It's official. Bucking a recent round of rumors, AMD revealed today that it will be releasing new Radeon desktop GPUs "from top to bottom" in 2013, though you won't be seeing the next-gen Radeon 8000 series graphics cards until late in the year. Instead, the company will be firmly focused on the Radeon 7000 series cards currently available on the market for the first half of 2013, company officials told journalists during a conference call.
That doesn't mean that AMD will be sitting on its heels until the holidays, however. Officials said we can expect to see some new 7000-series GPUs released during the first half of the year, though they wouldn't provide any juicy details beyond that.
The reasoning behind the decision
Why stick with a generation of graphics cards that was first introduced more than a year ago, at the finish line of 2011? AMD officials say that their current Radeon 7000 series has GPU leadership over Nvidia's GTX GeForce 600 series in terms of performance--especially given the recent launch of the beastly Asus Ares II, which sports dual Radeon 7970 GPUs and 6GB of RAM. Also, despite its long-ago launch, the Radeon 7000 series is actually gaining traction. AMD says that the Radeon HD 7000 series' January 2013 sales volumes were higher at any point in 2012, including the holiday season.
"With sales volumes continuing to ramp, it would be premature to launch a new series," officials said.
A large part of that boost can be attributed to the Never Settle offer, which launched toward the end of last year and bundles several top gaming titles with AMD's Radeon-brand graphics cards. The company recently announced a Never Settle: Reloaded bundle, offering download codes for Crysis 3 and BioShock Infinite if you purchase a Radeon 7900 series graphics card.
AMD plans to continue offering bundles--including some with image editing software, for the non-gamers who need some extra visual firepower--to drive home the point that, yes, the Radeon 7000 series is very much graphically competitive. (The best around, to hear AMD tell it, though that's up for debate if you turn away from pure performance numbers and factor in the GeForce GTX series' power efficiency, noise and thermal wins.)
The company plans to focus a lot of attention on aggressively developing drivers and courting gaming industry partners in order to stay in the forefront of the PC gaming conversation in 2013.
"We aren't afraid," says Roy Taylor, a corporate vice president and head of AMD's global channel sales. "We have new products. We have a roadmap. We are not sitting still, we do not lack resources, and we do not lack imagination. Let me be clear: The new products will be a new architecture."
When asked specifically about the Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan--a rumored top-of-the-line card based on Nvidia's powerful Tesla K20 offering , supposedly being released soon--Taylor said "We'll wait and see what Nvidia comes back with, and when it arrives we'll deal with it, but we believe we'll maintain leadership. I'm a firm believer in bringing back the old GPU wars. We're taking them on again."