Cheapest Virtual Reality GPU: Meet AMD’s New RX 480
Andrew Wheeler posted on June 06, 2016 |

At COMPUTEX TAIPEI, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality and “mixed reality” announcements are piling up thick and fast, including announcements about some inexpensive graphics cards. NVIDIA came out swinging with the notice of its GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 graphics cards, which cost about $400. Launching on June 29, the Radeon RX 480 from AMD is available in 4 GB and 8 GB configurations and has a little over five teraflops of computing power.

AMD is banking on affordable virtual reality–enabled PCs catching on, and it want its Polaris architecture-based graphics cards, such as the RX 480, to power everyone’s immersions into new digital worlds. But if VR-ready desktops and notebooks really do catch on, AMD is looking to provide the graphics power for the virtual reality experiences of 100 million consumers in the next decade. 

AMD is positioning the Radeon RX series of graphics cards as a solution for OEMs to satisfy consumer requirements for the reliable and affordable home virtual reality workstation. (Image courtesy of AMD)
AMD is positioning the Radeon RX series of graphics cards as a solution for OEMs to satisfy consumer requirements for the reliable and affordable home virtual reality workstation. (Image courtesy of AMD.)

As more VR developers can afford to produce virtual reality content from home with virtual reality PCs, applications will develop and evolve in new areas, such as engineering and education, and continue to grow in the popular entertainment sector. Speeding up the pace of development for a balanced VR ecosystem will lead to greater consumer adoption, more applications from developers and a decreasing cost of entry as time goes on.

But how does the $199 Radeon RX 480 compare to NVIDIA’s GTX 1080?

AMD’s Radeon RX 480 doesn’t have as much computing power, but at COMPUTEX TAIPEIcom, AMD Senior Vice President Raja Koduri said that two of the cards (which would cost $398) in the same PC work better than the $600 GTX 1080 from NVIDIA. Koduri apparently demonstrated this claim to the audience by running Ashes of the Singularity on two PCs, one with the two AMD cards and one with NVIDIA’s GTX 1080. The PC with twin Radeon RX 480s ran at 62.5 frames per second and the GTX 1080 was just a little behind at 58.7 frames per second.


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