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Today Valve released the SteamVR Performance Test, one of the first available virtual reality tools to help consumers identify graphics cards ready to power premium virtual reality experiences on the HTC Vive headset.


This Performance Test is based on the Source 2 engine and features high quality VR content from the Aperture Science Robot Repair demo designed for the HTC Vive. Nonetheless, the test can be run on any PC and does not require a VR headset. It’s available for anyone to download and test their own system.


The test employs a technique called dynamic fidelity, which automatically adjusts image quality as required to avoid dropped frames that can break the sense of presence critical to VR experiences. The CPU and GPU hardware is then assigned one of three categories (‘VR Ready’, ‘VR Capable’, or ‘VR Not Ready’) based on the average fidelity level attained. ‘VR Ready’ is the highest achievable level of experience possible.


AMD is pleased to report that our Radeon R9 390, Nano, and Fury series GPUs are all able to achieve ‘VR Ready’ status. This performance is a great testament of the work AMD has done with Valve and other technology partners to deliver the best VR experience with our products through the AMD LiquidVR™ initiative.


In addition to the component ratings, the Performance Test provides frame-by-frame data regarding rendering time and fidelity level, along with an average fidelity rating and a dropped frame counter.  ‘VR Ready’ products must maintain an average fidelity of 6 (High) or better with no dropped frames.


Below is a small chart summarizing the results by GPUs with system configuration details, should you need a reference point in running the benchmark yourself.*


Last year at GDC we talked about multi GPU scaling in VR, where the application lets one GPU render for the left eye, and the other GPU for the right eye. Though the work implementing multi-GPU into this application is not finished, it’s already showing significant performance uplift over a single GPU on Radeon cards.


As you can see and verify for yourself, Radeon R9 products are perfectly positioned to deliver superior VR experiences for the HTC Vive headset– whether you choose the R9 390 or opt for a true enthusiast product like the R9 Fury, AMD Radeons are in a position to deliver a better VR experience than their direct competitors for this headset. We’re especially proud of the Radeon R9 Nano’s performance in this VR test that is unmatched at its mini-ITX form factor. There’s also a wider selection of Radeons currently available that are capable of attaining the ‘VR Ready’ status than the competition’s offerings.


We’re very excited about the upcoming HTC Vive and SteamVR experience. We are also thrilled to bring superior grade VR capability not only to millions of Radeon users who can rest assured that their GPUs are ready to drive the HTC Vive headset, but also to those thinking about buying one of the above-mentioned cards to power a premium VR-Ready experience.


Sasa Marinkovic is Head of Software and VR Marketing for AMD.

Today is an exciting day for PC gaming enthusiasts: the Khronos Group has announced immediate public release of the open standard Vulkan™ 1.0 graphics API! To mark the occasion, we’ve posted a Radeon Software beta for Vulkan. This graphics driver is primarily intended to enable a wider audience of game developers to work with Vulkan on Radeon™ graphics.


What is Vulkan?

From the consortium that brought you OpenGL, Vulkan is a new graphics API for developers who want or need deeper hardware control. Designed with “low-overhead” capabilities, Vulkan gives devs total control over the performance, efficiency, and capabilities of Radeon™ GPUs and multi-core CPUs.


Compared to OpenGL, Vulkan substantially reduces “API overhead,” which is background work a CPU must do to interpret what a game is asking of the hardware. Reducing this overhead gives hardware much more time to spend on delivering meaningful features, performance and image quality. Vulkan also exposes GPU hardware features not ordinarily accessible through OpenGL.


Vulkan inherits these capabilities from AMD’s Mantle graphics API. Mantle was the first of its kind: the first low-overhead PC graphics API, the first to grant unprecedented access to PC GPU resources, and the first to offer absolute control of those resources. Most importantly for gamers, Mantle got the industry thinking about how much additional GPU performance could be unlocked with a low-overhead graphics API.


Though the Mantle API was tailored for AMD hardware, Mantle was also designed with just enough hardware abstraction to accommodate almost any modern graphics architecture.  That architecture proved useful when we contributed the source code and API specification of Mantle to serve as the foundation of Vulkan in May of 2015.


Since that time, Vulkan has been forged under the stewardship of a comprehensive industry alliance that spans the hardware development, game development and content creation industries. Many new and significant capabilities have been added, such as support and performance optimizations for Android® smartphones and tablets, or cross-OS support for Windows® 7, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 10, and Linux®.


What our driver supports

AMD has been participating in Vulkan’s development since its inception and providing builds of our Vulkan-enabled driver to game developers for many months. As we transition into the public phase, our initial driver release enables Vulkan support for select Radeon™ GPUs on Windows® 7, Windows® 8.1, and Windows® 10. An upcoming release of the amdgpu Linux driver will also feature Vulkan support.


Please note that this initial Windows driver is not packaged with DirectX® driver components, so it is not a suitable replacement for your everyday graphics driver.


Our Vulkan driver supports the following AMD APUs and Radeon™ GPUs1 based on the Graphics Core Next architecture:


What are some of the Radeon™ graphics features Vulkan exposes?

Only Radeon™ GPUs built on the GCN Architecture currently have access to a powerful capability known as asynchronous compute, which allows the graphics card to process 3D geometry and compute workloads in parallel. As an example, this would be useful when a game needs to calculate complex lighting and render characters at the same time. As these tasks do not have to run serially on a Radeon™ GPU, this can save time and improve overall framerates. Game developers designing Vulkan applications can now leverage this unique hardware feature across all recent versions of Windows and Linux.



