According to AMD, the “New Era of PC Gaming” will soon be upon us. The thing that makes this new era so exciting isn’t just the fancy new hardware that’s on the horizon – which there is a lot of – but it’s about the new and innovative ways to interact with games. During AMD’s Tuesday morning pre-PC Gaming Show mini-conference, Richard Huddy, AMD’s Chief Gaming Scientist, was on stage to walk everyone through the intricacies of what this bold new world has in store.
Obviously, the hardware was the primary focal point and AMD’s new line of R9 GPUs kicked off the presentation. FIrst, Devon Nekuchuk from AMD showed off the AMD Radeon R7 360, which was the cheapest card of the presentation, that is designed with hardcore eSports gamers in mind. He reasons that many of these players enjoy MOBAs and other similarly not-too-graphically intense games, requiring less horsepower to get the best performance.
The R7 360 will be optimized to perform well, at 1080p, without stutters, to maintain a high level of graphical fidelity. They even mentioned a new “framerate target control” feature, that ensures your framerate stays locked at a constant 60fps, rather than your card overworking and expending wasted energy and power to over deliver when it’s not necessary. The AMD Radeon R7 360 will start at a very low and reasonable price point of $109. And as a step up from the R7 360 is the AMD Radeon R7 370, which will allow for up to 4GB of DDR5 RAM and is expected to retail from $199.
AMD also unveiled its new category of R9 cards as well, which will be available at select retails starting on Thursday. They include:
- AMD Radeon R9 380 (1440p support, up to 4GB DDR5 RAM, retailing at $199)
- AMD Radeon R9 390 and 390X ($329 and $429 respectively, up to 8GB DDR5 RAM)
They also announced that all of their new cards will be fully compatible with DX12 once it launched with Windows 10 later this summer.
In addition to the standard list of GPUs that are mostly budget focused, AMD also unveiled higher end options, as well as a brand new PC that promises to be extremely powerful:
- R9 Fury (air cooled) and R9 FuryX (water cooled)
- R9 Nano (extremely small, lightweight, cool, and low-powered GPU with the power of a much larger unit)
- New AMD Fiji hardware, featuring the AMD Quantum computer, which is designed as a one-unit option, ready for 4K gaming and high-end VR out of the box.
The AMD show was almost entirely focused on hardware announcements and demonstrations, but they did feature a few games as well.
- Star Wars: Battlefront was shown with the first-ever look at PC gameplay. Obviously it looked glorious, but it was only about 1 minute of footage, so it’s hard to really tell if anything was particularly special.
- Fable Legends is looking surprisingly fun, as new gameplay showed up some really nice action on-screen, which is supposedly an example of DX12 in action – but it’s hard to really know what was only possible because of DX12 and what is already possible,
- Neuro is a new VR game in development by GE. Yes, that’s right, as in General Electric. It’s all about exploring the brain itself and looks sufficiently trippy.
- Ashes of the Singularity is a new RTS from Stardock, which you may know from Galactic Civilizations. It’s shaping up to be a great new entry for the genre and you can look forward to a dedicated preview up on the site within the next few days.
Overall it’s impossible to really tell if they are truly leading the charge for the new era of PC gaming as they claim, but their focus on VR and delivering powerful GPUs at affordable prices is definitely a step towards realizing that vision.