As one last thing at its Computex 2016 press conference, after introducing the Radeon RX 480 graphics card, AMD wanted to remind the world that its next-generation Zen CPU core isn't that far away. And we've now seen a desktop Zen chip for the first time, held by AMD boss Lisa Su -- the same chip that will be competing with Intel's top processors in the months to come.
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At its Computex 2016 press conference, AMD has taken the wraps off its brand new Radeon RX 480 graphics card: a brand new 14-nanometre chip designed for 2016 and 2017's most demanding games and virtual reality graphics. It's a card designed to compete with Nvidia's mid-range GTX 1070 and previous-generation GTX 970/980, but at a fraction of the price. AMD says its new cards will be out by the end of June at a price of $US199.
Computex 2016 is all this week in Taipei, Taiwan -- and it's where you want to be if you're interested in all the new components and gadgets that you'll be using inside and around your gaming PC over the next year. All the major tech brands will have stands and exhibitions on show, with new technologies alongside PC overclocking and case modding competitions, as well as new peripherals like keyboards, mice and headsets. Here's what we know is coming, and what we're hoping for.
1080p, 1440p and 4K are all so passe; the future is about VR. And to build VR games -- as well as to play them -- you need an especially grunty graphics card. Just announced at GDC in San Francisco and designed for developers, the Radeon Pro Duo is AMD's latest silicon slice, built on two R9 Fury X GPUs.
Where its competitor Intel has decided to cut the air cooler out of its enthusiast-targeted Skylake CPU packages, perennial underdog AMD has doubled down. It's launching a new, more efficient cooler alongside new desktop chips for gamers and non-gamers alike.
AMD's Radeon R9 Nano was the most interesting card in the company's most recent graphics refresh -- not because it was the most powerful (that'd be the watercooled R9 Fury X), but because it was the most efficient, and used its power in a tiny footprint that would fit a Mini ITX motherboard. Now, it's had a pretty significant price cut in Australia.
It's been a long time since we've had to worry about CPU / OS incompatibilities. In fact, the last time it was an issue was the shift from x86 to x64, but that was largely transparent to consumers thanks to AMD and its x86-64 specification, which was later adopted by Intel. Now, with Windows 7 having just entered its extended support phase, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to drop the news that only Windows 10 will be supported on upcoming CPUs.
In the latest announcement for their Crimson drivers, AMD took steps to show how they've listened to the community and improved the user experience for gamers. "The community feedback gave us a clear list of issues," the company said.
As it turns out, performance in games is a bit of a priority for AMD's customers. And being able to play GTA 5 and Diablo 3 without crashing: surprisingly high on the list.
I've been using Nvidia graphics in my gaming PCs for quite a while -- at least a couple of generations. Short dalliances with water-cooled monsters like AMD's R9 295X2 and R9 Fury X haven't been enough to tear me away. Maybe it's time to change, though; after some time away from AMD cards, I gave MSI's R9 390X Gaming 8GB GPU a bit of a test drive, and came away impressed.
You might say 2015 hasn't been the most exciting year for graphics cards, though in many ways it was more eventful than 2014. The only big highlight last year was the arrival high-end Maxwell GPUs in the form of the GeForce GTX 980 and 970. Then this year Maxwell did what many thought was impossible: becoming considerably faster.
Six weeks ago, AMD formed the Radeon Technologies Group, a subset of the company focused on cutting-edge graphics and exploring the potential of virtual reality and DirectX 12. As part of that shift, AMD is ridding itself of Catalyst, the driver brand that has been around since 2002 -- and the future is all about Radeon Software.