read the acronym HBM. You might have even seen its full name: high bandwidth memory. HBM is a new technology that aims to turn the ability for a processor (GPU, CPU, APU, etc.) to access memory upside down, almost literally. AMD has already publicly stated that its next generation flagship Radeon GPU will use HBM as part of its design, but it wasn’t until today that we could talk about what HBM actually offers to a high performance processor like Fiji. At its core HBM drastically changes how the memory interface works, how much power is required for it and what metrics we will use to compare competing memory architectures. AMD and its partners started working on HBM with the industry more than 7 years ago, and with the first retail product nearly ready to ship, it’s time to learn about HBM.
We got some time with AMD’s Joe Macri, Corporate Vice President and Product CTO, to talk about AMD’s move to HBM and how it will shift the direction of AMD products going forward.
The first step in understanding HBM is to understand why it’s needed in the first place. Current GPUs, including the AMD Radeon R9 290X and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, utilize a memory technology known as GDDR5. This architecture has scaled well over the past several GPU generations but we are starting to enter the world of diminishing returns. Balancing memory performance and power consumption is always a tough battle; just ask ARM about it. On the desktop component side we have much larger power envelopes to work inside but the power curve that GDDR5 is on will soon hit a wall, if you plot it far enough into the future. The result will be either drastically higher power consuming graphics cards or stalling performance improvements of the graphics market – something we have not really seen in its history.
While it’s clearly possible that current and maybe even next generation GPU designs could still have depended on GDDR5 as the memory interface, the move to a different solution is needed for the future; AMD is just making the jump earlier than the rest of the industry.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 17, 2015 - 12:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: The Witcher 3, nvidia, hairworks, gameworks, amd
I feel like every few months I get to write more stories focusing on the exact same subject. It's almost as if nothing in the enthusiast market is happening and thus the cycle continues, taking all of us with it on a wild ride of arguments and valuable debates. Late last week I started hearing from some of my Twitter followers that there were concerns surrounding the upcoming release of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Then I found a link to this news post over at Overclock3d.net that put some of the information in perspective.
Essentially, The Witcher 3 uses parts of NVIDIA's GameWorks development tools and APIs, software written by NVIDIA to help game developers take advantage of new technologies and to quickly and easily implement them into games. The problem of course is that GameWorks is written and developed by NVIDIA. That means that optimizations for AMD Radeon hardware are difficult or impossible, depending on who you want to believe. Clearly it doesn't benefit NVIDIA to optimize its software for AMD GPUs financially, though many in the community would like NVIDIA to give a better effort - for the good of said community.
Specifically in regards to The Witcher 3, the game implements NVIDIA HairWorks technology to add realism on many of the creatures of the game world. (Actually, the game includes HairWorks, HBAO+, PhysX, Destruction and Clothing but our current discussion focuses on HairWorks.) All of the marketing and video surrounding The Witcher 3 has been awesome and the realistic animal fur simulation has definitely been a part of it. However, it appears that AMD Radeon GPU users are concerned that performance with HairWorks enabled will suffer.
An example of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with HairWorks
One of the game's developers has been quoted as such:
Many of you have asked us if AMD Radeon GPUs would be able to run NVIDIA’s HairWorks technology – the answer is yes! However, unsatisfactory performance may be experienced as the code of this feature cannot be optimized for AMD products. Radeon users are encouraged to disable NVIDIA HairWorks if the performance is below expectations.
There are at least several interpretations of this statement floating around the web. First, and most enflaming, is that NVIDIA is not allowing CD Project Red to optimize it by not offering source code. Another is that CD Project is choosing to not optimize for AMD hardware due to time considerations. The last is that it simply isn't possible to optimize it because of hardware limitations of HairWorks.
I went to NVIDIA with these complaints about HairWorks and Brian Burke gave me this response:
We are not asking game developers do anything unethical.
GameWorks improves the visual quality of games running on GeForce for our customers. It does not impair performance on competing hardware.
Demanding source code access to all our cool technology is an attempt to deflect their performance issues. Giving away your IP, your source code, is uncommon for anyone in the industry, including middleware providers and game developers. Most of the time we optimize games based on binary builds, not source code.
GameWorks licenses follow standard industry practice. GameWorks source code is provided to developers that request it under license, but they can’t redistribute our source code to anyone who does not have a license.
