Next Radeon GPUs and New API Announced

r9 and r7

The next leap in graphics technology and the next iteration of the GPUs wars is about to begin. Last May Nvidia released the GTX 780 and GTX Titan, which gave enthusiasts a taste of the next step in performance. Now, it’s AMD’s turn to flex it’s guns and bring the heat. AMD has announced the Radeon R9 and R7 series of GPUs. The naming scheme of the GPU’s are a follows (from lowest to highest performance): R7 250, R7 260X, R9 270X, R9 280, and finally AMD’s flagship GPU the R9 290X. This comes as a bit of a surpise considering many expected the names of AMD’s next GPUs would follow an HD 8xx0 naming scheme.

R9 290x 7970 GHZ GeForce GTX TITAN GeForce GTX 780 GTX 680
GPU  Hawaii XT  Tahiti XT2 GK110 GK110 GK104-425
SPs / Cuda Cores ~2816 2048 2688 2304 1536
TMUs 176 128 224 192 128
Core Clock (Boost)  N/A 1050 MHz 876 MHz 902 MHz 1058 MHz
Interface  512-bit 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit
Price ~ $599 $400 $999 $650 $449
ROPs 44 32 48 48 32
Bandwidth 300+ GB/sec 288 GB/sec 288.4 GB/sec 288.4 GB/sec 192.256 GB/sec

Looking at the specifications it will be interesting to see how this will stack up against Nvidia’s GTX Titan.

In other graphics related news, AMD is also hard at work on a new API called Mantle. Mantle is a low-level graphics API specifically designed and optimized for Radeon GPUs. While this will also be used for consoles, what is interesting is the specified use of this API for PCs. This API allows for less abstraction and overhead which allows developers to obtain better performance over the likes of DirectX and OpenGL.

Additionally, Mantle could allow easier porting since both consoles and PCs would be able to support the API. But, how will this new API affect those with Nvidia or Intel hardware? Could it be that those with Nvidia or Intel GPUs may lose out on some of the key optimizations that accompanies the new API? It may just be easier for developers to support higher-level API’s like DirectX and OpenGL since they are easier to program for and allow for a greater range of supported hardware. Thus, it will be interesting to see how this new API as well as these new AMD GPUs affect PC gaming.