Note: The live blog is now over
AMD's GPU14 Tech Day press conference is about to begin and we're live in Hawaii to cover the event. We will update this live blog as more info comes in. You should expect AMD to officially announce its new GPU, codenamed Hawaii (pictured to the right), along with other announcements that include new software tools for developers and new AMD sponsored games.
Hopefully we'll get even more surprises! Stay tuned!
12:48 pm HST: There is some trouble with the Youtube live stream of the press conference so AMD has advised viewers at home follow along here: http://www.livestream.com/amdlivestream?t=637320
12:54 pm HST: AMD sent me an email just now about how I killed the live stream. Apparently I was the last thing the camera saw when the stream broke and then it had me waving at the camera in an infinite loop. :/
01:00 pm HST: AMD's Corporate VP John Taylor takes the stage, the conference begins.
01:04 pm HST: He introduces AMD general manager of graphics Matt Skinner. Matt unveils a new zombie-killing like FPS on screen (Dying Light). It focuses on immersive sound effects
01:06 pm HST: Skinner says the company is working to create tools to enable a "unified gaming strategy" which will allow developers to easily port games from consoles to PCs and vice versa.
01:06 pm HST: Skinner says PC gaming is growing, at 18 billion dollars in revenue and projected to reach 21 billion by 2016.
01:10 pm HST: He asserts higher-res screens will mean you'll need a beefier GPU
01:15 pm HST: R9 and R7 GPU series announced. The R9 will be the higher end series:
- r7 250, less than 89$
- r7 260x ($150) - 2gb GDDR 5, 2700 in 3dmark firestrike
- r9270x (fastest card under 200$, )
- r9 280 (fastest card under 300, 3gb GDDR5)
- r9 290X (AMD says its the most powerful GPU its ever built). It has 4gb of memory and will come with Battlefield 4 in limited edition bundle packs. Skinner says it will be great for 4K gaming, because he asserts you need 4GB of GDDR5 RAM.
01:19 pm HST: DirectX 11.2 will be supported on the new R9 290 series cards. It will support over 5 teraflops of compute. It will offer over 300 GB/sec memory bandwidth. It will allow you to edit hundreds of layers of effects at 4K res, AMD says.
- It will offer more than 4 billion triangles/sec.
- it will have more than 6 billon transistors.
01:24 pm HST: AMD says it is the first GPU company to support Ultra HD 4K. The company says it will be manual to configure for users, but easy.
- enable drivers to automatically confiugure the known 4K displays.
- AMD is proposing a new VESA standard. It will automatically stich 4K monitors. Supported in AMD catalyst. Panasonic Viera TV is a set that supports this technology today, AMD says.
1:27 pm HST: AMD talks "True Audio Technology." AMD compares these audio advancedments to programmable shaders in graphics. The company says it will provide the same artistic freedom to audio artists. It will enable to hear hundreds of more real time audio effects and voices that are not possible on just the CPU today.
- Working with gen audio for immersive sound experiences (virtual surround sound). It will provide very accurate three dimensional audio using info from the 3D game engine.
- It will be available on the R 290, 290x, and 260x
- AMD says it has many game developers on board.
1:31 pm HST: Jerry Mahabub, CEO of GenAudio, takes the stage. He's about to play a 7.1 surround sound demo mix. He promises pin-point sound accuracy.
1:35 pm HST: The audio plays. Thunder roars, rain falls, horns sound off. Crickets chirp. A car slams the brakes, a bird chips. It sounds very loud and you can clearly have positional awareness. It sounds very realistic. Now we hear thunderous helicopters. It sounds epic, like a summer blockbuster movie.
We hear a train rolling by, it sounds a lot like the train I take to work everyday... Very immersive. The demo ends and the crowd claps.
1:40 pm HST: Now Mahabub explains how the surround audio will work with just two speakers...
- He says the room has disabled all but two of the front speakers. Now music is playing, it sounds very "Japanesee" (I can say that because I'm Ssian). Now we hear an "alien" demo. It sounds like a swarm is flying across the room. My god, it's loud! A musical cresendo picks up. You can imagine sci-fi waves move about the room, quite impressive for just two speakers.
1:45 pm HST: He says they need processor horse power for the 3D audio to work and praises AMD for being forward thinking enough to take this project on. He says true audio is truly the next generation sound for games.
- He adds that they base their audio technology on 25 years of human brain research to create realistic depth and surround.
1:54 pm HST: VP and cofounder of audiokinectic Simon Ashby takes the stage. I'm surprised how much AMD is pushing audio at a GPU press conference...
He says their Wwise audio technology will be CPU-efficient, and won't take up much load. Traditionally he says an audio effect like convolution reverb takes up a lot of the CPU.
2:00 pm HST: Eidos developer takes the stage. He talks about its upcoming Thief game. He says they'd like to use convolution reverb in their game because it sounds so great, but reiterates that it has generally been very cpu-intensive in the past, but mentions that TrueAudio Technology will allow them to "push the limits of what was previously believed to be the industry standard."
2:02 pm HST: Thief trailer plays. It's prerendered (bleh). Like its predecessors, the game looks very dark and will have a big emphasis on stealth.
