If you're in the market for VR components for your gaming rig, you might be interested in AMD's new Radeon Pro Duo. If it sounds like some kind of dual-engine space heater that's because it's a dual-chip GPU, housing twice the power of the most powerful AMD card on the market, and it'll cost you a whopping $1500.
Gizmodo picked up the news from an extremely detailed report over on Anandtech. The latter article breaks down the specs of the Radeon Pro Duo and reveals that the card is set to arrive sometime by the second quarter of 2016 and it features the Fiji chipset. It's specifically designed for VR rendering and virtual reality gaming. The Gizmodo article also notes that it's a card designed to help designers make VR-ready games for HMDs like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
The real news, however, is that this card is running dual stream processors, dual texture units and dual render output units. With all those “duals” in there the GPU definitely lives up to the “Duo” in the “Pro Duo” in its name.
But just doubling everything doesn't always make it better. Two small cubic engines won't make it more powerful than a V10, just the same as doubling up processors and transistor counts won't make a GPU more powerful than the most single powerful GPU on the market unless the parts are absolutely high-end. In the case of AMD's Radeon Pro Duo, the parts are most definitely high-end.
The Pro Duo is using double of just about all of the specs of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X. For those of you who don't know, the Fury X is one of the most powerful single GPU cards on the market. So the Pro Duo is basically twice as powerful as that card.
AMD has been having trouble gaining market share in today's climate, with Nvidia simply outdoing them at nearly every turn. However, with the Radeon Pro Duo they have an opportunity to completely take hold of the super high-end market for gamers looking for a card that will not only play VR games but likely play them at 4K resolution and 120fps.
The Pro Duo also sports dual 4GB VRAM chips. To put that into perspective the PS4 has 8GB of GDDR5 shared memory between the system and the GPU. The Pro Duo has access to as much RAM as the PS4. Keep in mind that this is just the GPU alone... so that's a memory pool of up to 8GB of video RAM on the card alone. That is absolutely mind boggling. For those of you who don't know, even the most high-end of games, like Quantum Break, running on the “Ultra” settings with a resolution 4K at 60fps only requires 6GB of VRAM. Even the recommended specs for Quantum Break is a GPU with 4GB of VRAM, which can oftentimes be found on a single high-end GPU, like Nvidia's GTX 980 line.
The memory clock speed for the Pro Duo card is rather nominal, topping off at just 1000Mhz. The real draw for the cards is that despite how powerful it is the power consumption is rather tame, at only 350 watts. That's 150 watts less than running the R9 295 in Crossfire, which draws 500 watts of power.
Again, you can look for AMD's VR-ready Radeon Pro Duo to launch in the first half of 2016 at $1500.