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GDC 17: AMD Capsaicin & Cream Event Report

Posted on March 1, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards


AMD held their second annual gathering of developers and press focusing on the company’s line-up for the coming year. The processor manufacturer, console architect and videocard producer invited Broken Joysticks to the event and we had a front row seat for all of the major announcements. While Advanced Microdevices did a little bit of reflecting on the successes of 2016, this latest showcase was really about their upcoming line of AMD Vega GPUs, brand new partnerships with developers and to a lesser extent the imminent launch of the Ryzen processor.

Chief architect of the Radeon Technologies took the stage as the primary presenter during the hour long conference. He reflected upon the release of the Radeon 480 this past June and that the eventual launch of the AMD new RX VEGA line of graphics card will put them into direct competition with offerings from rival GPU maker Nvidia.


Virtual Reality was one of the primary focuses of AMD’s presentation with the photo-realistic characters of The Sword of Bahubali: A VR Experience wowing viewers both in the form of a pre-rendered concept trailer, an on stage presentation of the VR Experience running on a Ryzen + VEGA setup and the promise of a version that will be compatible with existing hardware to be released soon. The Bahubali VR Experience is still under development and it was briefly mentioned that the final product may require dual Radeon 480s just to be rendered in real-time on modern VR headsets.

During the development of AMD’s VEGA line of GPUs a large focus was placed on memory optimization. Using technologies like AMD’s High Bandwidth Cache Controller and New Geometry Pipeline developers can get the performance of today’s 4GB cards into as small of a footprint as 2GB. Smaller memory footprints will also allow VEGA to produce exceptional results even if a PC gamer has opted to skip the jump to the Ryzen line of processors.


Speaking of optimized performance, a number of on stage demonstrations touting the power of the upcoming Ryzen + VEGA combo utilizing several different AAA releases. Developers from Rebellion took to the stage with the recently released Sniper Elite 4 showcasing the game running at 4K on a single Radeon 480 and a dual Radeon 480 set-up on a Ryzen rig. With a single 480 Sniper Elite 4 is able to push a stable 30 FPS while at 4K while the dual setup was able to maintain a mind-blowing 60 frames per second using AMD’s current flagship GPU. It makes one wonder just what the VEGA line of cards could achieve with titles like Sniper Elite 4.

Returning to Virtual – Reality folks from Steam took the stage to discuss the fact that the development version of the Steam VR Tracker, which allows developers to introduce real world objects into a virtual environment will launch for $99 USD and will be supported by AMD’s crimson drivers. We also got a look at four world exclusive VR experience reveals utilizing AMD hardware including an updated version of ROM: Extraction, an on-stage side by side demonstration of ROBO Recall and the first look at Sprint Vector – a VR focused endless runner.

There was a lot to be excited about at AMD’s Capsaicin & Cream event yesterday – most notably the 4 VR experiences and demonstration of the VEGA graphics card line. While the demonstrations were certainly impressive and the promise of technologies like High Bandwidth Cache and Rapid Pack Math tantalizing, it would have nice to get some solid details on the pricing and general availability of RX VEGA – especially with Ryzen’s impending release just a few weeks away.


Supposed NVidia Geforce 1060 VS Radeon 480 Benchmarks Leak Ahead of Launch

Posted on July 12, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Nvidia’s latest  attempt to absolutely dominate the mid-range GPU market kicks off in one week, on July 19th the graphics card manufacturer will launch the Geforce 1060. Reviewers who have units are under NDA until launch day according to several other hardware blogs, but it appears that official benchmarks straight from team green have leaked ahead of the card’s release.  If the 1060 performs as well as these benchmarks imply will it be enough to stop the waves of hype / stock shortages created by the success of AMD’s Radeon RX 480?

*prepare your loads of salt to be taken before looking over these numbers*


Alright ready? These supposedly official benchmark compared an unspecified Geforce 1060 (presumably the 6GB model, but whether  any overclock settings were used is unknown) against the Radeon RX 480 and last generation’s Geforce 960.

In terms of games tested Nvidia selected 3 Direct X 12 titles – Forza Motorsport: Apex Beta, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Ashes of the Singularity.  Their selection of Direct X 11 titles gives a wider variety of benchmarks with 9 titles ranging from last year’s Star Wars: Battlefront & Crysis 3 from Electronic Arts to CD Projekt Red’s highly demanding The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.

Forza Motorsport

How are the results? Well apparently the Geforce 1060 is faster than the Radeon RX 480 in every game tested aside from two – The Division and Fallout 4, where the scores was less than a 1% difference.

AMD’s Radeon 480 was unveiled last month and released on June 29th for $199 USD for the 4GB model and $249 USD for the 8GB model. Demand for these cards have been red hot for the past few weeks with shortages in places like Canada leading to retailers charging a premium on markets like Ebay and Amazon.  It could be a while before you can simply walk into a shop and pick up a 480 off the shelf.

Radeon _480

Here are the leaked benchmarks:




Do you think that hardware reviewers will find a huge difference between the Geforce 1060 and Radeon 480 when the NDA drops next week? As a Radeon 480 owner I’m interested to see what the competition brings to the table but I’ve already made my choice for my current-generation VR card.


Will The New Radeon 480 Fry Your Motherboard? Probably Not

Posted on July 4, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

AMD’s latest graphics card – the Radeon 480  – promised the performance of Nvidia’s previous generation near top end Geforce 970 for the shockingly low $199 USD. After only a few days users began reporting that the 480 was drawing more power from the PCI-Express port than it was drawing from the power supply connector. Is this a harm to user’s machines? AMD has issued a statement along with a promise to address the issue with an upcoming driver update.

I’ve been following the AMD Polaris architecture for months now and, of course, I got swept up into the hype surrounding the potential performance of the card. Benchmarks aside, the Radeon 480 looks to be the entry point for VR Early Adaptors who didn’t plunk down the coin for the Geforce 970 last year.


So, if you are looking to upgrade your graphics card should you be concerned about the amount of power that the 480 might draw from your board? Well, the bad news is that the card is going to draw more power than the PCIE specification. The card will pull just 75W from the six pin connector and the remaining 90W from the PCIE connector – 15 Watts over the recommended power consumption for a PCI Express slot.

YouTuber OzTalksHW tried out the Radeon 480 on an older motherboard and found similar issues to what testers have found – if are running a motherboard from the last five years or so you should be fine dealing with the power spike. If you’re running a motherboard from 2009 or prior you may experience random system shutdowns.

PCWorld spoke with anonymous motherboard manufacturers who said that random spikes shouldn’t be an issue but a sustained increased power-load could lead to damaged hardware. It should be noted that while discussions of this “power-gate” has been rampant on sites like reddit but the net hasn’t been flooded with reports of fried motherboards.  AMD has said in a statement that a driver fix is expected to be issued tomorrow.

Here is the full statement:

“As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5. Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPU’s tuning via software in order to resolve this issue. We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016).”

I’ve ordered a Radeon 480 and will gladly post some benchmarks using some of the most demanding titles that I own as well as some VR benchmarks. Unfortunately, these benchmarks will not include comparisons of other graphics card as my main gaming rig is currently down for repair 🙁 .. RIP previous graphics card.

Do you already own the Radeon 480? If so let me know what you think about it in the comments below.



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