AMD 2014 GPU Product Showcase Live Blogby Ryan Smith & Anand Lal Shimpi on September 25, 2013 2:50 PM EST
06:43PM EDT - Compared to consoles, on PCs developers could only do less with more, with Mantle now the PC developers can get more with more. More info on Mantle will be available at AMD's developer conference in November. Looks like we're finally done, the rest of the day is under NDA. We'll share more info as soon as we can!
06:40PM EDT - Mantle enables 9x more draw calls per second than other APIs by reducing CPU overhead.
06:36PM EDT - Battlefield 4 really looks great, I'm very curious to see how big of an impact the Mantle update makes on performance and things like CPU utilization
06:32PM EDT - BF4 will launch with a DX11.1 renderer in October, in December it'll launch with a Mantle renderer that'll let gamers get the most out of their PCs.
06:30PM EDT - Whats being described for Mantle sounds a great deal like Glide for the modern age with compute capabilities
06:29PM EDT - The proposal: Mantle. A low level high performance console style graphics API for PCs. It's being built by AMD. It's cross platform, but Windows initially. Battlefield 4 is the pilot project & first user of Mantle.
06:28PM EDT - The proposal: Mantle. A low level high performance console style graphics API for PCs. It's being built by AMD. It's cross platform, but Windows initially. Battlefield 4 is the pilot project & first user of Mantle.
06:24PM EDT - Talking about challenges for PC development - PC is easy to develop for on the CPU, GPU development is still stuck in a traditional model where the CPU is still feeding the GPU, and not all modern functionality on GPUs is exposed. Abstractions are nice but having low level access can be important (and obviously a benefit from a performance standpoint)
06:22PM EDT - 64-bit executable for Battlefield 4
06:19PM EDT - Levolution - new concept in BF4, skyscraper can completely fall apart based on player actions and how that can impact the rest of the level
06:17PM EDT - "Frostbite 3 is our next-generation engine"
06:16PM EDT - Johan Andersson, technical director at Frostbite, talking about Battlefield 4, AMD and a technology called Mantle
06:15PM EDT - there's a 15 minute video that's going to be played next
06:15PM EDT - I think he's going to talk about Mantle
06:14PM EDT - oh man I thought it was over, Raja is back on stage for "one last thing"
06:13PM EDT - ~20 games are supported today
06:12PM EDT - There's also a slider that lets you control the balance between performance and image quality, I'm guessing this sets preferences for things like AA/AF
06:11PM EDT - One click button to optimize settings, raptr cloud figures out optimal configuration and updates it automatically
06:11PM EDT - Creates a histogram of your performance, takes all of that data as well as your system configuration and ships it off to the cloud
06:10PM EDT - When you start playing it starts tracking your FPS
06:10PM EDT - As soon as you install the app, detects all the games on your system/hardware/resolution
06:09PM EDT - The crowd sourced angle is interesting, accuracy should improve over time
06:09PM EDT - This is AMD's answer to NVIDIA's GeForce Experience, interesting that it's not a home brewed solution
06:08PM EDT - Crowd sources data from users to determine optimal game settings for your hardware
06:07PM EDT - Gaming Evolved app powered by raptr
06:06PM EDT - Raptr rewards program - given away more than $20M worth of stuff to users, given away free games, discounts, etc...
