AMD Polaris aiming at VR-capable graphics cards

Published: 27th Apr 2016, 17:02 GMT

In an interview with ArsTechnica Ray Taylor (Corporate Vice President, Alliances, Content & VR at AMD) confirmed that Polaris architecture is aiming at VR market. 

AMD wants to increase the number of VR capable graphics cards with Polaris architecture

The minimum specs for VR games usually start with GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290 cards. This market currently has 7.5 million deployed units with GeForce GTX 970 considered as the most popular graphics card on the market (according to Steam Survey). AMD’s most popular cards are still based on Hawaii chip (R9 200 series).

Since both companies are well aware of this fact, we are expecting a very competitive pricing of new Radeon R9 480 / GeForce GTX 1070 series in the next few months. AMD has already confirmed that they are focusing on mainstream segment with Polaris 10, whereas NVIDIA will probably offer more powerful solutions at higher price.

When asked why is AMD trying to offer ‘such a power’ in mainstream segment, Roy Taylor replied:

“If you look at the total install base of a Radeon 290, or a GTX 970 or above [the minimum specs required for VR], it’s around 7.5 million units, but the issue is that if a publisher wants to sell a £40/$50 VR game, there’s not a big enough market to justify that yet. We’ve got to prime the pumps, which means somebody has got to start writing cheques to big games publishers. Or we’ve got to increase the install TAM [total addressable market].”

Taylor also added:

“The reason Polaris is a big deal, is because I believe we will be able to grow that TAM significantly. I don’t think Nvidia is going to do anything to increase the TAM, because according to everything we’ve seen around Pascal, it’s a high-end part. I don’t know what the price is gonna be, but let’s say it’s as low as £500/$600 and as high as £800/$1000. That price range is not going to expand the TAM for VR. We’re going on the record right now to say Polaris will expand the TAM. Full stop.”

AMD has been successively lowering the price of its mainstream segment and raising its performance per dollar rating in the process.

  • R9 380X — 229 USD
  • R9 285 — 249 USD
  • R9 280X — 299 USD
  • HD 7870 — 349 USD

Polaris 10 will likely aim at Radeon R9 480 series where prices normally don’t exceed 350 USD. Good price, improved power efficiency and most likely higher overclocking potential in this segment, could really boost sales for AMD.

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