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AMD unveils Radeon R9 Fury, Fury X and Nano GPUs

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Originally posted on 17 June 2015. Scroll down for details of the Radeon R9 Nano price cut.

AMD has announced not one, but four, top-of-the-range gaming graphics cards in its next-generation Radeon R9 Fury line-up – including a dual-GPU card that it claims to be the fastest in the world.

And as if that wasn’t enough for one day, the company also announced five mid-to-high-end cards in its existing Radeon R7 and R9 lines, and even a bizarre experimental small form-factor PC codenamed Project Quantum.

The announcements were made yesterday at an unexpectedly high-profile launch event at E3 2015 that also featured guest appearances from the likes of Microsoft, Oculus and EA.

Based on the new Fiji GPU architecture and High Bandwidth Memory
All four of the new cards feature AMD’s new Fiji GPU architecture, and HBM (High Bandwidth Memory): its new power- and space-efficient memory chips.

According to AMD, HBM offers over three times the memory bandwidth per Watt of existing DDR5 RAM, and occupies over 19 times less surface area on a circuit board.

The Radeon R9 Fury X: nearly twice the raw compute performance of a FirePro W9100
The first of the cards to hit stores will be the $649 Radeon R9 Fury X (shown in the video above): a water-cooled card with 4,096 GCN cores, providing 8.6 Teraflops of compute performance.

For context, the FirePro W9100 – AMD’s top-of-the-range workstation card, which has an MSRP of $3,999 – provides only 5.2 Teraflops of single-precison floating-point performance.

The W9100 has a lot more on-board memory – 16GB as opposed to the Fury X’s 4GB – but thanks to HBM, the Fury X’s memory clock speed and bandwidth are higher: 512GB/s as opposed to 320GB/s, for the latter.

It also apparently has a target temperature of just 50°C, providing a lot of scope to boost performance over the defaults – according to AMD: “You’re going to be able to overclock it like there’s no tomorrow.”

The Fury X will be followed by the Radeon R9 Fury, which as far as we can tell – there don’t seem to be any specs on AMD’s site – is just an air-cooled version of the same card, pitched down in price to $549.

The Radeon R9 Nano: a compact performer
Whereas the Fury X (and, presumably, the Fury) is a full-height, dual-slot card, the next GPU to hit stores, the Radeon R9 Nano, will be a far more compact proposition.

According to AMD, it will be just six inches long – around half the length of AMD’s existing top-of-the-range Radeon R9 295X2 and R9 290X – and offer twice the performance per Watt of the R9 290X.

There are no other specs for the Nano yet – presumably, they won’t be its main selling point – but in today’s case-space-hogging world of high-end gaming cards, its compact size makes it a very interesting proposition.

The ‘highest performance GPU’ in the world: dual Fiji chips, but still no name
Finally, and furthest off from a commercial release, there is an as-yet-unnamed dual-Fiji card, which AMD CEO Lisa Su described as “the absolute highest performance GPU bar none”.

Technical details are still thin on the ground, but AnandTech reports that the switch from GDDR5 to HBM will at least enable AMD to make it shorter than the R9 295X2.

In addition, AMD announced five new cards in its existing Radeon product lines: the R7 360, R7 370, R9 380, R9 390 and R9 390X. You can find full specs for the R7 300 series cards here and the R9 300 series cards here.

The company also unveiled Project Quantum (shown in the video above): a small-form-factor gaming PC with the kind of design that you could only get in a gaming PC. It looks like a high-tech barbell.

Again, details are thin on the ground – it’s still a tech prototype, and there is no timeframe for bringing it to market – beyond the fact that it will feature two Fury X GPUs.

Driven by 4K gaming and virtual reality
Like all of the new products, AMD is pitching Project Quantum firmly at next-generation gaming – according to Forbes, it’s designed to run “any 4K game” at 60fps – and particularly at VR applications.

Just how much the firm expects virtual reality to drive the specifications of graphics hardware in the near future was shown by one revealing slide from the launch event comparing ‘VR today’ and ‘VR tomorrow’.

While AMD didn’t put a date on ‘tomorrow’, the numbers were striking: it expects VR applications to go from 2K resolution per eye, delivered at 90Hz, to 16K per eye, delivered at 120-240Hz.

That’s going to need an awful lot of graphics horsepower: over a Petaflop of compute performance, according to AMD’s calculations. If so, we can’t wait to see what the next generation of Radeons look like.

Pricing and availability
The Radeon R9 Fury X is due to go on sale on 24 June, price $649. The R9 Fury will follow on 11 July, price $549. The R9 Nano will follow later in the summer, and the dual-Fiji card in the fall.

The Radeon R7 and R9 300 series cards will go on sale on 18 June. Prices range from $109 to $429.

Updated 12 January 2016: AMD has just cut the recommended price of the Radeon R9 Nano from $649 to $499.

That places it closer to similarly specced Nvidia cards like the GeForce GTX 970 Mini ITX, which has a current street price of $320-350. AMD claims the Nano outperforms the GTX 970 Mini ITX by “up to 30%”.

Read AMD’s news release on the Radeon R9 Fury, R9 300 series and R7 300 series GPUs

Visit AMD’s desktop graphics website

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