On the 31st of May 2016, at the Computex Trade Show in Taiwan, AMD revealed its new generation of graphics cards starting with the Radeon RX480. The Polaris-Powered graphics processing (GPU) units will go on sale on the 27th of June and according to our buddies at Evetech, this hard hitting piece of equipment will be on our shores at the end of July/ beginning August. The GPU has been integrated to support VR game play and has been praised for its suggested retail price falling well below the expected cost.
The biggest setback keeping VR from its 100 million possible users is the price involved with the hardware running these kinds of setups. “The Radeon RX series’ efficiency is driven by major architectural improvements and the industry’s first 14nm FinFET process technology for discrete GPUs, and could mark an important inflection point in the growth of virtual reality,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst, Moor Insights & Strategy. “By lowering the cost of ownership and increasing the VR’s total addressable market, the Radeon RX Series has the potential to propel VR-ready systems into retail in higher volumes, drive new levels of VR content investment, and even drive down the cost of VR headsets.”
According to AMD the card will come out with 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a speculated maximum of 256GB/s of bandwidth. The cards will ship with the new HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 ports enabling display in 4K. HDCP 2.2. The Radeon RX480 has a power draw of 150W making it super quiet for a card that packs such a punch… not too bad seeing as it’s dabbling around the estimated retail price of R3, 500.00.
This comes as good news in the wake of Nvidia’s GTX 1080 hitting shelves in South Africa with its Founders edition shipping with a price tag of R15, 999.00. It’s clear what AMD’s goal is here, and it’s a smart one too: to bring VR gaming to the masses enabling the platform to grow to a point where its development will become as stable a gaming platform as the console or the PC. If the price is right, the Radeon RX480 is the kind of innovation we can get behind.
By Shawn Greyling