AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series Re-branding Introduction

AMD is announcing a new re-branding structure for its video cards. The AMD Radeon R9 and R7 series will make up AMDs new video cards moving forward. Most are re-brands of current series GPUs, but two will be next generation. We will discuss each model announced with specifications and comparison.

Out with the Old, In with the Old

Today, October 8th, 2013, AMD is announcing its new GPU branding; the AMD Radeon R7 and AMDRadeon R9 series of video cards. Products will officially ship on October 11th. But stop, look, and listen. These GPUs are not "new" products. The video cards being announced today are all re-brands / re-badges of the current generation AMD Radeon HD 7000 series video cards, mostly.

There will be two new "next generation" (GCN 2.0) video cards released in the AMD R9 series. These two new cards will be the AMD Radeon R9 290X and AMD Radeon R9 290. Can we tell you the specs on the 290 series yet? No. Can we tell you when those will be launched? No. Unfortunately, we cannot tell you anything about the two high-end R9 series video cards today that we know you want to hear about. Stay tuned, the wait is only weeks away...hopefully. The official AMD language on the 290 release is "To Be Decided" at this moment.

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Instead, today, what we can talk to you about is the re-branding of the Radeon HD 7000 series as the new R7 and R9 series of video cards. Re-branding is not inherently a bad thing, if done correctly. NVIDIA has recently done such a re-branding with the GeForce GTX 700 series. For example, GeForce GTX 770 is a re-branded GK104 (GeForce GTX 680) GPU, with faster memory. The GeForce GTX 760 is a re-brand of GK104 (GeForce GTX 670). In both cases, the price MSRP was reduced. When done "right," re-branding can be good. In the case of AMD today, AMD has done "OK" in our eyes.

AMD brings price reductions and a restructuring of its product stack to better represent its "new" product line. While a lot of enthusiasts find re-branding to be a sacrilege, it does help move new top end products into the product stack with creating as little confusion as possible at a retail level. It is simply messy for retailers to have multiple product series numbers for sale, and many times confusing for consumers as well. Depending on where you stand on this issue, you might consider GPU re-branding a necessary evil, or a simple a tidying of shelf space. Either way, it is here to stay, so you will have to deal with it.

In a nutshell, AMD is bringing higher last-gen performance, to lower price points. It is completely changing the current lineup of video card performance in the stack. It also completely changes the market segment for which AMD video card now compares to the competition. It's a major shake-up on price versus performance that should make a lot of hardware enthusiasts and gamers happy. This time re-branding is a very positive thing.

What will happen to the Radeon HD 7000 series? Quantities will run out eventually, and will not be replaced.

R7 & R9 - RU Joking?

No jokes here, in all seriousness AMD has created a new product name for these video cards, despite these using the same GPUs. The reason is clear, it differentiates these from the previous product, making these feel new again. It also allows add-in-board partners to develop new heatsink and fan technologies, new custom PCB designs for these video cards. In fact this is the case, all the designs you will be seeing from AIBs are new and different from the previous Radeon HD 7000 series. This gives somewhat of a "new life" to the current generation GPU.

Most people will look at R7 and think "Radeon HD 7000 series" and R9 as "Radeon 9000 series", but please do not do this as it is not quite this cut and dried. The reason being is because two of the current generation GPUs live under the R9 270X and 280X branding. Instead, think of it like this, R7 is for the value and mainstream video card markets, and R9 is for the high-end gaming market. AMD refers to the R7 series as "The Power To Do It All," and the R9 series as "For Gamers Who Demand The Best."

In this case, R7 or R9 denotes the market segment of the card. Then, under each R7 or R9 series are the levels of card which will have a three digit number, and a letter. Under the R9 series you will have 290X, 280X, 270X, and under the R7 series you will have 260X and 250. The "X" denotes the higher-end product. If you don't see an "X," it is the lower-end product of that number series.

For example, as you will see on the next page, the AMD R9 280X equals that of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. The AMD R9 270X equals that of the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition. That leaves out the Radeon HD 7950 in the middle. What AMD could do, in the future (right now not announced), is release a R9 280 (without the "X") which equals the Radeon HD 7950. In this comparison, a R9 270 (without the "X") would then be the equal to Radeon HD 7850.

Confused yet? Don’t worry, it becomes much more clear as we look at the specific models being launched. We will also create a table for you so you can look at what was re-branded to what for comparison, and how to think of these compared to the competition. As Google says, "I have charts and graphs to back me up. So f*ck off." smile