Tag Archive

Liquid Sky To Feature Radeon GPUs When Free Service Rolls Out March 14th

Posted on March 2, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

AMD’s brand new Radeon Virtualized Encode platform will power the full release of LiquidSky’s cloud gaming platform on March 14th. The CEO of LiquidSky Ian McLoughlin took the stage to demonstrate Battlefield1 being rendered on the newly announced hardware. Both AMD and LiquidSky touted the announcement of Radeon Virtualized Encode as bringing the power of high end graphics cards to the masses through affordability.

CEO Ian McLoughlin At The AMD Ryzen / VEGA Event.

LiquidSky’s upcoming March release will enable anyone to earn up to 2 free hours of gameplay time using their new “Gamer Package” – which is the equivalent to the top tier package on offer during their closed beta – by watching sponsored advertisements. Players will be able to use the LiquidSky mobile app to earn “Sky Credits” (free time), which is stackable up to 14 hours per week. Ian also mentioned during the AMD event that players could use all of these free hours in one shot – want to save up all of our hours and play a 14 hour stretch of Overwatch? You can.

Alongside the launch of LiquidSky 2.0’s new datacenter and mobile app is a brand new client for Windows and Mac which will allow users to hang out in themed chatrooms known as the “Sky Lounge” to connect with other players while waiting for their games to install. One downside to the datacenter upgrades to the VEGA platform is that all LiquidSky services will be down from March 7th – 14th and all existing computers will be wiped.

Check out our previous coverage of LiquidSky 2.0 – We will be covering the launch of their new service later this month once it has launched.


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.


Report: PC Hardware Sales Eclipsed $30 Billion USD In 2016

Posted on January 23, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Industry analyst firm JPR recently released a report estimating that total worldwide hardware sales eclipsed the $30 billion mark. In terms of geography  Asia lead the way with an estimated growth rate of 7% which will continue right through 2019, commanding $11.3 billion USD of the total existing market share. For those of us who are interested in the health of the PC hardware industry JPR’s publically available figures are full of interesting statistics.

2016 saw a number of new pieces of hardware released that made waves in enthusiast news circles. Arguably one of the biggest stories of the year came towards the mid-point with the launch of new Graphics Cards from both Nvidia and AMD. Team Green proved that the Geforce brand is still the place for hardcore enthusiasts looking for the bleeding edge performance with the expensive Geforce 1070 and Geforce 1080 video cards. AMD shot back just a couple of weeks later with the Polaris powered Radeon 480 which brought the performance of Nvidia’s high end last generation 9 Series cards for under $200 USD. AMD and Nvidia might not be fighting tooth and nail for power or performance anymore but their offerings certainly cover a wide variety of products at different price points.

Graphics cards aren’t the only PC hardware segment that saw innovation last year and will continue to see new products. Intel released their new 7000 series processor line, it doesn’t follow the traditional tick-tock pattern that Intel has been known but it does provide additional video encoding performance. AMD is expected to release its Ryzen platform at the Games Developer Conference late next month, the manufacturer’s first large platform update since 2013 – featuring the brand new AM4 motherboard design and enhanced performance versus the previous generation.

John Peddle, president of JPR had this to say about the upcoming launch of the Ryzen platform:

We are also very excited about the prospects for the AMD Ryzen CPU platform and think it will be adopted at all three hardware tiers. Of course Intel CPUs currently offer superior power and value for gamers of every budget level, and their integrated graphics now rival game consoles.”

Despite JPR’s report that the PC hardware industry has eclipsed such a large sales amount reports of PC sales have been declining for several consecutive quarters – according to the Inquirer total sales were down 3.7% leading up to the Christmas season. It is an important distinction to make that JPR’s report about the industry surpassing a huge sales amount includes high end accessories like Ultra HD Monitors, gaming headsets, gaming mice and Curved Displays.

How do you feel about the state of the PC hardware industry? Sound off in the comments and let us know.


