AMD launch new R9 and R7 graphics cards

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Johnmcl7
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AMD launch new R9 and R7 graphics cards

Postby Johnmcl7 » 10 Oct 2013, 00:44

AMD have announced their new graphics cards range with a new naming system:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7400/the- ... t-asus-xfx

Everything is new apart from the graphics cards themselves which are the same architecture and built on the same process which is a little disappointing given they've already rebadged the 7xxx series as the 8xxx OEM only cards.

The interesting/worrying part (depending on your point of view) is the announcement of a new AMD developed low level API named Mantle which is an alternative to Direct3D that allows developers better optimisation through more direct access to the hardware. As Direct3D is a standard which allows completely different architectures from Intel, AMD and Nvidia to all be compatible it loses out on efficiency so Mantle should allow reuse of software optimisation which will be used in the PS4/XboxOne consoles which of course both use AMD graphics cards. The rather nasty catch to this is that these optimisations will not work for Nvidia or Intel graphics cards.

On the other side, details of the SteamOS test PC's were released and in all the various configurations none of them use an AMD card which is no surprise given SteamOS is Linux based and AMD/ATI's GPUs have never had good Linux support while recently Nvidia announced they were going to be taking a more active role in Linux support.

Mantle seems a good idea as it means improvements from the consoles can come to AMD equipped PC's which after many dodgy console to PC ports is welcome but on the other hand it is a concern that it's going to make a bit of a mess in the market. At the moment according to the Steam survey Nvidia is quite a bit more popular than AMD for discrete graphics cards amongst Steam fans but if games start coming out noticeably better for AMD cards that could quickly change as people upgrading from one generation to the next won't mind switching brands for the most part. I remember back in the early DX9 days when ATi and Nvidia had taken different approaches to how they handled the new high level shaders leading to quite different performance in games leading to some games being 'Nvidia' games and others, fewer being ATi - I don't want to see that happening again particularly as I've been finding recently I rarely have issues getting PC games to work out of the box with no issues.

John
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