AMD Announces “Absolutely Most Powerful Graphics Card in the World”

Today during the Game Developers Conference, AMD announced the Radeon Pro Duo, which it’s calling “the world’s first content creation platform aimed squarely at the VR developer.” This takes the form of a dual-GPU featuring two Fury X-class graphics cards running side by side, making it “absolutely the most powerful graphics card in the world by far.” That’s the description AMD marketing executive Chris Hook used to explain the new board, which is principally focused on virtual reality.

“Rather than just do another workstation card, we actually started about a year ago; we sampled VR developers [about what they’d like to see from a VR card,” Hook told us in a recent interview.

He said AMD wondered, “What would happen if we took professional workstation-class drivers and gaming drivers and fuse them together to create a platform that would not only give you great scaling across pre-vis and post- and rendering applications… but would also be a great gaming platform?'”

The answer is the Radeon Pro Duo dual-GPU. For VR specifically, the fact that it has two distinct graphics chips on one card will help reduce latency, a key point for VR development, Hook said.

AMD is investing so heavily in VR because it sees a future beyond gaming alone. The company has already formed a partnership with the Associated Press for a news-gathering VR app, while it’s partnered with Fox Studios for a VR experience based on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film that hits theaters this winter. AMD is also working with the Smithsonian for a VR app that will take you to the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers first took flight.

More details about the Assassin’s Creed VR app will be shared later.

The Radeon Pro Duo also makes use of AMD’s LiquidVR framework, while it boasts an incredible 16 teraflops of compute performance. It’s coming early Q2 2016 and will carry a price tag of $1500. You can learn more about the technical specifics here.

In other VR news today from AMD, the company reiterated that it’s working with Crysis developer Crytek on its VR First education campaign. Special labs at colleges around the world will be outfitted with computers with the new Radeon Pro Duo card. Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said in a statement that he sees the company’s VR First labs as becoming “key incubators” for nurturing new talent in the VR space and helping to bring the new technology to the masses.

“VR experiences, harnessing the power of the CryEngine and developed using world-class Radeon hardware and software, will have the potential to fundamentally transform how we interact with technology,” Yerli said.

Another piece of AMD’s VR announcements today was that the company is launching GPU certified programs for new “Radeon VR Ready Premium” and “Radeon VR Ready Creator” tiers. On top of that, AMD says its chips are used in 83 percent of existing VR systems out there in the world today, including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

AMD also today announced that it’s working with Sulon Technologies on a VR/AR headset called Sulon Q.

VR stands to be a major trend at GDC 2016 this week. Keep checking back all week for more.

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