AMD's Radeon RX 480 GPU is VR ready for just $199

This is how AMD will democratize access to virtual reality.

For its upcoming Polaris GPUs, AMD doesn't just want to entice hardcore gamers. Instead, it's aiming to bring virtual reality-capable PCs to just about everyone with its new Radeon RX480 video card, which will retail for a mere $199. The RX480 is capable of more than five teraflops of computing power, whereas NVIDIA's new GTX 1070 packs in over six teraflops for $380, and the high-end GTX 1080 sports around nine teraflops for $600. On paper alone, AMD's new card is an astounding value -- and one that NVIDIA can't yet counter without lowering prices.

The RX480 is based on AMD's new Polaris architecture, and it'll be available in 4GB and 8GB memory configurations. It will support AMD's Freesync technology to smooth out frame rates, as well as HDR gaming with DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 support.

Really, though, the key selling point of the RX480 is its price. Currently, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift require video cards costing around $300 at the minimum. By delivering a $199 card that's VR capable, AMD has dramatically lowered the cost of entry to VR for consumers. It's also a smart strategy for AMD, since NVIDIA has sewn up the high-end and mid-range market with the GTX 1080 and 1070.

Still, it's not as if the RX480 won't be good for gamers. In a remote video, Id developers praised its ability to run the new Doom remake (though we didn't get exact frame rates). You could also run two RX480 units simultaneously, a configuration that managed to beat out NVIDIA's GTX 1080 while playing Ashes of Singularity. Better yet, that configuration would only be around $400, compared to $600 or more for the 1080.

The RX480 clocked in 62.5 frames per second, while the GTX 1080 was a bit lower at 58.7 fps. AMD's Radeon head Raja Koduri proudly pointed out that the dual-RX480 system only reached around 50 percent of its computing capacity, while the NVIDIA card was maxed near 100 percent.

The RX480 will hit store shelves on June 29th, and I hope to get hands-on soon.

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