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AMD VR Ready Premium Program Collides with Nvidia VR Ready

It looks like we are heading for a return to brick and mortar stores. After years of online shopping, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality demand to be experienced in the real world, and that’s where the battle will be lead. Who will buy what computer will strongly depend on level of fidelity and immersion.

This is inevitably leading to a situation where AMD / RTG will square off versus an old ‘nemesis’, Nvidia. Strong competition between these two vendors led to better performance, better experience and most importantly, price wars. Back on E3 of 2015, AMD announced the R9 Fury X at $650 price point. AMD’s “Launch 300 Series at Computex, R9 Fury on E3” backfired as Nvidia launched GeForce GTX 980 Ti on Computex. The 980 Ti is probably one of best gaming cards on the market, given that it’s a $1000 card (TITAN X) with half the memory for 65% of Titan’s MSRP. Both R9 Fury X and GeForce GTX 980 Ti are a part of our recommended Virtual Reality Computer.

AMD Radeon VR Ready Premium

In our communication with one of the largest retailers in the world, who came to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) we learned that AMD is the company that has an initial lead with its Radeon VR Ready Premium and Radeon VR Ready Creator programs. There will be a substantial presence in retail locations carrying VR Ready Premium, and VR Ready Creator systems with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive demo units. Naturally, there will be a lot of Nvidia-based systems and it will be up to a customer does he or she want an ‘VR Ready'(Nvidia)  or ‘VR Ready Premium’, ‘VR Ready Creator’ (AMD).

For the launch of mainstream VR headsets onward, the battle will be lead between outreach programs for Radeon and GeForce cards respectively. Given that Unreal Engine 4 is geared towards Nvidia, Unity Engine is agnostic and supports both LiquidVR and VRWorks, the trend shifts when it comes to CryTek (CRYENGINE V) and Amazon (Lumberyard is a product of collaboration with CryTek). Magic Leap is also working with LiquidVR, but not much more is known about this stealthy company. And both companies are keeping the gates and windows closed.

Nvidia GeForce GTX VR Ready

With the advance of DirectX 12 and Virtual Reality, the balance of the market is changing. It is no longer enough to tweak the hardware, but you have to have a rock solid software platform. While Nvidia typically leaves the API development (and new memory standards) to the industry, AMD innovates by developing API’s and memory types. Memory development (GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, HBM1, next-gen 3D memory) were lead by AMD’s Joe Macri and his team. On the other hand, API development had changes as the company standardized one API after another. Mantle low-level API ceased to exist when AMD standardized Mantle with The Khronos Group, which later became Vulkan API. However, Mantle was not dead internally, as AMD kept on working on a ‘VR tuned’ version called LiquidVR.

One thing is certain, though – it looks like AMD has a stronger brand – while Nvidia ends with ‘GeForce GTX VR Ready’, AMD / RTG has ‘Radeon VR Ready Creator’ (for a $1499 card that mixes Radeon and FirePro capabilities), and ‘Radeon VR Ready Premium’. Get the popcorn ready.

  • Muckylittleme

    This is why I am holding off on what are essentially Beta VR headsets.
    In under 24 months there will be much better headsets available for much less money and the new GPU’s coming to market will trigger a price war but also huge cuts in the price of what are, VR ready, top end cards today and those cuts will begin this summer.

    I know some people, “must have it now” and that is fine but the fact is early VR adopters are being fleeced (value sales) for tech that will be obsolete in under 24 months.
    When you factor in any GPU upgrade required and future proofing then these people will also be paying premium prices for cards that in just a few months will begin to drop considerably in price as the new GPU architectures come to market.
    This will only be amplified by any price war between AMD and Nividia when these new powerful chips come to market.

    I will wait for the new GPU’s to hit the shelves and the inevitable price reductions that follow before upgrading to a VR ready and somewhat future-proofed card.
    I will save a couple of hundred pounds there and get my use out of that in traditional gaming terms until the next gen VR headsets hit the shelves which I believe will be significantly better than initial releases and indeed cheaper.

    • Brendan Lounsbery

      Honestly I needed to read this. You’re saying things that I basically know to be true, but I just wanna GITITNOW.

      Good post, cheers

      • Muckylittleme

        LOL fair enough, you are not alone.

  • Judge_Chip

    “AMD announced the R9 Fury X at $650 price point. Nvidia immediately came up with GeForce GTX 980 Ti”

    THIS is a BLATANT LIE, ITS a Fact that the GeForce GTX 980 Ti was released First.

    Theo say it ain’t so, say that you are mistaken or have you become a rewriting history blatant liar?

    As for Memory development, GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5, HBM1 these are all JEDEC open standards for the microelectronics industry that AMD gets no royalties for.

    • Who lead the engineering teams that drafted the specs? Who is a director at JEDEC and leads the GDDR team? Not all standards are developed for collecting royalties, otherwise our computational experience today would be vastly different. For example, Nvidia is leading investor in OpenGL, does that mean they collect revenues on it? AMD invests the most in OpenCL after Apple pushed on with proprietary Metal. Biggest investor in physical hardware standards is Intel, and pushed practically all the form factors (IBM may have invented ATX, but Intel standardized it – mATX, ITX, WTX, SSI…) on everything other than MXM, which NVDA pushed to the point of being a standard. Does Intel collect royalties on AMD’s mATX boards? Does IBM collect royalties on PS/2 connectors?

      The article will be edited to reflect the 980Ti launch. Still, if you ask both AMD and NV, it was a reaction to R9 Fury X beating the 980 at an equal to similar price point (custom OC boards costed more than R9 X). AMD launched the 300 Series at Computex and withheld the launch of Fury for E3.