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AMD's Initial Production Run of Radeon VII Just 5,000 Pieces, Company Denies it

More news coming in on AMD's upcoming high-end graphics card, the Radeon VII, with Chinese media reporting that AMD's initial production run for the card is set to ship just 5,000 pieces worldwide. This comes hot on the heels of another report that the Radeon VII won't come in custom-designs by AMD's add-in board (AIB) partners, and that only the reference design will be repackaged and sold by them. What's worse, the source which leaked this production size also revealed that AMD is selling the card below cost-price, i.e., with each card sold, AMD is losing money. This probably explains Wall Street's cold response to the Radeon VII launch, but with a batch size of just 5,000 (roughly $3.5 million in sales at $699 a piece), this card has a negligible impact on AMD's bottom-line.

AMD posted a swift denial to both pieces of news, the size of its production run and the product's profitability. In a statement to MyDrivers, AMD said (translated): "We will not release production figures, but when released on February 7, AMD.com official website and AIB vendor partners will have products on sale, and we expect the supply of Radeon VII to meet the needs of gamers." In short, Radeon VII is shaping up to be the card you'd want to buy if you've sworn a blood-oath never to buy an NVIDIA product, and you need something to play games in 2019 at 4K with.

A Sprinkle of Salt: AMD Radeon VII Reported to Only be Available in Reference Design, no Custom Treatment

A report via Tom's Hardware.de says that AMD's plans for the upcoming Radeon VII are somewhat one-dimensional, in that only reference designs will be available for this particular rendition of the Vega architecture. And this doesn't mean"initial availability" only on reference cards, like NVIDIA has been doing with their Founder's editions; the report claims that at no point in time will there actually be a custom-designed Radeon VII. The quantity of Radeon VII GPUs will apparently be "strictly limited" come launch - a likely result of the decision to make use of TSMC's 7 nm process, which will have to serve not only AMD's Ryzen 3000 and Epyc CPUs when those are actually launched, but all of TSMC's other clients.

This is in contrast with AMD CEO Lisa Su's words during her CES keynote, who said that Radeon VII would be available from "several leading add-in board partners plan to offer the cards". According to a Tom's Hardware.de Taiwanese source, "You cannot leak anything that does not exist" in regards to third-party designs. And another Chinese source said "the quantity of Radeon VII is strictly limited… not sure if AMD wants to open AIB to have an own design later".

Radeon VII Lacks Full FP64 Compute Capabilities Available to Instinct MI60

AMD's upcoming Radeon VII high-end consumer graphics card lacks full FP64 compute capabilities available to the company's other products targeting the enterprise-compute market, such as the Radeon Instinct MI60. Radeon VII offers an FP32 peak compute throughput of 13.8 TFLOP/s single-precision, which, given its hardware resources, should normally work out a double-precision throughput of 6.7 TFLOP/s. However, with the feature disabled for the Radeon VII, the FP64 throughput will be closer to 860 GFLOP/s. Disabling FP64 capabilities for client-segment graphics cards is a common practice among both AMD and NVIDIA.

For gamers, PC enthusiasts, and even creative professionals, double-precision floating-point performance of a graphics card remains completely irrelevant. The disabling of DPFP ensures gamers have access to Radeon VII, lest every cloud compute provider and their dog would soak up Radeon VII inventory owing to its $699 list price, had it offered 6.7 TFLOP/s rivaling compute accelerators 10-15 times more. Radeon VII is the world's first consumer graphics processor built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process, with company-claimed performance rivaling NVIDIA's RTX 2080. It will be available from February 7.

The Division 2 Skipping Steam, Available Only on Ubisoft and Epic Stores; System Requirements Outed With Radeon VII

The Epic Games Store with its aggressive developer earnings program is drilling away at Steam's already-installed hegemony as the PC gaming platform of choice. A mere 12% royalty for the storefront means much more money goes back to the developers, and the more copies are sold of a given game, the bigger the profit will become. This is why some games have already even left Steam's shores to find a home on the Epic Games Store, and now, a AAA title in The Division 2 will be skipping Steam entirely. With launches on Ubisoft's own store and an 88% cut on the Epic store, Ubisoft will be looking to maximize their profits.

