The Top 3 Intel, Nvidia And AMD Launches Of 2015
2015 has been a great year for technology and new PC hardware, as we looked back on this action packed year we decided to pick the top 3 product launches from Intel, Nvidia and AMD that have had the most impact and influence on the market.
Nvidia's GM200 And The GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Nvidia's GTX 980 Ti was a great success for the company in 2015, not because it was vastly faster than its big brother the GTX Titan X but because it brought ultra high-end GPU performance to a price point that was vastly more accessible and affordable. And in the world of PC graphics bang for the buck rules supreme.
This launch wasn't just good for Nvidia fans, it was great for AMD fans too. Because thanks to the aggressive positioning of the GTX 980 Ti in the market it had undoutedbly influenced AMD's pricing decisions for its unew arrivals at the time, the Fiji based R9 Fury X, R9 Fury and R9 Nano. Making the high-end graphics spectrum all that much more accessible to gamers.
This is very reminiscent of what happened in the last two years with the GTX 970 and the R9 290 series launch. Both of which drove the prices of competing products down and forced new product introductions. This is why we love this almost fist-fight like competition between the green and red teams. Thanks to this competition, in mid 2015 at virtually any price point users were able to buy performance that was only accessible at double the cost just 12 months prior.
AMD's Fiji - R9 Fury Series - And Stacked Memory "HBM"
The R9 Fury X was a product that in many ways gave us glimpses into the future of graphics cards and exciting memory design innovation in the industry. While it's certainly not the fastest graphics card in the world, that title is still held by AMD's dual Hawaii R9 295X2 graphics card, Fiji will still go down as one of the most important GPUs in the company's long list of graphics chips.
It's the very first GPU in the industry to demonstrate the truly revolutionary design concept known as die stacking. Chips are no longer thought of as two dimensional circuits, but rather complex three dimensional structures where billions upon billions of transistors, spanning several dozen chip dies, are joined together in a 3D structure. The result is a more potent, more power efficient and more compact device.
With Fiji, AMD demonstrated this concept with a brand new vertically stacked DRAM technology dubbed High Bandwidth Memory. Despite HBM playing a huge part in future GPU design, stacking memory really is just the tip of an enormous iceberg. The long term industry vision is to keep vertically and horizontally stacking more and more components until everything from storage devices, system memory to the CPU & the GPU are on a single device. In that sense Fiji represents a very important pioneering step in that long and ambitious journey.
Intel's latest update to the mainstream platform has been a long awaited one. While not as exciting as Intel's Haswell-E and the X99 platform that was introduced last year, Intel's tock this year is an important one. With Skylake, Intel introduced not only a significantly updated CPU micro-architecture but also a comprehensive set of new platform features and extended functionality.
Aside from the microarchitectural performance improvements to both the CPU and GPU execution engines, Skylake served to introduce DDR4 memory to the mainstream. There are several other key technologies which are part of the Skylake platform which include more robust storage solutions, additional PCI-E lanes, support for super fast NvME SSDs and even future storage devices based on the all new 3D XPoint memory technology which Intel announced earlier this year and is 1000X faster than current nand flash technology.
With that said, it's not likely that we'll see the full potential of Intel's Skylake microarchitecture until the introduction of the enthusiast desktop Skylake-E line-up with high core count CPUs and double the memory bandwidth.
Bringing this to a close, we'd love to hear what you believe were the most exciting PC hardware launches of the year, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!