Live blog from AMD's 'New era of PC gaming' event

Time for that Fiji reveal
— 11:00 AM on June 16, 2015

Scott here. I'm in the front row at AMD's "A new era of PC gaming" event at E3. The firm is expected to reveal details of its much-anticipated "Fiji" graphics processor here. Follow along with me in my guerrilla live-blog. We don't have an auto-refreshing feature or anything that fancy, so you'll have to reload the page periodically as we go.

I had some trouble getting started, so we're joining the action a little late. AMD's Richard Huddy kicked things off, and now he's invited prodiuct guy Devon Nekechuck on stage to introduce some Radeon R7-series parts.

The first of those cards is the Radeon R9 360, a tiny little card. Not many details, but it's the low end. The R7 370 will come with 4GB of GDDR5 and sell for $149. All of these R7/R9 300-series cards are re-branded and possibly tweaked versions of existing Radeon GPUs.

Now for the R9 series. First one is the R9 380, which Devon says is great for 1440p gaming. $199. Up to 4GB GDDR5. This is a replay of the R9 285 with the Tonga GPU, I believe.

R9 390 series, this is the Hawaii stuff.  The R9 390 and R9 390X are $329 and $429. They're basically the R9 290 and 290X with new names. These cards will be available to buy on Thursday.

These cards will all support DirectX 12 since they're built on AMD's GCN architecture. (So will the Radeon HD 7970 from late 2011, of course.)

Time to bring up some folks from MS and some game developers to talk about DX12.

The MS guy says things are going with DX12 and Win10 will ship with this API very soon.

A dev from Lionhead says they're just getting started with DX12. One of the things they're most excited about is asynchronous shaders, which allow other compute tasks to run in parallel with graphics. AMD's GCN has been "amazing" for that. Means they can consume extra GPU power without compromising in-game performance.  Showing a demo of DX12 in-game effects in Fable Legends. Looks nice and runs smoothly. Win10 beta is coming very soon.

Oxide Games guy is here to talk about Ashes of the Singularity. Really slick looking large-scale RTS. He's got a demo going with tons of units onscreen in battle. Again, they're using DX12 to make this happen. He says DX12 allows massive scale, visual fidelity, and smart AI.

Dude had the three things written on his hand. Heh. Looked down to read them off.

Ashes will have a founders' alpha starting on Thursday.

RIchard Huddy is back to emcee the event. He's talking about VR.

He's got folks from Oculus and CCP onstage to talk about virtual reality. Anuj from Oculus is going to talk about the sense of presence in VR.

Anuj says presence is really feeling like you're in the virtual world. Uh, right. Says we're pushing the OS and GPUs to max performance to achieve low latency. Also working with AMD to make sure connecting the headset is a seamless experience (important because the headset is another display plus a controller and such).

Anuj says AMD's LiquidVR allows low latency access to the GPU.

Oculus announced two products last week. The Oculus Rift VR system, shipping in Q1 2016. Plugs into a PC. Demonstrating the final hardware and some new experiences at E3. Also announced a new pair of track controllers to unlock new VR experiences. Will be demonstrating "Half Moon" prototype of the touch controllers at E3.

Huddy: What's the min requirement of a GPU for VR?

Anuj: AMD R9 290 and above class of GPUs.

Now to talk Eve Valkyrie with the rep from CCP. This is the first killer app for VR headsets, IMO. Space dogfighting. Uhh, I'm mesmerized by the footage they're showing as he talks about, uh, development stuff.

Huddy says VR has lots of applications beyond gaming. Katrina Craigwell from GE is onstage to talk about Neuro, a VR application that lets the user watch brain activity in virtual reality. Sounds like they are going to make this application available to the public. And, heh, they used AMD GPUs to make it happen. Will be showing demos with them.

What if you want to know you have the fastest graphics performance in the world? Something that's different, really tuned for high-res, high-quality DX12 gaming.

AMD's Chris Hook is onstage to unveil.. something.

I challenged AMD's engineering team to build the ultimate small form factor PC. Introducing Project Quantum.

Whoa, funky looking little enclosure with a dual-chamber stacked design. Has dual Fiji GPUs inside.

Time for a promo video. Then....

Welcome to AMD CEO Lisa Su.

Introducing AMD Radeon R9 Fury X.  1.5X perf/watt over the R9 290X.

Also introducting the Fury, which is an air-cooled version.

And the Radeon R9 Nano, a 6" card with more performance than the R9 290X.

And we're introducing the absolute highest performance graphics card with dual Fiji GPUs.

Now have have Chris Hook, Graphics CTO Raja Koduri, and Product CTO Joe Macri onstage to talk about Fiji.

Raja: Lisa, a couple of years ago, Joe came to me very excited and said he thought we could make this new memory tech into a reallly coll product. We have a history here, first with GDDR4, GDDR4. Now we have HBM. Wanted to create something incredible with this product. We also wanted new form factors.  We scaled the engine up, focused on power efficiency, and tuned for 4K resolutions.

The Fury X has 4096 stream processors, 8.9 billion transistors, 8.6 teraflops.

We advanced the GCN architecture for power efficiency. Improved power management, and did some nice things with board design to get to new form factors.

Nano is 2X perf/watt compared to R9 290X.

Fiji is the first product where we reorganized our entire performance tuning effort for 4K. Went beyond benchmarks, went from end to end, focused on demanding games at 4K.

Joe Macri is up now, the guy who spearheaded HBM development at AMD. Joe: We decided to focus on bandwidth per watt and bandwidth per square millimeter. We went 3D (with stacking) and got 3X the perf/watt. 94% less PCB area than GDDR5.

Joe calls out an engineer named Brian work worked on HBM since 2002 in order to make this happen.

Raja: We are at an incredible moment in time for graphics. High-res displays, VR, are disrupting everything. People are already talking about 16K per eye at 120Hz. You need a petaflop engine if you do the math. Someone from Google said VR is at least a decade of job security for GPU designers like me. Very thankful for PC gamers. They're very good to us.

Chris: Look at the ID on the Fury X. Soft-touch nickel cooler. Gorgeous.

Joe: Dude, seven years and you talk about the cooler.

Chris: You're missing the best part, which is the illuminated Radeon logo.

On the 24th of June, the Fury X will be on store shelves for $649.

On July 14, the Fury will be on shelves for $549.

Fury Nano and the dual Fury will be coming later this summer.

Richard Huddy is back for One More Thing.

Star Wars Battlefront. Something that will absolutely used the horsepower of Fury. Or should I say.... Forcepower.

Sigurlina from DICE, producer of the game, is here to talk about it. The game, not that pun. Using the Frostbite engine for the game. Working with Lucusfilm and have had access to props, costumes, etc. in order to go for authenticity.

We got a tiny bit of footage from the game. LIke 15 seconds. They were great seconds, but not many of 'em.

Now we're summing up. Looks like this is about to wrap. Join us later at 6PM PT for the PC Gaming Show, with more announcements from E3 about new PC games and hardware.

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Tags: Graphics