AMD Strikes at the VR Market

GPU manufacturer announces VR ready graphics card for $199

AMD just announced a new graphics card capable of powering a virtual reality headset. The AMD Radeon RX480 will be retail for only $199. Both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift currently require graphics cards costing upwards of $300. (NVIDIA’s GTX 1070 currently retails for $380, while their GTX 1080 sits at a lofty $600).

The RX480 will use AMD’s new Polaris architecture, along with AMD’s FreeSync technology and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) gaming. (FreeSync helps smooth framerates, HDR expands the range of colors and contrasts for displays) AMD’s new card carries around five teraflops of computing power, compared to six teraflops on the NVIDIA GTX 1070 and nine teraflops from the 1080. 

"AMD has chosen not to directly compete with NVIDIA."

Id Software praised the card for running their remake of the hit classic Doom, although frame rates have not been posted. Another possibility is to use two of the cards, which would cost only $400. It was stated by AMD Radeon head Raja Koduri that this configuration beat NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 in both frame rate and computing capacity. For Ashes of Singularity, the dual-RX480 configuration clocked 62.5 frames per second, while the GTX 1080 clocked 58.7 frames. The RX480s reached about 50 percent capacity while the GTX 1080 reached nearly 100 percent. This sounds promising on paper, however, there are still too many unknowns (clock speeds, graphical settings, etc.).

With this card, AMD has the chance to drastically cut the entry cost for VR. NVIDIA has proven nearly impossible to dethrone in the high-end market, and AMD has chosen not to directly compete with the monstrous GTX 10 series. Performance gains in GPUs have stagnated in recent years, and AMD’s move looks to be great for budget-conscious gamers.