Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope scales with multi-GPU

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 14, 2016 - 11:22 AM |
Tagged: video, the last hope, serious sam vr, rx 480, radeon, Polaris, multi-gpu, liquidvr, amd, affinity

While VR excitement might have cooled slightly in the enthusiast community, there continues to be innovation and software releases on both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that are bringing me back to what I think we believe to be part of the future of PC gaming. Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope was announced at E3 this year and is now available as an early access game on Steam. It is a dual wielding shooter that combines the enemies of the previous games along with the crazy weapons that made the series iconic.

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And hey, there is something awesome about using a missile launcher that takes up half the screen.

One interesting technology addition to the game is use of AMD LiquidVR affinity multi-GPU. A Croteam developer recently posted a blog on the site talking about the implementation.

We wanted to add LiquidVR Affinity Multi-GPU rendering support to our engine because two GPUs can render the two eye views in almost half the time compared to a single GPU and this would greatly reduce our GPU bottlenecks. Affinity MGPU can either be done in one pass or with a separate pass for each eye, in which case we reap the GPU side benefits while the CPU workload stays the same.

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We needed about a week to modify all shaders and to make sure that correct data is set for each eye. Single pass rendering with Affinity Multi-GPU gave us a huge speed improvement on both CPU and GPU from our original VR implementation. In the end, it took us less time to do single pass rendering correctly than it took us to fix all the problems caused by multi pass multi-GPU rendering.

After the interest in the Deus Ex multi-GPU scaling video I thought I would see if the Serious Sam implementation was actually beneficial to gamers.

  • Test System
  • Core i7-5960X
  • X99 MB + 16GB DDR4
  • AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB
  • Driver: 16.10.2

The test was simple: I found that a single RX 480 could run the game at Medium settings perfectly well, but could it be playable on High with multi-GPU? By adding in a second Radeon RX 480 I was able to bring the performance up by 55% or so, making the VR experience nearly flawless.

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It's not perfect scaling, but the benefits of multi-GPU for VR, when properly implemented, are obvious. As more games and experiences are released that require higher compute capability or have in-game settings that allow for better image quality, the ability to scale across GPUs will be a welcome addition to the ecosystem.

Check out the video here if you haven't seen any Serious Sam VR gameplay yet!

Video News

November 14, 2016 | 12:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AMD does it again.

November 14, 2016 | 01:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why do I have to see AMD news on Pcper? :(

November 14, 2016 | 01:34 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

It's our bias showing, of course!

November 14, 2016 | 01:19 PM - Posted by CNote

Nice job AMD!

November 14, 2016 | 01:23 PM - Posted by maonayze

Well Anonymous #2, Because it's a tech channel and AMD are tech news. Did you think it was just for Nvidia news ?

Also, Mr Anonymous are you talkin to yourself again. It certainly looks that way.

PC PER please get rid of this ridiculous Anonymous posting ability. It only encourages trolling and causes confusion (Especially when you bitch slap the wrong Anonymous by mistake :-P )


November 14, 2016 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Crossfire is garbage from garbage driver team. Frame timing IS FUCKED and no surprise AMD sucks. And even two 480's can't hang with a single fucking 1070/1080? Let alone Pascal Titan X? DUMB. What a shit company, and only fucking losers use AMD. Great write up tho Ryan, just sick of poor people shit. Also, What the fuck NVIDIA?

November 14, 2016 | 04:19 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

The Anon post I'm replying to is exactly why the anon account needs to go away, PCPer, so at least it is more inconvenient for someone to post this headache-inducing textual vomit.

November 14, 2016 | 04:47 PM - Posted by random reader (not verified)

a gtx 1080 or even a titan can't by you education. you are the poor here.

November 14, 2016 | 07:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

And those 2 RX 480's cost less than a GTX 1080, or GTX 1070! I'd love to see this test done on a RX 470 and Dual RX 470s, with some price/performance metircs between both AMD Polaris SKUs. The RX 470 may be the sweet spot for prcing currently for some multi-GPU testing using both CF and Explicit Multi-GPU adaptor in Vulkan/DX12. My hopes are with doing away with CF/SLI and moving all the GPU load balancing into the graphics APIs, Games/Gaming engines! I'm sure some GTX 1060/1050 owners may just be able to benifit from Explicit Multi-GPU adaptor in Vulkan/DX12 also, in spite of the lack of SLI support from JHH!

November 15, 2016 | 05:04 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"And those 2 RX 480's cost less than a GTX 1080, or GTX 1070!"

Sir, you are mad. In what planet cost TWO Rx 480 (around 600 dollars) less than a GTX 1070 (around 400 dollars)?

Don't be a fanatic. Or at least don't show that so obviously.

