Johan Andersson, a Frostbite developer under EA, today posted a photograph of AMD's new liquid-cooled video card. It is already known that the R9 300-series video cards are due for release in the summer – likely June – and that the flagship devices will be liquid cooled, but little has been officially announced. The pictured Pirate Islands card is assumed to be a 390X.

The Witcher 3's bombastic launch included bonus, spill-over fanfare surrounding the use of nVidia's GameWorks middle-ware in Project Cars. AMD spewed fire, telling Ars that GameWorks “completely sabotaged” AMD's performance, further stating “it's wrecked our performance, almost as if it [were] put in to achieve that goal.” This implication of an nVidia-branded torpedo to AMD's performance garnered attention on reddit and other social networks, following a week of similar postings related to Project Cars. We decided to do some of our own research.

First, it's worth noting that we've already invested countless hours into graphics testing in The Witcher 3, and we're still conducting further settings performance analysis for every option.

Benchmarking the Witcher 3 proved to be more cumbersome than any game we've ever benchmarked. CD Projekt Red's game doesn't front the tremendously overwhelming assortment of options that GTA V does – all of which we tested, by the way – but it was still a time-consuming piece of software to analyze. This is largely due to optimization issues across the board, but we'll dive into that momentarily.

In this Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt PC benchmark, we compare the FPS of graphics cards at varied settings (1080p, 1440p, 4K) to uncover achievable framerates. Among others, we tested SLI GTX 980s, a Titan X, GTX 960s, last-gen cards, and AMD's R9 290X, 285, and 270X. Game settings were tweaked in methodology for the most fair comparison (below), but primarily checked for FPS at 1080p (ultra, medium, low), 1440p (ultra, medium), and 4K (ultra, medium).

That's a big matrix.

Let's get started.

“Tessellation” isn't an entirely new technology – Epic and Crytek have been talking about it for years, alongside nVidia's own pushes – but it's been getting more visibility in modern games. GTA V, for instance, has a special tessellation toggle that can be tweaked for performance. Like most settings found in a graphics menu, the general understanding of tessellation is nebulous at best; it's one of those settings that, perhaps like ambient occlusion or anti-aliasing, has a loose tool-tip of a definition, but doesn't get broken-down with much depth.

As part of our efforts to expand our game graphics settings glossary, we sat down with Epic Games Senior Technical Artist Alan Willard, a 17-year veteran of the company. Willard provided a basic overview of tessellation, how it is used in game graphics, GPU load and performance, and implementation techniques.

Due to take effect on May 10, AMD just announced at Financial Analyst Day that it would further sink its APU pricing on several SKUs. This price dip is likely a part of AMD's annual inventory clearance, an action usually taken to reduce channel inventory leading into new product launches. Retail prices have dropped upwards of $23 in some instances, resulting in – for example – a $127 A10-7850K.

The full pricing table is below:

We regularly emphasize that, by going with and AMD CPU and motherboard, you can utilize the savings to purchase a higher-end GPU rather than going with an Intel CPU and motherboard (for that, see our Battlefield Build we recently did). In the case of games which are not CPU-bound, this makes for an easy way to save money on building budget gaming computers.

This is an experiment of sorts for us, attempting to see how cheap a build we can do using AMD components; note that we do not recommend this build for GTA V as it is a CPU-intensive game. This gaming PC build -- with some slight overclocking -- can play just about every game out (sans GTA or Watch Dogs) at highest settings for under $1000.

It's finally here.

Grand Theft Auto V took its time to migrate to PC, and from our preliminary overview and testing, it seems like the wait was worthwhile. GTA V's PC port exhibits unique PC features, like a VRAM consumption slider indicative of the maximum VRAM requirement of the current settings. The port also added first-person mode, complete with new 3D models and animations for the characters' arms, phone, guns, and what-have-you. As you'll find out in our benchmark results below, the game is also incredibly well-optimized across most graphics card configurations, something we can't say has been true for most games in recent history.

These things take time, and RockStar certainly took as much of that as it needed.

Using a suite of video cards spanning the Titan X, SLI GTX 980s, R9 290X and 270Xs, GTX 960s, 750 Ti cards, and more, we benchmarked GTA V in an intensive test. This GTA V PC benchmark compares FPS of various graphics cards at maximum settings in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.

This article makes no intentions to comment on gameplay value.

We're revisiting our Evolve benchmark, now that the game has fully launched and (some) drivers have been updated. Our previous Evolve bench tested the game's beta, but disclaimed heavily that the beta meant a lack of driver support and software-side optimization. The return benchmark uses much of the same methodology and represents the same game as previously, so this article will be a bit shorter in length.

AMD's Gaming Evolved software application – a partnership with Raptr – has been compromised in a security exploit and is encouraging users to change passwords. The utility is used for game video capture (similar to ShadowPlay, but web-enabled), but also enables easier drive management and game-hardware integration (settings optimization for video cards, similar to GeForce Experience).

Anyone who pays attention to computing knows that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been struggling for some time. They are in the unfortunate position of being #2 (of two) for CPUs, second to Intel. AMD primarily focuses on the budget-market with APUs and CPUs that outperform Intel’s directly-competing options in that range. In the GPU market, AMD is again #2 (of two) to NVIDIA for discrete GPUs, and this is a vicious and close marketing battle.

AMD has exhibited a steady downward spiral in their stock prices for the past 4 years.

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