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Tom's Hardware's AMA With AMD, In Its Entirety

Workstation Graphics, FP64, And Unified Addressing

Q. Do you have any ongoing project to optimize drivers or enhanced support for AMD video cards, both workstation class and desktop class, in Adobe/Autodesk software?

A. Specifically for workstation-class graphics, Adobe and Autodesk are a significant focus. They're amongst the biggest DCC packages in the world.

Q. I know that workstation class cards are there for a reason, but will we see any of the W-series limited features to make their way down to the Radeon series?

A. There are examples of workstation features that exist in Radeon: 10-bit color support, double precision compute and more. But, by in large, their feature sets are distinct as dictated by the respective libraries of software run on these products.

Q. The Hawaii XT with its 44 CUs in 4 blocks with 11CUs each is really ugly for a big chip. I have heared, that this is the real physical situation. Is this true, or is the real physical chip with 48 CUs?

A. 4 blocks with 11 CUs each is the configuration of the R9 290X.

Q. GDS with GWS is something lots of programmers/developers are asking about – is it still available?

A. GDS via GWS should still be in the architecture.

Q. Is it true that R9 290X (Hawaii XT) is only 1:8 DP:SP?  How come?

A. Yes, the R9 290 and 290X are 1:8 DP. As to "why" I do not know, except to say that these are primarily gaming graphics cards, so it would make sense that the architectural implementations are optimized for these types of workloads.

Q. What is the situation of unified address space for GPU and CPU Memory? AMD says in a few years they’ll give us GPUs with coherent unified address space.  Will we see this soon?

A. 290 and 290X support system unified addressing.

Q. What is AMD Red Team?

A. Robert Hallock: #AMDRedTeam!  My colleagues Heather, Stella and I came up with the idea to give people a chance to share their GPUs, rigs, favorite games and more. Sometimes people need a "spark" of opportunity, and we hoped that the AMDRedTeam idea for Twitter would give people that chance to share their systems. So far the response has been incredible.  If you want to join, Tweet @AMDRadeon and ask to join!

Q. Will Mantle remove or help the CPU bottleneck if I play Mantle-supported games?  Would it be worth buying a high-end R9 290 card to pair with my Trinity 4 core CPU due to the draw call increase, or will the CPU still require a big upgrade to get enough out of the card to warrant buying over a 7870?

A. The draw call improvements of Mantle does help alleviate cases where the CPU is the bottleneck. Mantle is very good at parallelization. Beyond that, it's too early to say.

  • jumpmanxt
    Does AMD have an official download link for their cleanup utility? I can't get the link in the article to work (
  • tomfreak
    I is sad.... I ask if Radeon 7790 support TrueAudio or not, my question got passed -.-

    Radeon 7790 is the same chip with 260x.
  • ronch79
    WHy wasn't AMD asked about the future of their CPU division? Do they plan to offer FX SKUs using the Steamroller core? What about Excavator? Any plans to continue making x86 CPUs after Excavator?
  • InvalidError
    11927410 said:
    WHy wasn't AMD asked about the future of their CPU division?
    Because the AMA panel was from the GPU division and deferred CPU-related questions to AMD's upcoming forum and interviews elsewhere. In other words, they probably were not authorized to discuss CPU-related questions.
  • sarinaide
    Nice interview, its eye opening to see how little people in position to know actually knew about AMD and its projects. The automatic knee-jerk reaction is to assume a problem when there is no problem other than the assumption of problems.

  • goodguy713
    well this was pretty informative actually. the temp issue with the 290 and 290x seems like it can be solved just by gaming out side in 30 degree weather.. lol
  • goodguy713
    all joking aside i honestly think I will buy a 290 here soon been waiting for amazon to get more in stock
  • MajinCry
    Gah. Forgot about the AMA. I'd have asked if there would be any performance benefit from wrapping, say, DirectX 9 to Mantle, due to the low-level aspect of the latter.
  • InvalidError
    11928558 said:
    Gah. Forgot about the AMA. I'd have asked if there would be any performance benefit from wrapping, say, DirectX 9 to Mantle, due to the low-level aspect of the latter.
    Sounds like a silly idea to me since the point of Mantle is to bypass DXn's complexity and overhead in the first place by giving programmers lower-level access to the hardware.

    If you make DXn libraries that translate the DXn API to Mantle, you lose pretty much all advantages Mantle is intended to provide since you have to jump through all DXn hoops on top of dealing with Mantle stuff.

    With DXn, you get: Game -> DXn APIs -> driver hardware abstraction layer -> low-level drivers -> hardware
    With Mantle, you get: Game -> Mantle -> low-level drivers -> hardware
    With "Mantlified DXn" you get: Game -> DXn API -> DXn translation layer -> Mantle -> low-level drivers -> hardware

    Converting DXn to Mantle is likely less efficient since it introduces an extra middleware layer that may not be able to execute calls as efficiently as a middleware layer that speaks native hardware language - the hardware abstraction layer has liberties in how to translate DXn calls to hardware that Mantle would not have.
  • joditas
    This is the original version

    I appreciate THG for hosting this but many questions are simply left unanswered. If AMD wants to capture more market share, not just maintain, they need to do better in areas where they are lacking.