In a bid to push its Polaris chip, AMD has launched several new VR projects.
On the list of cunning plans is a VR GPU certification, enhancements to its software/hardware platform and setting up a new VR supply chain. If this pans out, it should expand its presence in the VR market, and provide a rather nice channel for its Polaris GPUs.
Also included is a cunning plan to pushing VR Internet cafes in China. AMD has been assisting the development of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive as well as partnering with content providers to create applications for the gaming, entertainment, education, science, medical care and news sectors.
Other projects include AMD’s LiquidVR project which aims to help simplify and optimise VR content creation. It has started promoting its Radeon Pro technology solution to help VR content creators create movie-like VR content.
This is all about Polaris. The VR solution is based around AMD’s Polaris-based Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU which is priced at $1,000. We will see it released at the end of 2016. Well, when we say we will see it, the day that I am allowed to spend $1000 on a GPU is the day I have won the lottery.
AMD is also marketing its Loom project to help partners create Ultra HD-standard VR movies. The open source project will also be released at the end of the year.
Word on the street is that they will have a 50-percent improvement in performance per watt, which seems a bit high. These are the beasties you will find in the RX 480 and RX 460 which were already praised for their high performance with low power draw.
It could mean that an embedded Polaris 11 card which had a 75w draw will go to 50w and get a 0.35 Tflop increase in raw performance.
This should bring about a range of mid-generation GPUs with refreshed internals that make them far more capable.
Polaris 10 found in the RX 480 will get 5.8 Teraflops performance need less than 95 watts.
They should be out under RX 4XX branding in a few months but it will mean that the mid-range laptops that have them will have much longer battery life.
While the specs are pretty good, Vega will clean their clock so it is probably better to wait.
Microsoft has been making some headway in the generation eight console battle, with the Xbox One celebrating a third month running as the best-selling console in the US. The combined sales of the original One and the new S model also put it at the head of the pack in the UK in September.
US figures come from the NPD group and UK numbers from GfK, although no actual unit values were given. The full US sales report from NPD is due next week.
It’s likely that some of that recent lead is a result of a dip in PS4 sales thanks to the imminent launch of the PlayStation Pro, but the One has also been building momentum too, with sales up across many territories.
“Xbox One was the only gen eight console to see year-over-year growth in September in the U.S., Australia, the U.K and many other countries worldwide,” said corporate VP of Xbox marketing Mike Nichols. “This success was driven by our fans and their support for Xbox One S, which is the only console available this holiday with built-in UHD 4K Blu-ray, 4K video streaming and HDR for gaming and video.”
Since it did not come with some of the latest AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver packages, the guys over at Wccftech.com contacted AMD which gave them an official response that since September 12th, AMD is no longer bundling the AMD Gaming Evolved App by Raptr with its Radeon Software and will not provide any official support for it, including compatibility testing, install support or general technical support.
Those that still want to use it can get the Gaming Evolved App directly from Raptr or with previous builds of Radeon Software drivers package.
AMD is either making a new in-house app that will replace the one from Raptr or is simply now focusing on hardware and drivers. Unfortunately, this leaves it without any competition for the Nvidia’s Geforce Experience app which recently got completely overhauled and looks quite good.
The new standard, called Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification.
The open interface will help corporate and cloud data centers to speed up big data, machine learning, analytics and other emerging workloads.
The consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification available to the public before the end of the year and expects servers and related products based on the new standard in the second half of 2017, it said in a statement.
Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, is known to protect its server technologies and has chosen to sit out of the new consortium. In the past also, it had stayed away from prominent open standards technology groups such as CCIX and Gen-Z.
“As artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics become the price of doing business in today’s digital era, huge volumes of data are now the norm,” Doug Balog, general manager for IBM Power, told Reuters.
“It’s clear that today’s data centers can no longer rely on one company alone to drive innovation,” Balog said.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co, Mellanox Technologies Ltd, Micron Technology Inc, NVIDIA Corp and Xilinx Inc are also members of the OpenCAPI consortium.
