GDC 15: Upcoming Flagship AMD Radeon R9 GPU Powering VR Demo

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 5, 2015 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: GDC, gdc 15, amd, radeon, R9, 390x, VR, Oculus

Don't get too excited about this news, but AMD tells me that its next flagship Radeon R9 graphics card is up and running at GDC, powering an Oculus-based Epic "Showdown" demo.

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Inside the box...

During my meeting with AMD today I was told that inside that little PC sits the "upcoming flagship Radeon R9 graphics card" but, of course, no other information was given. The following is an estimated transcript of the event:

Ryan: Can I see it?

AMD: No.

Ryan: I can't even take the side panel off it?

AMD: No.

Ryan. How can I know you're telling the truth then? Can I open up the driver or anything?

AMD: No.

Ryan: GPU-Z? Anything?

AMD: No.

Well, I tried.

Is this the rumored R9 390X with the integrated water cooler? Is it something else completely? AMD wouldn't even let me behind the system to look for a radiator so I'm afraid that is where my speculation will end.

Hooked up to the system was a Crescent Bay Oculus headset running the well-received Epic "Showdown" demo. The experience was smooth though of course there were no indications of frame rate, etc. while it was going on. After our discussion with AMD earlier in the week about its LiquidVR SDK, AMD is clearly taking the VR transition seriously. NVIDIA's GPUs might be dominating the show-floor demos but AMD wanted to be sure it wasn't left out of the discussion.

Can I just get this Fiji card already??

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March 5, 2015 | 04:53 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Thanks for trying.

March 11, 2015 | 02:59 AM - Posted by SiliconDoc (not verified)

I wonder if he picked up the black "skirt" to see if that item beneath it was the new box or just some ups shipping envelope.


March 5, 2015 | 04:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Soooo ready. Why won't you give me.

March 5, 2015 | 05:05 PM - Posted by AMDBumLover (not verified)

thank god hey said no, else we would have another misleading headline about how hot it is or how much power it uses.

March 5, 2015 | 05:12 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

...well he could have put his hand behind it to find out, but Ryan values his fingers. :)

March 5, 2015 | 05:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


March 5, 2015 | 06:55 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Not even a touch of defensiveness in that reply. Well done. So much easier to go with it and have fun with it. Proud of you man. Still hate you for telling us tlc is okay and ssd's are cheap. But Ryan does the same thing with gpu's, and hate him for that. Don't take literally, please.

March 5, 2015 | 06:52 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I love both this comment and this username. 

March 11, 2015 | 02:41 AM - Posted by SiliconDoc (not verified)

I loved the comment too. ( I'm LYING. )

I must say, if it wasn't for you, Ryan, AMD would still have the stuttering, runt framing, FPS test cheating - GARBAGE DRIVERS they are so well known for.

Now, you helped the poor souls fix their ding dang dunged up drivers (exposure causing pressure!), I for one will state it's rather an impossibly large task to expect you to fix their volcanic housefires problem.

Believe me, I stuck my next out more than once, it's not just the rager fans, their Catalyst Writer was just as bad and worse - I won't mention where and what happened, but, since my complaint was so large and so public and so many big shots saw the lies and denials...pressure is good, it gets results, I helped a little bit.

So, I'm very proud of your work for the results it drove, and if any little rager minions had any sense, they'd be thanking you. Of course they don't thank you.

March 5, 2015 | 05:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ryan as a respectable tech reviewer you should have done the only reasonable thing; grabbed the case and run like hell.

March 5, 2015 | 05:58 PM - Posted by collie

this dude gets it

March 5, 2015 | 06:11 PM - Posted by ImmenseBrick (not verified)

I am with both you dudes, big fan of the old grab and run tactic. The only thing is Ryan might not have the gloves to hold the case, being that it must be an oven due to the gpu inside. I kid, I have owned both amd and Nvidia stuff and like them both. Currently have gsync so nvidia fucked me until I get a new monitor. I hope freesync works as advertised as living in a tear/stutter free world is wonderful. GRAB AND RUN!

