AMD’s New $200/£175 VR-Friendly Gaming Graphics

It’s not quite the full disclosure I’ve been hoping for, but AMD semi-announced its new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card at the Computex trade show, t’other day. Yep, it’s that new Polaris graphics tech we’ve mentioned previously and as predicted the new board isn’t a mega money irrelevance, like Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080. It’s affordable and, among other things, claims to deliver 3D rendering performance for virtually reality headsets that’s comparable to $500 GPUs. VR for the masses, in other words. Sounds promising, but also strangely familiar…

Was it really eight long years ago that AMD rolled out the Radeon HD 4870? Just how long have I been doing this? Let’s not go there. Instead, let’s dwell on the intriguing similarity between the sales pitch for AMD’s latest Radeon RX 480 graphics card and that Radeon HD 4870 board of 2008.

Back then, AMD made a big noise about concentrating on mainstream gaming performance with a maximum price of about $300 / £250. The argument was that the $500+ boards are all very well, but hardly anyone can afford them and so they aren’t actually relevant.

It made sense, but seemed slightly suspicious coming off a difficult period for AMD, which included the basically borked Radeon HD 2900 series and the damage limitation exercise that was the Radeon HD 3800 series. Point being that while the 4800 series was a good GPU and while AMD’s argument about relevance had merit, the suspicion was that it was a strategy borne more of convenience than conviction.

Sounds familiar: AMD employed a similarly democratic sales pitch for the Radeon HD 4870 of 2008…

And so it duly proved, when AMD returned directly to the $500+ segment with the Radeon HD 5800 series and has remained active therein ever since. Until now, that is.

In that context, I’m somewhat skeptical of the altruistic aspects of AMD’s sales pitch for the new Radeon RX 480, which revolve around delivering ‘VR for the masses’. Is that really what determined the spec of the new RX 480? Or is that a consequence of a need to adopt a more conservative strategy? Hold that thought, because I haven’t even told you what this thing looks like yet.

We don’t have all the specs but this is what we know: based on AMD’s new Polaris graphics technology, also known as GCN 4.0, the RX 480 rocks in at 36 of AMDs compute units (CU), each of which, if you really must know, has hitherto contained a CU Scheduler, a Branch & Message Unit, four SIMD Vector Units (each 16-lane wide), four 64KiB VGPR files, one scalar unit, a 4 KiB GPR file, a local data share of 64 KiB, four Texture Filter Units, 16 Texture Fetch Load/Store Units and a 16 KiB L1 Cache.

That’s not a hugely helpful specification in the sense that it’s largely gibberish and in so far as it makes any sense it’s currently not known how a fancy new Polaris compute unit compares to AMD’s previous compute units. But in previous GCN chips, the key metric beyond all that other stuff was that a compute unit contained 64 of those shader thingies that make pixels look pretty.

A Radeon HD 390X, for instance, has 44 compute units and thus 2816 shaders, a Fury X has 64 compute units and 4,096 shaders. Thus, the new RX 480 probably / possibly has 2,304 shaders.

Here’s a man on a stage holding a card

The other hard number we have is the modest and conventional 256-bit memory bus. In other words, there’s no exotic HBM stacked memory malarkey going on here. Overall, AMD is claiming the 480 is capable of in excess of 5 TFLOPs of raw computation. That puts it in roughly the same ballpark as a Radeon HD 390X, which lists at twice the price of a new RX 480.

As for the need for a conservative strategy I implied earlier, that relates to the fact that this new graphics chip is being built by GlobalFoundries, which used to be part of AMD but was spun off a few years ago in one of AMD’s regular corporate restructuring drives.

Anyway, the point is that AMD used to have Taiwanese client chip production outfit TSMC make all its performance graphics chips. So it’s easy to imagine that AMD might not have fancied diving in with GlobalFoundries and its fancy new 14nm FinFET chip production tech with a really huge GPU. Instead, a more modestly proportioned GPU might have been prudent.