AMD RX 480 Still In Short Supply One Month After Launch

Posted on August 4, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

AMD’s RX 480 launched over a month ago and it appears that many potential owners are having trouble getting their hands on either reference cards (the original launch version) or those made by third party manufacturers.

What could be causing this lack of readily available supply? Multiple posters have taken to the R/AMD Reddit to posit their theories & vent their frustrations. One line of thinking, like TheMormonAthiest discussed on Reddit, suggests that maybe bitcoin miners are using the relatively low-cost AMD RX 480 for their mining rigs. Others have suggested that adoption of the RX 480 hasn’t been as high as some have suggested, that instead of a massive demand for the new cards – there is really a supply problem on AMD / other vendor’s end.

Due to its low power consumption when compared with the previous generation’s R9 390 the RX 480 may be the mining card of choice when considering the power consumption costs of their bitcoin mining operations.

Sankvtw from Reddit concisely supports this view using some math:

“The biggest reason some one [SIC} would want a a 480 for mining is that its has a relatively low level (~150W) for the hash rate of about 24Mh/s (6.25 W per Mh), where as something like a r9 390 at like 275W for about 29Mh/s almost 2x the power usage for less than 25% increase in output(9.48 W per Mh) . The less you pay in power the more profitable it is to mine.”

Radeon _480

As of the time of writing the price of a reference Radeon 480 hovered around $330.00 CDN on user markets like Ebay. These prices are actually within a couple dollars of the $339.99 CDN MSRP of this particular card, although it is currently on back-order on major retailers like Memory Express. I purchased the RX 480 from Amazon a few days post launch and ended up paying a $60 CDN premium on the card, so it looks the market has adjusted quite a bit in the last 30 days.

Nvidia launched their Geforce 1060 after AMD’s initial success with the RX 480 and most reviewers have found that the two cards are usually within a few frames per second of each other, with the Geforce 1060 taking the lead on some DX 11 benchmarks and the RX 480 taking the DX 12 crown.


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.



AMD’s $199 Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card is VR-Ready

Posted on June 1, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Welp, its a good year for graphics cards. First we have the whole set of NVida 10xx cards which are more powerful than the current hi end 1000$ cards that with a price point of about half. Now it seems that AMD is not going to die quietly and from their skunkworks comes the announcement of the new RX480 at just the tiny tiny price of $199USD. Stop, wait a minute, 200USD?! for a VR ready GPU? The Radeon RX 480 is scheduled to launch on June 29, with a model that is certified to power the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

here are the specs :

CUs 36
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s
Data Rate (Effective) 8 Gbps
Memory Size 4/8 GB GDDR5
Memory Bit-rate 256-bit
Power 150 W
VR Premium Yes
AMD FreeSync Yes
Display Port 1.4/1.4 HDR

This is one of the craziest contrasts that I have ever seen in GPU’s. Last month AMD reveled the the $1500 Radeon Pro Duo. Which is designed for VR developers, and obviously the exact opposite of this card. Do you think this card is going to outsell the new Nvidia cards?


First Benchmark Results For Polaris Powered AMD R9 480 Appear Online

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

The first benchmarks have been posted for the upcoming Radeon R9 480 thanks to a chart that appeared thanks to data obtained from software benchmark maker Futuremark. These benchmarks  may have used unreleased or even older drivers so these results shouldn’t be taken as final representation of the yet unannounced performance, but they do give a good baseline.

According to Videocardz.com three potentially different models of unreleased Polaris cards, each with the same clock speed but varying memory clocks. This could mean that these benchmarks were completed using the same cards with overclock enabled or separate SKUS that use the same clock speed. Videocardz postulates that the three cards represented 480, 480x and Crossfire configurations.