March 5, 2015 | 09:41 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Lol classic!

March 6, 2015 | 01:51 PM - Posted by Dean (not verified)

Classic :).

March 5, 2015 | 06:02 PM - Posted by Ophelos

Something i just finished reading is we won't know anything about the new flagships until at least Computex in June but not sooner.

March 5, 2015 | 06:03 PM - Posted by AMD TRUEFAN (not verified)

AMD fail PR stunts! I wont wait till after summer for liquid coolerd 300W PR gpus or R9 2xx rebranded (already canncelled) AMD hawaii crap gpu

I will definitely buy Nvidia GM200 GEFORCE GTX products with good game and driver support!

AMD Roy Taylor FAILS / Lisa 2 / AMD's Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy's go play with your Mantle API - all AMD fanboys love you - for sure!

March 5, 2015 | 06:29 PM - Posted by Ophelos

Hey just relax, it's only another GPU product, it's not like your getting married to it or having a kid either. It sounds like you haven't hit the pipe yet today.

So get out of the house an go have a few drinks with some buddies.

March 6, 2015 | 09:04 AM - Posted by collie

well said!

March 5, 2015 | 07:41 PM - Posted by Bianchi4me (not verified)

All the watt obsessed misers really need to go buy a Prius and stick to the slow lane. I'm not going to lay awake at night fretting that my chosen p.c. spec uses the extra energy of ONE ENTIRE LIGHTBULB more than some other kit.

March 11, 2015 | 02:45 AM - Posted by SiliconDoc (not verified)

Unless the card was a GTX470, GTX480, GTX570 or GTX580, then..., housefires !

Yes suddenly all the little red ragers have all the electricity they ever needed. NO ONE believes it.

March 5, 2015 | 08:33 PM - Posted by Mandrake


March 11, 2015 | 03:04 AM - Posted by SiliconDoc (not verified)

I had to drop 4 Verdetrol pills after I saw the headline!

March 5, 2015 | 06:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Cockroach with a brain implanted control lead, connected to a SOC, camera, and transmitter(nice little package with micro-battery). Just fire up the dual joy stick controller/base station the camera comes with a optical micro zoom lens, and infrared sensor. Wifi/LTE radio controlled fully encrypted data stream,

LaCockaSpyRoach, serving the cloak and dagger market, since November 4, 1952!

March 5, 2015 | 07:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Plot twist: you are already looking at R9 390X, it has a freaking huge radiator that alone looks like a computer case!

March 5, 2015 | 08:23 PM - Posted by Bianchi4me (not verified)

Genius. Sales of eATX cases will skyrocket....

March 5, 2015 | 09:37 PM - Posted by mechapathy (not verified)

AMD is seriously losing my patience. I've used ATi/AMD cards in my builds for awhile, but I'm getting fed up with their lack of trying. Lackadaisical driver releases, rehashed product lineups, giving up on Mantle, hot cards and huge power consumption. My xfire 7870s are growing long in the tooth, and while they still handle most 1080p gaming at high/ultra settings, I've moved on to WQHD, and they just can't keep up due to power and VRAM limitations.
I was looking to upgrade to the 390x, or whatever the world has decided the flagship single-GPU card will be called this given week, but I'm starting to seriously consider a 980 now with another a little down the road, because AMD has kept their customers waiting. And this little half-assed tease is not enough to keep me waiting much longer.

March 6, 2015 | 01:43 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

1. Lackadasical driver releases? Im sorry but you are just adding fluff words to make your state appear to have content. Tell us what about the drivers you are unhappy about.

2. Hot cards and high power consumption? You must have purchased terrible reference cards and have them in an even more terrible case. I'm running two Vapor-X 7970Ghz editions from Sapphire. Even when overclocked they never go over the mid 60s.

3. Power issue which I might add appears to be the flavor of the month as if people are running a render farm 200 stories high. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill because the extra energy cost could be counted in cents.

4. VRAM cant keep up with WQHD is because you purchased 7980s which were low end cards. At the time of release you could have purchased 3GB cards and most recently 4GB cards. Stop being cheap.

