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AMD's next GPU generation is almost ready

AMD's next GPU generation is almost ready


Vega sounds fast, but is it late?

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AMD already had a huge win this year with its all-new Ryzen CPUs. Now the question is whether AMD can pull off another upset in the GPU space. AMD has been promising its new "Vega" architecture for over a year now, and it's time to see the results. Well, it's almost time.

This week AMD announced the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, a high-end card that's aimed at professionals and workstations, not necessarily gamers. In fact, AMD explicitly suggests gamers wait "a little while longer" for a Radeon RX Vega card that will be cheaper and gaming-optimized.

The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition has 64 compute units, roughly 25 teraflops of half precision compute performance, and an enormous 16GB of HBM2 (High Bandwidth Memory, the sequel). The card has a huge performance advantage over existing professional AMD cards, even though it's built with the same 14nm process. The new memory has a lot to do with it, but Vega also adds other architecture optimizations designed to improve common workflows. Anandtech calculates the boost clock speed is around 1.59GHz, which also probably helps. According to AMD, it's the fastest graphics card in the world.

“Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is very simply the fastest graphics card on the planet.”

For instance, AMD claims the Vega Frontier Edition is 30 percent faster than Nvidia's Tesla P100 at machine learning jobs, and that it has a similar advantage over the current "world's fastest video card," Nvidia's Titan Xp, with popular CAD applications.

Of course, performance wins don't matter much when your card isn't on the market yet — Nvidia's Pascal architecture has been available for over a year, and AMD is definitely playing catchup.

The card will ship in late June, and we're supposed to get a few more details middle of June — like a price tag, presumably, and power requirements. The rest of the Vega lineup, built for regular humans who want to do this silly thing called "play video games," is supposed to hit sometime this summer.