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.

10 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.

  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).

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