AMD Makes Surprising Move with R7 370

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.

AMD 300 Series GPU Pricing Leaked

With the launch of AMD’s Radeon 300 series GPU imminent, some pricing and specification details have leaked out. Sweclockers was able to find a leak detailing the pricing for a large number of 300 series GPU. Somewhat unexpectedly, the prices quoted by Sweclockers are a bit higher than the prices the original chips launched at. However, once we take away the VAT which is 25% in Sweden, the prices are much more reasonable, especially once you consider the current street price. The table below is after conversion from SEK to USD and with VAT subtracted.

At $480 the 390X is about $65 cheaper than the 290X was at launch a few years. It’s still about $100 more than the current street price for some 290X models, but once you consider the 8GB of VRAM, it’s about right for 290X 8GB. The same is true of the 390 as it’s nearly $100 more than the 290, but it does come with an extra 4GB of VRAM. Moving onto Tonga, the two R9 380 variants are priced competitively considering their VRAM endowment. The R9 370 4GB is interesting as it’ll be rare that it can make use of that extra 2GB of VRAM though the 2GB model is priced decently. Bonaire is pretty much where we expect to be.

Overall, pricing isn’t all that novel, with AMD preferring to slot in their new series into the current pricing market. Deal hunters will be disappointed as it’s unveiled that there won’t be any revolutionary changes in card pricing this generation. With only a short period till the real launch of the cards, those looking to buy soon are well advised to wait, either to pick up cheap last gen cards or snag a new one. Whether or not this will be enough to help AMD start growing market share remains to be seen. As this is an unconfirmed leak, it’s best to take the pricing with a grain of salt but the data largely checks in.