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

TrueAudio, Designing Hawaii, And Heat Density

Q. The 95°C temperature target fits nicely with the theory that you're trying to get the same heat flow through a smaller footprint in relation to nVidias Titan at its 80°C (considering the die size ratio and an ambient temperature of max 30°C). Was the reduced (and more affordable) die size the rationale to reach out closer to absolute maximum of what chips can handle before melting?

A. Product cost is a function of die size (and other parameters). We were confident that we could achieve industry-leading performance on a twenty-something percent smaller die using GCN, and we knew that would, in turn, give us a more attractive price for gamers.  We went for it. And thus $399-$549 hella fast GPUs were born.

Q. Why do development and provision of AMD graphics card drivers last for shorter periods of time then Nvidia? They seem to be hosting really, really old drivers, updated for use on modern computers, and I haven't seen that so much with you guys.

A. Our driver support is identical to NVIDIA. They support GPUs from 2010 (or later) in Windows 8.1, as do we.

Q. Regarding the 290/290x, when can we expect to see vendor based cooling solutions?

A. I'm not certain when you'll see third-party solutions, I'm afraid.

Q. How did you guys react to Nvidia's G-Sync and Shadowplay? Any plans for a rebuttal?

A. We're presently assessing G-Sync, but have no comment at this time.

Q. Do you believe that TrueAudio would provide an effective replacement for discrete soundcards/dacs/amps for audio enthusiasts?

A. TrueAudio is NOT designed to replace user soundcards! Please see this interview with MaximumPC which explains a lot.

Q. Did AMD originally intend to price the 290x at a higher price point but lowered it to further take market share from Nvidia?

A. The 290X debuted at the price we intended from the day it was conceived. :)

Q. I totally love R9 290X. But I found one thing strange about it. I liked that ROPs were doubled from HD7970 and memory bus were bumped to 512-bit. But shader counts were bumped only to 2816 and CUs to 44. Wouldn't be it nicer from a chip engineering perspective to throw 3072 shaders (48 CUs) into Hawaii, thus making it more nice 50% increase from HD7970?

A. 3072 shaders would not fit into the die size we were targeting for the 290X, and from an architectural perspective, 2816 is a balanced shader count for the render backends and bus width.

Q. Do you plan on having true Audio on the more mid-range cards like future 270x or 280x cards?

A. TrueAudio was designed for the R9 290(X) and the R7 260X as the top-end cards in the R9 and R7 Series, respectively. The 270X and 280X do not have the necessary hardware to enable TrueAudio.

  • 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.