Ask Me Anything - Official AMD Radeon Representative

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AndrewFreedman

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Tom's Hardware Ask Me Anything - AMD
Ever wanted to ask one of the big hardware or software giants something directly? Why did they do that? Where did the idea come from for that last product? What’s in store next? Well, now you have the chance!

Tom’s Hardware is proud to announce our latest installment of ASK ME ANYTHING.

On Thursday, December 11th, we’ll be hosting the next in a series of Tom’s Hardware Ask Me Anythings with our wonderful guests from AMD Radeon. They'll be answering all of your in-depth questions about the upcoming Project Freesync, in addition to a host of other subjects posed by you, our audience.

This thread will be unlocked, open and live for 24 hours starting at 12:00 p.m. eastern on December 11th, and questions will be moderated and supervised by Tom’s Hardware Senior Community Manager, Joe Pishgar, and a full team of Senior Moderators.

Ask Me Anything Rules
• No tech support questions, as these require in-depth personal follow-up and diagnostics.
• All Rules of Conduct apply.
• Keep questions direct and to the point.
• Avoid opinion bias - ie: "Why are all your products awesome/horrible?"
• Be respectful of our guests, no insults, no leading questions.
• Do not post duplicate questions or repost your question multiple times.
• Not all questions may be answered. Questions may not be answered in the order in which they are received or posted.

To reiterate: No opinion bias, insults, leading questions, or breaking the Rules of Conduct. Breaking these rules may result in a one-day ban.

Only registered users will be able to ask questions, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to register now for your chance to participate!

The official representatives will reply periodically over the time the AMA is active using a recognized and verified account.

Please join us on this date to throw your questions into the mix and ask AMD what you've always wanted to ask!

What: Ask Me Anything – AMD
When: Thursday, December 11th, 12:00 p.m. EST
Where: This thread itself! Keep it locked!
Who: AMD's Robert Hallock (username: Thracks)

Our Guest from AMD is:

• Robert Hallock, Global Technical Marketing Lead

Note: The AMA is closed.
 

ubercake

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Since the focus is on Project Freesync, can you tell us any advantage of using Freesync tech over that of the competition?

Also, what makes/models of Freesync monitors are going to be released in 2015?
 

XaveT

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Does AMD have plans to release additional enthusiast class processors soon? It has been a long time since we've seen any, and we miss them.
 

Thracks

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Good question. But the answer is an easy one: because the driver has basically nothing to do with Mantle's performance. Whereas you have lots of control over the performance and behavior of DX/OGL in the driver, that's not true with Mantle--the developer has that power. But that's exactly what Mantle was designed to do: give almost complete control over app performance to the dev.

The only time we need to push a Mantle update in the driver is when we want to tidy up some bit of the API that developers are relying on.
 

cmi86

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Is efficiency going to be a primary concern for your next gen (presumably 3XX) GPU's ? I know you can't get in to any real specifics but it would be nice to know you guys are making a concerned effort to reduce the TDP of your high end graphics products while still pushing the performance envelope. I know reducing power draw is always on the table but should we expect anything noteworthy out of 3XX ? Thank you.
 

bustak2121

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What do you think is the future of Processor technology? Will it just be more cores packed in or complete unified GPU/CPU?
 

Thracks

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G-Sync and FreeSync are conceptually similar: let the GPU control the monitor’s refresh, and do such a refresh only when a new frame is ready. All the stuttering/tearing/lag associating with and without vsync is eliminated, leaving silky smooth gameplay in its wake.

Here’s where things break down:
NVIDIA has chosen to deliver this technology in the form of an expensive proprietary module that replaces the standard kit of electronics that comes in a monitor (the scaler). They did this because scalers don’t presently support any mechanism to cede control of the refresh rate of the GPU.

