The Game Developers Conference 2013 was the scene, a tech savvy backdrop for AMD to reveal their latest pixel pushing technology. While AMD had a large presence behind the scenes they somehow managed to avoid the spotlight.
Only willing to give the tech hungry audience a sneak peak at upcoming technology AMD kept the audience hanging in suspense. As a part of their tech sneak peek AMD previewed two up and coming technologies,; the long awaited HD 7990 dual GPU uber video card and the brand new Radeon Sky family of video cards for the clouds.
Also included for your viewing pleasure is the HD 7990 Battlefield 4 demonstration video taken at the GDC.
AMD’s Missing In Action Radeon HD 7990
Working behind the scenes at DICE’s Battle Field 4 demonstration the HD 7990 provided compelling visuals., this is a 50 calibre video card.
AMD have taken a laid back approach to the 7990 over the last 12 months, letting their manufacturing partners PowerColour and ASUS produce the cards and hog the limelight. Some products require the hard sell; uber video cards on the other hand are a far more exclusive beast.
This absence has led many to consider the AMD 7990 MIA, at GDC for the first time it has finally surfaced as a product, with working cards on display that should be available shortly.
Very little is known of the new card, no specifics for speeds and feeds as yet. Going by the PowerColour and ASUS 7990 cards already on the market the card should have 3584 stream processors with 6GB of GDDR5 Ram.
The full length video card (at around 30cm) will require a full sized case to call home. The cooling runs the full length of the double wide dual slot card, while the bright red triple fan cooler is said to be whisper quiet its open design will require solid case ventilation to keep the heat at bay.
The two 8 pin power plugs suggests 375watt power requirement for the card, no real increase over the previous HD 6990 cards.
Matt Skynner, general manager of AMD’s graphics business unit, held the card up and said “This is the first public showing, We’re not saying much about it other than its two series-7900 GPUs on a single card, and it’s whisper quiet.”
AMD Radeon Sky Series, Uber Graphics for the Clouds…
Cloud gaming is a new option for gamers that is taking games to new places. Allowing tablets and low performance devices to enjoy gaming well above the devices abilities. This is just the tip of the iceberg for this new industry. Shifting the number crunching of any game to central dedicated processors, both home and network based servers, will be the next revolution in gaming.
AMD hopes to capture some of this virgin territory by introducing 3 video cards in the Radeon HD Sky family of video cards for the clouds. Designed exclusively for use by datacentres, these cards will be living in high density rack mount accommodation, rendering games for people playing in faraway lands. The chances are a monitor will never be plugged into their solitary DVI port.
Of the three new cards the top of the range Sky 900 is based on a pair of Tahiti Pro GPU’s (Radeon HD 7950’s) with 3GB of GDDR5 RAM for each GPU, 6GB total. The Sky 700 utilises a single Tahiti Pro GPU and 3GB of Ram. The baby of the family is the Sky 500 which is based on the Pitcairn XT (Radeon HD 7870) GPU with 4GB of Ram. All cards are clocked lower than their desktop video card counterparts, limiting heat for the demanding environment.
Designed for the cramped quarters of rack-mount data-centres the cards are all designed with special enclosures that feature rear exhausting passive cooling. Passively cooled these silent pixel pushers might be just what your home server needs?
Each card is capable of supporting 6 HD video streams simultaneously, the 900 is technically capable of 12 streams but this may require a software update.
To assist managing a farm of video cards AMD is also introducing RapidFire technology, a hardware and software API combination that will allow simple control of all cards remotely.
“Data and services are moving the cloud, and so is gaming,” Cummings said. “What do gamers want from the cloud? They want the experience to be easy to install, easy to use, and available from on any device at any location.”
“AMD intends to support the whole cloud: The home cloud and the public cloud. Cloud gaming requires HD gaming at 30 frames per second, outstanding compression, optimal density—meaning the best performance per watt and the most users per GPU—minimal latency, and enterprise-grade hardware.”
As the GDC draws to a close, stands are disassembled and the lights turned off. After all is said and done AMD managed to make an impression without seeming to try.