AMD Unveils Full Line of Upcoming Radeon RX GPUs

The new graphics cards, based on the vendor's 14nm Polaris architecture, are designed to make high-end VR and gaming experiences more affordable.


Advanced Micro Devices officials continue to give consumer PC users and gamers a look at what they can expect with the company's upcoming graphics cards based on its new Polaris architecture.

At the Computex 2016 show last month, the vendor previewed the Radeon RX 480 GPU, a high-end chip that officials said will deliver premium virtual reality (VR) experiences for gamers at a relatively low price, starting at $200 for a 4GB version.

This week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), AMD President and CEO Lisa Su showed off the entire line of the upcoming Radeon RX family, which also includes the RX 470 for more power-efficient gaming and PC use, and the low-end RX 460 for e-sports gaming.

With the new lineup, AMD is bringing high-end GPU capabilities to a broader market, officials said. The Polaris architecture provides high-end features and performance at prices—from $100 to $300—that make them available to a wider audience.

"Gamers and consumers today are being left behind," Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect with AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, said in a statement. "Today, only the top 16 percent of PC gamers are purchasing GPUs that deliver premium VR and Gaming experiences. Hundreds of millions of gamers have been relegated to using outdated technology."

According to Koduri, those playing games on notebooks "are often forced to compromise. And tens of millions more can only read about incredible PC VR experiences that they can't enjoy for themselves." The company is looking to change that equation with the new Polaris GPUs.

GPU technologies are a cornerstone of AMD's future efforts, enabling the company to compete in a broad range of growth areas, including gaming, immersive computing and VR. The vendor is looking to gain greater inroads into the market as it competes with Nvidia. Company executives have pointed to graphics, semi-custom chips, the data center and high-end PCs as key drivers in AMD's turnaround efforts and strategy to return to sustainable profitability.

AMD in January introduced the Polaris architecture at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, outlining the performance, efficiency and affordability gains coming from the fact that the GPUs will be built on a 14-nanomter 3D FinFET transistor design, which enables significant improvements in performance and power efficiency. The FinFET PC GPU architecture will more than double the performance-per-watt of previous Radeon graphics technologies, and enabled AMD to drop its graphics offerings in size from 28nm—where the company had been for five years—to 14nm, allowing it to better compete against rivals Nvidia and Intel. The Polaris architecture also includes such features as High-Bandwidth Memory.

With the Radeon RX series, AMD officials hope to bring VR and high-end gaming capabilities to a wider range of more affordable form factors—including thin and light PCs—and to more users, officials said. In addition, APIs will enable more developers to create gaming and other high-end applications to both consoles and PCs, they said.

AMD officials didn't disclose more detailed pricing for the new GPUs or give more concrete timelines for availability, though they did mention that new PCs with the technologies will be hitting the market this summer.