06:05PM EDT - Raptr gives you access to your favorite apps in games themselves so you don't need to alt-tab out, 18M members, live broadcasting from any game
06:04PM EDT - A few years ago Thresh started Raptr to make the PC gaming experience more like consoles...probably a bad time to be talking about this with the whole SteamOS stuff happening now
06:03PM EDT - Talking about no Xbox live like service that exists for PCs
06:02PM EDT - Thresh is talking about the good and the bad of PC gaming
06:00PM EDT - Wow I haven't seen Thresh in *so* long
06:00PM EDT - Dennis Fong aka Thresh, taking the stage now
05:59PM EDT - Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed - supports Eyefinity and TrueAudio
05:58PM EDT - Saints Row IV is now in the Never Settle Forever bundle (gold tier)
05:58PM EDT - Recapping Lichdom and TrueAudio support
05:57PM EDT - Murdered: Soul Suspect, supernatural detective thriller - you have to solve your own murder
05:56PM EDT - Ok back to the main presentation, back to talking about Thief and TrueAudio
05:55PM EDT - "PC games are back, Space Sims are back"
05:55PM EDT - "I want to melt some GPUs" this is a long term game, designed to push the bleeding edge of GPUs - game won't be done for 18 - 24 months
05:53PM EDT - Iterative release methodology - adding a dogfighting module next, then planetside module, ship boarding module, single player story module
05:52PM EDT - AMD is trying to hurry up the demo, doesn't seem to be working
05:50PM EDT - This is definitely getting a bit long...
05:43PM EDT - 18M polygons per frame being rendered right now
05:43PM EDT - Demo is running on 5GHz FX CPU, 3 display Eyefinity, smaller ship has 300K polygons, bigger ships are 1.5M polygons
05:42PM EDT - Wouldn't normally give a publisher this early of a demo
05:42PM EDT - Doing a demo of the Hangar Module now
05:41PM EDT - Hangar Module was the first release - full engine, playable interface, explore your ship(s) within the actual engine
05:40PM EDT - We're going to show backers how we're making the game and involve them in the process - talking about it a year earlier than they would've had it been traditionally made
05:40PM EDT - Will have a completely public development process
05:38PM EDT - Completely dynamic universe
05:38PM EDT - Fully realized economic simulation, you can own your own spaceship, private servers and extensive modding options, '"visceral dogfights in hollywood-quality spaceships"
05:37PM EDT - A completely new way of doing development
05:37PM EDT - No traditional publisher, no VCs
05:37PM EDT - Funded solely by more than 250K backers, $19.9M
05:36PM EDT - Star Citizen should push the PC hardware today and tomorrow to the absolute limit
05:36PM EDT - It's a big sandbox universe
05:36PM EDT - Designed for the bleeding edge
05:36PM EDT - AAA graphics and real physics, persistent universe (millions of players across a living galaxy)
05:35PM EDT - Star Citizen - space sim for the PC from the creator of Wing Commander, Privateer and Freelancer
05:33PM EDT - Cloud Imperium Games - Star Citizen, video demo now
05:31PM EDT - Battlefield 4 is optimized for AMD's GCN
05:29PM EDT - New Ruby is based on Cryengine 3
05:27PM EDT - The demo looks really good
05:26PM EDT - Will be a downloadable demo in the future
05:26PM EDT - New Ruby demo, with tressfx hair and new DX11 features
05:24PM EDT - Tomb Raider: tressfx hair, simulate thousands of strands of hair in real time
05:24PM EDT - Talking about Never Settle bundles and the AMD Gaming Evolved program
05:23PM EDT - Helps in aligning AMD's plans with the needs of game developers
05:23PM EDT - AMD has ex-game developers on staff
05:23PM EDT - "With new graphics features comes new content"
05:22PM EDT - AMD's Ritchie Corpus, Director of ISV Gaming & Alliances takes the stage
05:22PM EDT - Raja is back on stage, his audio is cutting out a lot though
05:21PM EDT - Available in the coming weeks with R9 series GPUs
05:21PM EDT - Shift features an in-house closed loop cooling solution, can support up to 3 R9 GPUs
