Last night AMD finally officially announced its first Radeon Vega graphics card. Well, sort of. The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is part of the Radeon Pro family of GPUs, rather than a consumer gaming graphics card.
The specs don’t disappoint either. Falling bang in line with the rumours, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition packs an enormous 16GB of second generation HBM2 (High Bandwidth Memory) in two stacks of 8GB, 4096 Stream Processors on 64 Compute Units, and a core clock speed of 1586MHz. A high clock speed is crucial, as the limited stock of Compute Units doesn't give AMD much wriggle room to play with versus its older generation Fiji chips. Total memory bandwidth of the Radeon Vega is 480GB/s, while it has a pixel fill rate of 90 GPixels/s.
This puts the estimated performance of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition at 12.5 TFLOPs of single precision compute, versus the 12 TFLOPs touted by Nvidia’s GeForce Titan XP. Stacked up against AMD’s previous flagship, the Radeon Fury X, it has four times as much video memory and 150% times single precision compute and 300% half-precision.
The Radeon RX Vega Frontier Edition will be available in a standard Blue version, with gold logo and LED lighting, or the water-cooled Gold professional edition. This is the reverse in colour; entirely gold except for the blue logos and LED.
“We’ve spent years preparing to enable this next generation of data scientists, immersion engineers, and product designers, by designing a formidable new GPU architecture – Vega – from the ground up, and by heavily investing in machine learning, high performance graphics for content creators, and open software solutions to deliver value to a broad pioneer ecosystem,” said AMD. “Today our vision for delivering the future of data science and advanced visualization materializes with the release of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics cards.”
These early versions of Vega will be shipping in June, and are designed to fill the gap for workstation graphics, although it could be used for extremely high-end gaming performance. This isn't the dedicated gaming graphics card family we were hoping for though, so we'll have to wait a little longer yet. This is instead AMD eyeing an opportunity to break into the AI and machine learning markets which Nvidia has traditionally dominated. While we don't know the pricing structure just yet, cheaper Vega cards will be along in due course. The downside is that we may be in for a longer wait than anticipated, likely the second half of 2017.