The Intel/AMD news just won’t stop this week. Raja Koduri has indeed left AMD—and he has indeed joined Intel. This was a fair bit of conjecture until now (we even mentioned it in our most recent HW News video, not knowing whether it would be confirmed or debunked), but Intel has released an official statement confirming the move, and the existence of their newly formed Core and Visual Computing Group, which Koduri will helm.
Raja Koduri is a prominent figurehead in the industry, especially as it relates to graphics, visuals, and GPU computing. He notably led AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, and served as director of graphics for Apple. News of his move to Intel came during his sabbatical he announced back in September, under which he intended to spend time with his family after a grueling Vega launch. His experience and expertise will doubtless be invaluable as part of Intel’s strategy to aggressively expand their presence in the GPU market.
AMD’s taken a page out of nVidia’s book, apparently, and nVidia probably took that page from Apple – or any number of other companies that elect to re-use product names. The new Radeon Pro Duo uses the same name as last year’s launch, but has updated the internals.
Some of our previous AMD GPU reviews have concluded that the devices were hamstrung by AMD's ability to support the hardware through adequate drivers and software. Recent attempts made by the company seek to turn this around, AMD stating on a press call that it is “getting extremely serious about software.” Radeon Software is AMD's newest endeavor to enable its hardware through improved software support.
Catalyst Control Center is being retired and repackaged as “Radeon Software,” which features a new, minimalism-inspired interface with some improved profiling functionality. The newest Radeon Software suite is codenamed “Crimson,” a version identifier for this year's deployment. We're told that each major update – likely once a year – will rollover to a new shade of red for sub-versioning identifiers of “Radeon Software.”
It might seem like just a few weeks ago that we posted about AMD's Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers --and that's because it was. The 14.1 beta drivers saw the delivery of Mantle to the general public, which would later be applied in a large (>1GB) Battlefield 4 patch. Of course, I've yet to discover a software application that can release patches without introducing new issues. Catalyst 14.2 attempts to address some of the leftovers from 14.1 and prior.
14.2's major changes bring TrueAudio and Mantle support for the impending launch of the new Thief game; TrueAudio, if you're unaware, is AMD's way of driving surround-style audio through the video card (offloading some processing). The experience as a whole is pretty unique and promising, though we've only tested the "studio version" at CES, where the environment and equipment were fairly optimized.
AMD's R7 250 has had a boring life due to its relative uselessness when compared against slightly more expensive, significantly more powerful cards (see: GTX 650 Ti Boost, AMD 7850). AMD just announced their $100 R7 250X -- a step below the 260 (which is GCN 1.1-enabled and offers TrueAudio) and above the R7 250. It is equivalent to the Radeon 7770 in all aspects other than memory -- for which we are still awaiting information.
The new Radeon R7 250X runs on a GCN 1.0 Cape Verde GPU, meaning it lacks TrueAudio support (along with better CU optimization). It will likely ship with 1GB and 2GB SKUs in a GDDR5 configuration, though there is a possibility that AMD could ship the 2GB model in DDR3 configurations.
The new 250X will compete most directly vs. the already-uninteresting GTX 650, where gamers will see a slight FPS advantage in favor of the 250X at roughly the same price. For what it's worth, we're also expecting an nVidia GTX 750 Ti launch on February 18th.
After our coverage of nVidia's GTX 780 Ti -- a $700 enthusiasts-only monster -- we turn now to AMD for a reality-check. For nearly a full year now, we've been recommending AMD's 7850 and nVidia's GTX 650 Ti Boost in the low-end, and given all the shifting of the high-end market, those suggestions have remained stable. We won't see nVidia's entry-level cards until next year, but AMD isn't waiting around: they've announced the R9 270, a card that aims to compete with existing mid-range cards at a significantly lower price-point.
We'll cover the AMD R9 270 specs, price, and preliminary benchmarks against the 7850 and GTX 760 below; new information on the Never Settle Bundle is also included.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.