05:21PM EDT - Introducing the Maingear Shift - with Radeon R9 GPUs
05:20PM EDT - Maingear is professing its love for AMD
05:19PM EDT - This is always the issue with AMD's tech days, they seem to go overboard with the partner promotion
05:19PM EDT - Wallace Santos, CEO of Maingear, taking the stage now
05:18PM EDT - Lichdom looks really good
05:16PM EDT - Lichdom will ship Summer 2014 on PCs
05:13PM EDT - Playing a video of Lichdom gameplay
05:12PM EDT - There's a bunch of silly banter happening
05:11PM EDT - Xaviant's CEO hopped on stage
05:10PM EDT - The return of hardware audio is why AMD can make any of this happen, and why 2006-2013 was essentially at a stand-still for PC audio technology progression
05:09PM EDT - and AstoundSound
05:09PM EDT - Lichdom leverages Wwise
05:09PM EDT - So an interesting aside on sound: starting with Windows Vista, MS took out hardware audio acceleration to move the audio stack into software for stability and consistency purposes. With Win8 and Xbox One, hardware acceleration is back in the name of power savings and being able to use XB1's own audio DSPs
05:08PM EDT - "AMD gave us a whole bunch of free video cards"
05:08PM EDT - TressFX, Eyefinity, CrossFire and TrueAudio will all be supported
05:08PM EDT - "Lichdom will be at its best on AMD hardware"
05:07PM EDT - Based on Cryengine
05:07PM EDT - Lichdom is a first person, single player, magical combat RPG set in a fantasy world
05:07PM EDT - Josh Van Veld, Producer at Xaviant takes the stage
05:07PM EDT - Wild guess based on AMD's specs and features listed so far. 290 = New GPU. 280 = Tahiti. 270 = Pitcairn. 260 = Bonaire. 250 = Cape Verde or Oland
05:06PM EDT - Game takes full advantage of all of the new AMD technologies, including TrueAudio
05:06PM EDT - Xaviant - Lichdom demo now
05:05PM EDT - Talking about the parallels between programmable audio and programmable shading
05:05PM EDT - Raja is back on stage
05:02PM EDT - Thief trailer playing now
05:01PM EDT - TrueAudio enables more reverbs, better quality reverbs
05:00PM EDT - Enables realistic audio representation of interiors and exteriors
05:00PM EDT - "We're going to use convolution reverb"
05:00PM EDT - "Want to re-imagine the whole franchise, give the player freedom of choice, movement"
04:59PM EDT - "We're working on a new Thief"
04:59PM EDT - Yves Breton, Lead Sound Designer from Eidos
04:59PM EDT - Basically Convolution Reverb makes things sound more realistic, but it's an expensive process to run on CPUs, AMD's TrueAudio offloads it onto AMD's audio DSP hardware
04:58PM EDT - Two runtime FFTs, lots of IR samples to move in memory - latency and cache limits
04:58PM EDT - Convolution Reverb can eat up to 15% of CPU core for 5 seconds
04:57PM EDT - Recordings of actual acoustical spaces
04:57PM EDT - Convolution Reverb is a special algorithm that uses an impulse response to measure the actual reverb in a room
04:56PM EDT - TrueAudio is transparent for game devs, reduces CPU load
04:55PM EDT - Wwise, sorry not wise
04:55PM EDT - Today the wise pipeline is executed on CPU in most of the 14 platforms they support
04:55PM EDT - Game devs use wise to handle all of the audio playback in their games
04:55PM EDT - wise is a sound engine made by audiokinetic
04:54PM EDT - Simon Ashby
04:54PM EDT - VP & co-founder of audiokinetic is next up, audio authoring tool and sound engine
04:53PM EDT - Raja is back on stage
04:52PM EDT - Game devs drag/drop plugin into the audio engine, turn the plugin on, and that's all
04:52PM EDT - Feeds 3D positional data for each sound in the game in real time
04:52PM EDT - AstoundSound available as plugins for leading sound engines (audiokinetic wise, firelight technologies fmod)
04:51PM EDT - Reaction time is faster to an auditory cue than a visual cue
04:51PM EDT - Improves situational awareness
04:50PM EDT - Immersion can happen on both headphones or speakers
04:50PM EDT - Sound sources pan in real time, above/below your head, around your head, etc...
