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AMD positions Polaris as VR-capable mainstream video cards

Posted on Thursday, April 28 2016 @ 13:33:31 CEST by

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Speaking to ARS Technica, AMD's Roy Taylor talked a bit about the new strategy his company is following and that bad mouthing competitors like NVIDIA is now a thing of the past.

AMD is going all in on virtual reality and Taylor explains the upcoming Polaris video cards will do a lot to increase the TAM [total addressable market] for virtual reality.

Taylor clarified NVIDIA's Pascal is looking like a high-end product, whereas the forthcoming Polaris lineup from AMD will be more of a mainstream lineup. Details about pricing weren't shared but his comments suggest AMD 's Polaris may offer a lot of performance per dollar, which would help to push VR-capable PCs to lower price points.
"The reason Polaris is a big deal," continued Taylor, "is because I believe we will be able to grow that TAM significantly. I don't think Nvidia is going to do anything to increase the TAM, because according to everything we've seen around Pascal, it's a high-end part. I don't know what the price is gonna be, but let's say it's as low as £500/$600 and as high as £800/$1000. That price range is not going to expand the TAM for VR. We're going on the record right now to say Polaris will expand the TAM. Full stop."

AMD is betting on VR, and it's betting hard. Compelling content for VR isn't quite here yet—"we don't have something that's so compelling that you just can't wait to get home, or take days off sick, to play," says Taylor—but when it does, and when a regular, mainstream consumer goes to an electronics store buy a PC to get that VR experience, AMD wants it to be powered by its GPU at an accessible price. It's a big gamble, one that depends on numerous stakeholders each playing their part. That's not to mention that just because Nvidia is rumoured to be launching a high-end part now, it can't release a high-powered mainstream part in the future—or simply just drop the price of its high-end cards.
Polaris is expected to be launched in the coming months, probably around June. The next high-end architecture from AMD will be Vega, this lineup will adopt HBM2 but won't be available before early 2017.



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