In a week’s time, what is arguably the first truly great commercial experiment of the new VR age will begin. For the first time, consumers will be able to go out and buy a VR headset that’s (relatively) inexpensive, that doesn’t require a costly hobbyist PC to operate, and that provides a “good enough” VR experience for gaming and other applications. If there’s to be a sweet spot in the virtual reality market, Sony will be planting its flag firmly in it next Thursday.
Reviews of the device have started to appear and are pretty much what you’d expect. It’s good; we’ve known that from the countless demos and trade show appearances PSVR has made this year. It’s not as technically accomplished as the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, but it’s a far more comfortable, well-designed piece of hardware, and its technical shortfalls are far fewer and less noticeable than you’d expect from such a cheap device running on such comparatively low-powered hardware. It’s certainly an entirely different class of experience than any of the “toy” VR experiences currently offered by mobile tech like Samsung’s Gear VR, a situation which Google’s newly announced Daydream headset seems unlikely to change.
So yes, this is the sweet spot, if such a thing exists. Good enough to actually want to use, unlike current mobile VR devices, cheap enough to be accessible to a wider audience of gamers and enthusiasts, and with common sense (if occasionally frustrating) trade offs between complexity of setup and physical arrangement, and accuracy of control. If a VR headset is to rescue this putative Year of VR from the somewhat disappointing launches of HTC and Oculus’ consumer devices – both of which saw interest plateau in the post-launch period – then it’s going to be PlayStation VR.
Is that what Sony has in mind, though? One peculiarity of the PSVR launch is that beyond the specialist press, it’s something of a non-event. Marketing support for the launch is minimal; there’s far less hype and visibility around the product than there would be around, for example, the launch of a major game. Here in Japan, PSVR barely warrants a mention in Sony’s current barrage of advertising, which is promoting PlayStation 4 with TV and streaming site commercials that highlight the launch of games like Persona 5 and Yakuza 6, the arrival of new console hardware, and oh yeah, PSVR is a thing too.
One could argue that Sony would be foolish to push PSVR too hard given that pretty much the entirety of its early shipments are spoken for by pre-orders. We still don’t know how many units of PSVR will ship for launch, or how many are projected to ship by year-end, but every indication is that the numbers are relatively small, at least by comparison with the PS4’s installed base. It’s not unreasonable to expect that PSVR will be for all intents and purposes supply-constrained through into early 2017, making it comfortably the most commercially successful of the tethered VR platforms – regardless of whether the company spends a single cent on further marketing.
However, the slightest glance back over the history of hardware launches in the games business and beyond would demonstrate that companies generally do not row back their marketing budgets just because of being supply-constrained; if anything, this encourages them to redouble their efforts. That’s because supply constraints act as a multiplier on marketing budgets. When demand is outstripping supply, every extra notch that you can ratchet up that demand through your marketing efforts guarantees more media coverage, more word of mouth and more visibility for your product, creating a halo of desirability around the platform which can give a long-term boost to sales that lasts for months or even years after the initial supply constraints are lifted.
That Sony has seemingly decided to eschew that strategy for PSVR is interesting, but probably speaks to a confluence of a number of different factors. For a start, it’s rare for a platform holder to be putting not one but two major new pieces of hardware on the market at once, which is what Sony is doing with PSVR in October and PS4 Pro in November. A huge marketing push, widespread coverage of shortages and the resulting desirability halo that would build around PSVR would be great for the VR headset, but might negatively impact the now overshadowed PS4 Pro. That would hurt all the more if, as is likely, PS4 Pro is not supply constrained while PSVR is. That’s definitely a factor playing into Sony’s decision making here.