04:50PM EDT - Enables in-game sound emitters to be heard from their correct x,y,z spatial positions
04:50PM EDT - AstoundSound benefits: True 3D in real time
04:49PM EDT - Multiple algorithms - mono in/stereo out, stereo in/stereo out, mult-channel in/stereo out, multi-channel in/multi-channel out
04:47PM EDT - research even
04:47PM EDT - Brain Response Transfer Functions (BRTF), modeled on brain and audio perception reserach
04:46PM EDT - AstoundSound is the audio processing layer/algorithm, running on AMD's TrueAudio hardware
04:45PM EDT - Talking about AstoundSound in particular now
04:44PM EDT - "We now have powerful dedicated audio processing technology"
04:43PM EDT - "Audio significance is re-born thanks to TrueAudio"
04:43PM EDT - Processor utilization for advanced audio for games has been a challenge
04:43PM EDT - The 2-channel demo was pretty good, definitely had a very surround-sound feel but only using two (admittedly very large) speakers
04:40PM EDT - Brb moving back to the center of the room to hear these 2 channel audio demos
04:39PM EDT - This demo is important for headphone users obviously
04:39PM EDT - Next set of demos is designed to showcase surround sound, elevation and depth using only two speakers
04:38PM EDT - Definitely could tell differences in elevation
04:38PM EDT - That was a pretty cool demo - 24 channel audio mapped down to 7.1
04:33PM EDT - Brb standing up
04:33PM EDT - He's recommending we stand more towards the middle of the room
04:33PM EDT - "might hear thunder on the ceiling - but there's no speakers on the ceiling"
04:32PM EDT - The room we're in has a 7.1 audio setup
04:32PM EDT - "AstoundSound"
04:32PM EDT - Running some 7.1 audio mixes that include their technology, demonstrating elevation and depth perception effects
04:32PM EDT - GenAudio is a 3D spatial audio company, targeting the gaming industry
04:31PM EDT - Jerry Mahabub, Founder & CEO of GenAudio is taking the stage
04:30PM EDT - Available on R9 290X, R9 290 and R7 260X
04:30PM EDT - Sounds like a DSP engine
04:30PM EDT - There's a lot more detail/demos coming shortly
04:30PM EDT - Headsets with virtual surround sound technology that exist today, don't have access to position data so they are not as accurate
04:29PM EDT - Position data is extracted directly from the game
04:29PM EDT - Gamers who use stereo headsets over USB or audio jacks will enjoy virtual surround sound accelerated by AMD TrueAudio
04:29PM EDT - Enables directional audio over any output
04:29PM EDT - TrueAudio enables you to hear 100s more voices and more channels in real time than what's possible with just CPUs today
04:28PM EDT - "AMD TrueAudio will provide the same artistic freedom to audio artists at game companies"
04:28PM EDT - This whole thing is flowing in a very Apple-like manner, Raja has clearly had an influence here
04:27PM EDT - "Programmable shaders revolutionized graphics" my guess is programmable audio revolutionizes audio?