And this is an exciting keynote slide

Whatever, the big unresolved questions involve that new Polaris or GCN 4.0 architecture. Going by AMD claims, you might think the new RX 480 packs some kind of VR-specific rendering feature along the lines of Nvidia’s Simultaneous Multi-Projection, as seen in the new GeForce GTX 1080.

Time will tell. For now, and admittedly I am choosing to take a somewhat optimistic slant on all this, the new RX 480 has the possible makings of the most exciting card in years. If it truly has the performance a Radeon HD 390X or a GeForce GTX 980 for $200 / £175, that will be bloody lovely and I’ll probably buy one myself.

AMD says the new card goes on sales June 29th and if you operate around that price point, at the very least I’d hold fire on any purchases until then.

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  1. trjp says:

    I’ve read nothing with any UK pricing, people are just using currency converters and guesswork!?

    £200 would not in the slightest way surprise me – that’s happened before…

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      I did not use a currency converter. If the card is genuinely selling for $199 in the US, I very much doubt £175 will be more than £10 away from the UK price.

      • trjp says:

        So guesswork then – it was one of the options ;0

        • Jeremy Laird says:

          No, not a guess. An estimate based on historical information!

          The $199 retail price is not guaranteed, either. So why fuss about the UK price? Neither is guaranteed, both are guidelines.

          • trjp says:

            My point was that we’ve been shafted MANY times in the UK – esp on PC Hardware – the GPU market seems to have gotten a bit less ‘race to the bottom’ or ‘cut-throat’ too, it’s never quite clear what a thing will cost.

            I recently watched a review for a mouse which was “under $40” in the US – I liked what I saw so looked-it-up here and it’s £55!!

            We’ll see what happens – my guess is it’ll cost a BIT more than we hope and work a BIT less well than we’d been led to believe but I’m prepared to consider wearing RED if they don’t fuck it up.

      • nogglebeak says:

        I’ve read in other articles where they have listed a UK price at 160GBP.

        • gaffa67 says:

          $200 + 20% tax = $240 / 1.4 = £171 so whats the problem

          • nogglebeak says:

            Not sure what you are asking me, or what problem you perceived I had… he was curious what it would be in GBP, I told him what I saw. The problem is with your reading if there is one at all.

          • Asurmen says:

            Er, I think they were just saying what’s the general problem with these comments, and not yours specifically. They were actually agreeing with you

  2. trjp says:

    Oh – and as for performance, AMD have only shown some cagey/vague benchmarks – I seriously doubt they’d actually offer 980 performance under £200 (a 980 is £350+) – 970 performance (£250+) would be all they’d need to do!?

    nVidia will have to respond IF the card pans-out as good as they claim, but the stuff I’ve seen thusfar seems a bit cherry-picked to say the least…

    • Xzi says:

      OTOH, Nvidia already undercut themselves in this regard too, given that the GTX 1070 performs slightly better than a GTX 980ti for $370. Very close to the same price point of a GTX 970, which has less than half the VRAM, let alone comparing performance.

      • brucethemoose says:

        That’s expected though.

        It’s been so dang long since the last die shrink (4 1/2 years), that people have forgotten new GPUs are SUPPOSED to drastically undercut old ones. Nvidia is actually pricing the 1070 and 1080 fairly high right now, considering how big the dies and memory buses are.

  3. Knurek says:

    It’s meant to have ‘VR perfomance’ of 980.
    Same way 1080 has 3 times the ‘VR performance’ of 980, while being only 1.5 times as fast for other uses.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      Yup. We’ll see. That said, the 5+ TFLOPs claim puts it in the same territory as a 390X for pure shader power.

      Maybe it won’t be as good as they are claiming. But wouldn’t it be great if it is?

      • Knurek says:

        Also, $200 is the suggested price for the 4 GB version, 8 GB one will be more expensive ($250?).

