The next generation of PC graphics cards have at last been announced by AMD.
Two series have been confirmed – R9 and R7.
The R9 cards are AMD’s enthusiast offerings and will compete directly with Nvidia’s 700 series GPUs. The R7’s, meanwhile, are AMD’s value range. Five cards were announced in total – the R7 250, R7 260X, R9 270X, R9 280X and R9 290X.
Starting from the bottom, they are specced as follows:
R7 250 – 1GB GDDR5, $89 (entry-level)
R7 260X – 2GB, $139 (supports TrueAudio, HD 7790 rebrand)
R9 270X – 2GB, $199 (HD 7870 rebrand)
R9 280X – 3GB, $299 (equivalent to HD 7970 performance)
R9 290X – 4GB, unconfirmed $599 (new performance leader)
The headline here is that the 290X can deliver performance equivalent to Nvidia’s Titan GPU for around two thirds of the price. It’s the first ever GPU to offer five TeraFLOPs of computer performance, with the Titan offering around 4.5.
AMD also revealed a limited edition Battlefield 4 Edition 290X which is currently available to pre-order.
AMD is marketing its top-of-the-range cards as UltraHD friendly, although gamers should expect a big knock to performance if using a single card to power such a display. And speaking of single cards – AMD has ditched its CrossFire connector tech and will now let the PCIe lanes handle the cross-talk.
Two new tech advances were also revealed – Mantle and TrueAudio, the former of which offers devs a new way to program for GPUs that cuts out many of the hurdles (such as DirectX) that need to be cleared when making PC games and potentially offers the chance of a significant performance boost for studios willing to invest the time needed to make the most of it.
Battlefield 4 has been confirmed as a Mantle-enabled title while Square Enix’s Thief will be TrueAudio enabled.
“The AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series graphics cards are new GPUs for a new era in gaming,” AMD’s corporate VP and GM of its Graphics Business Unit Matt Skynner stated.
“This era is shaped by ultra-resolution gaming and an exciting new generation of highly-anticipated games like Battlefield 4. But it’s also an era shaped in a very powerful way by our own Unified Gaming Strategy; we’ve teamed up with the world’s top game developers to establish a comprehensive portfolio of games that you can maximize to their full potential only with AMD Radeon graphics.”