AMD has updated their graphics roadmap by adding another step to the expected lineup and confirming what we had already been suspecting for some time: there is a 7nm Vega shrink being made and it will be landing sooner than you think. The company also announced a new 7nm Vega Instinct accelerator for machine learning applications.
AMD Radeon Graphics Update: 7nm Vega Instinct to begin sampling in 2018, Navi architecture in 2019 followed by "Next-Gen" architecture on 7nm+
This roadmap represents a significant change from before which had 12nm Vega shrinks present. It looks like AMD is going to be skipping a beat as far as the GPU side is concerned and going straight down to 7nm for its GPU lineup. Die shrinks usually result in big performance and power efficiency gains and its little surprise that AMD wants its entire portfolio to shift to 7nm by 2019, which would allow it to take advantage of significant cost and economy improvements. The price to pay of course, is going to be the increased difficulty of fabricating on such a tiny node. In fact, this is the the node after which EUV will almost certainly become a requirement.
This means, that we will probably not see any other graphics update from AMD in the entirety of 2018. If the company manages to finalize Vega, we should see it launch sometime before the end of 2018, but even that could get shifted back to Q1 2019. As for Navi, the new roadmap makes it clear that it is almost certainly a 2019 product - one which will probably come by H2 2019 since it represents a newer architecture on top of the die shrink.
- The “Vega” product family in 2018 with the Radeon Vega Mobile GPU for ultrathin notebooks.
- The first 7nm AMD product, a “Vega” based GPU built specifically for machine learning applications.
- A production-level machine learning software environment with AMD’s MIOpen libraries supporting common machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow and Caffe on the ROCm Open eCosystem platform. The industry’s first fully open heterogeneous software environment, which is making it easier to program using AMD GPUs for high performance compute and deep learning environments.
The change in roadmap makes one thing very clear however, that AMD is going to be focusing a lot on the 7nm node and is already working to own it when the time comes. This is a strategy that we have seen already worked wonders with Zen. The company is basically sacrificing another GPU in 2018 (on the same 14nm node) in favor of a more powerful 7nm refresh in the same year followed by the real update which is going to be Navi sometime in 2019. The new Vega Instinct should begin sampling this year as well, which should help improve AMD's stake in the larger machine learning and GPGPU game which even Intel is now a part of.