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AMD, Dell Partner on 'Oculus-Ready' PCs

The adoption of AMD's GPUs by Dell is a boon for the chip maker's efforts to grow its presence in the burgeoning immersive computing space.

desktop PC

Advanced Micro Devices officials earlier this year said that immersive computing was one the growth markets they expected will help push the chip maker back into sustainable profitability.

The company this week took a significant step into that market by announcing it is partnering with Dell and Oculus to develop desktops and notebooks that can support Oculus' virtual reality technology. The Dell systems are among a number of "VR-ready" PCs that are expected to roll out over the next few months.

For example, Asus is lining up a portfolio of "Oculus-ready" tower PCs—including the Asus G11CD and ROG G20CB—that will launch in the next few months.

The systems from Dell and its Alienware gaming PC division will include AMD's Radeon R9 GPUs that will leverage the chip maker's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and LiquidVR technology for enhanced virtual reality experiences. The systems will start at $999.

For AMD, the embrace by Dell is an important step in its efforts to grow in the immersive computing space and compete with larger GPU vendor Nvidia, which is pushing its GameWorks VR technologies. In March, AMD officials kicked off an initiative to bring high-level VR experiences to developers and end users through its new LiquidVR technology.

"It's an exciting time to be at the heart of all things virtual reality," Roy Taylor, corporate vice president of alliances and content at AMD, said in a statement. "I'm confident that with Dell and Alienware, we can enable a wide audience of PC users with extraordinary VR capabilities powered by AMD Radeon GPUs."

According to AMD, LiquidVR brings low-latency VR performance and compatibility with VR headsets, such as those developed by Oculus. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.

Dell's Alienware gaming business will be a beneficiary of the virtual reality technology coming to market.

"For nearly 20 years Alienware has been a leader in performance and innovation for PC gaming; virtual reality is the next frontier and we plan to innovate and lead in the same way, with the same passion," Frank Azor, co-founder and general manager of Alienware, said in a statement.

AMD is looking to immersive computing—as well gaming and data center infrastructure—to help boost its financial future. The company in June released its latest Radeon GPUs, including the R9 Fury series. The chips include AMD's High-Bandwidth Memory technology, which is designed to increase performance, density and power efficiency through its stacked memory chip architecture.