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Sometimes in the graphics card business we get so caught up in benchmarks, APIs, drivers and the like, we sometimes miss the chance to appreciate cool hardware.  Yes, the “speeds and feeds” are important and we all pay attention to that, but sometimes the pure, unadulterated joy of appreciating something different and innovative in design can’t be understated. [And yes, I know that “pure” and “unadulterated” mean the same thing – I used both for emphasis.]

 

 

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Today we want to share some cool hardware with you – introducing the AMD Radeon™ R9 Nano Graphics Card: the world's fastest Mini ITX gaming card.1 We first revealed this card back in June during our livestream announcing the AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury and 300 Series graphics cards, but outside of showing the card we didn’t reveal too much.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Simply put, this card is a marvel of engineering.  Made possible and powered by a “full” Fiji chip – meaning a full 4096 stream processors and 4096-bit memory interface with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), this card brings never-before-seen performance to a graphics card form factor only 6” in length!  At up to 30% faster than the competition’s best Mini ITX graphics card2, if you’re interested in building a Mini ITX PC, this card is truly in a class of its own.

 

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See footnote #3

But as I said at the beginning this is more than just performance – this is about appreciating the overall design.  Part of the AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury Series, our engineers spent a lot of time focusing on the things that are important for a card of this nature: power, thermals, and acoustics.  Let me be more specific, and to help put things in perspective, let’s compare the AMD Radeon™ R9 Nano graphics card against our previous generation fastest single GPU (and 11” in length) graphics card, the AMD Radeon™ R9 290X graphics:

  • At 175W typical board power it’s up to 30% lower power than the Radeon R9 290X card.4
  • At a 75ᴼC target operating temperature, it’s up to 20ᴼC cooler than the Radeon R9 290X card.5
  • At 42dBA, it’s up to 16dBA quieter than the Radeon R9 290X card.6

And of course, premium hardware needs a premium design.  The industrial design of the Radeon R9 Nano follows the same high-standard industrial design principles we used with the AMD Radeon™ R9 Fury X graphics card with a brushed aluminum finish, full metal shroud and matte black PCB. This is one of those unique graphics cards that you want to hold in your hand for a little while to admire before you put it in your PC.

 

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If you want to build a Mini ITX system the Radeon R9 Nano card can get you to unequalled 4K gaming (just take a look at the game chart earlier in the blog), the kind of ideal small PC to take to a LAN and play at high resolutions and framerates. If you are a MODer, the Radeon R9 Nano card lets you create something that is the ideal blend of small form factor and high performance.  And at the end of the day if you just love cool hardware, this is the card for you.

We have a lot more to talk about on the AMD Radeon™ R9 Nano graphics card – next up be sure to join us on September 3, 2015 at 2PM CT (3PM ET) on our Twitch channel where we’ll talk more about the card, play some games, and show some more cool hardware inspired by the Radeon R9 Nano!

 

Darren McPhee is the Director of Product Marketing and Content Strategy for AMD.  Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

  1. Testing conducted by AMD Engineering on optimized AMD reference systems. PC manufacturers may vary configurations yielding different results. 3DMark FireStrike at 3840x2180, Ultra preset, 0xMSAA, 0XAF is used to simulate GPU performance; the Radeon™ R9 Nano on the system using the Intel® Core™ i7-5960X 3.0GHz processor,  16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 2666 MHz memory, Windows 10 64-bit, and  AMD Catalyst Driver 15.201 scored 3411 while the Sapphire Radeon™ R9 380 Mini ITX on the same system and AMD Catalyst Driver 15.20 scored 1551, the GTX 970 Mini ITX on the same system and GeForce Driver 355.60 WHQL scored 2593,  the GTX 960 Mini ITX on the same system and GeForce Driver scored 1297 GRDT-73
  2. Testing conducted by AMD Engineering on optimized AMD reference systems. PC manufacturers may vary configurations yielding different results. Far Cry 4 at 3840x2180, Ultra High preset, SMAA, 0XAF is used to simulate GPU performance; the Radeon™ R9 Nano on the system using the Intel® Core™ i7-5960X 3.0GHz processor,  16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 2666 MHz memory, Windows 10 64-bit, and  AMD Catalyst Driver 15.201 scored 37.966 fps while the GTX 970 Mini ITX on the same system and GeForce Driver 355.60 WHQL scored 27.345 fps GRDT-70
  3. Testing conducted by AMD as of 17 August, 2015 in AMD Performance Labs on the AMD Radeon™ R9 Nano vs. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Mini ITX at 4K resolution. The games were tested using the following settings: Battlefield 4, 3840x2160, High, FXAA, 0XAF; Crysis 3, 3840x2160, High, 0XAA, 0XAF; Far Cry 4, 3840x2160, High, SMAA, 0XAF; GTA V, 3840x2160, High, 0XAA, 4XAF; Shadow of Mordor, 3840x2160, High, 0XAA, 0XAF; Witcher 3, 3840x2160, High, 0XAA, 0XAF; . System Configuration: test system comprised an Intel® Core™ i7-5960X 3.0GHz processor, 16GB (4x4GB) DDR4 2666 MHz memory, Windows 10 64-bit. AMD Catalyst Driver 15.201 and NVIDIA 355.60 WHQL Driver. GRDT-78
  4. Based on the product design, the Radeon™ R9 Nano is defined with a typical board power of 175W while the Radeon™ R9 290X is defined with a typical board power of 250W GRDT-76
  5. Based on the product design, the Radeon™ R9 Nano is defined with an operating temperature target of 75°C while the Radeon™ R9 290X is defined with an operating temperature target of 95°C GRDT-75
  6. Based on the product design, the Radeon™ R9 Nano is defined with a fan acoustic target of 42dBA while the Radeon™ R9 290X is defined with a fan acoustic target of 58dBA GRDT-77

