Roy Taylor, Corporate Vice President of Alliances for AMD, was one of the keynote speakers at the VRLA Winter Expo. The full video of the keynote presentation has been published by VRLA and is certainly worth a watch if you are interested in VR. Mr. Taylor covered a ton of stuff in his talk, so be sure to watch it and we’ll just cover a few snippets that we thought were interesting below.
One of the challenges for VR is the total available market as the minimum spec (90 FPS at 2K Resolution) for the PCs that will be running Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE virtual reality headsets. Jon Peddie Research has discovered that just 7.5 million PCs meets these requirements and are running an AMD Radeon R9 290X or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video card. This is seen as an issue for VR since they can only sell 7.5 million headsets if 100% of those with VR capable PCs go out and buy a headset in the first place. AMD believes that their upcoming Polaris GPU architecture that is manufactured on the 14nm FinFET process will allow AMD to produce more GPUs that meet the mimumum VR specs. AMD Polaris GPUs are expected to be released in the second half of 2016.
AMD believes that VR still needs a killer application for it to take off. Mr. Taylor used the example of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ being the catalyst for Sega to break out in 1991 and that developers need to come up with something different to make enough interest to create something that makes VR a must have.
AMD would really like for VR to take off as they would like to sell more high-end graphics cards. Right now you are looking at $319.99 shipped for a XFX Radeon R9 390 8GB video card, which is one of the entry level cards for AMD. AMD showed off a Falcon Northwest Tiki PC powered by a dual-Fiji graphics card that is capable of 12 TFLOPS of compute power. This is the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X2 card that we first saw at E3 2015!