04:27PM EDT - "I'm incredibly excited about this technology"
04:27PM EDT - R9 series brings a fully programmable audio engine, called TrueAudio
04:26PM EDT - AMD TrueAudio Technology - Fully Programmable Audio Engine
04:26PM EDT - Panasonic Viera 4K TV supports this new standard, available for order now
04:26PM EDT - Already some displays in the pipeline that support this new VESA standard
04:26PM EDT - When displays that support this standard come out, they just work out of the box - no new software required
04:26PM EDT - AMD has proposed a new VESA standard to implement inside 4K displays, and this standard got accepted by VESA
04:25PM EDT - How to make 4K display setup earier: Enable drivers to automatically configure known 4K displays and those that are coming down the pipeline
04:24PM EDT - "This is finally happening"
04:24PM EDT - "Not sure you'll ever find a higher density of pixel lovers per sq ft than in this room here"
04:23PM EDT - Second key pillar: 4K resolution support
04:23PM EDT - Not quite Titan sized, but perhaps more gaming vs. compute focused
04:22PM EDT - More than 6 billion transistors
04:22PM EDT - "Doubled our geometry performance"
04:21PM EDT - More than 4 billion triangles per second
04:21PM EDT - "You can have over 100 layers of effects, at 4K resolution with this memory bandwidth"
04:21PM EDT - "You need this memory bandwidth to be able to render rich content at high resolution"
04:21PM EDT - "About 20x more memory bandwidth than the first 256-bit memory interface GPU (Radeon 9700) we launched in 2002"
04:20PM EDT - Over 300GB/s of memory bandwidth
04:20PM EDT - In 2012, 4 TFLOPs
04:20PM EDT - In 2011, AMD was the first to cross the 3 TFLOP barrier with a single GPU
04:20PM EDT - A year later, AMD was first to cross the 2 TFLOP barrier with Radeon HD 5000 series
04:20PM EDT - Almost exactly to this week, AMD crossed the 1 TFLOP barrier five years ago with Radeon HD 4000 series
04:19PM EDT - "I believe this is the first enthusiast gaming GPU that crosses the 5 TFLOP barrier"
04:19PM EDT - Over 5 TFLOPS of compute
04:19PM EDT - Here come some perf metrics
04:19PM EDT - Capable of scaling from 1W devices to 1kW workstations
04:19PM EDT - Several energy efficiency improvements
04:18PM EDT - This is the first GPU family to support DX11.2
04:18PM EDT - DirectX 11.2 support, improved energy efficiency
04:18PM EDT - R9 is based on an enhanced GCN architecture
04:18PM EDT - Fundamental pillars for all of our 2014 products
04:18PM EDT - 3 fundamental technology pillars for the R9-290 series
04:17PM EDT - "I'll get to the details that you're all eagerly awaiting, fast"
04:17PM EDT - Raja just finished a long stint at Apple, where he helped bring a lot of really cool stuff to market, now he's back at AMD to help get things back in order
04:16PM EDT - The man himself, Raja Koduri is taking the stage
04:16PM EDT - Pretty cool way to introduce a new product lineup, AMD's PR/marketing folks are definitely stepping up their game - let's see how much more detail they let us live blog though
04:15PM EDT - limited quantities, available for pre-order starting October 3
04:15PM EDT - exclusive pre-order for R9-290X Battlefield 4 Edition
04:15PM EDT - special announcement
04:15PM EDT - 4GB of memory
04:14PM EDT - R9 290X, most powerful GPU AMD has ever built
04:14PM EDT - R9 280X - 3GB GDDR5, $299, > 6800 in Firestrike
04:14PM EDT - R9 270X, 2GB GDDR5, $199, > 5500 Firestrike
04:13PM EDT - R7 260X - 2GB GDDR5, $139, > 3700 in Firestrike
04:13PM EDT - R7 250- 1GB GDDR5, < $89, > 2000 in 3DMark Firestrike
04:13PM EDT - This sounds very similar to NVIDIA's GTX and GT stratification
04:12PM EDT - R7 for performance users, better perf/price
04:12PM EDT - R9 for enthusiast users
04:12PM EDT - Announcing the Radeon R9 & R7 Series
04:12PM EDT - "We're here to talk about a new era"
04:11PM EDT - "These GPUs have served us well for the last two years"
04:11PM EDT - Recapping the current product lineup
04:11PM EDT - "Audio is the next frontier in gaming immersion"
04:10PM EDT - Still recapping things like multi-display and 4K gaming
04:09PM EDT - $21B of revenue for PC gaming hardware by 2016
04:09PM EDT - PC gaming hardware market is "healthy and growing"
04:08PM EDT - "Every single next-gen console is built on AMD Radeon technology"
04:08PM EDT - And of course, Crytek
04:08PM EDT - Talking about how Irrational Games chose to work closely with AMD for the latest BioShock
04:07PM EDT - "people can't look at hair in other games"
04:07PM EDT - "the hair in Tomb Raider changed that game"
04:07PM EDT - "Trying to put reality on the screen"
04:06PM EDT - It's very good to see AMD so focused on game dev relations now
04:06PM EDT - Talking about the benefits it enables for cross-platform game development
04:06PM EDT - AMD is really playing up the fact that it owns both console and PC gaming environments
04:05PM EDT - "Content is key to the success of this strategy"
04:05PM EDT - Unified experience from console to PC client to cloud gaming
04:05PM EDT - Talking about AMD's Unified Gaming Strategy
04:04PM EDT - Today AMD is not only driving forward the visual experience for gaming, but also the audio experience for gaming
04:04PM EDT - "You need both sight and sound"
04:04PM EDT - Today's theme: sight and sound
04:04PM EDT - An audio component of the next gen GPUs?