If you’ve researched any displays or TVs recently, you’ve undoubtedly read about the benefits of 4K. And while 4K gaming is certainly growing in popularity, one in three PC Gamers on Steam still have 1080p as their primary resolution. Do you demand a smooth, true-to-life, premium 1080p online gaming experience? Whether you’re an avid eSports athlete or first person shooters are more your beat, you don’t need to break the bank. The AMD Radeon R7 370 graphics card is specifically engineered for 1080p and the ideal choice for gamer's, giving you all the features and technologies you want.

 

Some AMD Radeon™ R7 370 partner designs (clicking a link will take you to a 3rd party site):

 

XFX AMD Radeon™ R7 370 4gb Double Dissipation – Info here

 

Gigabyte GV-R737WF2OC-2GD AMD Radeon™ R7 370– Info here

 

MSI AMD Radeon™ R7 370 4GB – Info here

 

PowerColor AMD Radeon™ R7 370 4GB – Info here

 

Asus Strix R7 370 – Info here

 

HIS R7 370 IceQ X² OC– Info here

 

Sapphire NITRO AMD Radeon™ R7 370 – Info here

   

Visiontek AMD Radeon™ R7 370 – Info here

 

 

 

Online Gaming Supremacy

The AMD Radeon™ R7 370 presents a new class of GPU for online gaming with high-performance features and technology. The Radeon R7 370 GPU provides unparalleled 1080p GPU performance in its price range.

 

Thanks to advanced features like Virtual Super Resolution (VSR), gamer's can experience quality that rivals 1440p, even on a 1080p display. With the Frame Rate Target Control feature, you can fine-tune your graphics with real-time frame rate control by targeting a frame rate during game play, which can reduce GPU power consumption.

 

Other key features include:

 

  • 256-Bit Memory Bus: High-bandwidth bus interface delivers the performance needed at higher resolutions.
  • Up to 4GB GDDR5 Memory: Play the advanced texture-rich games, and keep pace with ever-increasing memory requirements and frame buffer demands with up to 4GB of fast GDDR5 high-performance memory.
  • AMD Eyefinity Technology: Expand your view and connect up to six displays simultaneously on a single GPU for panoramic gaming at its best.

 

Best-in-Class Gaming

What’s more, the Radeon R7 370 GPU offers class-leading performance in top game titles

 

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              Benchmarks run on Intel Core i7 5960X, Gigabyte X99-UD4, 16GB DDR4-2666MHz, 1920x1080, High Settings

 

Future API Support

With the recent launch and available free upgrade* of Windows® 10 from Microsoft®, many gamers are wondering what that release means for their hardware performance. The Radeon R7 370 GPU is ready for high-resolution gaming today as well as the DirectX® 12, OpenGL® 4.5 and Vulkan games of tomorrow.  Microsoft’s new technology enables great performance and dramatically improved GPU and CPU multiprocessing and multi-threading performance thanks to Asynchronous Shaders and Multi-threaded Command Buffer Recording for more efficient rendering of richer and more complex scenes.

 

You’ve heard it from us before – No guts, no glory. With the AMD RadeonR7 370 graphics card, you’ve got both. With advanced features and intense visual realism, you’ll be stepping up your game (pun intended) in no time.

