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AMD's upcoming Radeon R9 300-series flagship secretly powering VR demos at GDC

Ian Paul | March 9, 2015
Nvidia's Titan X wasn't the only new graphics card to show up at GDC. AMD was quietly showing off an R9 300 series card powering a virtual reality demo.

After AMD finally opened up about the upcoming Radeon R9 300-series GPUs in early February, the company just took another step towards revealing its latest graphics cards. During GDC this week, AMD was teasing its flagship Radeon R9 300-series graphics card by having it power Epic Games' Oculus-based Showdown virtual reality demo, according to PC Perspective and Tom's Hardware.

That was about the extent of the information AMD was willing to share. The company wouldn't say the name of the card or what kind of features it was rocking. But it's good to hear that AMD's new GPU is real enough to show up in the wild--and focused on the demanding needs of virtual reality.

There were a slew of VR demos at GDC 2015, including ones from Crytek, Oculus, Unity, Valve, and the aforementioned Epic. The vast majority of those were powered by Nvidia's new Titan X graphics card after Nvidia surprise launched the new GeForce flagship during GDC's opening days. The Titan X also powered Epic's Showdown demo during the show, according to a company blog post.

Why this matters: We were just getting used to talking about Nvidia's GTX 900-series and it's already moving on to Titan X. It's about time we saw something new from AMD, what with its rival pushing ahead so fast--and not just another price cut to old Radeon hardware. The company's current flagship graphics card, the Radeon R9 290X, debuted in late 2013., meaning we haven't seen new graphics card generation from AMD in a year and a half.

About time

Despite those delays, AMD looks like it's finally getting its game back. In early February, AMD publicly acknowledged the Radeon 300 series for the first time in a Facebook post, saying it was putting the finishing touches on the series. It also announced the LiquidVR SDK during GDC to help developers prepare VR games for AMD hardware.

No firm launch date has been announced, but AMD is expected to officially announce new APUs and GPUs before the end of June.

 

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