That module costs $100-150 USD, and must be purchased by the monitor vendor for integration into their design. That cost is passed onto the consumer, too. It’s also obtained through licensing, which is a complicated and burdensome legal process—not to mention validating an entirely new monitor with a proprietary scaler replacement. If you’re a monitor maker, you can’t just adopt G-Sync because you want to: you have to ask and there's a big cost associated with it.

AMD acknowledged that some effort with VESA, the authors of the DisplayPort standard, could yield an amendment that would also grant GPUs control of monitor refresh rates. Extending DisplayPort in this manner would be broadly compatible, not to mention free to adopt. We proposed the amendment and it was adopted; it’s now known as DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync.

Indeed, many of the firmware vendors are telling us that they’ve only needed to design and validate new firmware for many of their scalers to outfit them with the Adaptive-Sync support. Three companies basically own the scaler market: Realtek, MStar and Novatek. All three of them have committed to supporting Adaptive-Sync, with some combination of existing scalers upgraded to new firmware, and new-generation scalers built from the ground up with Adaptive-Sync in mind.

In contrast: FreeSync is a bundle of secret sauce in our driver that leans on Adaptive-Sync support in a monitor to update the display whenever a Radeon needs to. How you use the control is as important as having the control, so FreeSync is the “how” and Adaptive-Sync is the “have.”

To tidy up loose ends: the Adaptive-Sync specification supports a wider range of refresh rates than G-Sync, requires no license or licensing fee, and AMD charges nothing to work with partners to bring a design online. Plus, using a standard scaler gives you monitor quality-of-life features like an on-screen menu, audio support (e.g. in-monitor speakers), or even HDMI/DVI outputs (which allows you to at least use the display, even if you don’t have a FreeSync-enabled graphics card).

In every conceivable way, FreeSync is a less materially expensive and more robust. Yes, it takes longer to reach market when you work on an industry standard to get there, but the benefits are very clear.

I can confirm that five UltraHD monitors 24-32" will be entering market in March. Those are from Samsung. But there are several other vendors also preparing displays for Q1, and these will be seen at CES. I'm under confidentiality agreements until then. :)
 

Scizor119

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Hopefully we'll see AM4 soon!
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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The question that has been bugging many people about FreeSync: does FreeSync require any additional support from the display/scaler manufacturer aside from support for Display Port Adaptive Sync?

In other words: will FreeSync also work with any monitor that only supports DP 1.2a/1.3 Adaptive Sync?

Or, in yet other words: is the FreeSync name nothing more than a co-op marketing gimmick between AMD and display/scaler manufacturers?
 

dovah-chan

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What's it like working at AMD and how can one get involved with them and possibly score a position there? (it's not like I'm going to major in electrical engineering o-or anything)
 

bobbybamf12

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Yeah it's way overdue for a new FX or whatever CPU. I've been rocking the 8350 for awhile now. :/
 

Thracks

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Any monitor that supports DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync will be compatible with FreeSync, but that's the point of driving an open standard to adoption. It greatly increases the assortment of products that are interoperable with yours.

That said, FreeSync and DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync are different. DPAS just allows you to control the display. How do you do that? You need some sort of "secret sauce." That's FreeSync.
 

Scizor119

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If they get AM4 and a new FX chip out the door by Q3 next year, I'll have no other choices.
 

cd000

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So if I understand you correctly then, going forward if a monitor has support for adaptive sync, it then can be considered a Free sync monitor, and will work with new GPUs from AMD?
 

Math Geek

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I'm curious about something that I see in most every review of AMD graphics cards. This is the poor reference cooling usually provided. Is there a reason for this? I know the vendors usually add their own custom cooling and that this new cooling works well, but is this the intention of AMD? Is reference cooling just not a concern and only basic cooling provided simply for test purposes and vendors are expected to do something custom?

Not exactly a massive problem but something I am just curious about.
 

Thracks

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I can't speak for our monitor partners, but I see this as being unlikely. That's not really how DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync was designed.
 

Thracks

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DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync is an open specification that anyone could adopt for free and without licensing. AMD has...
 
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