 

Specifications:

Process

28nm

Stream Processors

1024

Compute Units

16

Engine Clock

Up to 975 MHz

Compute Performance

  1. 2.00 TFLOPS

Texture Units

64

Texture Fill-Rate

  1. 62.4 GT/s

ROPs

32

Pixel Fill-Rate

  1. 31.2 GP/s

Z/Stencil

128

Memory Configuration

2GB/4GB GDDR5

Memory Interface

256-bit

Memory Speed / Data Rate

Up to 1,400MHz / Up to 5.6Gbps

Memory Bandwidth

Up to 179.2 GB/s

Power Connectors

1 x 6-pin

Typical Board Power

110W

PCIe® Standard

PCIe® 3.0

4K Resolution Support

Yes

API Support

DirectX® 12, Vulkan™, OpenGL® 4.5, OpenCL™ 2.0, Mantle

Virtual Super Resolution (VSR)

Yes

Frame Rate Target Control (FRTC)

Yes

Power Technology

AMD PowerTune, AMD ZeroCore Power Technology

 

Learn more about AMD Radeon R7 300 Series products at http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/desktop/r7

 

Jay Marsden is PR Manager for AMD. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

 

* Free Upgrade Offer from Microsoft – Get a free upgrade to Windows® 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 devices that upgrade in its first year! And even better: once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge. Visit http://windows.microsoft.com/en-ca/windows-10/about for more information. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Microsoft, Windows, and DirectX® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions. OpenCL is a trademark of Apple, Inc. and used by permission of Khronos. PCI Express and PCIe are registered trademarks of PCI-SIG. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

jason.devos

Rocket Powered Processors

Posted by jason.devos Employee Aug 14, 2015
“SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! Calling any and all hot rods, monster cars, dune buggies and rocket-powered, jumping vehicles. Come on down and participate in the craziest soccer game of all time!”

 

These are the words I hear whenever I’m loading up a new match of “Rocket League. If you can imagine RC cars turbo boosting, jumping and flipping around a ring trying to bounce a giant soccer ball into a goal then you have a pretty good idea of what “Rocket League” entails. What is less intuitive are the sounds I make while playing. They tend to sound like, “ohmygoshlookoutfortheooohjumpjumpc’monc’monboostboostahhhhGOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALL!”

 

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The great thing about “Rocket League”, other than the awesome gameplay, is that it runs beautifully on AMD APUs such as desktop processors like the AMD A8-7670K or A10-7870K APU. An AMD APU is a single chip that combines a traditional processor with a dedicated graphics processor in a single convenient, powerful and affordable package. This means that with an affordably priced AMD based system you have all the processing and graphics performance you need to run Rocket League with smooth framerates and plenty of eye candy. Not to mention you’ll also have plenty of performance to handle any of those pesky ‘gaming-time-stealing’ everyday tasks like office productivity or photo management.

 

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting break that beautifully combines RC cars and sports into one thrilling game, check out “Rocket League”. If you’re looking for an affordable mainstream desktop or laptop that can handle popular online games and everyday tasks, look for one powered by an AMD APU. See you on the field.

 

Jason De Vos is the APU/CPU PR Manager for AMD. His/her postings are his/her own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

It may surprise you to learn…

 

DirectX® 12 is the very first version of the DirectX® API that has specific features, techniques tools to support multi-GPU (mGPU) gaming. If you are indeed surprised, follow us as we take a trip through the complicated world of mGPU in PC gaming and how DirectX® 12 turns some classic wisdom on its head.

 

MULTI-GPU TODAY

Modern multi-GPU gaming has been possible since DirectX® 9, and has certainly grown in popularity during the long-lived DirectX® 11 era. Even so, many PC games hit the market with no specific support for multi-GPU systems. These games might exhibit no performance benefits from extra GPUs or, perhaps, even lower performance. Oh no!

 

Our AMD Gaming Evolved program helps solve for these cases by partnering with major developers to add mGPU support to games and engines—with resounding success! For other applications not participating in the AMD Gaming Evolved program, AMD has talented software engineers that can still add AMD CrossFire™ support through a driver update.1

 

All of this flows from the fact that DirectX® 11 doesn’t explicitly support multiple GPUs. Certainly the API does not prevent multi-GPU configurations, but it contains few tools or features to enable it with gusto. As a result, most games have used a classic “workaround” known as Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR).

 

HOW AFR WORKS

Graphics cards essentially operate with a series of buffers, where the results of rendering work are contained until called upon for display on-screen. With AFR mGPU, each graphics card buffers completed frames into a queue, and the GPUs take turns placing an image on screen.

 

AFR is hugely popular for the framerate gains it provides, as more frames can be made available every second if new ones are always being readied up behind the one being seen by a user.

