Summary of AMD’s Bizarre “Capsaicin” Event at GDC

By | March 15, 2016



AMD’s ‘Capsaicin’ show was quite a unique experience. The entire theme of the event revolved around alcohol, hot peppers, and having fun.  Weeks prior to the show, AMD employees even tweeted about hot peppers to hype up the show, leaving readers confused. A weird metaphor was made about power efficiency, comparing the power efficiency advancements of Polaris GPUs to a story about how capsaicin, a component of hot peppers that produces the “hot” sensation, makes alcohol more efficient, and how the right amount of alcohol makes workers more productive.  There were hot pepper eating contests involving the crowd, attendees were invited to party and drink with AMD employees after the show, etc. Regardless of how bizarre the event was, some of the announcements made are quite exciting.


Here is a brief list of the technical announcements and demos at AMD’s GDC event, named “Capsaicin”:


AMD demos Hitman on a ‘Polaris 10’ GPU at 1440P 60 fps in Directx12. 

AMD’s Polaris 10 GPU was demoed playing Hitman at 1440P 60 fps, in directx12. It was unclear what settings it was being played on, and if the FPS is capped. The benchmark doesn’t really tell us much, since it is unclear what percentage of the GPU is needed to render the game at 60 fps, and how far beyond it could go if it was not capped. Still, it showed the Polaris 10 in action, which could end up coming the r9 490, as its the larger of two chip architectures they’ve demonstrated.

AMD Radeon Pro Duo Announced

Also referred to in speculation as the Fury X2, The Radeon Pro Duo is a dual-GPU graphics card with 2 Fiji-based GPUs. It’s essentially like running 2 Fury X’s in crossfire, except they’re on a single physical card. The card has a combined 8 GB of HBM memory, 16 TFlops of compute performance, and 4 display outputs. AMD Demoed the Fury X2 in the FIRE engine, where they demonstrated a significant reduction in render time by using the Fury X2 over the Fury X. Other representatives from other companies were also invited on stage to give testimonials on how it helped them create their products.

Fox Studios is Creating an Assassin’s Creed VR Experience

Created alongside the production of the movie, an independent VR experience is being created. The process involved using 360 degree cameras and scanning objects into 3d models, in order to create a 3d VR scene. The production is not supposed to be a game, but rather a VR experience.

Ubisoft is Developing Virtual Reality Games

Ubisoft has made a statement that they are adapting VR, and building VR games. They announced a VR app at the event called “Eagle Flight”. In this game, the user controls an eagle, and can fly around an abandoned city of Paris, 50 years after Humans left. The user can tilt their head to control their flight.

Sulon Q Wireless VR Headset Powered by AMD Demoed

The problem with current VR devices is that the existance of a cord restricts the possibilities of VR. Users may trip on the cord, and they cannot move far from their starting point without accidentally unplugging the device or knocking overheir desktop.The Sulon Q is a fully wireless virtual reality headset using AMD CPU. It combines an AMD FX CPU and R7 graphics internally within the headset to render the image from within the device, meaning that no cords are needed. This device was demoed at the event, showing an augmented reality application. The device processed depth through a camera, and then edits the view of the user, drawing in new elements to create a VR experience. In the demo, a giant beanstalk ripped through the floor and ceiling, and a giant pulls the player out of their building, into a new world. Unfortunately, the headset has a lower resolution per eye than other headsets, so may not offer the same level of quality as the Vive or Oculus Rift.

HP Plans to Create VR Ready PCs

HP’s VP of Virtual Reality announced that HP plans to expand their selection of pre-built gaming PCs to support virtual reality. This will help adaptation of virtual reality, by helping bring real world demos of virtual reality to popular stores such as Best Buy, so that people can experience it first hand, and see how amazing it is. Even if you dislike the idea of a prebuilt PC, it’s still exciting how they can help increase adaptation of virtual reality on PC.


The vast majority of announcements are based around developments in Virtual Reality technology. AMD repeated a lot of information they’ve already released about AMD LiquidVR and GPUOpen, which I chose not to cover, as it isn’t new information. Basically, technologies like Asynchronous shaders, DX12, multi-GPU, and low latency to deliver a high quality VR experience, helping to fix issues such as motion sickness.