There’s something else in play too, though. Lots of software is on the way for PSVR, and there’s actually a pretty respectable line-up at the outset – but reviews of the system are fairly blunt about the extent to which much of it feels more like it’s demoing the hardware, and the concept of VR itself, rather than being a proper, full-strength VR game experience. The games aren’t just short, they expose kinks in the PS Move control system (which may be fixable or may be an innate problem PSVR just has to work around forever) and sidestep major issues instead of tackling them – for example, the Batman VR title’s decision to make the player jump from location to location, rather than walking between them, to avoid motion sickness.
In short, while there’s interesting and even accomplished stuff in there, it all sounds rather like the kind of thing that you play to show off a new system’s capabilities, rather than the kind of thing that makes you say, “you’ve got to go out and get PSVR so you can play this game”. The enthusiasts and the VR faithful don’t need a killer app – they just need enough of a taster to convince themselves that the killer apps will come, given time – but the general public absolutely does. It’s easy for enthusiasts – a category which, if you’re reading this, probably encompasses you – to underestimate the psychological barrier VR needs to overcome. For many consumers, the prospect of strapping on a headset that looks like a Daft Punk cosplay prop, isolating themselves from the world around them and potentially looking like a complete tool as they flail around with objects nobody else in the room can see is a pretty big ask.
A great killer app game that gets the world gushing will overcome that barrier. That may be on the way; all eyes are on January’s Resident Evil 7, which could potentially be VR’s first truly huge AAA title. Until that kind of game is available, though, Sony may be well advised to focus on the VR faithful and keep its marketing powder dry. That’s certainly what seems to have happened so far; this is entirely anecdotal, but I’ve been surprised at just how few people have asked whether I’m getting a PSVR (and if they can bring an offering of beer around in order to have a go on it). Far fewer people have asked me about PSVR than have asked about PS4 Pro, or even Xbox One S. Enthusiasts know about it; the average gamer simply doesn’t seem to care yet.
Given the hurdles facing mainstream VR adoption, that may be for the best. It’s important that when the majority of consumers start to experience VR, their experience of it is fantastic, not just a demo or a proof of concept but a game that makes them want to own this technology right now. Saving the marketing blitz and letting PSVR’s software library mature first could be the best way to prevent the so-called Year of VR from ending with the Winter of VR Discontent.
TSMC has said it will prop up Moore’s Law and will innovate to keep it going.
TSMC co-CEO Mark Liu told the assorted throngs at a recent event in Hsinchu that his outfit has been mass producing 16nm chips, and is looking to enter volume production of 10nm chips by the end of 2016.
The next plan is to start risk production of 7nm chips in early 2017, and meanwhile has been engaged in the development of 5nm process technology he said.
While TSMC’s R&D for 5nm process continues, a team of the foundry’s 300-400 engineers has already been involved in R&D for 3nm process, Liu claimed.
The company is apparently chatting to academics about how it can develop 2nm process technology. If all comes to fruition, said Liu Moore’s Law will continue to be relevant.
TMSC said that its cunning plan includes smartphones being its main growth momentum. He thinks that smartphones will arrive with more innovative features and with more ICs and sensors than you can point a stick at.
Chipmakers will have to constantly upgrade their technologies for the manufacture of advanced ICs and sensors for phones, Liu said.
High-performance computing (HPC), Internet of Things (IoT) and system integration are also the applications that will drive TSMC’s future growth, Liu added.
Our well-informed sources have confirmed that Vega 10, AMD’s first HBM 2 card will get announced before the end of this year, at least for the professional market.
One might expect that this could take place at this year’s Supercomputer show that takes place in November but we didn’t get a precise date. AMD can use Vega 10 for both the professional graphics market as well as the compute market.
The Vega 10 GPU on the highest end has 16GB HBM 2.0 memory, the same amount you got to see with Nvidia P100 cards. There will be a version of the card will less memory too.
The fact that AMD / RTG plans to launch the card this year, doesn’t mean that they will have a bunch to sell. The general idea is to get the customers excited and probably ship in volume in early 2017.