November 15, 2016 | 11:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Admittedly he got the price bit wrong for the 1070, but in what world is someone spending $300 on a 480? $520 would be a sound argument.

The current gen has no overclocking worth spending on high priced cards, they don't run much better for the silly amounts of extra cash you pay, so there's little point.

But with that in mind it makes even less sense to buy 2 480s, as you should just buy one of the cheaper 1070 models.

I'm no fan of any cards currently out, Nvidia still have lackluster DX12 performance and AMD are still to hot and power hungry, most likely due to Glofo's process for 14nm, considering they're bringing out a refresh so soon.

Here's to the next generation, AMD actually going high end and ending the silly prices [hope to god] and Nvidia finally baking in hardware for DX12 Async worth a damn.

November 15, 2016 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

AMD's chips are hotter because they are smaller and more densely packed at 14nm! AMD targeted the RX 480/RX 470 for the more affordable mainstream market, and not the flagship market. The RX 470 is probaby the better lower cost dual solution than even the RX 480 for this type of benchmarking but it's very good to see more Dual RX 480 benchmarks for some that wat to game as well as do other non gaming computational workloads at an affrodable price. AMD's GPU chips get better with time as the software and graphics APIs as well as the Games/Gamimg engines catch up with AMD's GCN 4 and newer GPU technologies.

GF's 14nm process node tweaks are resulting in some much better binned Polaris 10 dies becoming available and in 2017 when Vega arrives there will be some very good RX 470/480 deals to be had and more games and graphics software able to scale better accros more than one Polaris 10 GPU! sSo that dual RX 480 benchmarking needs to be revisited often, ditto for dual RX 470 SKUs once Vega is out and the Polaris 10 pricing becomes even lower! Nvidia will not be lowering its pricing very much over time, the greed is great in that Nvidia one!

November 16, 2016 | 10:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ok, and yet Nvidia. Lets face it the 470 and 480 are not brand new, they have inherited the old issues of the 300 series in their architecture, they ran a little hot. Not sure what your point is with the mainstream bit. Dual 480s are still not worth it imo, the 1070 is just a smarter option, even saving for a 1080 [dunno about your pricing but in the UK a 1080 can be had for the cost of 2 480s] is not much more.

Yes the software will improve and with Nvidia screwing up every other driver update its not hard for AMD to look good but there was definitely an issue with Glofo's process, this refresh is very soon and glofo were not producing expected results for chips compare to TSMC 16nm. TSMC just had a better process.

Honestly scaling would have to be much better for me to even consider this an option. Dual GPUs have always had issues, yes its going to get a lot better when DX12 figures itself out next year but right now, its not an option.

I'm just hoping Vega wipes the floor with Pascal, then Nvidia will have to really pull its finger out next year. I side with neither maker, I just want good deals, don't care who makes them. Heres to hoping the architecture update for Vega is beast. Who knows though!

2017 is looking like a damn fine year in computing is all I say. Unless AMD sods it up! =P

November 16, 2016 | 11:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No they run hot because AMD does not strip out SP/DP FP performance from their GPU SKUs just to placate Gamers, AMD has other uses that make AMD's GPU popular for computing workloads. So the extra compute uses extra power and add to that the smaller size of Polaris 10 die and more dense circuit packing at 14nm and that's where that SKU runs hotter. So AMD's Polaris 10 SKUs are popular for their pricing and for their other non gaming usage workload abilities.

Look that Polaris RX 480's Total SP FP performance metric at much lower clocks relative to Nvidia's comparable SKUs that have to be clocked much higher to even get close to the RX 480 in SP FP performance/TFlops metric, that will tell you that AMD has more hardware resources dedicated to FP performance so that hotter comes from more circuits on a smaller die. GF has been Tweaking their 14nm(licensed from Samsung 14nm process) and there are some better binned Polaris 10 Dies available now.

November 16, 2016 | 12:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

P.S. There are plenty or RX 480 SKUs for $220 and RX 470's around $169, ant there will be even lower cost RX 480/RX 470 pricing when Vega comes out. The GTX 1070 is $380-430+, and the GTX 1080 $619-665. Also 2 RX 480's have about the same SP FP performance as a Titan X(Pascal).

November 14, 2016 | 10:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Looks like AMD's Boltzmann just got a new name, also in the S/A article is a link to the "fully documented Fiji ISA manual"

"Just under a year ago, AMD announced Boltzmann, today they are on the 4th update to ROCm. In case you don’t get the connection, allow SemiAccurate to point out that the Boltzmann Initiative for HPC is now called ROCm."(1)


"AMD up ROCm from Botlzmann to v1.3
Open Compute from hardware ISAs to tools in one go"

November 15, 2016 | 06:52 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

FINALLY a multi-GPU VR implementation that is actually in the wild! It;s only taken a few years to go from tech demos to actual utilisation...

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