Today AMD held its GPU ’14 Tech Day in Hawaii where it was expected to introduce its new lineup of graphics cards, more specifically the new high-end R9 290X. In case you missed the Livestream, here’s the rundown of what was presented by AMD and partners.
Matt Skinner, AMD VP and General Manager of Graphics Business Unit, hopped on stage to present the new lineup of cards. He showed the R9 and R7 series of GPUs. The R7 series include R7 250 and R7 260X, which boast 1GB and 2GB of RAM and will retail for $89 and $139 respectively. AMD said the new cards can score 2000 and 3700 marks in 3DMark Fire Strike. Moving up the ranks, Matt introduced the R9 270X and R9 280X. The 270X features 2GB of GDDR5, has a MSRP of $199 and does 5500 in Fire Strike, while the 280X has one more GB of RAM, a price tag of $299 and scores 6800 marks. Finally, few details were released regarding the R9 290X but it is confirmed to boast a full 4GB of GDDR5. Matt Skinner said that AMD is going to offer the new card in a bundle with Battlefield 4, starting October 3rd. No price was mentioned for the card or the bundle.
Next, it was the turn of Raja Koduri, corporate vice president of Visual Computing at AMD, to take the stage to talk a little more about the GPU behind R9 290X. The new GPU is based on an enhanced Graphics Core Next architecture and is the first to support Microsoft DirectX 11.2. Koduri said that the new GPU yields over 5 TFlops of computing power and has a memory bandwidth of 300 GB/s thanks to its speculated 512-bit wide bus. The GPU is made of more than 6 billion transistors manufactured on what we already confirmed is TSMC’s 28nm process.
AMD’s Raja Koduri also talked about a new feature onboard R9 290X, R9 290 and R7 260X: AMD True Audio. True Audio is a dedicated audio processor that is either on-board the new cards or on-die the new GPU. The audio processor can be used to offload the sound effects from the main CPU to the graphics card for added overall system performance. AMD gave the stage to some of its new audio partners and game developers to talk a bit more about the TrueAudio and what it can bring to the gaming crowd. Basically, the dedicated processor will dramatically increase sound quality and sound effects in games, allowing to hear hundreds more voices and channels as well as providing directional audio from any kind of input for in-game immersive audio.
At this point, judging from the FireStrike scores mentioned by AMD in their press event, it is probable that AMD has a single new GPU in the form of R9 290X. Scores for R9 280X and 270X are very close to current Tahiti products, HD 7970 and HD 7950. R7 lineup is believably a re-brand of Pitcairn, Bonaire and/or Cape Verde GPUs found in HD 7800 and HD 7700 series of video cards. The only wild card here is R7 260X. As it also features the new True Audio DSP, it is possible that it is built around a cut-down version of the R9 290X’s GPU.
Very much like NVIDIA did with their new 700-series of cards, AMD is adopting the strategy of building a single high-end GPU as flagship of a new series of products, along with re-branded GPUs to fill the ranks of more mainstream offerings. What AMD is bringing to the consumer with this approach is a GPU that will go head-to-head with NVIDIA’s Titan, while lowering prices on the rest of its products lineup.