AMD really hit its stride throughout 2016, nailing software and driver releases - shifting from a company that was known for not-so-great drivers, to releasing solid drivers all year.
Today, the company has announced its new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers, a new initiative for 2017 - ready for the future of GPUs and games.
The new Crimson ReLive Edition drivers has a central theme of Features, Performance, and Stability - as well as the usual bug fixes, improvements, and more.
We have been sifting through many rumors and leaks on AMD's next graphics cards, something that needs to be cleared up. The latest rumor of the Vega 10 has me wondering if we're being thrown off track, and whether that's a good, or a bad thing.
Our friends over at VideoCardz have posted up what they are reporting as a new Device ID (687F:C1) alongside a benchmark of Ashes of the Singularity (which I hate using to judge performance, but that's just me). VideoCardz reports: "Judging from how AOTS benchmark recognizes dual-GPU graphics cards, the new card is most likely equipped with one processor. This device ID was not shown anywhere yet, so it's definitely something unreleased".
They added: "Whether that's a mobile prototype being tested in desktop platform, or full-fledged Vega 10 device, we don't know. If the rumors are true, this could be much awaited Radeon RX 490".
Leaked benchmark numbers on the purported Radeon Pro 490 have arrived, with keen eyed readers noting that I said Radeon Pro 490, and not Radeon RX 490. Here's what to expect with the next-gen Vega GPU architecture.
AMD's new Radeon Pro 490 is expected to be their 4K/VR focused graphics card, with rumors stating it'll arrive with 2 x Polaris 10 GPUs, or a new Vega 10 GPU. I doubt we'll see a Vega GPU powering the new Radeon Pro 490 graphics card, but a dual-GPU based on P10 GPUs would make sense, with 16GB of GDDR5 in total.
We should expect the Radeon RX/Pro 490 to arrive with 4608 stream processors (double the 2304 SPs on the Radeon RX 480) and reduced GPU clocks to around 1200MHz, down from 1266MHz on the RX 480. Since the TDP of the RX 480 was 150W, we should see AMD hitting 300W on the dual-GPU card.
Rumored Tech Specs of Radeon RX/Pro 490
- Dual GPU (Polaris 10 most likely)
- 4608 stream processors
- 14nm FinFET
- 11.4 billion transistors (estimated)
- 1200MHz GPU clocks
- 11 TFLOPs+
- 300W TDP
- 8-16GB GDDR5
AMD CEO Lisa Su was asked at the recent 20th Credit Suisse Annual Technology, Media & Telecom conference about the keys to growing and expanding their market share in the discrete GPU market.
Credit Suisse's semiconductor analyst John Pitzer asked: "How should we think about your share aspirations with Polaris now ramping, Vega next year? What do you think you can get your share back to within that market?" to which Su replied: "We have made very good progress I would say in the first couple of quarters this year in terms of graphics".
Su continued: "I think it's nice, when you look at graphics it's both in the consumer side on the channel as well as in the OEM business and on the professional graphics market. There's a large opportunity. I think we've gained a good amount of share over the last few quarters, we're going to continue and consistently drive [share growth]. We believe that there's no reason we can't be at 50/50 share overtime, but it will certainly take some time to get there. The key thing is enhancing our relationships with customers, because we believe that it's also important to have a very sticky business going forward."
AMD has been on the up and up this entire year, with the Radeon Technologies Group team reaching for the stars with its first new GPU architecture release under RTG: Polaris.
Polaris powered the Radeon RX 400 and Radeon Pro 400 series graphics cards, including the Radeon RX 480, RX 470, and RX 460. AMD aimed at the lower/mid-range markets where gamers are spending less than $300 on a graphics card, with around 80% of gamers falling into this category, concentrating on this market and owning it was an important first step for RTG.
But what about the high-end? The older Fiji-based Radeon R9 Fury X is an underwhelming card now with its limiting 4GB of VRAM, but impressive engineering work with the 4GB of HBM1 and the 28nm GPU on an interposer (the interposer sits under the GPU and HBM1, and is made like a chip as well). The work AMD did on the tiny Radeon R9 Nano at the time was just as great, my favorite card of the Fiji family.