      • Nosada says:

        TFlops don’t give you the complete picture though. Many a times in the past the card with the higher TFlops turned out to be slower in games. Also, game performance/TFlop has continuously increased for both AMD and nVidia per generation.

        The leaks so far all seem to indicate that the RX480 will be somewhere between the 980 and 980Ti. I’m not talking about AMD slides or fanboy dreamslides, but these:
        link to

        • sfury says:

          True, comparing two different cards by TFlops means nothing for games.

          But comparing two cards of which one is a die-shrink of the same architecture – this will give you pretty good estimation how powerful it is. And there should be some small enhancements to the architecture, so I can easily see the 480 being at least on par with a 390, and maybe around 390X.

          • Nosada says:

            Errr, what same architecture are you talking about? The RX480 (GCN2.0) is the second new architecture since the R9 390 (GCN1.1) and Fury (GCN1.2) and is one of the biggest changes by AMD in a while. By that logic, Pascal could be considered a slight evolution of Maxwell and every Intel chip since Sandy Bridge is actually the same.

  4. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    At 5 tflops it sits at around 390-390X level of performance, at 200$ that’s really great value and I’m very much more excited for this card than any 1080 or 1070.
    I just want something to upgrade the performance of my PC that’s not had the price artificially inflated over the past 5 years… and this might just be it. Sure, it’s not the best card in the world, but the price / performance seems to be very much in line.

    • Jediben says:

      Saving up for twin 1080Tis. Red team can jog.

      • microsoftenator says:

        Good for you? AMD isn’t trying to compete in that price range (yet) because its volume of sales is tiny. Most per can’t or don’t want to pay $1400 for an entire PC, let alone the GPU(s).

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        PoulWrist says:

        I could buy that right now and write it off as a company expense. Doesn’t mean I want to support bad business practice and releasing old chips as if it’s the second coming.
        Monopolies should not be celebrated.

  5. Orillion says:

    I’m not sure I understand what makes this a “VR” GPU. They need a lot of speed, but anyone benefits from more speed; it just means turning High settings to Very High for the average desktop user. Is it somehow more resistant to framerate hitches? That’d certainly benefit VR-users more than everyone else, but I don’t understand how that would work. Or, for that matter, how that would not become a standard feature on every card.

    So I guess it’s just marketing speaking, or I’m lost on how VR actually factors into this card.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      Simple answer. We don’t really know, but as mentioned in text, it may have hardware features that target VR rendering. Or it may not!

      • Nosada says:

        IIRC, both Polaris and Pascal were built from the bottom up with VR (read: 3D) in mind. In other words, both AMD and nVidia have made special provisions on a hardware level to render the same scene from two slightly differing viewpoints without needing twice the processing power.

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        PoulWrist says:

        Probably just that the performance target for VR is around the Geforce 970 level, and that’s what this card is expected to sit at. Presto!

    • PseudoKnight says:

      There’s a couple reasons. First, this will be the cheapest card that AT LEAST meets the minimum specs required for VR at a consistent frame rate. Second, both Nvidia and AMD have had time to tweak their technology for the particular challenges of VR, in specs, architecture and drivers. These are the first post-VR cards, so they want them to shine for that use. It would be a mistake not to emphasize their new VR performance.

      For most of us that don’t use VR, it’s mostly business as usual. It’ll be faster. If we’re lucky there’s technology overlap with other uses like multi-monitor setups.

    • Ragnar says:

      I’m sure it has features and optimizations specifically for VR performance. Much like the Nvidia 1080 is twice as fast as the 980 in VR while only ~30-50% faster in non-VR gaming.

  6. Cinek says:

    1070 is supposedly 6.46 TFLOPS… hm… Radeon is cheaper per TFLOP, but it all depends on the actual performance in VR… we’ll see, looking forward to see some benchmarks.

  7. TimRobbins says:

    There hasn’t been a budget card that felt like a real upgrade in a long time, I’m looking forward to this. If the performance is as they say, it will be a fine opportunity to upgrade to 1440p as well. I’ll be happy to finally support Freesync as well.

