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AMD confirms it’s powering the gaming rig inside Tesla’s Model S and Model X

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10 teraflops of RDNA 2

Remember when Elon Musk claimed you’d be able to play The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 on a 10 teraflop gaming rig he’s stuffing into the new Tesla Model S and X? AMD is officially providing the guts — during its Computex 2021 keynote, the chipmaker just revealed that the new Tesla infotainment system consists of an AMD Ryzen processor with its own integrated graphics paired with a discrete AMD RDNA 2 GPU.

“So we actually have an AMD Ryzen APU powering the infotainment system in both cars as well as a discrete RDNA2-based GPU that kicks in when running AAA games, providing up to 10 teraflops of compute power.... we look forward to giving gamers a great platform for AAA gaming,” says AMD CEO Lisa Su.

And if you combine that information with another piece of news AMD revealed today, plus a earlier leak in January, we may now have a passing idea of how powerful that “10 teraflop” infotainment system could theoretically be: likely a little less than Sony’s PS5.

You see, leaker Patrick Schur dug up a Tesla block diagram in January that singled out an AMD Navi 23 GPU specifically for Tesla’s new vehicles, and today AMD announced the new Radeon 6800M, 6700M and 6600M laptop graphics chips — the weakest of which just so happens to use Navi 23, AnandTech reports.

As we learned today, that Radeon 6600M chip comes with 28CUs and 1792 shader units— compared to the 36CUs and an estimated 2304 shader units worth of RDNA 2 GPU in Sony’s PlayStation 5, which also claims to be a 10-teraflop gaming rig. Thing is, AMD tells us the Tesla has 10 teraflops of total compute if you count both the integrated and discrete GPUs, so you likely won’t see the whole 10 teraflops for gaming. The smaller number of GPU cores suggests we should expect slightly less performance from a Tesla compared to Sony’s console. (The higher-end Radeon 6700M / Navi 22 has the same number of CUs as the PS5, for what it’s worth.)

Performance depends on the software platform, though, as we’ve seen with the 10-teraflop PS5 and the 12-teraflop Xbox Series X — and a recent job posting by Tesla suggests game developers may actually be building for Linux if they want to target the new Tesla in-car gaming rigs.

Linux isn’t necessarily a benefit when it comes to gaming performance, though. Google’s Stadia cloud gaming also boasted 10 teraflops of performance from its AMD GPUs, but ports of games from Bungie and Square Enix didn’t look nearly as good as they did on weaker Xbox and PC hardware at the service’s launch.

The most important question is probably still the one I asked back in January, though: Who is going to sit in their $80,000 sports car and play a triple-A video game?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that the Model S Plaid, which includes the new AMD system, will start deliveries on June 10th.
_Update 11:14 AM ET: Added information from AMD that the Tesla has 10 teraflops of total compute counting its discrete and integrated graphics.