AMD is signing off the current-generation of graphics cards with the new Radeon Pro Duo, a dual-GPU monstrosity that packs a pair of "Fiji" GPUs, in the same configuration as the company's current flagship, the Radeon R9 Fury X. In the absence of any competition from the GeForce "Maxwell" family, it could end up being the fastest graphics card money can buy for some time. Although AMD is pricing the card at the same US $1,499 it asked for the Radeon R9 295X2, it's marketing the card in a category that's between the Radeon "consumer" and the FirePro "professional" lineup. Its marketing tagline reads "for creators who game, and gamers who create."
By "creators," AMD isn't necessarily referring to content creators in general, those who use top-of-the-line FirePro cards for their top-dollar visual effects production, but VR content creators. AMD, like NVIDIA, is betting heavily on virtual reality (VR) to become a mass-medium. Unlike TVs and other screens, VR adds a new element - the user's ability to choose which part of the content to consume by simply moving their head around.
Although the concept of VR is hardly new, the prohibitive amount of computational power it takes to present live-action and gaming VR content has kept it from consumers. Sure, your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset has fewer pixels than a $200 monitor, but it takes a lot more computational power to make sure it responds instantaneously to your head's movements to present content like in the real world. Any latency between your input and that response could cause nausea and vertigo because beyond a certain point, your brain begins to see VR as the real world, expecting it to obey the laws of physics, and that takes a lot of GPU pixel-crunching power.
The Radeon Pro Duo currently has no competitive landscape. As we mentioned earlier, NVIDIA did not launch a dual-GPU graphics card based on its GM200 silicon, and as such, the price-cut $1,500 GeForce GTX TITAN Z is the closest competitor, though based on the older "Kepler" architecture. It could be competed with and probably even be outperformed by a pair of GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics cards, but that's a different kind of solution. People buy dual-GPU graphics cards because it gives them the convenience of a single card and because it allows them to have four GPUs in a machine with just two PCI-Express x16 slots.
This preview is a compilation of all the publicly available information of AMD's exciting new graphics card, which makes its retail debut on April 26, 2016. It will be sold in retail channel through AMD's AIB partners, and factory-fitted in various high-end gaming desktops.
R9 Fury X
GTX 980 Ti
GTX TITAN X
|Radeon R9 |
GTX TITAN Z
|Shader Units||2048||2816||3584||4096||2816||3072||2x 2816||2x 2880||2x 4096|
|ROPs||64||64||64||64||96||96||2x 64||2x 48||2x 64|
|Graphics Processor||GM204||Grenada||Fiji||Fiji||GM200||GM200||Vesuvius||2x GK110||Capsaicin|
|Transistors||5200M||6200M||8900M||8900M||8000M||8000M||2x 6200M||2x 7080M||2x 8900M|
|Memory Size||4 GB||8 GB||4 GB||4 GB||6 GB||12 GB||2x 4 GB||2x 6 GB||2x 4 GB|
|Memory Bus Width||256 bit||512 bit||4096 bit||4096 bit||384 bit||384 bit||2x 512 bit||2x 384 bit||2x 4096 bit|
|Core Clock||1128 MHz+||1050 MHz||1000 MHz||1050 MHz+||1000 MHz+||1000 MHz||1018 MHz||705 MHz+||1000 MHz+|
|Memory Clock||1750 MHz||1500 MHz||500 MHz||500 MHz||1750 MHz||1750 MHz||1250 MHz||1750 MHz||500 MHz|
Card images courtesy Expreview. Press-deck slides courtesy VideoCardz.