    • laiwm says:

      Can confirm that 1440p + freesync is a great combo :D If you’re in the market for a reasonably-priced screen I’m very happy with my BenQ XL2730Z.

  8. Det. Bullock says:

    Don’t care about VR.
    I care if it’s finally a big improvement (not just an improvement a BIG one) over my HD 7770 without having to spend 300 Euros as low tier cards by AMD and Nvidia seem to be only slightly better for now.
    I’ll have to wait until someone who isn’t AMD gets their hands on one of those and does a good benchmark.

  9. caseworks says:

    And buy the time VR second generation comes around we’ll all have “VR ready” cards.

    • BluetoothThePirate says:

      But we won’t because the new headsets will have higher native resolutions, so we’ll need more powerful hardware to hit 2*(90 FPS). I guess at some point we’ll hit saturation and the panels will be delivering enough pixels that it’s impossible to see them anymore with MK-I human eyes.

  10. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    I’m out of the card-buying market for a while, but I just wanted to say that that S-video port in the second picture warms my heart. The picture quality it provided me back in the day was terrible, but at the same time, it was totally awesome to see computery stuff on the TV. I even played a self-made level in UT99, recorded it on VHS, and played it back for my high school English class to illustrate the “bigger on the inside” stuff that’s apparently present in House of Leaves. (Unless I didn’t hear someone mention Doctor Who before we all started discussing that topic.)

  11. laiwm says:

    How does this stack up against an R9 290? I’ve been waiting for a good time to sell mine and get something smaller & cooler, hoping this is it.

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      PoulWrist says:

      Guesstimated performance is somewhere between a 390 and 390X, so slightly more than your 290 at about half the powerdraw. Also the PCB is much smaller.

  12. Jediben says:

    Geforce 980 performance for 175 quid would wipe out Nvisit completell – crossfire for 350 would give the same performance as a 1080 for £200 less. I think It will be lucky to match a 960.

  13. Hobbes says:

    I would take AMD’s graphs with considerable quantities of salt.

    From what’s been made clear, Polaris isn’t a direct competitor to Pascal, that’s going to be Vega (hence the lack of HBM2), Polaris is AMD’s ramp up phase where they put cheap cards out that can perform at around the 960/970 mark for ridiculously cheap monies.

    There’s a problem with this, and that’s the 1070. The 1070 basically offers 980 and closing on 980Ti levels of performance for what WAS the 970 price point once the OEMs get their hands on it (ignore the founders edition tax unless you REALLY want the funky cooler). It ain’t QUITE a 980Ti (thank god, otherwise my 980Ti would be devalued through the floor right away) but it’s still more than good enough to become the defacto card for anyone who wants to max out their 1080p rig at ultra and not drop frames.

    For “proper” gaming performance, you’re still going to want to go with Nvidia, and almost certainly either get a second hand 980Ti from ebay if it’s in warranty or a new 1070, those are now your sweet spot cards for 1080p. The 1080 occupies a wierd spot because it’s ALMOST capable of maxing out 1440p but not quite, the chances are that’ll be done by the 1080Ti.

    Where Polaris will clean up however is in the cheap seats. Want to build a good budget gaming rig for about £500? You’ll be able to throw in one of these new cards, an APU setup with 16GB of ram on top and get the best out of the APU linking up with the Polaris card, get a decent HDD and a nice case and PSU and you’re laughing. This basically makes “good” 1080p gaming attainable at an entry point where pretty much your grandma can now enter. That’s a big deal.

  14. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I expect on top of the reasons mentioned the good chips they’re making are getting binned for consoles and they are avoiding direct comparison with Pascal because they know they’ll come off slightly worse. This way, they’ll nail the bang for buck market and secure the steady console market revenue. I do think the £250 price point is the real sweet spot and not hitting that point risks handing most of the market to the 1070.

    Unfortunately for me, I haven’t upgraded in 5 years and as a result I really am looking to spend big bux on a GPU so they’ve kinda forced my hand, personally. I usually have a vauge AMD preference.