That part of the story is done; Ubisoft has also outed the system requirements for the PC version of The Division 2, which, for a minimum of 30 FPS at 1080p, will require either an AMD FX-6350 or Intel Core I5-2500K CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 2 GB of video RAM on an AMD Radeon R9 270 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 670.

AMD CTO Mark Papermaster Confirms 7 nm Lineup Refresh for 2019

AMD's CTO Mark Papermaster, in an interview with TheStreet, confirmed AMD's plans with 7 nm for their graphics offerings are just beginning with Radeon VII. When inquired on AMD's plans for their graphics division, Papermaster said that "What we do over the course of the year is what we do every year. We'll round out the whole roadmap." he then added that "We're really excited to start on the high-end... you'll see the announcements over the course of the year as we round out our Radeon roadmap."

So these comments form papermaster seemingly confirm two things: first, that AMD plans to "round out" its lineup using the 7 nm process technology, which means increasing offerings at different price points. The use of the word "refresh" almost takes the breath away, since refreshes are usually based on the same previous architectures. However, AMD does have plans for a new mid-range chip to finally succeed Polaris in Navi, which should become the next AMD launch in the 7 nm process for graphics technologies.

AMD Radeon VII Detailed Some More: Die-size, Secret-sauce, Ray-tracing, and More

AMD pulled off a surprise at its CES 2019 keynote address, with the announcement of the Radeon VII client-segment graphics card targeted at gamers. We went hands-on with the card earlier this week. The company revealed a few more technical details of the card in its press-deck for the card. To begin with, the company talks about the immediate dividends of switching from 14 nm to 7 nm, with a reduction in die-size from 495 mm² on the "Vega 10" silicon to 331 mm² on the new "Vega 20" silicon. The company has reworked the die to feature a 4096-bit wide HBM2 memory interface, the "Vega 20" MCM now features four 32 Gbit HBM2 memory stacks, which make up the card's 16 GB of memory. The memory clock has been dialed up to 1000 MHz from 945 MHz on the RX Vega 64, which when coupled with the doubled bus-width, works out to a phenomenal 1 TB/s memory bandwidth.

We know from AMD's late-2018 announcement of the Radeon Instinct MI60 machine-learning accelerator based on the same silicon that "Vega 20" features a total of 64 NGCUs (next-generation compute units). To carve out the Radeon VII, AMD disabled 4 of these, resulting in an NGCU count of 60, which is halfway between the RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64, resulting in a stream-processor count of 3,840. The reduced NGCU count could help AMD harvest the TSMC-built 7 nm GPU die better. AMD is attempting to make up the vast 44 percent performance gap between the RX Vega 64 and the GeForce RTX 2080 with a combination of factors.

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang on Radeon VII: "Underwhelming (...) the Performance is Lousy"; "Freesync Doesn't Work"

PC World managed to get a hold of NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, picking his thoughts on AMD's recently announced Radeon VII. Skirting through the usual amicable, politically correct answers, Jensen made his thoughts clear on what the competition is offering to compete with NVIDIA's RTX 2000 series. The answer? Vega VII is an "underwhelming product", because "The performance is lousy and there's nothing new. [There's] no ray tracing, no AI. It's 7nm with HBM memory that barely keeps up with a 2080. And if we turn on DLSS we'll crush it. And if we turn on ray tracing we'll crush it." Not content on dissing the competition's product, Jensen Huang also quipped regarding AMD's presentation and product strategy, saying that "It's a weird launch, maybe they thought of it this morning."

