Commercial virtual reality isn’t far away. You know it, we know it and AMD knows it too. That’s why it’s pushed back the launch of its dual GPU Fiji XT card, which will replace its Radeon R9 290X2 and will likely be the most powerful single PCB graphics card in the world when it does show up. The idea is to have the “Gemini” card available to early adopters of the Oculus Rift CV1, and other VR headsets like the HTC Vive.
Interestingly though, those dates don’t line up as close as AMD hopes — that, or we’ve been misled on when VR is expected to arrive. Although we don’t know for sure when it will be available, the Oculus CV1 is said to launch in Q1 2016. The HTC Vive is expected to show up in April. So the fact that AMD said in its chat with Hardware.fr (via TechReport) that the dual GPU card wouldn’t be showing up until Q2 2016, is a little surprising.
Presumably that’s early Q2, but if it ships after the launch of the VR headsets from Oculus and HTC/Valve, surely it’s going to miss those that want their PC ready to go before their headset arrives.
Gemini was initially scheduled for a Q4 2015 launch, so those who were hoping to have a new monster graphics card in place before the end of the year will be a little disappointed at this news. However, they needn’t worry that this delay was just a cover story, as AMD claims to have sent several samples of the card out to B2B customers, and they have been very positive about its performance.
With AMD’s increased focus on drivers and software support, perhaps it’s merely the case that it took this opportunity to fine tune things a little more, and at the same time partner up with Oculus or other VR developers to help push its high-end hardware.
Are you sad about this delay? The audience for such a card would be pretty small, considering it will be a $1,000+ GPU at launch.