AMD Polaris 10 Benchmarks
Link Memory Core Clock Memory Clock Score
AMD Polaris 67DF:C4 — Radeon R9 480?
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11167781 8GB 1266 MHz 1925 MHz 13160
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11167887 8GB 1266 MHz 1925 MHz 16164
AMD Polaris 67DF:C7 — Radeon R9 480X?
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11257751 8GB 1266 MHz 2000 MHz 15524
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11263084 8GB 1266 MHz 2000 MHz 18060
AMD Polaris 67DF:C7 — Radeon R9 480X CROSSFIRE?
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11263252 8GB 1266 MHz 2000 MHz 25803

Here are the basic specs for the supposed Radeon R9 480 as outlined in the original benchmarks:

  • Core clock speed of 1266mhz
  • Memory bandwidth between 1925 MHZ and 2000 MHZ
  • 8 GB of memory standard across the board.

As for the final 3DMark 11 scores, these three cards ranged from 13160 to 25803. Performance wise that would put the highest performing configuration from Futuremark (presumed to a 480 crossfire config) to be just two thousand points below NVidia’s flagship 1080. The second model referenced in these benchmarks (presumably the R9 480X) is just 200 points shy of the Radeon R9 FURY and lastly, what is presumed to be the 480 reference card sits just below the R9 390x.

Polaris is the successor to the Graphics Card Next platform that AMD has been using for a few years now. The first set of benchmarks for competitor NVidia’s Geforce 1080 hit the web a few days ago and will be available next month. No release date or even a formal announcement of the R9 480 has yet to be made by AMD.



AMD releases new dual GPU, GPU Radeon Pro Duo

Posted on March 15, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

AMD is coming out swinging this year. Their latest line of Radeon cards, the Fiji line, have put up a serious competitor to NVidia that hasnt been seen in the last 4 or 5 years. Now they have entered the double card package market, previously occupied by the lone NVida Titan card. If the specs released today are true, this is in fact not a competitor, but rather a Titan killer. AMD has started this card off with two Fiji chips, which means we’re still looking at two GPUs with 4GB of HBM RAM each. Which does feel a little odd since AMD already has an 8GB card in the R9 390 and its pretty much the lowest cost 8gb card that exists at just over 300$.

To set it apart from the 390, the Pro Duo has a closed loop water cooling solution built right in. It required three separate power connectors, as you can see in this image below, and its a hefty beast of a thing. Some back of envelope math, and a little googling tells me that if this GPU actaully needs all three of those PEG connectors, its pulling close to 450 watts of power. Say good night to your wallet, and hello to hi power bills. AMD

Read More


AMD Reveals Which CPUs They Recommend For Use With Oculus Rift

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Owners of AMD hardware have been kept in the dark in terms of detailed specs for the upcoming Oculus Rift headset. Officially Oculus recommends that potential owners have a “Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater” but that does very little except give the reader the exact processor that they might need if they were gaming on an intel based rig.

Thankfully AMD has stepped in with their own list of recommended processors for a smooth virtual reality experience. In general AMD is recommending that VR pioneers have at least a quad-core CPU running at 3.9GHZ minimum that is based upon the 2012 Piledriver architecture which continues to power the company’s existing high end desktop offerings.

Here’s the full list of recommended VR Ready processors according to Advanced Micro Devices:

  • FX-9590 (8 Core @ 4.7GHZ)
  • FX-9370 (8 Core @ 4.4 GHZ)
  • FX-8370 (8 Core @ 4.0 GHZ)
  • FX-8350 (8 Core @ 4.0GHZ)
  • FX-6350 (6 Core @ 3.9GHZ)
  • A10-7890 APU (4 Core @ 4.1 GHZ)
  • A10-7870 APU (4 Core @ 3.9 GHZ)
  • Athlon X4 880 (4 Core @ 4.0 GHZ)
  • Athlon X4 870 (4 Core @ 3.9GHZ)

Does your CPU meet the minimum recommended specs for VR as outlined by AMD? Thankfully Oculus’ official minimum specs do recommend an AMD graphics card – a Radeon 290 or greater.


AMD Announces New Processors & Motherboards To Exist Alongside Current Offerings

Posted on February 2, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced new entries in its existing line of “A Series” APUs and “Athlon” brand processors that will co-exist alongside existing offerings. They have also announced that they will begin producing motherboards for their current AM3+/FMS2+ socket types that will feature more modern connectivity options such as USB 3.1 with the C-type connector.

