AMD’s High-Performance Vega GPUs To Launch in May – Up To 8 GB HBM2 VRAM, 4096 Cores, Aimed at 4K AAA and VR Gaming

Hassan Mujtaba

Our sources have told us that AMD will be launching their high-end Vega GPUs for consumers in May. The launch will feature gaming products that will be coupled with the next-generation GPU architecture and HBM2 memory.

AMD's Vega GPU For Radeon Graphics Cards Arriving in May

AMD Vega GPUs are designed for a wide range of applications such as gaming, professional work and server oriented tasks. Vega has been demonstrated and detailed at various events with the most recent one being CES. AMD showcased Vega running inside their Ryzen based desktop PCs. The consumer Radeon card based on Vega was pictured last week in a video published by LinusTechTips. It gave us a pretty good look at the demo build AMD was using at the event, more on that here.

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The launch of Vega based Radeon graphics cards will come a year after NVIDIA launched their GeForce 10 series graphics cards based on the Pascal GPU. The first GeForce 10 series card, the GeForce GTX 1080 was launched on 27th May. The launch will take place at a special event since AMD is planning to launch their Ryzen processors at GDC. Depending on the actual date, the launch may be close to Computex which starts on 30th May so that could be possible.

AMD will have Vega GPU based cards available in several SKUs for enthusiasts. They have at least two chips in the lineup, the Vega 10 which is the high-end part and pictured already. There's also the Vega 11 GPU which is the low-end part and expected to launch at the same time. AMD may also show their dual-chip Vega 10x2 based card at the event although it won't likely be available till a later date. AMD previously showed the Radeon Pro Duo board several months before it's launch at E3 2015. The card didn't launch until March 2016.

What To Expect From AMD Radeon Vega Graphics Cards?

AMD’s high-end Vega 10 GPU will be available to consumers in the first half of 2017. The chip spans a die size of over 500mm2 from early calculations and features two HBM2 stacks, incorporating up to 16 GB of HBM2. The consumer variant which was demonstrated using DOOM and Star Wars: Battlefront featured 8 GB of HBM2 VRAM. The specific device ID for the consumer variant is 687F:C1.

The graphics chip will be utilizing the latest 14nm GFX9 core architecture which is based on the NCU (Next Compute Engine) design. The graphics card will feature 64 Compute Units or 4096 stream processors. AMD plans on increasing the throughput of the chip through increased clock speeds. This will allow AMD to pump numbers better than the Fiji GPU which is based on 28nm GCN 3.0 architecture and comes with the same number of cores, e.g. 4096 SPs.

The server part with the full chip is expected to feature a TDP of 225W with clock speeds around 1526 MHz. A consumer oriented graphics card can feature even higher clock speeds since server parts generally lack the cooling capabilities of consumer level cards which ship with better coolers and PCBs designed to allow overclocking of the GPUs. You can read our Vega GPU architecture preview over here.

AMD Vega Lineup

Graphics CardRadeon R9 Fury XRadeon RX 480Radeon RX Vega Frontier EditionRadeon Vega ProRadeon RX Vega (Gaming)Radeon RX Vega Pro Duo
GPUFiji XTPolaris 10Vega 10Vega 10Vega 102x Vega 10
Process Node28nm14nm FinFETFinFETFinFETFinFETFinFET
Stream Processors40962304409635844096 (?)Up to 8192
Performance8.6 TFLOPS
8.6 (FP16) TFLOPS
5.8 (FP16) TFLOPS
~25 (FP16) TFLOPS
22 (FP16) TFLOPS
>25 (FP16) TFLOPS
Memory Bus4096-bit256-bit2048-bit2048-bit2048-bit4096-bit
Launch20152016June 2017June 2017July 2017TBA

MD Vega 10 Memory Specifications:

The first generation HBM graphics cards such as the Radeon R9 Fury X was limited to just 4 GB of VRAM and had a bandwidth of 512 GB/s. It had 4-layers per stack (256 MB per layer) and that will continue with the latest Vega GPUs since AMD will have to maximize value on these cards for the gaming audience. In the case of 4-layers, we will be looking at higher densities per layer. The pin speed also increases with HBM2. The new memory standard can clock up to 2 Gb/s compared to 1 Gb/s on HBM1.

The increased clock speed would allow the same memory bandwidth as four HBM1 stacks on just two HBM2 stacks. The increased density also allows AMD to cut down the costs in designing larger interposers. HBM2 itself takes more space compared to HBM1 with a die size around 92mm2 while HBM1 was just 35mm2 in size.

AMD Radeon Vega - Faster Than GTX 1080, Very Competitive Pricing

Some things aside from specifications will include graphics performance faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 as demonstrated several times. We can expect the card to feature great power efficiency with higher clock speed on the consumer variant. A 4096 stream processor SKU with 16 GB HBM2 is rated at 225W so we can expect a higher clocked variant for consumers. AMD will have AIBs offering several custom variants of the card including Mini-ITX variants.

As for pricing, Polaris was aggressively priced against its Pascal based competitors. We can expect the same with Radeon Vega which will be priced to tackle the GTX 1080 and more possibly, the GTX 1080 Ti. If all goes well, AMD will have a great launch event set up for Vega around Computex and will have loads to showcase to gamers and enthusiasts around the globe.

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