AMD teased its upcoming Vega-based GPU running 'Star Wars: Battlefront' in 4K

amd new horizon vega rogue one scarif dlc 4k ultra star wars battlefront demo
Well that was quick. AMD held its special New Horizon event on Tuesday revealing its upcoming “Summit Ridge” Ryzen desktop processor based on its new “Zen” design. The company provided demos as promised, but there were no signs of the motherboards supporting this processor, or the rumored Radeon RX 490 card that’s supposedly based on its upcoming “Vega” graphics chip design. A Vega-based solution was part of the show, but it was crammed inside a Ryzen-themed desktop PC at the very end of the presentation.

In the very last five or ten minutes, the company loaded up 2015’s Star Wars: Battlefront with the new Rogue One: Scarif DLC installed. Viewers watched as the player took control of a U-wing ship and attacked a hulking Star Destroyer. The demo was rather brief, but AMD CEO Lisa Su explained that the Ryzen machine was rendering the game in 4K at more than 60 frames per second, which was more than the refresh rate of the connected 4K display. It was smooth as butter.

Of course, there’s more going on here than just the hidden Vega card. The Ryzen machine consisted of the company’s upcoming eight-core Ryzen processor mounted on an unnamed AM4-based motherboard. No other specs were provided, although Su said that the machine only used one Vega-based graphics card.

As a point of reference, one benchmark of Star Wars: Battlefront listed last year used a test bed featuring the Intel Core i7-5930K processor, 16GB of DDR4 system memory, a 1,200-watt power supply, a HyperX Savage SSD, and the NZXT Kraken X41 CLC cooler. When running Star Wars: Battlefront in a 4K resolution, Ultra graphics settings, and FXAA enabled, two GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI mode managed an average rate of 60 frames per second. A single MSI Sea Hawk GTX 980 Ti had an average of 44 frames per second, and the MSI R9 390X 8GB card did 39 frames per second.

More recently, Star Wars: Battlefront was benchmarked on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 card released in the summer of 2016. Using the same 4K resolution and Ultra graphics settings, the “Founders” version managed an average of 72 frames per second, beating out the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti Amp! Extreme card (66.4 frames per second), AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury X (59 frames per second), and AMD’s Radeon R9 Nano (51.5 frames per second). Needless to say, AMD is seemingly targeting Nvidia’s GTX 1080 card with its upcoming Vega-based competitor, and likely even the refreshed $1,200 Titan X card.

Throughout the show, Su compared the eight-core Ryzen processor to Intel’s $1,100 Core i7-6900K desktop processor. AMD’s chip had a base clock speed of 3.4GHz only whereas Intel’s processor had a base clock speed of 3.2GHz and a boost clock speed of 3.70Ghz. The price of Intel’s chip was brought up frequently, and seemed to indicate that AMD customers will have a solution of equal if not slightly greater performance with a smaller power draw and possibly a smaller price.

That’s probably where the company plans to aim when it releases its Vega-based graphics cards. Su said that Ryzen is on track for a release in the first quarter of 2017, but didn’t mention Vega’s release window. Hopefully we will learn more about Vega during CES 2017 in early January, followed by a release in the first quarter of 2017 alongside the Ryzen desktop processor lineup.

Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Computing

Always have way too many tabs open? Google Chrome might finally help

Google is one step closer to bringing tab groups to its Chrome browser. The feature is now available in Google's Chrome Canady build with an early implementation that can be enabled through its flag system.
Mobile

Here's how to convert a Kindle book to PDF using your desktop or the web

Amazon's Kindle is one of the best ebook readers on the market, but it doesn't make viewing proprietary files on other platforms any easier. Here's how to convert a Kindle book to PDF using either desktop or web-based applications.
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Gaming

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.
Computing

Zipping files on a Chromebook? Follow these four easy steps

Chromebooks support file compression, though they work a little differently than on Windows or Mac. Here's the step-by-step process to zipping files on a Chromebook, and then unzipping them again for extraction.
Computing

How good are you at spotting phishing scams? Take this quiz to find out

Are you able to discern between a legitimate email and one that's a scam designed to phish for your personal information? Google created an online quiz with tips to help you better understand phishing so you don't become a victim.
Computing

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.
Computing

Patent application reveals what’s to come after AMD’s Graphics Core Next

A published patent application from AMD has revealed a new type of graphics processor core which could make a big difference to the capabilities of its GPUs if it finds its way into them in the future.
Computing

Microsoft targets Chrome OS with $189 Windows 10 laptops for education

Microsoft announced seven new low-cost Windows 10 laptops, all priced under $300 to take on Chromebooks and iPads in the education market, along with a new Microsoft Allora stylus for students using the Surface Go tablet.