AMD tackles cloud gaming with Radeon Sky series

We've been hearing about AMD's cloud gaming efforts for quite a while, but I think this is the first time the company has introduced hardware specifically to power cloud gaming servers. Announced late yesterday at the Game Developers Conference, the new Radeon Sky series includes three graphics boards all "built from the ground up" using AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture.

Additional specs can be perused on AMD's website, but the slide above already paints a pretty clear picture. The Radeon Sky 700 and 500 sound like they might be server-ified versions of the Radeon HD 7950 and 7870 with different clock speeds and extra helpings of GDDR5 RAM. (The 7950 and 7870 also have 1792 and 1280 ALUs, respectively.) As for the Radeon SKy 900, that dual-GPU offering could have a few things in common with the upcoming Radeon HD 7990. See below for a closeup:

AMD says the Radeon Sky series is already sampling to its partners, and production is scheduled to kick off in the second quarter of the year. The company is collaborating on the launch with several partners in the cloud gaming industry, including CiiNow, G-Cluster, Otoy, and Ubitus.

AMD is delivering more than hardware, as well. The company's announcement mentions RapidFire technology, which it describes as a "combination of hardware and software that enables cloud gaming partners to benefit from an open API that simplifies the manipulation of key hardware controls to provide HD visual quality, minimal latency and optimal network bandwidth resulting in a compelling and responsive gaming experience from any device over the internet." Apparently, RapidFire also enables really long sentences.

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