Another new feature that Radeon™ GPUs support with Vulkan is multi-threaded command buffers. Games with multi-threaded command buffers can dispatch chunks of work to the GPU from all available CPU cores. This can keep the GPU occupied with meaningful work more frequently, leading to improved framerates and image quality. Vulkan brings this performance advantage to recent versions of Windows and Linux.


Finally, Vulkan has formal support for API extensions. API extensions allow AMD to design new hardware capabilities into future Radeon™ GPUs, then immediately expose those capabilities with a software plugin that interfaces with Vulkan in a compliant way.


The road ahead

As we move deeper into 2016, stay tuned to the GPUOpen website, the AMD Developer portal, and our activities at Game Developer Conference 2016. We promise to bring you a whole lot more on the exciting power and potential of the Vulkan API on Radeon™ graphics!


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.



1. These products are based on a published Khronos specification but has not yet passed the Khronos Conformance Test Process. A fully conformant implementation of the Vulkan API will be included in a forthcoming Radeon Software release.

A little heat can be a good thing…When you’re talking about the weather, but not when it comes to your gaming system.


Giddy up, gamers! It just got easier and more affordable to build a high-performance system for online and eSports gaming that runs cool and near-silent. Today, AMD launched new thermal solutions, including the flagship AMD Wraith Cooler, as well as the new AMD A10-7860K and AMD Athlon™ X4 845 desktop processors.


New thermal solutions

AMD has heard your concerns about stock coolers, and we’re stepping up the game for select processors. Near silent? No problem. AMD now offers two new thermal solutions that make one-tenth the noise of past coolers, running at a near silent 39 decibels.i,ii


The AMD Wraith Cooler combines near silent performance with a sleek, illuminated style for those who believe that your PC should not only run smoothly and silently, but look good doing it. Don’t believe me? Check out our acoustic demo to see (and hear) for yourself. Wraith is shipping now with the AMD FX™ 8370 CPU.


In addition to the Wraith Cooler, AMD is introducing the new Near-Silent AMD 95W Thermal Solution that also offers the same virtually silent performance without the extra bling as the Wraith. These stock coolers are included with select AMD desktop processors, including the new AMD A10-7860K and new AMD Athlon™ X4 845, as well as the AMD A8-7670K, A8-7650K and the Athlon X4 870K and 860K.


AMD Wraith Cooler

AMD 95W Thermal Solution




Included with:

  • FX 8370 CPU
  • NEW AMD A10-7860K
  • AMD A8-7670K
  • AMD A8-7650K
  • AMD Athlon™ X4 870K
  • AMD Athlon™ X4 860K
  • AMD Athlon™ X4 845

Near Silent Operation:



Fan Shroud with LED Logo:




New AMD A10-7860K

Priced at just $116.99 (MSRP as of February 2, 2016), the AMD A10-7890K APU provides dead serious price-for-performance. This means you can dedicate any money you saved by not buying a separate processor and discreet graphics card to other areas of your gaming set-up, like upgrading to a new AMD FreeSync™ compatible display to eliminate stuttering and tearing.iii


With a quad-core processor at 4 GHz max turbo, full FreeSync support, and integrated Radeon™ R7 graphics, the A10-7860K gives you superb visual performance to crush your competition in popular online games like Dota 2™, League of Legends® and CS®:Go.


Plus, with a 65W TDP (Thermal Design Power) the A10-7860K fits well into tiny console-sized form factors and with our new, near silent thermal solution it fits perfectly into your “cozy” dorm room, living room or home theatre.


AMD AthlonX4 845 Desktop Processor

The AMD Athlon™ X4 845 processor brings the high-efficiency performance of four “Excavator” cores to the desktop. With a 3.8 GHz max turbo clock, it’s the ideal foundation for your eSports and mainstream gaming system.


Also equipped with AMD’s brand new 95W thermal solution, the AthlonX4 845 will keep your system running cool and quiet all day long.


These new processors are now available at select e-tailers and participating system vendors, so get ‘em while they’re hot cool!


Jason De Vos is Press Relations for 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




i Subject to use according to product specifications. The AMD Wraith cooler has a maximum noise level of 39dbA. The AMD D3 cooler, which the Wraith Cooler has replaced on certain CPUs, has a maximum noise level of 51 dbA. In the logarithmic dbA scale, a ten decibel difference is equal to ten times the amount of noise, so the AMD Wraith Cooler generates less than one tenth the noise of its predecessor. WTH-1

ii The AMD 95W Thermal Solution has a maximum noise level of 36dbA. The AMD D2 cooler, which the AMD 95W Thermal Solution has replaced on certain CPUs, has a maximum noise level of 52 dbA.In the logarithmic dbA scale, a ten decibel difference is equal to ten times the amount of noise, so the AMD 95W Thermal Solution generates less than one tenth the noise of its predecessor. WTH-4

iii FreeSync is an AMD technology designed to eliminate stuttering and/or tearing in games and videos by locking a display’s refresh rate to the framerate of the graphics card.  Requires Monitor, AMD Radeon™ graphics and/or AMD A-Series APU compliant with DisplayPort™ Adaptive-Sync 1.2 (or newer).  AMD Catalyst™ driver 15.2 Beta (or newer) required. Adaptive refresh rates vary by display; check with your monitor manufacturer for specific capabilities. Only select AMD Radeon GPUs and A-Series APUs supported; see for full details

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