AMD delays Radeon graphics card with dual Fiji GPUs until 2016 to wait for VR rollout

AMD will wait until the VR headsets are ready before it rolls out the previously announced double Fiji GPU graphics card.

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Gordon Mah Ung

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By now, you’ve probably realized there’s little hope of finding a Radeon graphics card with dual Fiji GPUs under the tree on Friday. AMD recently confirmed to AnandTech that the company’s previously announced double Fiji card, codenamed Gemini, won’t show up until 2016. When it does go up for sale, AMD will position Gemini as an ideal card for virtual reality gaming.

“The product schedule for Fiji Gemini had initially been aligned with consumer HMD [head-mounted display] availability, which had been scheduled for Q415,” AMD told AnandTech. “HMDs are now expected to be available to consumers by early Q216...we’re adjusting the Fiji Gemini launch schedule to better align with the market.”

While we don’t have a specific release date for Fiji Gemini, it'll likely happen by spring. By then, Oculus Rift should be on the market. Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey recently said on Twitter that the Rift launch is still on track for the first three months of 2016. HTC’s SteamVR-powered Vive is now set to roll out in April after delaying its launch, which was originally slated for this month.

The story behind the story: Some gamers out there may be chomping at the bit to get an all-in-one dual-GPU card. But AMD is wise to wait for the big VR launches in 2016, given the lagging state of multi-GPU gaming at the moment.

Further reading: AMD Radeon Fury Crossfire review: Here's what two fast, furious graphics cards can do

Mo' GPUs, mo' problems

Some of the biggest titles this year failed to properly support multi-GPU setups this year, including Just Cause 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight, while Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid V are capped at 60fps even with multi-GPU setups since the games' physics are tied to the frame rate. Between engine issues and the sheer technical difficulty of offering multi-GPU support, a lot of top-tier games are simply skipping it.

Virtual reality, meanwhile, can easily use two GPUs at once since scenes must be rendered twice, with offsets for each eye—a task that is perfect for two GPUs. When VR madness grips the nation this spring, AMD will have a perfect opportunity to explain why you need two GPUs to really make your Rift setup sing.

Don't get us wrong: Multi-GPU support in regular games is not dead by any means—but it is becoming rarer. That said, traditional keyboard-and-mouse gaming may get a multi-GPU boost in the future if developers take to DirectX 12’s Explicit Multiadapter feature. But as we noted in July, that DX12 feature still requires a lot of heavy lifting by developers, so we'll have to see if it takes off.

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