04:03PM EDT - Video showing how both are important to the overall gaming experience
04:03PM EDT - "Sound without sight, sight without sound"
04:03PM EDT - Video playing right now
04:03PM EDT - Matt Skynner is about to take the stage
04:01PM EDT - "Content you're about to see is a preview, not a launch day"
04:01PM EDT - Welcome everyone here and on the live stream
03:59PM EDT - First on stage: John Taylor
03:59PM EDT - We're starting
03:57PM EDT - With any luck we'll be starting here in 3 minutes
03:53PM EDT - By popular request: Anand
03:43PM EDT - AMD says they'll start at 4pm ET sharp. Since this is a product announcement and the markets are open, they have to issue a press release and give investors time to see it (legal requirements)
03:33PM EDT - AMD is very interested in seeing how many people tune in for the live webcast. They've told us that they don't have any real idea on how many people to expect since they've never done this before. So far they're up to 13.5K
03:28PM EDT - Mike Mantor, AMD's Senior Fellow Architect, is also here. Although it's likely he won't be speaking until the afternoon NDA sessions
03:27PM EDT - As far as high level speakers go, AMD's Matt Skynner and Raja Koduri are both here
03:22PM EDT - In the interim, Newegg's video crew is rounding out our table. These are the guys that put together all of Newegg's video reviews, including their popular unboxing videos
03:19PM EDT - It may be as long as 30 to 45 minutes. AMD wants to have a working live Stream so that they can directly show off the materials they're presenting
03:18PM EDT - AMD's Chris Hook just took the stage, explaining the problem with YouTube and the delay
03:13PM EDT - AMD tells us the show will begin momentarily
03:13PM EDT - So is the great Scott Wasson
03:12PM EDT - David Kanter is at our table
03:08PM EDT - Expect to see AMD pushing ISV relations in the public sessions. A number of developers are here; we've already seen reps from DICE, and Chris Roberts of Star Citizen fame
03:06PM EDT - We have Ryan working the keys, and Anand on the photos
03:06PM EDT - Slight correction: the show starts at 3pm ET, not PT. So 5 minutes ago
03:03PM EDT - AMD seems to be having some problems with their live stream, so we likely won't start quite on time
03:00PM EDT - As some pre-show speculation, what we're expecting is a newer generation Graphics Core Next part. AMD has already revealed that it's roughly 425mm2 in previous interviews, which at this point in time would put it on the same 28nm process as Tahiti and the rest of Southern Islands
02:59PM EDT - As per AMD's previously announced plans for 2013, they're due to release a new high-end GPU, a replacement for Tahiti, by the end of the year. So this is what we're expecting
02:58PM EDT - AMD did offer a very brief preview yesterday atop Diamond Head Crater of some of the things we can expect: Eyefinity, Crossfire, and Linux drivers. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7366/amd-offers-a-taste-of-tomorrows-gpu-showcase
02:57PM EDT - So the details released this morning will likely be limited. To what extent we don't know
02:57PM EDT - Note that today's sessions are a mixed of public and private. AMD is holding a public briefing this morning, followed by the more traditional NDA sessions in the afternoon
02:55PM EDT - We're here at AMD's 2014 GPU product showcase, which is scheduled to start at 3pm ET (9am Hawaii time)