back to article Pray harder for AMD

Graphics and mobile chip kingpin Nvidia posted unexpectedly solid results for the second quarter of its fiscal 2016 on Thursday and said it projected next quarter's numbers to be strong, as well. Total revenue for the three months ending on July 26 was $1.15bn, which trounced even Wall Street's most optimistic expectations. …

  1. Aoyagi Aichou

    Prayers won't help

    After the Fury X reveal I don't think AMD will survive if Zen turns out to be not revolutionary with visible results on day 1. Most of the reviews and the majority of people I talked to were disappointed with it. How can a company survive when it needs to have products that are both stronger and cheaper so that consumers even consider it?

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Prayers won't help

      Fury X might be a bit of a disappointment, but the boggo Fury seems to be decent value for the kick it provides, and Fury Nano looks *very* interesting, for a certain market of people who want small PCs with a lot of graphical horsepower.

      That said, whether that turns into sales is a different kettle o' carp. And you're not wrong about Zen. Waiting for that to appear before I decide to rebuild my main dev rig. If it blows, I'll probably have no choice but to go with Intel if they can't provide decent IPC.

      Steven R

    2. Gordan

      Re: Prayers won't help

      They don't have to be faster and cheaper, they just have to work perfectly regardless of the performance bracket they are in. AMD drivers are outrageously buggy and fall apart very quickly in anything resembling an unusual setup (e.g. try running a dual-input monitor like IBM T221 off an ATI card).

      It is NOT all about performance. Intel's built in GPUs are very popular for lower end gaming, especially in Linux where the drivers are completely open source. AMD cards also work great when you use open source drivers when you limit yourself to a chipset that is at least a generation behind, but the profits are paper thin in the £50 GPU price bracket, unlike the £500 price range.

      IMO AMD would do well to stop competing on performance and start improving the quality, stability and feature set of their drivers. There is no point in trying to compete at the top end where they are pre-emptively disadvantaged when no matter how good their hardware is they will still fall short due to their software.

      1. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: Prayers won't help

        They don't have to be faster and cheaper

        I've read many discussions and conclusions of reviewers saying something along the lines of "Why would I want AMD if Nvidia is just as good for the same price?"

        AMD drivers are outrageously buggy

        Yeah, people keep saying that while any bugs in nVidia's drivers are just some weird bug not worth mentioning or remembering. Confirmation bias, some say. I have yet to see some broad analysis of driver quality of both.

        Note the similarity with the above.

        1. Gordan

          Re: Prayers won't help


          I haven't done an exhaustive analysis of Nvidia vs. AMD driver bugs, but I have tried various generations of AMD/ATI GPUs, including the HD4870, HD6450, HD7970 and R9 290X, and struggled to get my IBM T221 monitors working with all of them.

          HD4870: Randomly switched left and right side of the monitor between reboots for no obvious reason. Had a very annoying rendering bug with transparency/water in several games including Supreme Commander where the shallows were always opaque. I kept persevering for about 6 months before I caved in and got an 8800GT which manifested no obvious problems.

          HD6450: Passively cooled, worked great on Linux with the open source driver. It wasn't possible to configure custom modes / refresh rates in Windows. Only AMD GPU I still have.

          HD7970: Only one of the DVI ports was dual-link, the other was single link. I needed either two dual link or two single link ports to run my monitors, so I couldn't get this working at all on either Windows or Linux. So I got rid of it and got a GTX680.

          R9 290X: No XP drivers even though XP was still supported at the time, I don't recall what the binary Linux driver issues I had was off the top of my head, but open source driver didn't support it. Traded that in for a 780Ti.

          Now, you cannot say that this is for lack of giving AMD's solution plenty of chances, but I always ended up with an Nvidia card in the end when I capitulated and needed something that "just works".

          The only workable AMD based solutions are, in my experience, on Linux and only the ones that are a generation out of date and fully supported by the radeon open source driver.

          Something that "just works" is far, far more important and valuable than chasing scores at the top end, especially since relatively few gamers do in fact buy top of the line cards because they are outrageously expensive.

          The only reason why AMD had a good 2014 was because a lot of people were buying their cards for scrypt mining.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Prayers won't help

          Not really. I've used a GTX-750Ti using Debian drivers, and am currently using the beta GTX-960 drivers and they work flawlessly with dual monitors and a couple games including KSP, Don't Starve, Minecraft, and others, plus with my VirtualBox VMs running various Windows versions.

          The beta drivers worked fine just downloading and running install. No issues in about 6 months of using them.

          Before that, I had this same discussion with a friend, and he loaned me a couple AMD cards - I don't remember the numbers as it was 3 months ago - one was new and "top end" and one was about 11 months old.

          I got the Debian drivers working, and KSP had bad shadow and other rendering issues. I used beta drivers and KSP crashed after 5 minutes. Edit: I spent about 2 days chasing drivers to get it to work.

          Sooooo... that is just one data point, but it was pretty decisive for me.

          1. Aoyagi Aichou

            Re: Prayers won't help

            You guys, how much do you think things like Linux driver quality and compatibility with obscure displays sells?

      2. 9Rune5

        Re: Prayers won't help

        "AMD drivers are outrageously buggy"

        My current setup has an old Radeon HD4870-based card in it. AMD stopped updating its drivers several years ago.

        Win 7 keeps flagging a "PC issue" that needs solving, namely that there are issues with my AMD Display Adapter and that I should consider updating its driver... (thankfully it also directed me towards a registry tweak where I could adjust some timeout that helped guard against BSODs – so the situation is not as bad as it was to begin with)

        At the time when they announced they dropped their support for my GPU I was a bit surprised. And now I am annoyed.

        So I am inclined to believe you. I also noticed the hoopla concerning the stuttering issues that was reported a few years back. AMD had 'em while nVidia fixed theirs first.

        I like underdogs and that was the biggest incentive to buy the GPU I did years back. But my next one is most likely a nVidia-branded one.

  2. Chewi

    I love AMD's open source efforts and I would buy a brand new card right now if I only I had some confidence that they will still be around in 6 months to continue those efforts. Catch 22, I guess.

    1. Gordan


      Their open source efforts are indeed great, but since the latest generation of cards is always only supported by the binary drivers, there is no incentive to buy the new generation of GPUs where AMD make their money. For open source usage you have to stick with buying the cards from the current line-up that are re-badged GPUs from the last year's line-up. The benefit for the consumer and the problem for AMD is that those GPUs are cheap new, and even cheaper 2nd hand on ebay.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most efficaceous in every way

    I liked them on Facebook, that's the same thing right?

  4. BleedinObvious

    I picked Ndivia card in my latest small form factor because

    - higher-bank-per-buck than amd on midrange (gtx970)

    - considerably lower power consumption

    - my previous amd build (hd6670) has been stuck on AMD April '14 drivers, the last not to screw up DVI->HDMI connections (despite repeatedly sending in bug reports)

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Hidden nvidia feature

    On my 750Ti, the fans were on all the time. Horribly noisy. On the 960, the fans are *completely off* unless I am playing a game, and then they ramp up apparently automatically.

    Unfortunately, this is not mentioned anywhere and is only something I discovered by using the card. You'd think this would be a marketing bullet point.

    Since I spent a lot of bucks for water cooling for silence, this is a big deal for me.

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