If it's taking to long then maybe the green team will treat you better. AMD is making sure the revolutionary 3D stack HBM is working as intended before leaving the door. It's that that I for one am happy about.

March 6, 2015 | 10:58 AM - Posted by zodiacsoulmate (not verified)

Are you kidding??
I can't believe you are serious, I have used AMD card and NVIDIA card for years, and I have to say AMD drivers sucks!
Just take a look at their Omega Driver release, it contains a lot of fix for even the most basic stuff...
7970Ghz with 60deg ?? Your 7970 must scream like a baby...
Power issue.. lol I can't even take you seriously now...
Good day

March 6, 2015 | 11:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You obviously don't do any research and just go on hearsay. The guys said he has SAPHIRE VAPOR X cards and not reference!!! LEARN TO READ BEFORE REPLYING!!!!

I have an AMD card for the last 3 years and the drivers are excellent, never had an issue. Give us a break, you expect us to believe that Nvidia never fixes or updates 'basic' things in their drivers? LOL

And lastly, if you are a PC enthusiast, and i'm sure you are, when you go to buy a gfx card, the last thing you are concerned about is just how much power is used. The other guy is right, the difference in how much power is used between one flagship card and another is literally pennys, or a few dollars per year. Don't try to make this out to be something that it isn't.

I'd say that we can't take you seriously.

March 6, 2015 | 02:53 PM - Posted by mechapathy (not verified)

Let's go at this one point at a time.

1. The last driver release from AMD was December 9th. There have been no attempts at resolving issues with multi-GPU setups in FarCry 4. There used to be driver updates to coincide with game releases, a la Nvidia, but we haven't seen anything in 3 months from AMD. Omega included a couple features (VSR for example) that NV already had. Just playing catch-up.

2. I have two XFX 7870 Blacks. Not terrible, and not reference coolers. Those cards are fine. And I was referring to the current lineup of cards and the strong rumors that the 390X reference will require an AIO unit to keep it cool.

3. Power consumption means the difference between my current PSU (EVGA G2 750W) and upgrading if I want two cards. I know the cost difference is negligible. Meanwhile, 750W is plenty for SLI 980s, and will keep my PSU right in the sweet spot for efficiency.

4. Yeah, that's what I said. And considering the 7870 was rebranded and is positioned as a midrange card in the current lineup, I don't think it'd be unfair to call it the upper midrange card of the 7000 series. As far as being cheap is concerned, I pulled the trigger on the 980, with plans for another in a couple months. I'm sure it's impossible to consider that finances can change in the three years since the 7870's release.

I'm not on either team. I just want to play some games. Who knows what my next GPU upgrade will be?

March 8, 2015 | 03:35 AM - Posted by Heavy (not verified)

the multi gpu issue in farcry 4 is on the game issue amd cant do anything about it i think kit guru covered this issue.

March 10, 2015 | 07:13 PM - Posted by Osjur (not verified)

Yes but we have shitloads of new and old games (evolve, dying light, fc4, tw: attila etc.) where CF doesn't work at all and if you happen to play with bigger than "peasant" resolution then you need working CF with those games.

I for myself haven't played single newly released game because of broken CF support even though I would want to but playing with sub 30 fps is not enticing at all.

March 6, 2015 | 03:18 AM - Posted by JohnGR

You forgot to ask two questions Ryan.

Can I put my hand behind the case? (to check if the air is hot)

Can I see behind the box? (to see the connections and if possible to check if the card is loud)

March 6, 2015 | 06:51 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

LOL, Ryan, you just don't get it, do you? He can't answer you because it's right there, right before your eyes. The entire "case" is R9 390X. *AMD sarcasm*

March 6, 2015 | 06:53 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Could you imagine how many lolz would be had if it turns out in the end that they're were using something like R9 370X in there?

March 6, 2015 | 07:19 AM - Posted by NVIDIABumLover (not verified)

I think AMD is scared of NVIDIA finding out what the AMD oven is capable of and then bumping up the clocks of the GM200 cards and making AMD's water cooled wonder stillborn.