AMD Radeon VII Hands On at CES 2019

While many have watched or at the very least seen our coverage of AMD's live stream at CES 2019, it just can't compare to seeing the latest graphics card from the company up close and personal. Therefore as soon as we had the opportunity, we took a closer look at the AMD Radeon VII and let us just say the reference card is indeed a bit fancy. The shroud itself is made of metal and has a very similar look and feel to the one used on the Radeon RX Vega 64 liquid cooled reference cards. However, instead of using an AIO for this release AMD instead opted for three uniform fans and a massive heatsink. Not only does this make the card more compatible with small form factor systems, it is also less of a hassle to install. Display outputs consist of 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI. Sadly AMD did not include a VirtualLink port (USB Type-C) like NVIDIA for VR headsets, which is rather odd considering AMD is also part of the VirtualLink consortium.

Power delivery is handled by two 8-pin PCIe power connectors giving the card access to a theoretical limit of 375-watts which is 75-watts more than its 300-watt TDP. Considering the Radeon VII has the same power level as the Vega 64 it offers 25% more performance at the same power level. Compute unit count falls between the Vega 56 and Vega 64 at precisely 60 CUs. That said, a few missing CUs are of no consequence when you consider how close the Vega 56 performed to the Vega 64 once tweaked. As for clock speeds AMD has stated the Radeon VII will have a 1.8 GHz core clock, while the 16 GB of HBM2 will deliver 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth over the 4096-bit memory interface.

AMD's CES 2019 Keynote - Stream & Live Blog

CPUs or GPUs? Ryzen 3000 series up to 16 cores or keeping their eight? Support for raytracing? Navi or die-shrunk Vega for consumer graphics? The questions around AMD's plans for 2019 are still very much in the open, but AMD's Lisa Su's impending livestream should field the answers to many of these questions, so be sure to watch the full livestream, happening in just a moment.

You can find the live stream here, at YouTube.

18:33 UTC: Looking forward, Lisa mentioned a few technology names without giving additional details: "... when you're talking about future cores, Zen 2, Zen 3, Zen 4, Zen 5, Navi, we're putting all of these architectures together, in new ways".

18:20 UTC: New Ryzen 3rd generation processors have been teased. The upcoming processors are based on Zen 2, using 7 nanometer technology. AMD showed a live demo of Forza Horizon 4, using Ryzen third generation, paired with Radeon Vega VII, which is running "consistently over 100 FPS at highest details at 1080p resolution". A second demo, using Cinebench, pitted an 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 3rd generation processor against the Intel Core i9-9900K. The Ryzen CPU was "not final frequency, an early sample". Ryzen achieved a score of 2057 using 135 W, while Intel achieved a score of 2040 using 180 W.. things are looking good for Ryzen 3rd generation indeed. Lisa also confirmed that next-gen Ryzen will support PCI-Express 4.0, which doubles the bandwidth per lane over PCI-Express 3.0. Ryzen third generation will run on the same AM4 infrastructure as current Ryzen; all existing users of Ryzen can simply upgrade to the new processors, when they launch in the middle of 2019 (we think Computex).
Ryzen third generation uses a chiplet design. The smaller die on the right contains 8-cores/16-threads using 7 nanometer technology. The larger die on the left is the IO die, which consists of things like the memory controller and PCI-Express connectivity, to shuffle data between the CPU core die and the rest of the system.

AMD Announces the Radeon VII Graphics Card: Beats GeForce RTX 2080

AMD today announced the Radeon VII (Radeon Seven) graphics card, implementing the world's first GPU built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process. Based on the 7 nm "Vega 20" silicon with 60 compute units (3,840 stream processors), and a 4096-bit HBM2 memory interface, the chip leverages 7 nm to dial up engine clock speeds to unprecedented levels (above 1.80 GHz possibly). CEO Lisa Su states that the Radeon VII performs competitively with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card. The card features a gamer-friendly triple-fan cooling solution with a design focus on low noise. AMD is using 16 GB of 4096-bit HBM2 memory. Available from February 7th, the Radeon VII will be priced at USD $699.

Update: We went hands on with the Radeon VII card at CES.
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