AMD Aims for Easier Porting Between PC and Consoles
Both Xbox One and PS4 are based on AMD's hardware, which is good news for the company. PC Advisor reports that AMD also has plans for games that work on all platforms. Called "Unified Gaming Strategy," the plan is to make porting games between platforms easier. The use of x86 architecture across many platforms, from PC and tablets to consoles should allow quick porting with minimal changes in game source code. Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of the graphics division at AMD is very optimistic about the company's future:
"If we can create a gaming experience on the console and client as well as in the cloud... we're going to build our brand, we're going to build our market share, we're going to win,"
AMD also doesn't consider recently released Intel Haswell CPUs as competitive with AMD's APU solutions. In an interview with PC Gamer AMD's Nicholas Thiebierroz, Senior Manager of Gaming Engineering said:
"Building efficient graphics processors is a difficult and complex task involving a large variety of skillsets. AMD has market-leading experience and expertise in this area allowing us to repeatedly deliver power-friendly and high-performance discrete Graphics Processing Units (GPU) and Accelerated Processing Units (APU) for both the PC and console markets.
Intel has been trying to compete in the integrated graphics space for quite some time but so far has not succeeded in delivering competitive solutions to our AMD APUs. The ultimate demise of the Larrabee project and their current integrated solutions' inability to run many demanding graphics workloads show the difficulties Intel is still facing in trying to compete in the GPU space.
Hardcore PC gamers are demanding people and will always require powerful graphics hardware to run the latest games at their best. 60 fps, large screen resolutions and having the highest graphics options enabled are common requirements for those gamers. The Playstation 4 boasts a powerful semi-custom AMD APU and we will see a major improvement in console and PC game graphics quality as a result. As long as game studios keep pushing the boundaries of realism in real-time 3D graphics, there will always be a market for performance and discrete GPUs."
He has also commented on Intel's iGPU performance and custom DirectX 11 extensions:
"When it comes to high-end gaming, current Intel integrated graphics solutions usually force users to compromise between quality or performance, which is a tough choice to impose on gamers.
The semi-custom APU AMD designed for the PlayStation 4 is built on AMD's 28nm "Jaguar" CPU cores and Radeon graphics which enables 1.84 TFLOPS of performance for leading performance, image quality, tessellation, and efficiency.
In essence, this means the graphics chip that developers are programming for is in a completely different class than what Intel is currently providing on the PC platform, and PC ports of next-generation console titles are likely to struggle to perform acceptably well on Intel-integrated solutions.
In contrast, AMD GPUs and APUs sharing the same or similar architecture will have a much easier time coping with the extra graphics workloads required by this next-generation of titles.
Because of this we do not expect game developers to spend resources on implementing Intel-specific extensions unless they're given strong motivation to do so by Intel."
The comments about easier ports seem logical and similar architecture may even allow the good emulators for next-gen consoles to appear sooner than for the current ones. The dismissal of Intel's iGPUs is another marketing talk however. Intel's Iris Pro 5200 provides amazing performance for iGPU, getting close to desktop GT 640 or mobile GT 650M and thus outperforming X360 and PS3. Still there is no question that it is well behind in performance compared to HD 7750 and HD 7850 levels of GPU power in AMD console APUs.
However, AMD doesn't provide such graphical performance on their PC APUs at the moment either. They have APUs matching Intel's offerings in graphical power at a lower price, but none of them even use GCN graphics cores. Maybe things will change at the end of the year after the release of Kaveri APUs on 28 nm process, but at the moment it seems too early to bash Intel for weak integrated graphics.