This will get the RTG professional group in a better position as the Vega 10 is expected to compete better against Nvidia solutions. We will see how much the new Vega architecture can benefit from the faster memory and much faster memory interface as AMD could use a sales push in this highly profitable market.
As Fudzilla already suggested, there will also be a Vega 20 GPU, a successor to Vega architecture coming after the first one.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has emphasized the freedom that Oculus VR allows its employees to support their personal views, a freedom he said also applied to Palmer Luckey.
In a post on his Facebook page, Iribe spoke about Luckey’s regret at the negative impact the situation had created for “the company, our partners, and the industry.” However, he offered a measure of support for Oculus VR’s founder, citing Luckey’s right to independent political beliefs.
“Everyone at Oculus is free to support the issues or causes that matter to them, whether or not we agree with those views,” he said. “It is important to remember that Palmer acted independently in a personal capacity, and was in no way representing the company.”
Original Story: After numerous publications (GamesIndustry.biz included) no doubt flooded Oculus with requests for comment on Friday, when the story broke that Palmer Luckey allegedly had been funding a pro-Trump “shitposting” group, the man himself took to Facebook (which owns Oculus) to apologize for his actions.
“I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners.The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views,” he wrote. “Here’s more background: I contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards. I am a libertarian who has publicly supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the past, and I plan on voting for Gary in this election as well.”
Luckey went on to deny that he was the author behind the ‘NimbleRichMan’ posts on Reddit and the vice president of Nimble America: “I am committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment. I did not write the ‘NimbleRichMan’ posts, nor did I delete the account. Reports that I am a founder or employee of Nimble America are false. I don’t have any plans to donate beyond what I have already given to Nimble America. Still, my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.”
The original Daily Beast article, however, confirmed that Luckey was indeed the man behind “NimbleRichMan” and author Gideon Resnick reiterated that fact on his Twitter account today.
Here is where I sought that clarification from him and what he said. pic.twitter.com/pPfLKUX5Cg
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) September 24, 2016
One more email: Luckey clearly states in here that the NimbleRichMan account represents him. pic.twitter.com/RC4mXPFDkM
— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) September 24, 2016
So it’s essentially Resnick’s word against Luckey’s, but Oculus Head of Content Jason Rubin urged people to take Luckey at his word. “I wanted to give @PalmerLuckey a chance to respond before I posted… knowing Palmer, I take him at his word,” Rubin tweeted, adding, “30 years in the Game business I would not work in a place that I thought condoned or spread hate. Nor would I remain silent if I saw it.”
Denials from Luckey and support from Oculus colleagues aside, the development community is already reacting, and some are pulling support for the Rift. Polytron, which is making a VR game called SuperHyperCube, noted on Twitter that it will not be supporting Oculus now. Scruta Games took it one step further, asking that Luckey leave the company he founded: “Until @PalmerLuckey steps down from his position at @oculus, we will be cancelling Oculus support for our games,” the developer said. Tomorrow Today Labs issued a similar sentiment: “Hey @oculus, @PalmerLuckey’s actions are unacceptable. NewtonVR will not be supporting the Oculus Touch as long as he is employed there.”
Edge of Nowhere developer Insomniac Games said it “condemns all forms of hate speech” and issued the following statement to Polygon as well: “While everyone has a right to express his or her political opinion, the behavior and sentiments reported do not reflect the values of our company. We are also confident that this behavior and sentiment does not reflect the values of the many Oculus employees we work with on a daily basis.”
Not all developers are punishing Oculus for Luckey’s actions, however. James Green, co-founder of VR developer Carbon Games, commented to Motherboard, “This backlash is nonsense. I absolutely support him doing whatever he wants politically if it’s legal. To take any other position is against American values.”