 

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But AFR is not without its costs, as all this buffering of frames into long queues can increase the time between mouse movement and that movement being reflected on screen. Most gamers call this “mouse lag.”

 

Secondly, DirectX® 11 AFR works best on multiple GPUs of approximately the same performance. DirectX® 11 frequently cannot provide tangible performance benefits on “asymmetric configurations”, or multi-GPU pairings where one GPU is much more powerful than the other. The slower device just can’t complete its frames in time to provide meaningful performance uplifts for a user.

 

Thirdly, the modest GPU multi-threading in DirectX® 11 makes it difficult to fully utilize multiple GPUs, as it’s tough to break up big graphics jobs into smaller pieces.

 

INTRODUCING EXPLICIT MULTI-ADAPTER

DirectX® 12 addresses these challenges by incorporating multi-GPU support directly into the DirectX® specification for the first time with a feature called “explicit multi-adapter.” Explicit multi-adapter empowers game developers with precise control over the workloads of their engine, and direct control over the resources offered by each GPU in a system. How can that be used in games? Let’s take a look at a few of the options.

 

SPLIT-FRAME RENDERING

New DirectX® 12 multi-GPU rendering modes like “split-frame rendering” (SFR) can break each frame of a game into multiple smaller tiles, and assign one tile to each GPU in the system. These tiles are rendered in parallel by the GPUs and combined into a completed scene for the user. Parallel use of GPUs reduces render latency to improve FPS and VR responsiveness.

 

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Some have described SFR as “two GPUs behaving like one much more powerful GPU.” That’s pretty exciting!

 

Trivia: The benefits of SFR have already been explored and documented with AMD’s Mantle in Firaxis Games’ Sid Meier’s Civilization®: Beyond Earth™.

 

ASYMMETRIC MULTI-GPU

DirectX® 12 offers native support for asymmetric multi-GPU, which we touched on in the “how AFR works” section. One example: a PC with an AMD APU and a high-performance discrete AMD Radeon™ GPU. This is not dissimilar from AMD Radeon™ Dual Graphics technology, but on an even more versatile scale!2

 

With asymmetric rendering in DirectX® 12, an engine can assign appropriately-sized workloads to each GPU in a system. Whereas an APU’s graphics chip might be idle in a DirectX® 11 game after the addition of a discrete GPU, that graphics silicon can now be used as a 3D co-processor responsible for smaller rendering tasks like physics or lighting. The larger GPU can handle the heavy lifting tasks like 3D geometry, and the entire scene can be composited for the user at higher overall performance.

 

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4+4=8?

In the world of DirectX® 9 and 11, gamers are accustomed to a dual-GPU system only offering one GPU’s worth of RAM. This, too, is a drawback of AFR, which requires that each GPU contain an identical copy of a game’s data set to ensure synchronization and prevent scene corruption.

 

But DirectX® 12 once again turns conventional wisdom on its head. It’s not an absolute requirement that AFR be used, therefore it’s not a requirement that each GPU maintain an identical copy of a game’s data. This opens the door to larger game workloads and data sets that are divisible across GPUs, allowing for multiple GPUs to combine their memory into a single larger pool. This could certainly improve the texture fidelity of future games!

 

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WRAP-UP

A little realism is important, and it’s worth pointing out that developers must choose to adopt these features for their next-generation PC games. Not every feature will be used simultaneously, or immediately in the lifetime of DirectX® 12. Certainly DirectX® 11 still has a long life ahead of it with developers that don’t need or want the supreme control of 12.

 

Even with these things in mind, I’m excited about the future of PC gaming because developers already have expressed interest in explicit multi-adapter’s benefits—that’s why the feature made it into the API! So with time, demand from gamers, and a little help from AMD, we can make high-end PC gaming more powerful and versatile than ever before.

 

And that, my friends, is worth celebrating!

 

Robert Hallock is the Head of Global Technical Marketing at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

 


FOOTNOTES

1. AMD CrossFire™ technology requires an AMD CrossFire-ready motherboard, a compatible AMD CrossFire™ bridge interconnect (for each additional graphics card) and may require a specialized power supply.

2. AMD Radeon™ Dual Graphics requires one of select AMD A-Series APUs plus one of select AMD Radeon™ discrete graphics cards and is available on Windows® 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 OSs. Linux OS supports manual switching which requires restart of X-Server to engage and/or disengage the discrete graphics processor for dual graphics capabilities. With AMD Radeon™ Dual Graphics, full enablement of all discrete graphics video and display features may not be supported on all systems and may depend on the master device to which the display is connected. Check with your component or system manufacturer for specific mode capabilities and supported technologies.