Forbes interviewed AMDs matt Skynner and he Talks New Radeon Cards, Next-Gen Consoles, 7990 Criticism. According to matt Skynner their new GPU is smaller than TITAN. Considerably smaller. It should be around 423mm2. This basically means that it’s 15% bigger than Tahiti. That said, you can probably pack 20% more components into bigger die. There is some good info in the interview. Have a peek.
Jason Evangelho: As we prepare for a new console generation, many developers and PC vendors believe that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will further propel PC gaming and sales. As the company with architecture across PC and all next-gen consoles, what’s your stance?
Matt Skynner: “PC gaming is alive and well. That’s a segment that’s growing. Whenever new consoles come out it gives a boost to gaming overall. Because the architectures are similar, it reduces cost, makes it easier for a developer to create for console and PC. Gamers aren’t console or PC gamers. In my mind gaming is gaming, and any advance in one area helps things across the board.
“The new consoles too triggered a rush in game engine development. Anytime developers are spending new effort and new focus on designing new engines, then of course they’re going to release PC games that feature these technologies.
“Couple years ago when we saw how the console thing was gonna shake out, we thought how can we leverage this to a better Radeon gaming solution across other markets, also. As you know when consoles are first launched, games are first developed on console and then ported to PC. Because it’s our architecture there, it’s easier to port the games. And because they’re first developed on our hardware, there should be a performance advantage. They should run better on our hardware. So if we can create that performance advantage on the PC, from a graphics point of view, then we can give our customers a better gaming experience and grow our market share.”
How has the consumer response been to Never Settle Forever? You lowered the overall take-home game count but dramatically increased user choice.
“A few years ago we really upped our investment with game developers. I think you’ve seen the results of that in the last year with our Never Settle bundle game program. The response has been very positive. Just like all the promotions, we get a bump particularly at the beginning. The advantage is that gamers can choose what they want. It also gives us the ability to add to the bundle as time goes on. We just recently added Saints Row IV, for example.”
But the burning question among my readers is: Will you add Battlefield 4 to Never Settle Forever?
“What I will say is that we are the Battlefield 4 hardware partner for APUs, CPUs, and GPUs…”
Will AMD push to increase participation with more game developers in setting up AMD optimized games, or do you feel you are in a good spot at the moment?
“We always want to be there when the best titles come out. Beyond optimizing, I think the other thing is to bring cool technologies and features to market with the game developers. I think our best example of that is TressFX. Bringing TressFX to the developers for Tomb Raider was a big deal, because we helped make that game look better. There are lots of game developers on staff at AMD who help these external game developers implement these technologies.
“We have a portfolio of effects that can be used in upcoming games. And when we work with developers, we extend this portfolio to them to help them realize the vision for their game. So it’s technical support, it’s bundling, and of course we’re also looking to expand our portfolio with developers.
“Working with the game engine developers is important also, because it leverages into multiple games as opposed to just one.”
What graphics optimizations in games do you see as important, but are not commonly implemented enough on the PC side?
“I started here at ATI before AMD 15 years ago. The leap in immersiveness from then to now is incredible, but we’re still not there…”
We’re still stuck in the Uncanny Valley a bit…
“The biggest example of that is Polar Express. They look kind of creepy, right? It’s what’s not there sometimes. It seems like such a small change to make that hair more realistic. But if you can do that one thing and do it well, you can drastically change someone’s perception of a game.
“If you look at most first person shooters, they’re either wearing helmets or they’re bald! We can’t disclose the numbers, but there are currently more games in development featuring TressFX.”
You’re holding a press event in the near future to discuss your next-generation Radeon series, but what can you tell me right now?
“They’re coming in Q4. I can’t reveal a pricepoint but we’re looking at more traditional enthusiast GPU pricepoints. We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999. We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.
“It’s also extremely efficient. [Nvidia's Kepler] GK110 is nearly 30% bigger from a die size point of view. We believe we have the best performance for the die size for the enthusiast GPU.
“Another thing I can tell you is about the process node: this GPU is in 28nm. Some have speculated that it was 20nm and it’s not for a specific reason: At 28nm for an enthusiast GPU, we can achieve higher clock speeds and higher absolute performance.”
Do you have any plans for your next ultra enthusiast card to have a water cooling feature like the ASUS Ares card did?
“Well I can’t reveal all our plans! But we do work with partners to provide some cool solutions, and we’ll continue to do that.”
You’ve been frequently criticized for your driver support. How will you address this moving forward?
“We were doing driver updates monthly whether we needed to or not. The frequency of our updates – especially lately – I’d say is pretty good. There’s actually a review I saw the other day from a Chinese site that compared a bunch of our drivers over the last year, and they talked about the increase in performance from driver to driver. We have a plan to release a new driver when a significant new game becomes available.
“And recently there have been a lot of big drivers or a lot of big games!”
I’m a proponent of Nvidia NVDA+0.12%’s GeForce Experience. I know how to tweak games manually to get the graphics performance I want, but the idea of that software lowering the barrier of entry to PC gaming is exciting. Have you considered anything similar to that for your users?
“The answer is yes. And there could be more on that later…”
Well, that’s a nice tease! I know you aren’t here to focus on APUs, but I’ll ask this anyway: I recently benched the A10-6800K and was pretty impressed with what’s there. They won’t replace dedicated GPUs just yet, but do you envision a future where an APU can deliver high quality 1080p gaming on PC? Especially considering what you’ve achieved with the semi-custom APUs for Xbox One and PlayStation 4?
“What I’ll say is that we have great APU solutions, the best graphics in the world on those solutions. We can offer further benefit when we leverage a discrete graphics card to offer dual graphics. I think we’re gonna see our APU performance continue to improve as we go forward. And the reason we can do that is because we’re leveraging the technology from our discrete GPUs.”