Oculus has had a number of obstacles to overcome on its path to retail, with Rift headsets not making it out to Kickstarter backers for months after launch and some consumers feeling that they had been misled on what the actual price of the unit would be. Luckey admitted that he “handled the messaging poorly” back in January, and now just as manufacturing of the headset has finally improved and the flow of software has started to increase as the company prepares to launch its Oculus Touch controllers, this PR storm and accusations that its founder is vice president of a racist, pro-Trump organization could represent a significant setback. It’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out in the next few weeks and as we head into the holiday shopping season.
Apple is going to be putting AMD’s Polaris under the bonnet of its much needed iMac refresh.
According to Headlines & Global News in October the fruity tax-dodger is going to announce that its iMac is going to be refreshed after four years and will be finally dragged kicking and screaming into 2016.
AMD will be supplying the Radeon 400 Series Polaris graphics processing units which apparently will be in a powerful enough flavour to run Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology.
LG will supply 5K resolution monitors. Thus, this information further hinted that iMac 2016 will most likely be suited for gaming, if they can find anyone who writes for the comedy iOS software.
There is still an unknown as to what the CPU would be. All the original rumors had suggested that Apple had signed up for Kaby Lake. This made sense when Intel was likely to beat AMD Zen to market.
Since then, Intel has had a few delays on Kaby Lake and if Apple is going to use it, the iMac will have to be delayed until next year. This time table does not sit well with an October announcement. AMD is not likely to have Zen ready for it either, so this means that if Apple wants to launch in October then it will have to use the far more pedestrian and less interesting Intel Skylake.
Vega 10 is coming next year and it seems that it will be faster than the P100 card. P100 (21.2 TFlops) is a supercomputer part and has much higher theoretical performance than GP102 (10.97 TFlops). According to the raw numbers, AMD Vega 10 with 24Tflops, Vega 10 will significantly outperform Geforce Titan X.
Thanks to our well informed and reliable friends, Fudzilla has learned that you can expect as much as 24 TFlops of half precision performance and 12 TFlops of single precision performance. Both half precision and single precision numbers are higher than Nvidia scores with Pascal P100, its highest end Tesla chip.
Earlier we learned that HBM 2 won’t be really available before the end of the year and this is one of the main reasons why the Vega 10 had to be pushed to 2017. Nvidia announced the Tesla P100 but it always claimed that it plans to ship it in Q4 2016.
Bear in mind that the Titan X uses GDDR5X memory and scores significantly lower than the Tesla P100 and Titan X uses the GP102 chip that packs 12 billion transitions, while the P100 has 15.3 billion.
It is safe to say that Vega 10 will be rather a big chip and it gives you the idea that in case that Volta is not ready to launch in time to compete with Vega 10, Nvidia could have another Titan card based on the P100 with HBM 2 memory up its sleeves.
AMD is working hard to return on all fronts. The Polaris generation is a decent competitor in the mainstream market but it cannot really touch Nvidia in the high end sector. This might change with Vega 10 and it will make AMD / RTG a bit more competitive.
The Vega 10 includes 16GB of HBM 2 memory.
AMD has been on the blower to point out that figures from Mercury and Jon Peddie Research, show that it has been growing market share for the fourth consecutive quarter.
A spokesman for AMD said that for the last nine months, AMD has got its mojo back through its Radeon Technologies Group. During that time, the company has made significant investments in hardware, marketing, and software for the graphics line-up leading to four straight quarters of market share growth.
Mercury Research said that AMD gained three points of unit volume share in Q1 2016. The Mercury Research and Jon Peddie Research market share data for Q2 2016 shows AMD seeing its fourth consecutive quarter of desktop discrete GPU share growth, driven by AMD’s strongest quarter of channel GPU sales since 2015 and the commencement of shipping of the next generation Polaris GPUs.
In total discrete graphics, AMD gained 4.8 share points to 34.2 per cent of market by unit volume (based on Mercury Research). In desktop discrete sector, AMD saw a 7.3 share point increase, rising to 29.9 per cent market share.
