Last Wednesday, Techpowerup published what appeared to be a comparison between AMD’s Radeon RX 560 and Nvidia’s GTX 1050. Both are budget graphics cards in a similar price range, and consumers may want to research which choice is better for them. What readers are unlikely to notice is the small “advertorial by AMD” hidden off to the side on the top right. That, combined with the author being named “Advertorial” are the only indications that the content is sponsored on the entire page.
The article reads much like a review from an independent journalist, with no disclaimers within the article itself that it comes from AMD or is sponsored by AMD. In fact, the article was posted directly in the “Reviews” section, a place where users should be able to view an honest opinion rather than a sponsored one. The comparison makes a very strong case for AMD’s RX 560, but does so using misleading representation of data.
Chart from Techpowerup advertorial
The chart included in the article shows the RX 560 performing better on every single game benchmark. The problem is that the chart isn’t even graphically accurate. For example, for Resident Evil, the GTX 1050 scores 63 FPS, but somehow ends up on the left side of the “60 FPS” vertical bar. In addition, the graphs don’t seem to be to scale.
The benchmark results also seem to vary from what has been found by independent reviewers. Throughout my research on the web, it seems that the RX 560 and GTX 1050 trade blows in terms of performance, so it’s very likely AMD cherry picked their benchmarks to best represent their card.
With the rise of ad-blocking software, traditional script-based ads are becoming ineffective, especially when a site relies on catering to tech-savvy individuals that are more likely to run adblockers, leading many news sites to adapt sponsored articles disguised as real content. It is considered important ethics to properly mark sponsored content as sponsored, rather than trying to hide disclaimers off to the side.
Link to advertorial
AMD’s “Vega” GPU has surfaced, now available for pre-order on Scan UK and Sabre PC. The listings may have been a mistake, as there hasn’t been an announcement from AMD regarding pricing or release dates, or listings on many other major online computer hardware stores.
The cards are not cheap. The air cooled version sells for $1,199, while the liquid cooled variant sells for $1,799. Unlike AMD’s Fury/Fury X, the liquid cooled version does not provide more usable cores than the air cooled version. The two cards have seemingly identical specs, each boasting 16 GB of HBM2 VRAM and 4096 shader cores.
While the GPU is a workstation card, which is intended for professional use for double precision computing, the card is likely the most powerful AMD GPU available for gaming. Featuring an advertised 13.1 TFLOPS of single precision computing power compared to the Fury X’s 8.6 TFLOPS, AMD’s Vega has the potential to be over 50% faster than the Fury X in terms of computing power while containing 4 times the available VRAM. Of course, it’s not certain that this will translate to real world performance, so it’s best to wait for benchmarks before reaching conclusions.
It’s currently unclear if AMD will release a cheaper variant of the workstation card for gaming use. Usually, both AMD and Nvidia release workstation variants of their cards after the consumer version, with the cheaper consumer versions of the cards having throttled double precision capability. With AMD’s Vega, this may be different. Supply of HBM2 memory, a revolutionary new type of high bandwidth & low power consumption memory, is currently limited, and very expensive. Nvidia has not released any consumer-grade GPUs with HBM2, as they’re using their limited supply for their $7,000+ GP100 GPU, which is intended for datacenter use. It’s likely that AMD will follow a similar pattern due to the scarcity and price of HBM2 memory.
At $1,199(or $1,799 if you want a liquid cooled one), AMD’s Vega is likely not a good purchase for gaming purposes, unless you are committed to using AMD(or use Freesync), want the best performance, don’t want to wait, and price is not an issue.