    • tnactim says:

      You typed the words right out of my fingers, in both paragraphs.

      I got a refurb MSi laptop yesteryear to keep me going. My last desktop upgrade was a 2nd HD5770 a few years ago, and the mobo is AM3, not even a plus. I too tend to lean red, but I’m ready to rain dosh in this Cooler Master case, and might go green to satiate my thirst for frames. However, I might be convinced that slow-roll crossfire should be the play again once I see some real benchmarks.

      • lanelor says:

        Had a 7950+R9 280 for about two years and crossfire means to wait a week or two for some support and about a month(hopefully) for proper CF /if at all/. Next time I am paing for one GPU.

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      PoulWrist says:

      I’m on a GPU+CPU/Mobo combo that’s 4 years old now. I don’t really need to upgrade, even when gaming at 1440p. The only title I’ve put on the backburner to play when I can max it out is The Witcher 3… The rest my 680 has been able to handle just fine. So if I were you, unless there’s some major problems with your system, I’d hold off till at least the end of summer.

  15. Zetetic says:

    So it’s easy to imagine that AMD might not have fancied diving in with GlobalFoundries and its fancy new 14nm FinFET chip production tech with a really huge GPU. Instead, a more modestly proportioned GPU might have been prudent.

    If they were at all concerned about the reliability of 14nm production, why would they set out to test it with a relatively high-volume (low-price) card rather than a low-volume one?

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      Simply because they don’t tend to kick off a new process with a massive and difficult to manufacture chip. You may end up with really terrible yields to the point where you have no product at all.

      A more modest chip can tolerate a higher fault level and still have some usable chips.

    • syllopsium says:

      This. Historically AMD have created a slightly tweaked version of a current generation card, but on the new process, towards the end of that generation so they can prove it in advance of a new high end launch.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      At the same error rate, smaller chip sizes improve yields. So it’s not at all illogical. An alternative is to disable parts of chips that fail and sell them as lower end cards. AMD has done this in the past with CPUs, but there’s probably other considerations. Whatever the reasons, this could be an important move for them. Nvidia won’t have competing mid-range cards for a while. Hopefully they’ll gain back some of that market share.

  16. ScubaMonster says:

    They can make all the noise they want, but I’m waiting for real world benchmarks before I get excited about this thing.

  17. Replikant says:

    Methinks Nvidia forced their hands with the 1080/1070 launch. Now AMD had to rush out some kind of Polaris announcement in order to make us dice-shrink starved buyers think twice before pre-ordering as many GTXs as we could fit in our PC cases. Before Computex we had only vague rumors about Polaris, now we have a launch date.
    Not many benchmarks, not too much details, no nothing on this announcement, I just assume they’ll have a somewhat more rounded presentation ready come end of June.

    Apart from that: I am running a GTX460 so I’ll buy a Polaris card and be convinced that this is the fastest card EVER. I’ll be able to play with max(!!!) settings without any stuttering. It’s going to be great.

    Anyway, I would want to support AMD no matter what, we desperately need competition. Nvidias pricing ideas are unacceptable.

    As as last comment: Of course AMDs performance claims are as high as they believe they can get away with…but so are Nvidias. These events are live-stream commercials, not fair and balanced reviews.

    • Asurmen says:

      The Computex announcement was known about before the 1070/1080 were even named. It’s pretty standard for a computer hardware company to announce something at a computer hardware expo, is it not?

      • Replikant says:

        It is. But before Computex it was never entirely clear what they were going to show. It was assumed to be Zen news.

        • Asurmen says:

          Everything I read said there was absolutely going to be GPU announcement.

  18. trjp says:

    Another thought – who gives a damn about VR performance in a cheap card anyway?

    Anyone with enough money to buy a Vive/Rift is not really going to be too upset about spending another £100/$150 on a GPU are they?