The bottom line is AMD’s tessellation performance is not very good and there is not a lot NVIDIA can/should do about it. Using DX11 tessellation has sound technical reasoning behind it, it helps to keep the GPU memory footprint small so multiple characters can use hair and fur at the same time.
I believe it is a resource issue. NVIDIA spent a lot of artist and engineering resources to help make Witcher 3 better. I would assume that AMD could have done the same thing because our agreements with developers don’t prevent them from working with other IHVs. (See also, Project Cars)
I think gamers want better hair, better fur, better lighting, better shadows and better effects in their games. GameWorks gives them that.
Interesting comments for sure. The essential take away from this is that HairWorks depends heavily on tessellation performance and we have known since the GTX 680 was released that NVIDIA's architecture performs better than AMD's GCN for tessellation - often by a significant amount. NVIDIA developed its middleware to utilize the strength of its own GPU technology and while it's clear that some disagree, not to negatively impact AMD. Did NVIDIA know that would be the case when it was developing the software? Of course it did. Should it have done something to help AMD GPUs more gracefully fall back? Maybe.
Next, I asked Burke directly if claims that NVIDIA was preventing AMD or the game developer from optimizing HairWorks for other GPUs and platforms were true? I was told that both AMD and CD Project had the ability to tune the game, but in different ways. The developer could change the tessellation density based on the specific GPU detected (lower for a Radeon GPU with less tessellation capability, for example) but that would require dedicated engineering from either CD Project or AMD to do. AMD, without access to the source code, should be able to make changes in the driver at the binary level, similar to how most other driver optimizations are built. Burke states that in these instances NVIDIA often sends engineers to work with game developers and that AMD "could have done the same had it chosen to." And again, NVIDIA reiterated that in no way do its agreements with game developers prohibit optimization for AMD GPUs.
It would also be possible for AMD to have pushed for the implementation of TressFX in addition to HairWorks; a similar scenario played out in Grand Theft Auto V where several vendor-specific technologies were included from both NVIDIA and AMD, customized through in-game settings.
NVIDIA has never been accused of being altruistic; it doesn't often create things and then share it with open arms to the rest of the hardware community. But it has to be understood that game developers know this as well - they are not oblivious. CD Project knew that HairWorks performance on AMD would be poor but decided to implement the technology into The Witcher 3 anyway. They were willing to sacrifice performance penalties for some users to improve the experience of others. You can argue that is not the best choice, but at the very least The Witcher 3 will let you disable the HairWorks feature completely, removing it from the performance debate all together.
In a perfect world for consumers, NVIDIA and AMD would walk hand-in-hand through the fields and develop hardware and software in tandem, making sure all users get the best possible experience with all games. But that style of work is only helpful (from a business perspective) for the organization attempting to gain market share, not the one with the lead. NVIDIA doesn't have to do it and chooses to not. If you don't want to support that style, vote with your wallet.
Another similar controversy surrounded the recent release of Project Cars. AMD GPU performance was significantly lower than comparable NVIDIA GPUs, even though this game does not implement any GameWorks technologies. In that case, the game's developer directly blamed AMD's drivers, saying that it was a lack of reaching out from AMD that caused the issues. AMD has since recanted its stance that the performance delta was "deliberate" and says a pending driver update will address gamers performance issues.
All arguing aside, this game looks amazing. Can we all agree on that?
The only conclusion I can come to from all of this is that if you don't like what NVIDIA is doing, that's your right - and you aren't necessarily wrong. There will be plenty of readers that see the comments made by NVIDIA above and continue to believe that they are being at best disingenuous and at worst, are straight up lying. As I mentioned above in my own comments NVIDIA is still a for-profit company that is responsible to shareholders for profit and growth. And in today's world that sometimes means working against other companies than with them, resulting in impressive new technologies for its customers and push back from competitor's customers. It's not fun, but that's how it works today.
Fans of AMD will point to G-Sync, GameWorks, CUDA, PhysX, FCAT and even SLI as indications of NVIDIA's negative impact on open PC gaming. I would argue that more users would look at that list and see improvements to PC gaming, progress that helps make gaming on a computer so much better than gaming on a console. The truth likely rests somewhere in the middle; there will always be those individuals that immediately side with one company or the other. But it's the much larger group in the middle, that shows no corporate allegiance and instead just wants to have as much fun as possible with gaming, that will impact NVIDIA and AMD the most.
So, since I know it will happen anyway, use the comments page below to vent your opinion. But, for the benefit of us all, try to keep it civil!