Asynchronous Spacewarp: Making Great VR Experiences More Accessible Than Ever Before

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Over the past year you have heard AMD talk a lot about Asynchronous Compute, and its significance has been clearly demonstrated in many DirectX® 12 and Vulkan™ games, as well as VR. There were two specific features enabled by this capability that we elaborated on for AMD LiquidVR™ Technology:

  • Asynchronous Time Warp (ATW) – helps to reduce latency and prevent image judder caused by dropped frames. Oculus’ ATW solution is designed to be automatic and transparent to users as well as to developers.
  • Quick Response Queue (QRQ) – tasks submitted into this special queue get preferential access to GPU resources while running asynchronously, so they can overlap with other workloads. More details can be found here.

ATW works by tracking the user’s head motion while each frame is being rendered, and re-projecting the last completed frame to the point of view of the user’s latest head position. This helps ensure that the headset always has an up-to-date frame to display, even if the system was unable to finish rendering a completely new frame in time. QRQ allows the re-projection operation to occur in parallel with graphics rendering, so it can be executed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

ATW is enabled automatically for Oculus Rift headsets and has been shown to be effective at reducing perceived latency and enabling comfortable VR experiences, however it still has some limitations. Specifically it cannot compensate for motion that occurs in the rendered scene itself, only that caused by head movements. Moving objects are just re-rendered at their last known location, which in some cases can noticeably degrade the quality of the experience.

Today we are announcing support for Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW), which was designed by Oculus to complement ATW and enhance its effectiveness. It works by comparing previously rendered frames to detect motion between them, and using that information to extrapolate the position of scene components in the next frame. This allows re-projected frames to more accurately approximate how they would look if they had been fully rendered.

The motion detection calculations required for ASW need a considerable amount of computational power, and they must be completed within a few milliseconds just before each frame is ready to display. The latest iteration of LiquidVR provides access to powerful image processing hardware in VR-capable AMD Radeon GPUs that can generate the necessary motion vectors without burdening the main graphics engine.

Combined with the existing ATW and QRQ features, ASW can enable incredibly smooth and comfortable VR experience on AMD CPUs and Polaris GPUs available at an attractive price point, making VR accessible to virtually everyone. This is the latest example of how AMD and our technology partners are developing technology that helps bring premium VR to the widest possible audience.

Download the latest Radeon Software to discover the true power of Asynchronous Compute on Radeon graphics.

Sasa Marinkovic is Head of VR and Software Marketing for AMD. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

  1. Radeon VR Ready Premium Products are select Radeon GPUs that meet or exceed the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive recommended specifications for video cards/GPUs. Other hardware (including CPU) and system requirements recommended by Oculus Rift or HTC Vive should also be met in order to operate the applicable HMDs as intended. As VR technology, HMDs and other VR hardware and software evolve and/or become available, these criteria may change without notice.
  2. As of 10/7/2016, ASW is enabled supported on the Radeon™ RX 480 and RX 470. Check with your VR headset manufacturer to confirm GPU and/or CPU compatibility.

21 thoughts on “Asynchronous Spacewarp: Making Great VR Experiences More Accessible Than Ever Before

  1. This is great news. Albeit the Oculus presentation was a bit different by suggesting it is a fixed 45 to 90 fps ASW processing.
    Now we wonder, with QRQ as part of the technology on AMDs side, is this for Polaris GPUs and later models only? Any benefits for Tahiti/Hawaii GPUs to expect?

  2. Is QRQ enabled and working on fiji and other GCN cards or is it only available to polaris

    same question goes for TRUEAUDIO next?

  3. So you’re enabling it for 400 series but not 300 series? What, you think we’re gonna go out to buy a marginal upgrade to get that one feature? You’re sorely, SORELY mistaken. Good thing I didn’t buy that FreeSync monitor, because my next card will NOT be an AMD unless this is fixed.

    1. We appreciate the feedback. We work tremendously hard to keep all Radeon users happy, and while we can’t confirm anything at the moment, please know that we’re looking into the feasibility of enabling ASW on other products.

      1. Thanks! I think a lot of people are all waiting for this! I just spent a little extra money to get a Fury instead of RX480 and after these news I wish I had just taken the 480. I’d also love to hear about updates, news and hurdles about this feature. I heard somewhere that it is hard to implement on older cards because of limited access to video encoding hardware. Is that right? Highlighting the technical side of this problem might help keeping the masses calm on the situation.

  4. If ASW is not supported on Hawaii/Grenada/Fiji, I’m switching over to the other camp for good. Good job alienating the VR community!

    1. Hi there, we can’t confirm anything at the moment, however, please know that we’re looking into the feasibility of enabling ASW on other products. Thank you for the feedback.

  5. Please clear up the rumours that this will not be available on the R9 family of cards. I have a R9 290 and an upgrade to an RX480 is not worth it for me but I really want to improve VR performance. I am extremely close to buying a GTX 1080 as currently for VR and future 4K support it is my only option today for the next 3 months in fact).

  6. Same, because the Fury X was tunt as the next big hit – and with a such delay release – I would’ve hope it would be at least supported in the feature 400s as well.

    Seems like a punch in the face if we don’t hear anything by middle of Nov.

  7. Now it’s two weeks later and we saw two driver hotfix releases in the meantime. But somehow this ASW feature still doesn’t work with AMD Polaris on my VR System. When checking the Oculus developer documentation there is a requirement for Radeon version 16.40.2311
    Can you confirm which official released driver or hotfix is needed to run ASW on Oculus gear?

  8. Wrong marketing strategy: “Download the latest Radeon Software to discover the true power of Asynchronous Compute on Radeon graphics”
    And after 10 days this statement still isn´t true. Whats wrong with you, amd?

    1. Hi – thanks for your comment.

      Please note that support for Oculus’ Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) feature on select Radeon RX 400 series graphics products is enabled in Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1 and later.

      Once officially released by Oculus, ASW will be enabled on the Oculus Rift. Please click here to learn more about ASW.

  9. Well folks, it turns out AMD is the worst choice for a VR setup and I’m afraid they will never going to keep up with the competition whatever they do. As a regretful 390X owner being left out at the cold from those great vr technologies like ASW is just not acceptable at this point. We made big investment for VR, believing AMD’s promises but while Nvidia bringing all those crucial tech. for older gens, and look what we got.

    The silence from AMD is also a big let down. My trust is completely gone but at least I know what my next gpu is gonna be.

  10. If it becomes normal that AMD provides new funktions only for the latest graphics products i will definately move to nVidia. Don’t tell us that older cards cannot handle ASW. And don’t think that you’ll sell more products. Read forums and you’ll notice that AMD will lose many VR users.

    I really hate nVidia for their attitude but if their support for older products is better than yours i won’t hesitate buy a Geforce.

  11. THIS story is from over a month ago. But still ASW isn’t working on RX480 cards yet. Oculus has not released a runtime for their VR Headsets yet that would work with Radeon GPUs for this feature. The developer information of Oculus about ASW isn’t helping end users really.
    Can AMD and Radeon Technology Group share any information when to expect an Oculus software support for AMDs driver implementation?

  12. So what I’m reading here is that I should scrap my two Fury X’s and by a 480 instead? Does that sound right to you? For VR it seems the choice is clear and it isn’t with Team Red. I’m so sick of having people talk about great VR experiences and having them run like crap on my AMD cards. Even worse now, Steam’s implementation of (something like) ASW on the Vive doesn’t even support 400 series cards.

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