2:05 pm HST: Lichdom: Redeemer FPSRPG revealed through a trailer. Takes advantage of TrueAudio technology. Looks like Skyrim from the 10 seconds we saw. Producer from Xaviant, the game's developer, takes the stage. It is a new development studio.
- The game will use Crytek's CryEngine and will support AMD's technologies that include tressFX, eyefinity, etc.
2:11 pm HST: Xaviant's CEO interrupts the stage and now they're bickering about how to best present the game in a bit of a cringeworthy sketch...
Now they're bickering about which difficulty people should play their games on...Is this as uncomfortable to watch at home?
- The game is expected to ship next summer on PC.
- now the company reveals a full length trailer to the game. The game is fantasy-based, we see snowy lands, zombies, and evil mages.
2:20 pm HST: Wallace Santos, maingear of CEO, takes the stage. He says they believe AMD's strategy of supporting PC games. He adds that working with all the consoles means "no more crappy console ports." He reveals a new red Maingear system featuring a new R9 series GPU. Says it will be coming within the next couple of weeks.
2:23 pm HST: Ritche Corpus, stage director of ISV gaming alliances, takes the stage. He talks about AMD's never settle bundle and some of AMD's exclusive game technologies: TressFX in Tomb Raider (which improves hair physics). He reveals a new updated AMD Ruby mascot. She has red flowing hair powered by AMD's TressFX tech. Now she's fighting futuristic robots in a real-time tech demo. It looks like the demo is trying to capture some of the Samaritan demo that Nvidia showed off in terms of atmosphere, though the facial graphics don't look nearly as good. The demo ends and Corpus reveals that the tech demo used the CryEngine.
2:32 pm HST: Chris Roberts takes the stage to talk about his new game, Star Citizen. A trailer plays: It's a futurisitc sci-fi space ship game. It looks very much like a modern Wing Commander, with you sitting in a cockpit, though it looks like you can also walk around on space stations.
Roberts says it will feature a dynamic, persistant universe. His goal with the game is to make the "best damn space sim ever." He reminds the crowd that the game is 100% completely crowd funded and adds that the game will support user-generated content and modding.
2: 42 pm HST: Roberts walks us through a live demo of the game using a wireless controller on stage. He says they are rendering 8 million polygons a frame using AMD's R9 290 GPU. Now we're walking around the space station and checking out different ships and sitting in different cockpits. Hopefully this game supports the Oculus Rift. Flying in space with it would be pretty kick-ass.
2: 54 pm HST: The game looks good but the demo is running pretty long, especially when you consider that there is no in-game audio yet. AMD seems like its getting a little antsy and Corpus comes on stage to rush the presentation along. It's a bit awkward....
2:58 pm HST: Dennis Fong, CEO of Raptr, takes the stage.He talks about how many gamers don't know how to tweak game settings. He asserts that there is no "Xbox-like service that brings everyone together." So he started Raptr, which is an attempt to make the PC experience more like consoles. It provides an instant messaging service that allows you to loop in your Steam friends, Xbox Live friends, and more. Also, their app will allow you to chat with your friends in-game, so you don't need to ALT+TAB to minimize your screen anymore. Raptr will also support live streaming, and it is free.
Fong announces an AMD Gaming Evolved Raptr app to determine optimal playable settings for games (Hmmm...this sounds like Nvidia's GeForce Experience). Unlike Nvidia, however, they are crowdsourcing their data (Nvidia does all its testing in house).
The app will detect hardware and games. Fong says the app is smart and knows when you start a game, and when you end it. Then it will provide a FPS histogram which it uploads to the Raptr cloud. It then uses data mining software to come up with optimal play settings. For the user, all you need to do is just clikc a red button that says "optimize settings." He says that it should be really simple and easy to use for the end user.
The app is out now (in beta).
Sometime around 3 pm HST: My laptop dies. :(
Dang long press conference!
3:54 PM: I return back to my hotel after the show concludes. Towards the tail end of the press conference, AMD brings up Johann Anderson, technical engineer at DICE, to talk about Battlefield 4 and the company's alignment with AMD. Battlefield 4 uses DICE's Frostbite 3 engine, which the company asserts is a next-gen engine used across many genres for EA, genres that include racing games and RTS games even.
He talks about how Battlefield 4 will push destructible environments with what the company calls "levolution" or level evolution. This involves having tall buildings collapse, etc. He adds that Battlefield 4 will support DX 11.1, but will also use AMD's new exclusive API called Mantel. Mantel is a developer tool that will make it really easy to port code from one AMD system to another, considering AMD is in all the next-generation system, AMD is considering this a big win for team red.
Eventually we're shown a single player demo of Battlefield 4 that takes place on a ship. There's a lot of gunfire with the protagonist blasting his shotgun at enemies and eventually the ship breaks in half and sinks into the ocean.
The DICE rep says that the game will offer multiple pathways this time around and offer a bit of a non-linear experience. Finally, the demo has the player riding a small naval attack ship. The ship is equipped with a turret and homing missiles. The epic demo ends with a jet flying towards the boat.
AMD then proceeds to conclude its presentation by once again talking about Mantel. The company reiterates that it will allow porting assets across different AMD setups super easy for developers.