AMD Unveils Next-Generation Radeon Graphics Cards, On-GPU Audio Processing, Proprietary Mantle API

AMD Introduces New Radeon R7 and R9 Graphics Products

by Anton Shilov
09/25/2013 | 09:08 PM

Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday introduced its all-new Radeon graphics cards as well as new family of graphics processing units. The new R9- and R7-series of GPUs -- which will be available at price-points from $89 to $599+ -- will not only improve performance, but will also introduce a set of new graphics, audio and compute-related capabilities.


The new AMD Radeon R7 and R9 families of graphics chip feature three key pillars: AMD GCN architecture with tweaks that adds support for DirectX 11.2 application programming interface; AMD TrueAudio technology, a fully programmable audio engine that is supposed to provide incredible level of programmability to developers whish is supposed to result in cinema-like positional audio in video games; as well as a set of optimizations for ultra high-definition 4K (3840*2160) output.

AMD Radeon R9 290X top-of-the-range graphics chip, which consists of over 6 billion of transistors, is capable of achieving 5GFLOPS of single-precision performance, the fastest single GPU in the industry. The graphics cards boasts with whopping 300GB/s memory bandwidth. The new flagship graphics processor from AMD is made using 28nm process technology.

AMD pins a lot of hopes on its TrueAudio technology for real-time positional audio processing using computational capabilities of the latest GPUs. Since the TrueAudio is fully programmable, it will now be possible for game designers to add realism to their games, provided that they are interested and the implementation does not serious affect their schedules. One of the first titles to take advantage of AMD TrueAudio will be this year's Thief by Eidos, Lichdom by Xaviant, Murdered Soul Suspect by Square Enix/AirTight and Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games. AMD TrueAudio will be initially available on AMD Radeon R7 260X, R9 290 and R9 290X graphics boards.

Quite unexpectedly, AMD introduced what it calls Mantle, a cross-platform application programming interface (that will only support Windows operating system initially) designed specifically for graphics processing units based on graphics core next (GCN) architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization. Being low-level API, Mantle can bypass all the bottlenecks modern PC/API architectures; according to AMD, Mantle enables nine times more draw calls per second than DirectX and OpenGL thanks to lower CPU overhead. AMD and EA/DICE announced a Mantle renderer for the forthcoming Battlefield 4 game in December, 2013. Mantle will be detailed further at the AMD Developer Summit, APU13, taking place in November.

In the coming quarters AMD plans to introduce five new graphics cards designed for different market segments, including AMD Radeon R7 250 1GB GDDR5 ($89), AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB GDDR5 ($139), AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB GDDR5 ($199), AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB GDDR5 ($299) as well as AMD Radeon R9 290X. AMD Radeon R9 290X will be available for pre-order starting October 3. A special Battlefield 4 edition of the R9 290X will also be up for grabs from select partners.

AMD did not disclose exact specs of the forthcoming products.