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AMD's Vision, Smartphones, Steam Machines, And Pricing

Tom's Hardware's AMA With AMD, In Its Entirety
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Q. Regarding G-Sync, what would be easier: Licensing Nvidia's tech and eventually getting them to open it up, or creating an open alternative and asking them to contribute? There is, after all, more excitement about G-Sync than stuff like 4K.

A. We fundamentally disagree that there is more excitement about G-Sync than 4K. As to what would be easier with respect to NVIDIA’s technology, it’s probably best to wait an NVIDIA AMA. :p

(Community Manager’s Note: We’ve reached out to Nvidia to invite them to an Ask Me Anything here on Tom’s, and unfortunately they have not responded to follow-up emails after expressing initial interest.  We’ll keep trying.)

Q. Is AMD planning on making an OpenCL based physics engine for games that could hopefully replace PhysX?

A. No, we are not making an OpenCL physics library to replace PhysX. What we are doing is acknowledging that the full dimension of GPU physics can be done with libraries like Havok and Bullet, using OpenCL across the CPU and GPU. We are supporting developers in these endeavors, in whatever shape they take.

Q. AMD has had a great vision that matured into a strategy spanning over several years, targeting gamers.  First you won all the major consoles, then you develop Mantle in tight cooperation with the major game developers out there.  Such strategy involves commitment of significant resources.  Is this vision from the Dirk Meyer era, or has it grown under Rory Read’s tenure?

A. The gaming strategy you’re seeing today is the brainchild of the graphics GM Matt Skynner, along with his executive colleagues at AMD. It comes with the full support of the highest echelons at AMD.

Q. Are there any plans for developing a Radeon GPU specific for the mobile (mobile phones, tablets, smart wearables) segment?

A. We have no plans to enter the smartphone market, but we’re already in tablets from companies like Vizio with our 4W (or less) APU parts.

Q. Will there be a GCN 1.2, 2.0 or are you already working on a future architecture?

A. Graphics Core Next is our basic architecture for the foreseeable future.

Q. I know it's been asked before, but do you plan to sit this one out or will we see AMD getting involved in the Steam console(s) project?

A. You will see AMD-powered Steam machines in 2014.

Q. Did you have to make any sacrifices in the GPU architecture in order to ease the unification with the CPU? If yes please give a few examples, if no please motivate.

A. No, it’s more about changing the direction of CPU architecture to be harmonious with GPUs. Of course the GPU ISA has to be expanded to include things like unified memory addressing and C++ code execution, but this capability already exists within Graphics Core Next. So, on the GPU side, it’s all about extending the basic capabilities of the GPU, rather than changing the fundamentals to get GPGPU.

Q. Regarding your co-operation with EA, will we see the next-gen sports game engine supporting Mantle?

A. Mantle is in the Frostbite 3 engine. EA/Dice (http://www.slideshare.net/DICEStudio/battlefield-4-frostbite-3-mantle) have disclosed that the following franchises will soon support Frostbite: Command & Conquer, Mass Effect, Mirror’s Edge, Need for Speed, PvZ, Star Wars, Dragon Age: Inquisition. With respect to unannounced titles, I guess we all have to wait and see what they have in store!

Q. A question for Robert “Thracks” Hallock: What games do you play?

A. Right now I’m playing Tomb Raider, Dishonored, and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.

Q. I’d like your thoughts on the price disparity between the different countries. 

A. We set suggested prices for our GPUs in US dollars. The prices you see in any other country are the product of tax, duty, import, and the strength of a currency compared to US dollars. Once a retailer purchases the board from us, we have absolutely no control over what they do with the product.

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Thanks again to all for making this a great success!

-The Tom’s Hardware Community Team

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