In terms of new processor AMD will roll out the A10-7860K, the A6-7470K and the Athlon X4 845.  The A10 is currently AMD’s most powerful all-in-one APU providing Radeon graphics processing and a multi-core processor on one dye. The new A10 APU will run at a boosted speed of 4.0GHZ, had 8 GPU cores and has a reduced power footprint over previous versions – 65W down from 95W.

The Athlon X4 845 will run at 3.8GHZ boosted / 3.5 GHZ stock and also boasts a lower consumption compared to other Athlon X4 models – coming in at just 65W.

Both the A10-7860K and the Athlon X4 845 will be compatible with the new Wraith Cooler that AMD unveiled at CES this past month. The Wraith Cooler will replace the existing stock cooler on several of the company’s chipsets including the Athlon X4 870K, A8-7670 and other processors.

New motherboards will manufactured by ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock.



AMD Officially Announces Polaris Line of GPUs Due Out Later This Year

Posted on January 4, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

We’ve known for a while that AMD has been working on a new iteration of the Graphics Card Next platform codenamed Polaris. Today the company made it official, with the apparent release of several slides containing information on the new architecture.

As predicted the new cards will be branded under the Radeon 400 series moniker and bring with them a whole host of improvements over the previous generation Radeon 300 series. In terms of the manufacturing process AMD will be using a combination of 16nm fabrication alongside a licensed process from Samsung that uses 14nm. They’ve also focused on the performance per watt, making the Radeon 400 series less demanding on laptops when compared to its predecessors.

Read More


AMDs Next Generation GPU Architecture Codenamed “Polaris”

Posted on January 1, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

AMD’s next round of graphics cards, presumably to be released under the Radeon 400 series moniker, will be powered by the company’s next generation architecture codenamed “Polaris”. Currently AMD’s graphics cards, as well as the graphics processors used in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, are powered by the GCN framework (graphics card next) originally introduced in 2011 with the Trinity APU line and Radeon 7000 series.

This latest leak regarding the Polaris architecture comes from well-known graphics card insider @GFXChipTweeter who tweets a lot of information about graphics card advancement and in particular AMD related technologies. Raja Koduri posted an image the described Polaris as:

AMD Polaris Leak

This isn’t the first major leak in AMD’s recent history or even in the past fifteen years. While the company has been very forthcoming about the ZEN architecture that will eventually replace the AMD FX line of desktop chips a leak of a supposed roadmap that leads into 2020 calls for a new high performance class of the company’s APU processors and a release of new graphics card technologies every two year. Let’s not forget that the major Doom 3 leak from 12 years ago was eventually traced back to the precursor of AMD’s Graphics division, ATI technologies.


AMD Crimson Bug May Cause Cards To Overheat

Posted on November 29, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Editor’s Note:

After the publication of this story it has come to our attention that AMD has issued a tweet that outlines their plans for a hot fix for this particular bug due out on Monday, original story follows:

AMD’s recent release of the Crimson driver suite – designed to replace the aging AMD Catalyst Control Centre and speed up gaming performance by up to 20% – might have a critical bug linked to the software’s control of graphic card fans.

Several users on different sub-reddits are reporting that the AMD Crimson software is not correctly adjusting their Radeon Card’s fan to properly manage the increased heat that comes with running games.Read More


Does AMD’s Crimson Driver Suite Really Increase Performance By 20%?

Posted on November 25, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

As we reported earlier this week AMD has released an elaborate overhaul of both it’s Windows 10 / 8 / 7 drivers for AMD Radeon Cards that support the Graphics Card Next (GCN) architecture. In the interest of performance, I’ve decided to test the performance of the last AMD Catalyst Software / Driver versus the newly released AMD Crimson. Check out my testing methodology, suite of games and results after the jump!Read More


Get the latest articles and news from BrokenJoysticks and a selection of excellent articles from other sources.

Simply fill out the form below and you’ll be on your way to getting our upcoming newsletter.