March 6, 2015 | 09:03 AM - Posted by JohnLai (not verified)

Shame of AMD for not showing the actual card.

Very likely the card isn't even ready yet.
I guess the rumour from kitguru mentioned about AMD 'plan' of showing it off at Computex is true. But unlike kitguru speculation about engineering and management agreeing on delaying it so that existing gpu stock can be cleared out, I am more leaning towards AMD is not able to produce new gpus in sufficient quantity or the card has some sort of serious design flaw.

Then again, I recall many years back then.....nvidia 'demonstrated' a dummy card as actual card.

March 6, 2015 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Mark_GB

We should name this new R9 chip the "NO CHIP" :p

March 6, 2015 | 09:24 AM - Posted by ZoA (not verified)

No wonder they did not let you see it. You did not use magic word ”please”. Did you parents teach you any manners Ryan?

March 6, 2015 | 10:02 AM - Posted by kenny1007

The real question here is if there is in fact an R9 3XX in there or is that just AMD bs.

March 6, 2015 | 11:05 AM - Posted by Searching4Sasquatch (not verified)

Odd AMD wasn't claiming anything until NVIDIA announced Titan X. Suddenly, AMD is claiming "me too" with zero proof? Sketchy.

March 6, 2015 | 11:26 AM - Posted by Fishbait

but would they have opened it if Brad Pitt asked? What's in the box!

March 6, 2015 | 02:36 PM - Posted by DEVReal VR Direct (not verified)

New Reality: NVIDIA Drives VR Demos Across GDC Show Floor

Every show needs a star. And the Game Developers Conference’s star is virtual reality.

And just as every star has a “man behind the curtain” helping to make the magic happen, that supporting role here is being played by NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX processors.

Hand delivered: NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang presented the first production version of TITAN X at this week’s GDC.
Our GPUs are on stage this week behind a whole troupe of VR power players, including:

Crytek with Back to Dinosaur Island
Epic Games and WETA Digital with Thief in the Shadows
>>> Epic Games with Showdown <<<
>>> Oculus with Back to Dinosaur Island, Thief in the Shadows, Showdown <<<

Unity with Unity 5
Valve with Portal, Job Simulator, TheBluVR and the Gallery demos

March 6, 2015 | 02:50 PM - Posted by VR_UE4 (not verified)

You can find Crescent Bay prototypes all over the GDC Expo floor! Visit Crytek’s booth for a brand new “Back to Dinosaur Island” experience in CryEngine, pop by Unity’s booth to see a demonstration of the great new features in Unity 5 for Oculus developers or head over to Epic Games and NVIDIA’s booth to see the latest Showdown and Thief in the Shadows experiences running on NVIDIA’s new TITAN X GPU in UE4.


March 6, 2015 | 09:49 PM - Posted by Adam (not verified)

Good try. Next time ask if you can smell it? Just a sniff! Or maybe a benchmark for some game. Even with beta drivers there has to be excellent performance with the RAM they are using.

March 7, 2015 | 05:38 AM - Posted by ThorAxe

Flagship card in ghetto case??

March 7, 2015 | 09:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That is what i was thinking when i saw the pic..........

March 11, 2015 | 02:51 AM - Posted by SiliconDoc (not verified)

That's how AMD has been doing things for quite some time - the penny pinching at the public end is embarrassing.

I hope they at least rented real space for the conference instead of like bagging some cheap hole across the street to something they weren't going to pay for and/or weren't invited to.

Maybe they sconged boothspace cheap off the Lone Gunmen.

March 8, 2015 | 11:16 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

You don't get it. The "case" IS the entire card itself! *AMD sarcasm*

March 11, 2015 | 02:48 AM - Posted by SiliconDoc (not verified)

Ok so this whole AMD "display" and VR game was like a sleazy tease job with no release, and no proof of what exactly was under the hood during the ride.
It could be a trans for all we know at this point.

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