AMD’s Raja Koduri Talks Future Developments – Capsaicin

Even though a lot of information was shared from the Capsaicin live stream, some details weren’t made known till the after party. In an interview, Radeon Technologies Group head Raja Koduri spoke in more detail about the plans AMD has for the future and the direction they see gaming and hardware heading towards.

First up of course, was the topic of the Radeon Pro Duo, AMD’s latest flagship device. Despite the hefty $1499 price tag, AMD considers the card a good value, something like a FirePro Lite, with enough power to both game and develop on it, a card for creators who game and gamers who create. If AMD does tune the drivers more to enhance the professional software support, the Pro Duo will be well worth the cash considering how much real FirePro cards cost.

Koduri also see the future of gaming being dual-GPU cards. With Crossfire and SLI, dual GPU cards were abstracted away as one on the driver level. Because of this, performance widely varies for each game and support requires more work on the driver side. For DX12 and Vulkan, the developer can now choose to implement multi-GPU support themselves and build it into the game for much greater performance. While the transition won’t fully take place till 2017-2019, AMD wants developers to start getting used to the idea and getting ready.

This holds true for VR as well as each GPU can render for each eye independently, achieving near 2x performance benefit. The benefits though are highly dependent on the game engine and how well it works with LiquidVR. Koduri notes that some engines are as easy as a few hours work while others may take months. Roy Taylor, VP at AMD was also excited about the prospect of the upcoming APIs and AMD’s forward-looking hardware finally getting more use and boosting performance. In some ways, the use of multi-GPU is similar to multi-core processors and the use of simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) to maximize performance.

Finally, we come to Polaris 10 and 11. AMD’s naming scheme is expected the change, with the numbers being chronologically based, so the next Polaris will be bigger than 11 but not necessarily a higher performance chip. AMD is planning to use Polaris 10 and 11 to hit as many price/performance and performance/watt levels as possible so we can possibly expect multiple cards to be based on each chip, meaning probably 3. This should help AMD harvest imperfect dies and help their bottom line. Last of all, Polaris may not feature HBM2 as AMD is planning to hold back till the economics make sense. That about wraps it up for Capsaicin!

AMD Reportedly Has 83% of VR Hardware Marketshare – Capsaicin


2016 may well go down as the year VR finally takes off for real. Sony and Microsoft have both been making progress towards VR and augmented reality while Oculus and HTC are set to launch the Rift and Vive respectively. Given the efforts and lengths AMD has gone to push VR, it should come to no surprise that a report has revealed that the company has a massive 83% lead in providing the hardware for VR capable systems.

Hardware wise, it is not surprising to see the lead over Nvidia. While PC hardware is a large segment of the VR market, only higher end systems are capable of producing the frames necessary for VR at 90fps and enough resolution for both eyes. Because of this, the PS4 is a viable candidate for VR adoption and with the APU inside it being AMD, Nvidia stands no chance in terms of sheer hardware market share for VR.

As noted many times during the Capsaicin event, AMD has been working with many developers in both gaming and other forms of media with LiquidVR and GPUOpen. AMD has also been on the forefront with developments like VR cafes and partnering with Oculus and HTC to ensure that the Rift and Vive work seamlessly with Radeon. There is even a Radeon VR Ready Premium program to ensure consumers are informed.

With the VR market still in it’s growing stages, AMD has seen an opportunity to get in before it’s competitors have a chance and secure a bastion of developer support and integration. Considering the price of VR capable hardware, AMD stands a good chance to reap a windfall when VR takes off. This can only bode well for AMD as for once they are ahead and hopefully will be able to leverage their position to help the rest of their business grow.

AMD Capsaicin Event Showcases VR and GPUOpen

Just yesterday, AMD hosted their Capsaicin live stream event from GDC. While there were some product announcements like the Radeon Pro Duo and the teasing of the upcoming Polaris 10 GPU, most of the time was spent on reiterating past statements. The key to this was VR and AMD spent a lot of the event focusing on this and ragged in a large number of industry insiders to shore up that point. Of course, we also get the usual cringeworthy humour from their engineers.

First off, AMD spoke about their investment in the pixel and HDR. Once again the focus was on improving the information each pixel portrayed to better present the whole image. Of course, AMD also talked about increasing pixel count more and more to get better image quality. The key to this are developments in new APIs such as DX12 and Vulkan as well as AMD’s own solutions in the form of GPUOpen which has been expanded upon with GeometryFX and other additions. One number mentioned was 16, or the 16ms that is allowed for each frame to be computed in order to allow 60FPS.

In order to power these effects, though, AMD is hoping that GPU scaling will continue to improve. This will be due to both improved scaling of multi-GPU (like for the Radeon Pro Duo) due to better support in DX12 and improved process does and architectures. AMD has noted that while GPUs haven’t been keeping track with Moore’s law in terms of performance per dollar, smaller GPUs have and it is important to be able to get 2 smaller GPUs to work together better since that solution would offer better bang for the buck.

In terms of VR, AMD is looking forward to working with developers to get the best performance out of their hardware to get the best experience. In line with this, AMD  is pointing out how their hardware is more than ready for with ACE to allow the best performance under DX12. Combined with LiquidVR and their other software libraries, AMD is presenting a comprehensive solution to allow developers to tackle VR. AMD is also offering a certification program for VR ready systems with their hardware to ensure consumers know that the hardware they are getting can handle VR. With this, maybe VR will go mainstream soon enough.