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How AMD plans to turn the tables on Nvidia in 2016

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AMD has had an impressive showing at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), featuring technology advances and a much brighter outlook for 2016. Here is a look at how AMD will not only survive, but thrive in 2016 through amazing upcoming technology.

A bright future through increased competitiveness

When you are thinking of purchasing a new CPU or GPU, you have two options. Nvidia or AMD for GPUs and Intel or AMD for CPUs. AMD is almost always the better price / performance solution while Nvidia and Intel is the top performance option. AMD wants to change that, as the company wants to not only be seen as the “cheap” solution, but also a competitive one when it comes to performance.

AMD chief executive Lisa Su spoke at CES 2016 during a roundtable discussion, addressing the issue by stating: “The idea that AMD is a cheap solution has to be replaced with the idea that AMD is a very competitive solution”.

AMD needs to up their game in order to survive in the marketplace. According to PC World, “AMD has reported more quarterly losses then profits over the past few years, and lost $403 million for all of 2014.” At the time of writing, no reported results for 2015 is available. However, 2016 will be a different story for the company, as AMD expects a better year.

Lisa Su comments on AMD’s financial situation and a brighter future:

“The overall expectation is that AMD will be a better year from a financial standpoint compared to 2015. I think we have chosen to bet on technology, and the assumption is that the overall revenue, market share, profits, all that will follow. But that remains to be proven.” - Source

Hopefully AMD will achieve its goals, as competition in any market is a good thing for the consumer. Now let’s take a look at what technologies AMD will bring to the table in 2016 to not only survive, but thrive.

Polaris GPU’s and FenFET technology

AMD’s upcoming GPU range dubbed “Polaris” is based on AMD’s fourth Generation Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. The GPUs are built using the 14nm FinFET “fabrication process”. According to Gadgets, “AMD claims that shifting to this process has the potential to deliver more than double the performance per watt in gaming, VR, and multimedia applications.”

It is, without a doubt, a giant leap from the current 28nm fabrication process and allows for much lower power consumption. AMD knew early on what the 14nm FinFet could offer and went into the technology early on, as Lisa Su explains:  

“There’s no question that process technology has been a big knob to turn, in the performance and power spectrum. That’s why we went to FinFET, that’s why we went to FinFET relatively early, because we saw the power benefits.”

AMD is developing quite a few products on the 14nm FinFET this year. The “node” will  last for a long time, as Lisa Su notes: “But it will be a long node. It will last three, four, five years. But within that node we can do a lot in optimization, and within that node, we can do a lot on power... once you’re in the node, it’s all about architecture.”  - Source

Not only will AMD’s upcoming GPU’s have the new FinFET architecture, but the Polaris range of GPUs will also be packed with the latest display formats, such as DisplayPort 1.3, next-gen multimedia features for example 4k H.265 encoding / decoding and HDMI 2.0a for HDR video.

According to ZDNet the Polaris showing at CES was impressive, noting that: “To demonstrate Polaris' power efficiency gains, the company showed off an Asus system running its Polaris GPU alongside an identical system running an Nvidia Geforce GTZ 950 GPU, with both displaying Star Wars Battlefront. AMD claims Polaris achieved power consumption of 86 watts while the rival system used 140 watts.”

It all sounds amazing, but Nvidia also has the Pascal range of GPUs coming, which are built using the 16nm FinFET fabrication process. However, Nvidia will first be pushing out the Pascal GPUs for self-driving vehicles via the Drive PX2. We will have to wait and see how both Nvidia and AMD’s new GPU architecture performs later this year, with AMD’s Polaris range on its way in “mid 2016”.

Introducing the Wraith – An impressive stock cooler

Stock CPU coolers (those that come boxed with CPUs) are generally noisy little devices which PC gaming enthusiasts see as something to immediately replace with a “real” cooler. Generally, stock coolers provide the bare minimum to keep a CPU cool, which is not by any stretch of the imagination good for overclocking.

AMD’s new stock cooler was shown off at CES 2016 and it is, to say the least, impressive. The Wraith features four copper heatpipes and “the largest thermal mass by far of any stock processor heatsink” as well as a fan that is much larger, yet whisper quiet and much more effective than any of AMD’s previous stock coolers. Check out the video of the Wraith below. 

AMD told WCCF Tech: “It achieves this dramatic reduction in noise thanks to the superior thermal dissipation capability of the new cooler enabled by a larger heatsink and a larger and considerably quieter fan.”  

The Wraith will hit the market with AMD’s new based on the brand new CPU “Zen” microarchitecture set to release this year.

AMD’s FreeSync and Samsung’s curved gaming monitors

At CES 2016, Samsung has unveiled three new 1080p gaming monitors which use AMD’s FreeSync technology. FreeSync is a technology which reduces lag and tearing by resolving communication issues between processors and a monitor, “eliminating image tears and choppiness for effortlessly smooth gameplay.” Further, FreeSync is open technology, which is always good for the gaming industry and consumers alike, unlike the competition (Nvidia’s G-SYNC).


"The Samsung CF591 is the world's first frameless curved monitor. Designed for an even more immersive and realistic experience, the CF591 display draws the eye in with an 1800R curvature and makes it easy to see the monitor from multiple places in a room with 178-degree viewing angle. By offering greater viewing angles and premium color accuracy, the display brings even the smallest details to life. Images have a presence not felt on a traditional 4000R curved screen, making users truly feel like they're a part of the action. The monitor is also equipped with built-in dual 5W speakers that seamlessly integrate to deliver enriched sound quality, completely transporting users into the concert hall when listening to music or into the thick of battle when playing combat games".

The manufacturer notes that: "The Samsung CF390 and CF391 are stunningly curved monitors (available in 27-inch and 32-inch, respectively) featuring an 1800R curvature for a greater viewing experience. With thoughtful design and engineering to match, the displays can be used for a variety of opportunities, including gaming, data analysis, or internet browsing. With ergonomic tilt and swivel components, users can easily adjust their screen to the perfect height and angle to accomplish anything, from the most demanding task to simply checking email". - Source

At the time of writing, there is no indication of when the monitors will hit the market or what the price will be.

What do you think about AMD’s new technology? Do you think 1080p is enough for a 32inch monitor? Are you an Intel / Nvidia fan or do you prefer AMD products? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sources: PC World, WCCF Tech, ZDNet , Betanews
Main Image artwork credit: Kevin Cannon
Samsung image credit: Betanews

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