    What the market lacks is a decent “High/Ultra” 1080p card which doesn’t cost more than the motherboard/cpu/memory/SSD it’s going in with. The 960 level cards aren’t really good enough – the 970 costs way too much – WAY too much price creep in the last decade, we need better cards for less money just for normal gaming – fuck VR

    • Asurmen says:

      Well, because both combined make it too expensive, where as make one of the two required components cheaper makes it more affordable? Was it a rhetorical question?

      • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

        I see your ‘well’ and I raise you a ‘but’:

        VR on its own it’s still way too expensive other than for hardcore enthusiasts.

        On one side of the coin you have more casual gamers: What are we currently purchasing VR for? Job simulator? I’m not paying £700 to play a wii game. Not now, or ever. Also, buying now and waiting for the software to catch up is equally silly, because by the time devs come up enough entertaining ideas to saturate the market, the hardware will be a lot cheaper.

        On the other side you get the enthusiasts: I’ve already spent 200 quid for a set of pedals, 500 quid for my ffb chair, and a zillion dollars on getting thrustmaster to make me my own personalised wheel with triptronic gear paddles and integrated popcorn machine, what’s another grand on a GPU with goggles to match?

        I don’t think that the world is ready for mass market VR. I earn £25/h, which equates before my overheads to about 50 grand, and I still don’t feel I can justify spending upwards of a thousand quid for what will essentially be a toy, which would involve rearranging my office/living room for 15 minutes every time I wanted to get it out and play.

        On a related note, I really think the best application for VR right now would be arcades. I would 100% drop a tenner on half an hour of some cool VR game that I could play with my buddies. I believe the technology has the potential to revitalise that part of the industry, while exposing people to the technology without them having to sell their kidneys to do it. We could all then go home at the end of it and not have the coffee table and sofa wedged up against the wall.

        • Asurmen says:

          The simple point being, there will be people for whom the previous price point was too high. There will now be people for whom the price point is acceptable. You’ve used the words hardcore and casual as if they’re relevant but they’re not. As long as it’s affordable and there’s something they want from it, they’ll buy it.

          • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

            But it’s not affordable. Affordable means that lots of people can afford it. Some people can afford to buy a Tesla Model S, but that doesn’t suddenly make it an affordable car.

          • Asurmen says:

            I’m going to go back to my original point, and say this now makes it affordable for some where it wasn’t before. Going to keep saying that, because this is the point of the card. Last but not least, Rift and Oculus are not the only VR provider.

  19. syllopsium says:

    Looks like three displayport and an HDMI port. Again. FFS, just stick on one DVI and be done with it.

    Still, let’s wait for the benchmarks on the Rift/Vive and see how it does. I see another review says the GTX1080 is not quite 4K capable, but that it handles Project CARS in VR well.

    • Ragnar says:

      As a current user of three DisplayPort monitors, I’m glad they’re going with the new standard. DisplayPort to DVI is a cheap, simple cable.

      DVI was great, and it had a good run, but after 17 years it’s time to move on.

      • Asurmen says:

        This might confirm I’ve boxed myself into an expensive upgrade corner with an overclockable monitor that only does DVI. I have no idea whether it will still work using adapters and DP.

        • gunny1993 says:

          Just wait for the aibs to come out, buying the reference card is ALWAYS a stupid idea

          • Asurmen says:

            What I’d probably do is wait for Vega, and possibly a 1440p HDR Freesync monitor when they turn up. My current 1440p and 290X can just be sold.

  20. Monggerel says:

    Wait what people are taking VR seriously?!
    M’dudes it’s just all sham and no wow! Y’all being suckered into a big ‘ol scam! Hoh! How silly.

    Fortunately, I buried all my precious metals in a secret spot and the way inflation keeps going, in another 50 years I will be the richest man in the poorest country! And then you will all look up to me! And realise that VR! Was! Not the real deal!

    • SingularityParadigm says:

      …says the person who has never experienced Presence in VR.

