This post should help the readers in some way to understand about what was revealed in AMD GPU14 in Hawaii by rounding up the links of the content that makes sense, this way you can make a heads and tails out of the event accordingly.
Without wasting any time, here you go:
The first part is AMD Mantle. AMD Mantle is a lot level API unlike OpenGL and Direct3D which does programming to the GCN with as less resources as possible. Its also a lightweight driver which allows direct access to GPU and is compatible with DirectX High level Shader Language. AMD stated that this was designed in collaboration with top game developers. The understanding and observation of this concept are done by Anandtech and its put in an easy enough language that a lot of people can understand how the concept works. It was pointed out by another source that Mantle API is an open source, so it shouldn’t be locked with AMD Radeon, provided Nvidia is fine with using the API. But on the bright side and as explained in the Anandtech link, this will encourage cross platform development of games, even between PC and Consoles.
This was explained with Battlefield 4 which uses DX11.1 and Frostbite 3 engine, where performance bump and CPU utilization was shown post Mantle update.
On another note, according to TechReport, it was pointed that Crytek is working with AMD for CPU and GPU optimization for their Cry Engine 3.
2. AMD Gaming Evolved App
Last year, Nvidia launched GeForce Experience. This time, AMD now has their own software which will analyze your setup and download presets/settings/required information via cloud at one click/touch. Once the presets are in sync in your system, it will run games at optimal settings. Long story made short: Crowd Sourced optimization for gaming systems.
As pointed out, there are 3 presets: Performance, Balanced and Quality.
The Gaming Evolved application also has quick broadcasting setup which will let you watch and while you place, and also let you share to social media. As of now, Raptr has presets for 28 game titles as of now, and as one would expect, its only a matter of time that this list becomes big.
There will be a lot more than that. AMD would have such as giveaways, games, discounts, stuff, etc. This would be interesting to see how it would be when it comes to functions when compared to SteamOS, although it should be noted that SteamOS is based on Linux, and its still not clear if one can use SteamOS with any of the currently available hardware components, or the preselected/assembled/certified units.
As of now, BETA version is available for download. The level playing field (though it should be noted that which application does better implementation is speculative at best at the time of writing) and an answer to Nvidia GeForce Experience, plain and simple.
3. Unveiling of R7 and R9
Left: R7 260X Right: R9 290X
As pointed out by a source, AMD R7 and R9 are based on cores codenamed Hawaii.
AMD’s corporate VP of visual computing Raja Koduri pointed out that R9 290 series have 3 technology pillars: GCN, UltraHD/4K and Trueaudio. The R9 290 series GPU will be the first to support DX 11.2 and 5 GFLOPS of computing power.
Graphics Core Next architecture has been found in currently available AMD processors and VGA, but I think its possible that developers would be able to use Mantle (speculation) to get more performance from GCN based hardware components.
AMD points out that R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 is their flagship, and its the most powerful GPU they’ve ever made! There’s also an exclusive pre-order for Radeon R9 290X Battlefield 4 edition which would start in October 3rd. The price and benchmark scores for R290X wasn’t pointed out, but R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 priced for $299 and with >6800 3DMark (2013) Firestrike benchmark score, followed by R9 270X 2GB GDDR5 for $199 with >5500 firestrike score. The R7 260X with 2GB GDDR5 comes with a price label of $139 and >3700 firestrike score, followed by R7 250 GPU, with 1GB GDDR5 <$89 price tag and >2000 firestrike score.
In order to drive rendering for 4K resolutions, AMD implemented much larger memory bandwidth which amounts to 20% boost over Radeon 9700 series. According to Mr. Koduri, this is required to render 100 layers for 4K and the chip can render up to 4 billion triangles per second. This was implemented keeping as AMD want to see a trend of incredibly high resolution games between the end of this year/holiday season and by next year. As of now, Panasonic Viera 4K TV complies with latest updated VESA specification.
TrueAudio works with the philosophy that audio technology should have the same artistic freedom to audio artists in gaming studios. TrueAudio will allow gamers to listen to multiple audio channels during the gameplay to provide an immersive experience by pulling the audio data from the game and from multi speaker configuration to 2 speaker headphone setups. TrueAudio will also be there in R9 290 and 290X, followed by one of the R7 (not sure if its 260X). Yes, directional audio through any output!
GenAudio stated that this would be done by offloading the audio workload from CPU to GPU. It was also added that they’re working on reverberation and spatial modeling which would help to create true audio experience. Eidos Montreal pointed that ‘Reverberation’ will be present in their upcoming game “Thief”.
4. Powered by Cry Engine 3: Lichdom
Lichdom, by the looks of it, is probably like Skyrim with steroids (in this case, power by CryEngine 3). The trailer was shown during AMD GPU14 event which shows that it involves spell casting via first person POV, which would give a different level of experience.
This game is developed by Xaviant and judging by the comments they’ve replied to at YouTube, they’ve said that their current focus is on PC, but are considering to implement it on other platforms, which may include SteamOS.
5. The all-new Ruby
A new Ruby demo was shown off, this time with Tressfx hair rendering and DX11 implementations. Tressfx hair simulation pretty much does what most shampoo ads (lol) do and what was done for Lara Croft in Tomb Raider Reboot: Simulating numerous amount of strands of hair in real-time.
In all honesty, there was a doubt that AMD would take a backseat with PC Gaming after knowing that they would be making chips for consoles, but AMD beautifully proved those people wrong (including me), and went beyond what anyone could possibly see in the works for PC/Cross platform for optimal performance, more immersive gameplay and also optimized game engine (Crytek 3) which would automatically enable any games using that engine work nicely with AMD Radeon powered hardware.
After reading about Mantle API, AMD ‘Gaming evolved’ app and also how TrueAudio actually works, AMD has made a very serious step up that would have easily overwhelmed a lot of people with the flow of plans that AMD pointed out during the presentation in Hawaii.