Today AMD is launching the Radeon R9 290, which is the second card in its all-new Hawaii series of GPUs designed to take on Nvidia's GK110-based super GPUs. This particular card is extremely similar to its big brother, the R9 290X, but has slightly lower clock speeds and fewer stream processors, allowing it to come in at a slightly lower price point of $400. Though it was originally designed to take on the formerly $400 GTX 770, AMD is now positioning it to compete with the GTX 780 due to Nvidia's recent price drops on both cards to $500 and $329, respectively. Read on to see how it handles the heat, both literally and figuratively.
Between the holiday sales and promotions that have been going on lately, your wallet or purse is probably significantly lighter than it was a month ago. Hey, tis the season for spending, right? Or perhaps it's giving, which the mood AMD is in these days. Closing out the year in style, AMD just released its Catalyst Omega special edition driver, which it describes as the biggest and best software upgrade it's released this year.
Sorry Shakespeare, but GPU family names are kinda important
Those next-gen AMD GPU rumors are coming in thick and fast. Late last month, we had someone on Chinese tech forum ChipHell post some tantalizing performance numbers that they claimed belonged to an upcoming (presumably a R9 300 series) graphics card and now we have a new report that is questioning something that the tech media has taken for granted until now — the codename of AMD’s next-gen GPU family.
Is the best offense a good defense, or is the best defense a good offense? We're not sure, though it looks like AMD has decided to run with the latter -- dual-GPU Radeon R9 295X2 graphics cards can now be found on Newegg for around $770, seemingly indicating that AMD has gone on the offensive and slashed the price of its flagship card by about another $200. Bear in mind that when these cards launched earlier this year, they were selling for nearly twice as much at $1,500.
Ever since AMD launched its Hawaii GPU architecture, there have been rumblings that a faster version exists, perhaps locked away in the Sunnyvale chip designer's underground vault for a rainy day. If that's the case, be on the lookout for storm clouds -- word on the web is that AMD will launch a faster Hawaii part next year before it comes out with Fiji. How exactly it will be faster isn't yet known.
Maybe DirectX 12 is bound for Windows 7, after all
AMD Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy made waves in the media when he said Windows 7 will not support DirectX 12. He made the comment in a matter-of-fact manner while speaking at the PDXLAN event, which was caught on video (and later pulled from YouTube). Whether or not that ends up being true remains to be seen, but as far as his comments go, AMD called them "speculative," adding that he "misspoke" on the topic.
AMD and Nvidia now share an equal slice of the graphics market, according to the latest data from Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia. It took a strong second quarter for Nvidia to put itself on even ground with AMD -- JPR notes that Nvidia increased its graphics shipments by 12.9 percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2014, while AMD's shipments declined 7 percent.
Beta driver boosts performance in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Assassin's Creed Unity
AMD Radeon graphics card owners had to sit back and watch as Nvidia released not one, but two WHQL certified driver releases in less than a week, one of which included performance tweaks for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and the other adding Assassin's Creed Unity optimizations to the mix. If you've pitched a tent in AMD's camp, you can stop pounding sand now -- AMD's Catalyst 14.11.1 beta driver is now available with performance enhancements for both titles.
The barrage of game bundles continues today with AMD announcing that qualifying purchases of Radeon R9 295X2, R9 290X, or R9 290 graphics cards will be score a free copy of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. Purchases must be made from a participating retailer or e-tailer between today and either February 28, 2015, or when AMD's supply of download codes is exhausted, whichever comes first. But wait, it gets better.
While still a rumor until we catch wind of an official statement or product, there are multiple reports that AMD is planning to launch a version of its Radeon R9 290X graphics card with a massive 8GB of GDDR5 memory on-board. We've actually already seen this with Sapphire earlier this year, though it appears AMD wants to see more hardware partners offer an 8GB SKU, including MSI, hence the upcoming relaunch.