AMD teased its Polaris architecture once more during yesterday's press event at Computex. The next performance card from AMD will indeed be called Radeon RX 480, it not only has a new naming scheme but also a shockingly low price of just $199 for the 4GB card.
A couple of specifications were revealed but AMD didn't really go into the details. The card has a 14nm Ellesmere GPU with 36 CUs, 2304 stream cores, 4 to 8GB of GDDR5 memory, 256-bit memory bus, 256GB/s memory bandwidth, and DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 HDR support. The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCIe power connector, it has a 150W TDP and delivers a raw computing power of over 5 teraflops.
The RX 480 promises to deliver VR gaming to the masses thanks to its low price tag. AMD marketing materials claim a 2.8x improvement in performance/Watt, with 1.7x coming from the switch to 14nm and the rest from architectural enhancements in GCN 4.0.
The company claims a Radeon RX 480 in CrossFire can beat the GeForce GTX 1080 in the Ashes of the Singularity DX12 benchmark. How this will all work out in independent real-life benchmarks is going to be very interesting to see. We hear the Radeon RX 480 delivers performance in the range of the GeForce GTX 980/970, which would mean the architecture is not as efficient as NVIDIA's Pascal as the GeForce GTX 1070. That card has the same 150W TDP but delivers performance that rivals the Titan X.
At least for now, we'll have to take AMD's word for it as the real launch date of the card (and the arrival of the first reviews) is set for June 29th. Or in other words, four more weeks of leaks, rumors and hype.
AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today unveiled the company’s strategy for its upcoming Polaris architecture-based Radeon™ RX Series graphics cards, introducing impressive levels of VR performance and future-proof technologies at a variety of price points. The Radeon RX 480 delivers premium VR capability at a stunning price of starting at just $199 for the 4GB edition.
Set for launch and availability on June 29th, the Radeon™ RX 480 will deliver the world’s most affordable solution for premium PC VR experiences, delivering VR capability common in $500 GPUs.
“VR is the most eagerly anticipated development in immersive computing ever, and is the realization of AMD’s Cinema 2.0 vision that predicted the convergence of immersive experiences and interactivity back in 2008,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “As we look to fully connect and immerse humanity through VR, cost remains the daylight between VR being only for the select few, and universal access for everyone. The Radeon™ RX Series is a disruptive technology that adds rocket fuel to the VR inflection point, turning it into a technology with transformational relevance to consumers.”
In a notable market survey, price was a leading barrier to adoption of VR. The $199 starting SEP for select Radeon RX Series GPUs is an integral part of AMD’s strategy to dramatically accelerate VR adoption and unleash the VR software ecosystem. AMD expects that its aggressive pricing will jumpstart the growth of the PC VR TAM and accelerate the rate at which VR headsets drop in price:
More affordable VR-ready desktops and notebooks: AMD expects that affordable PC VR enabled by Polaris architecture-based graphics cards will drive a wide range of VR-ready desktops and notebooks, providing a catalyst for the expansion of the addressable market to an estimated 100 million consumers over the next 10 years.
Making VR accessible to consumers in retail: Thus far, retail has not been a viable channel for VR sales as average system costs exceeding $999 have precluded VR-ready PCs from seeing substantial shelf space. The Radeon™ RX Series graphics cards will enable OEMs to build ideally priced VR-ready desktops and notebooks well suited for the retail PC market.
Unleashing VR developers on a larger audience: Adoption of PC VR technologies by mainstream consumers is expected to spur further developer interest across the ecosystem, unleashing new VR applications in education, entertainment, and productivity as developers seek to capitalize on the growing popularity of the medium.
Reducing the cost of entry to VR: AMD expects that affordable PC VR enabled by Polaris architecture-based graphics cards will dramatically accelerate the pace of the VR ecosystem, driving greater consumer adoption, further developer interest, and increased production of HMDs, ultimately resulting in a lower cost of entry as prices throughout the VR ecosystem decrease over time.
“The Radeon™ RX series efficiency is driven by major architectural improvements and the industry’s first 14nm FinFET process technology for discrete GPUs, and could mark an important inflection point in the growth of virtual reality,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy. “By lowering the cost of ownership and increasing the VR TAM, Radeon RX Series has the potential to propel VR-ready systems into retail in higher volumes, drive new levels of VR content investment, and even drive down the cost of VR headsets.”
“We congratulate AMD for bringing a premium VR ready GPU to market at a $199 price point,” said Dan O’Brien, vice president of virtual reality, HTC. “This shows how partners like AMD survey the entire VR ecosystem to bring an innovative Radeon RX Series product to power high end VR systems like the HTC Vive, to the broadest range of consumers.”
“We’ve seen an incredible range of immersive applications and game-changing experiences that have given millions of people around the world their first taste of virtual reality,” said Nate Mitchell, VP of Product, Oculus. AMD is going to help drive that adoption forward even more by bringing their high-end VR GPUs to the $199 price point.”
The Radeon™ RX Series launch represents the first salvo in AMD’s new “Water Drop” strategy aimed at releasing new graphics architectures in high volume segments first to support continued market share growth for Radeon™ GPUs. In May 2016, Mercury Research reported that AMD gained 3.2% market share in discrete GPUs in Q1 2016. The Radeon™ RX Series will address a substantial opportunity in PC gaming: more than 13.8 million PC gamers who spend $100-300 to upgrade their graphics cards, and 84% of competitive and AAA PC gamers. With Polaris architecture-based Radeon™ RX Series graphics cards, AMD intends to redefine the gaming experience in its class, introducing dramatically improved performance and efficiency, support for compelling VR experiences, and incredible features never before possible at these prices.
For more information on Polaris architecture-based Radeon™ RX Series graphics cards availability later this month, stay tuned to the AMD newsroom and associated social media channels.