“This is another positive testament AMD’s strategy is working as the company drives forward towards “Vega” offerings for the enthusiast GPU market, which AMD expects to bring to market in 2017 to complement our current generation of “Polaris” products,” the spokesperson said.
“AMD believes it is well positioned to continue this trend in market share gains with the recently launched Radeon RX 480, 470, and 460 GPUs that bring leadership performance and features to the nearly 85 per cent of enthusiasts who buy a GPU priced between $100 and $300,” she added.
AMD CTO, Mark Papermaster, has told the world+dog that despite claims to the contrary Moore’s Law is not dead, it is getting better, and be going Vroom any day now.
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore said in 1965 that computing power would double every two years thanks to developments in technology over time leading to shrinking transistor sizes and while he has been right until now, Intel said it would move away from the prediction for the first time, shifting transistor size from two to 2.5 years.
Papermaster said that Moore’s Law is alive and well, and said only narrow-minded people think its evolution is just about transistor size.
“It’s not just about the transistor anymore; we can’t just have transistors improving every cycle. It does take semiconductor transistor improvements, but the elements that we do in design in architecture, and how we put solutions together, also keep in line with a Moore’s Law pace.
He said that AMD had adopted an idea called Moore’s Law Plus. This means you stay in a Moore’s Law pace of computing improvement. So you can keep in with a Moore’s Law cycle but you don’t rely on just semiconductor chips, you do it with a combination of other techniques.
These include design changes and how you architect those system solutions that will keep on the Moore’s Law pace.
You can mix and match combinations of CPU and GPU, other accelerators, different memory configurations, or how they are pieced together – there is room for lots of innovation at the next level.
I can’t remember how many times in the last 20 years that I’ve written up rumors that AMD is ripe for a takeover but now it seems it’s time to do it one more time.
This time the speculation is from the guys at Seeking Alpha – in a note to clients it suggests that it’s the magic X86 licences that could be the lure for a company with the financial muscle to make it go somewhere.
There aren’t that many of those around but the rumor mill mentions Qualcomm, Broadcom and Oracle as possible candidates.
There is, of course, the slight matter that Intel would no doubt spin up a legal challenge because it knows where it is with the AMD X86 licenses but might find itself losing that just like it lost it after AMD’s sale of its factories to GloFo.
Even more spectacularly, Seeking Alpha thinks that Intel could take over AMD but we can’t see that one being a goer.
Seeking Alpha doesn’t stop at Qualcomm, Broadcom, Oracle and Intel. It claims Microsoft, Samsung and even TSMC.
Heck, is it really going to happen? We’ve heard the rumors so many times before that perhaps it’s just that time of year.
MediaTek has some decent network products and Asus and Xiaomi have a few midrange routers based on its SoC (system on a chip). Now it looks likely that Microsoft’s One S will use two MediaTek SoCs for wireless connectivity.
It has been a while since IFIXIT tore apart the Xbox One S but no one really noticed that the wireless component of the console came from MediaTek.
The Xbox One S looks like a nice console, worth the investment and was a good design win for AMD as it has an AMD APU inside. There are two chips from MediaTek, inside – firstly, the MT7632TUN, which is probably a variation of the MT7632 wireless chip supporting 2×2 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 Module. It is interesting that Xbox uses a 2×2 MIMO approach as this will make the 801.11n wireless much faster than before.
The second chip is MediaTek’s MT7612UN which is likely a variant of 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO that will again make things much faster in the 5GHz band and getting closer to 1Gbps speeds with the ac.
MediaTek won some business with Amazon tablets last year, and adding Microsoft to its portfolio definitely means a lot for the company and boosts its wireless image.
Xbox One S should be available in the western part of Europe within the next three weeks and Amazon Germany claims to start shipping on the September 22. US customers can get one today and it starts at $269.99 for 500 GB + Halo bundle and it jumps to $349.99 Xbox One S 1TB Console – Madden NFL 17 Bundle or $359.99 for Xbox One S 2TB Console – Launch Edition.