Rumored Tech Specs
- 4096 cores (Vega GPU architecture)
- 14nm FinFET process
- Around 12 TFLOPs of performance (RX 480 has 5.2 TFLOPs, while the GTX 1080 has 10.8 TFLOPs)
- HBM2 (8-16GB) - offering 1024GB/sec over the 320GB/sec on the GTX 1080
- Vega 10 high-end card - 225W TDP
- 1465MHz GPU clock
Rumored Dual GPU Tech Specs
- 4096 cores (Vega GPU architecture)
- Around 24 TFLOPs of performance
- 16-32GB of HBM2 RAM
- 300W TDP (hopefully higher, letting the GPUs and HBM2 stretch their legs)
- 1100MHz GPU clock
We're swimming in a world with 14nm and 16nm products on the market, with AMD's new Radeon RX 400 series built on the 14nm FinFET process while NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 10 series and new Titan X are using the 16nm process - it's awesome. But, we're constantly looking to the future, right?
TSMC is said to be planning the production of 12nm technology, a new process technology that our friends at Fudzilla report will "enhance competition with 28nm and lower process nodes that have been adopted over the past few years". The new 12nm node will sit alongside the 16nm product portfolio, as a smaller option from TSMC that will better compete against Samsung and GlobalFoundries' offerings.
There are three different 16nm FinFET variations that TSMC makes, with high-performance options and ultra-low power uses where only 0.6v is used. 12nm should provide us with around 50% less power consumption, and 15% more power over current FinFET technologies, at least that's according to GlobalFoundries' recently-announced 12nm process utilizing Fully Depleted Silicon-On-Insulator (FD-SOI) planar technology.
Since TSMC makes 16nm chips for companies like NVIDIA, Apple, MediaTek, and more - GlobalFoundries makes the 14nm FinFET chips that AMD uses in its Polaris-based graphics cards and upcoming Zen processors.
Colorful has a second wave of GTX 10 series cards on its way, with the impressive new GTX 1080 KUDAN and now the GTX 1070 SNAKE X-Top, made specifically for League of Legends pro gaming team 'Snake'.
The new graphics card from Colorful has Snake's logo on it, teased on the out fans, and backplate. Colorful has used a fully custom design, triple-fan cooler, backplate, 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and a BIOS switch on the back of the card. GPU clocks are set at 1657/1860MHz for base and boost respectively, making it one of the fastest GTX 1070s on the market.
It looks like Colorful will be making just 200 of these cards, so they'll be an extremely limited edition run for fans of Snake, or custom graphics cards for specific markets. I think it looks slick as hell, and I want one.
Colorful has just brightened up my day with news of their new iGame GTX 1080 KUDAN, which features the same GP104 we've all come to know and love, but the GPU is clocked at up to 1.93GHz under Boost, which means we'll hit 2GHz without a problem with some overclocking.
The 8GB of GDDR5X sits at its default 10GHz frequency, but there's an overclocked BIOS that will allow for higher speeds which we all want. Colorful is doing something different here, with a 4-slot form factor - even though the card is a 3-slot design, the separate waterblock on the back takes up additional space, requiring 4 slots in your PC.
Colorful powers its new iGame GTX 1080 KUDAN with 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, but the company has deployed a high-performance, custom PCB that provides higher overclocks and increased stability. It's an insane card, with an estimated price of somewhere between $800-$900 when it launches late-December or early-January 2017.
Following NVIDIA's earlier release of Watch Dogs 2-optimized drivers, AMD has released its own.
Apart from improving that game experience, these drivers -- numbered 16.11.5 -- include a CrossFire profile for Dishonored 2 in DirectX 11, and fix flickering in the Division and Battlefield 1 when using CrossFire.
Hit the source for the download and/or known issues list. Otherwise, boot Radeon Settings and grab the drivers. If you want to remain on the cautious side, use AMD Clean Uninstall Utility before installing 16.11.5 to ensure no issues arise from overwriting your old drivers.
NVIDIA has released its new 376.09 drivers, specifically aimed at optimizing three major titles.
The first is Watch Dogs 2, due out tomorrow. Word is both the game design and PC optimization are much improved over the first game, so you should probably give it a shot if you wrote it off after the last go round.
The other two are Capcom's comedy zombie smasher Dead Rising 4 (due out December 6), and Steep, Ubisoft's winter sports game (due out December 2). You hardly see any winter sports games, especially on PC, so that's definitely one to look forward to, especially with NVIDIA's optimizations.