With the reveal of AMD’s Rx 300 lineup at E3 today, more details about the specifications have been revealed. One of the most surprising moves was the chip AMD chose to power the R7 370. Among all the cards AMD has launched so far, the R7 370 will be the sole member still running GCN 1.0., and has now been twice rebranded. Rebranding is fine but 3 years later, it’s pushing it.
While most of the attention has been focused on Fury, the rest of the Rx 300 series have been rebrands. The most important clue to the 370’s origin is the features or lack thereof the card supports. As expected the up and coming APIs of DirectX® 12, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan™, Mantle and OpenCL™ 2.0 are all supported. However, VCE (Video Codec Engine), TrueAudio and the much vaunted FreeSync are all missing. These features are tied to GCN 1.1/1.2, meaning the 370 is GCN 1.0. This point is hammered home by the presence of a Crossfire finger, a requirement that GCN 1.1/1.2 forgoes.
Another point is the branding for the card. With 1024 SPUs (Stream Processing Units) across 16 CUs (Compute Units), the R7 370 is the successor to the 2012 HD 7850 and the R7 265 with a speed bump to 975Mhz core and memory bandwidth improved to 172.2 GB/s. Even with the speed increase, the 370 will likely still be slower than the R9 270 it sounds similar to. Buyers may very well be more fixated on the 370 part of the name rather than the more critical R7/R9. Those thinking the 370 is the successor to the 270 are going to be disappointed.
AMD now has a sizable gap between the R7 370 and the R9 380 in their product line. While an R9 370 to fill in the gap might make sense under AMD’s logic, that will only serve to confuse buyers. With a lack of features the rest of the lineup boasts as well, AMD has made a surprising choice with the R7 370. One good move though is cutting down Bonaire for the 360 which helps diffreniate the cards as the cap between the R7 260X and 265 was sometimes too narrow. Despite all this, these handicaps won’t be too important as long as the price is right.