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      Harlander says:

      Man, has Raccoon or Squirrel or whoever it was doing the weird anti-VR performance art changed their name?

    • Cinek says:

      You on drags?

  21. fish99 says:

    I’m kinda tied into nvidia since I’m a 3D Vision user, so my main interest in the RX 480 and above is hoping it keeps nvidia honest with their pricing of the 1070, which I’m probably gonna replace my 970 with this summer. Ideally I’d like to see them hit £300 with a game, which won’t happen at launch, but maybe a month or two later.

    Might just hang onto my 970 though.

  22. ddaymace says:

    “mega-money irrelevance”? Heh, what does that even mean? $600 isn’t cheap, but calling it ‘mega-money’ is a bit much. Actually, everything’s gotten cheaper and lasts longer.

    • Ragnar says:

      Exactly. So at a time when you can build a 1080p gaming PC for $600, who’s going to spend that much just on a video card?

      In 16 years of building PCs I’ve never spent that much on a GPU, and I run a triple-screen setup.

      Some people do, certainly, but most go for the more affordable option, like the 970 and 1070.

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      PoulWrist says:

      Except everything has not gotten cheaper. nVidia have increased the price of their top-tier cards by 10% every release the past 5 years. Intel’s CPUs are also steadily getting more expensive.

  23. waltC says:

    Essentially, Polaris 10 will provide R9 390/x performance at R9 380/x prices…according to AMD.

    I know that I have been more than pleased with my R9 380 4GB purchased for ~$240–P10 is listing for $199 with 4GB’s onboard…so if I can buy a P10 for $230 w/ 8GB’s GDDR5 onboard that runs like an R9 390/x presently–count me in! For many years $300 was “the sweet spot”–I think AMD will be bringing the sweet-spot price down to ~$200 or so for 2016.

  24. celticdr says:

    Personally I would rather pay a little bit more for something a little bit faster – AMD and Nvidia seem to be on both ends of the extreme here – one is too cheap and the other too pricey – give us a decent mid-range card green or red team!

  25. Spacewalk says:

    “Radeon” is a funny way to spell “The Internet” innit.

  26. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    Now I just have to wait for a $200 VR-friendly VR headset…

    I don’t mind paying more for a GPU that I intend to use for hours every single day. Headsets though… that market REALLY needs some kind of budget option.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Yazu13 says:

    The big story here is definitely AMD getting competitive again. Not necessarily at the high-end side of things, but they sure as hell threw down the gauntlet when it comes to the mainstream price-range market. I myself like to hang out around the more enthusiast-level spec range myself, so I’m looking at that GTX 1080, but I would love to see this card sell like hot cakes and make Nvidia sweat a little. When companies compete, the consumer wins.

  28. xrror says:

    If the speculation that this is roughly equal to a 290 non-X is true, while that’s… the 290 was/is a fine card it doesn’t really feel like a very high bar to set.

    Then kind reader – I finally “got” it. It’s not about me, the old PC gamer, scrabbling amongst the video widgets, attempting to suss out some gleam of performance bargain. No it’s about trying to get the base level of video perf on PC gaming to be at 290 level. I can’t really complain about that.

    In the old days, the price/new process node that RX480 is built on would get me exciting about potential overclocking mayhem, but the reality is who knows – all of the power/heat dynamic clock jiggery of modern cards makes it a complete unknown.

  29. Holysheep says:

    Well, I def remember the 4870 as cheap and excellent…

    The thing to remember, for every AMD and every Nvidia card ever, is that both Nvidia and AMD are shit, you gotta see what defaults they have and chose the side with drawbacks that bother you the least.

    – Nvidia hardware … just dies a lot. Unless you’re going for slightly better, EVGA stuff and the likes, you’re going to get an expensive card that may just not live long. I’ve had an history of nvidia cards dying out of nowhere (proper temps, more than enough watts, etc), thankfully before the warranty ended, while none of my AMD cards ever died. It included GPU related problems, but also specific problems on a component that was the GPU and would get me BSODs on specific games using specific technologies while the others run fine. And my last nvidia card, a GTX780, SIMPLY SHORT CIRCUITED somehow.

