AMD is sticking with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition as its flagship single-GPU product, but promises more boards even as it rubbishes the yet-to-be-released Nvidia Titan.
AMD's graphics team has promised to launch new products before the end of the year, following concerns that the OEM-only Radeon HD 8000 family - which are, at their heart, simply rebadged Radeon HD 7000 parts - meant the company would be resting on its laurels.
Speaking to press in a conference call this week, AMD's Darren McPhee, director of graphics products marketing, was quick to ask for help in dismissing claims that his company would be coasting on existing products for the coming year. 'The key difference there, that I'd like you to help in making clear to gamers, is that keeping the [Radeon HD] 7000 Series branding for the rest of the year is different from not introducing any new products. We definitely have more products up our sleeves that we will be launching,
' McPhee claimed. 'The perception out there that we don't have new product because the naming is not changing is something I'd like you [journalists] to help to clear up.
AMD's Devon Nekechuk, AMD's graphics products manager, added his own confirmation that more entries in the Radeon HD 7000 family are on the way. 'We have the best compute architecture out there at the moment, but additionally, as Darren mentioned, we are augmenting the 7000 series, and it's in that segment precisely that we'll see some additional product updates. So, some good things are coming up fairly soon.
Sadly, neither would be pushed on a precise launch date, beyond a promise from McPhee that new products would be appearing in the first half of this year. Nekechuk was slightly more verbose, indicating that a reference version of the dual-Radeon 7970 design found in the Asus ROG Ares II is in the works. 'We definitely do have more 7990 goodness for you guys coming up in the next couple of months. We're definitely not sitting still there, but we're in a very good situation right now with the world's fastest graphics card - partnering with Asus on that - and we'll continue to hammer on that drum, bringing really cool SKUs [Stock Keeping Units] to gamers all over.'
However, if fans were hoping for a single-GPU product to better the company's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, the news isn't good. Confirming rumours, McPhee admitted that there would be no replacement single-GPU product coming in 2013, meaning that by the time the design is replaced it will be two years old. 'We launched the 7970 in December of 2011, and then we followed up with the GHz Edition in July of 2012. The GHz Edition has been out there for the better half of a year now, and that will continue to live on until the end of 2013. This is purely for marketing and performance reasons, nothing technical.
' McPhee claimed, allaying concerns that AMD can't come up with anything faster in the short term.
Perhaps the most telling section of the call came during a question about rival Nvidia's upcoming GeForce Titan, a high-end single-GPU graphics card based on the same GK110 chip as its Tesla high-performance computing (HPC) accelerator boards. 'Early indications are that [the GeForce Titan] is not something which was designed to be a graphics card,
' claimed AMD's Roy Taylor, vice president of component channel sales at AMD, in response to a question from an attendee, setting the tone for some very defensive comments from the rest of his team. 'Based on what we know so far, I don't think [the GeForce Titan] is a threat to our business.
'We have the world's fastest GPU now with the [Radeon HD 7970] GHz Edition, and as Roy mentioned the GK110 is coming but is something Nvidia is leveraging from a completely different space. It's a Tesla product, it's a workstation product, it really was never intended for the consumer market, and I think they're kinda shoe-horning that product into their GeForce stack,
' added McPhee. 'So, we took them by surprise by having the world's fastest GPU and you see all these kinds of reactions from them right now, but we're very confident that the 7970 GHz Edition is the best GPU for enthusiast gamers out there.
The remainder of the call was filled with other slaps at AMD's biggest dedicated graphics rival, with Taylor stating, tongue firmly in cheek, that 'Nvidia is a good company, and we respect their attempted transition into being a smartphone company
' - a clear reference to Nvidia's recent Tegra-heavy earnings call.
'Frankly from a marketing perspective, you know we're tied up with all the latest AAA titles at the moment, so how can Nvidia compete? They're launching GeForce Titan as a reaction to us being signed up with all the best game developers right now,
' added Nekechuk. 'Also, as a marketing point, I assume everyone's seen the game bundles that Nvidia has launched recently, right? I thank them for launching their game bundle, because it goes to show how great our 'Gaming Evolved' [programme] has become. Just look at the titles in the 'Never Settle Reloaded' bundle versus their 'Free to Play' bundle, and you'll see which company is more serious about gaming for desktop and PC users.
With Nvidia clearly weighing heavily on AMD's mind, it remains to be seen if the executives' comments will please fans or make them wonder if the company doth protest a little too much.