    – Nvidia hardware is expensive as fuck. Like, always costs more than the AMD equivalent.

    – Nvidia have this tendency to lie, just like they did for the 970’s Vram… and this habit to force proprietary techs on games.

    – AMD hardware is generally solid in my books… But the drivers are absolute trash. When I went back to AMD lately, first Crimson install kept fucking up. The newest update I got after total warhammer was released has me having tearing on my screens from time to time when I scroll on browsers. The drivers are always late on game releases, and you gotta wait for an update to have it decent…

    – AMD has slightly less performances overall in my books, when you compare it to nvidia equivalent models.

    – In case you have a Linux installed along with your Windows gaming OS, or, gods may protect you, if you’re trying to go the nonworking play on linux alternative (remember to yell “WINE EEZ NT AN EMULTOR” at least 10 times a day – I mean, I love linux and I hope decent gaming is possible on linux in the future, but it’s just not a thing right now) …. Well, you can’t go for AMD because they Linux drivers are ABSOLUTE TRASH too.

    • BrickedKeyboard says:

      Yup. I’d also rather go with Nvidia – for the drivers and the better performance.

      Problem is, I keep thinking how $200 is basically nothing. I mean, it’s not nothing, but it’s almost half the cost of what a 1070 costs, which before their announcement was the “minimum” GPU worth buying. (due to the die shrink and immense performance boost over anything else that costs $370)

      Literally I could buy this card, and sell it back to ebay next year for $100, only being out $100 at most, and get next year’s die shrunk nvidia card. GPUs aren’t an investment, you shouldn’t purchase a more expensive one than you need.

      • phelix says:

        $200 is still a lot of money, no matter what you put it against. Making it look cheap compared to the 1080 is an old marketing trick. I’m pretty sure this is also the business reason NVidia’s Titanlikes (or indeed, the Fury) exist: It makes the prices of the lower models easier to swallow. Any card looks cheap compared to those tiers.

    • Asurmen says:

      I’ve never had a problem with AMD drivers, but in terms of release schedules at or around game releases, that’s massively improved this year.

    • sfury says:

      AMD driver situation has greatly improved in the last 6-7 months though, since they’ve release the Crimson there’s been a steady flow, even too much driver updates (there was a month with 3 or 4 versions and not because they fucked up, just because of new games released to be supported better).

      I can’t speak for the Linux front, but they’re making the noise they’re trying to support it better too, someone who uses it will have to say though.

    • phelix says:

      – AMD has slightly less performances overall in my books, when you compare it to nvidia equivalent models.

      There is one additional advantage that Nvidia cards have in this technical aspect: Much, much lower power consumption. This may not seem like a big deal, but I disagree. It means they generate less heat. It allows you to save money on power bills and PSU cost (and put less strain on your PSU in the long term). It’s even better for the environment!

  30. Ufofighter says:

    Eagerly waiting for a good card in the 200-240€ price range to change my (two times baked in the oven) hd 7850. Both 380 and gtx 960 where very disappointing in my opinion.

  31. Little_Crow says:

    Anyone in a the market for VR/4K is in a good place right now with all the releases of new cards.

    I really can’t get my head around this Radeon release though, and until the card is in the hands of some review sites and some benchmarks are out there I don’t I’ll be able to.

    If it’s comparable to the GTX 980, but with the performance bonus in VR of the ability to render a scene from 2 viewpoints in a single sweep rather than separately I can see it doing pretty well at that price point.

    But I can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t really a release for PC gamers, it’s a nudge to console makers that they can do VR cheaply enough now and to get a VR special edition of their consoles going.
    Not that this is a bad thing at all, having more potential players of VR can only be a good thing – I’m not on the VR bandwagon at all, but it’d be nice to know it’s doing well if I do decide to get on board.