Subject: General Tech | November 9, 2017 - 02:38 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, titan xp, teleport, starcraft 2, raja koduri, radeon, qualcomm, podcast, nvidia, Intel, centriq, amplifi, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #475 - 11/09/17
Join us for discussion on Intel with AMD graphics, Raja's move to Intel, and more!
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Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous
Program length: 1:29:42
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
1:13:40 Allyn: Relatively cheap Samsung 82” (!!!) 4K TV
1:17:45 Jeremy: What exactly is a "technology certificate license" Logitech?
1:23:45 Josh: 1800X for $399!!!!!
1:24:50 Ken: The Void Wallet
The Expected Unexpected
Last night we first received word that Raja had resigned from AMD (during a sabbatical) after they had launched Vega. The initial statement was that Raja would come back to resume his position at AMD in a December/January timeframe. During this time there was some doubt as to if Raja would in fact come back to AMD, as “sabbaticals” in the tech world would often lead the individual to take stock of their situation and move on to what they would consider to be greener pastures.
Raja has dropped by the PCPer offices in the past.
Initially it was thought that Raja would take the time off and then eventually jump to another company and tackle the issues there. This behavior is quite common in Silicon Valley and Raja is no stranger to this. Raja cut his teeth on 3D graphics at S3, but in 2001 he moved to ATI. While there he worked on a variety of programs including the original Radeon, the industry changing Radeon 9700 series, and finishing up with the strong HD 4000 series of parts. During this time ATI was acquired by AMD and he became one of the top graphics guru at that company. In 2009 he quit AMD and moved on to Apple. He was Director of Graphics Architecture at Apple, but little is known about what he actually did. During that time Apple utilized AMD GPUs and licensed Imagination Technologies graphics technology. Apple could have been working on developing their own architecture at this point, which has recently showed up in the latest iPhone products.
In 2013 Raja rejoined AMD and became a corporate VP of Visual Computing, but in 2015 he was promoted to leading the Radeon Technology Group after Lisu Su became CEO of the company. While there Raja worked to get AMD back on an even footing under pretty strained conditions. AMD had not had the greatest of years and had seen their primary moneymakers start taking on water. AMD had competitive graphics for the most part, and the Radeon technology integrated into AMD’s APUs truly was class leading. On the discrete side AMD was able to compare favorably to NVIDIA with the HD 7000 and later R9 200 series of cards. After NVIDIA released their Maxwell based chips, AMD had a hard time keeping up. The general consensus here is that the RTG group saw its headcount decreased by the company-wide cuts as well as a decrease in R&D funds.
Subject: Processors | November 6, 2017 - 02:00 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: radeon, Polaris, mobile, kaby lake, interposer, Intel, HBM2, gaming, EMIB, apple, amd, 8th generation core
In what is probably considered one of the worst kept secrets in the industry, Intel has announced a new CPU line for the mobile market that integrates AMD’s Radeon graphics. For the past year or so rumors of such a partnership were freely flowing, but now we finally get confirmation as to how this will be implemented and marketed.
Intel’s record on designing GPUs has been rather pedestrian. While they have kept up with the competition, a slew of small issues and incompatibilities have plagued each generation. Performance is also an issue when trying to compete with AMD’s APUs as well as discrete mobile graphics offerings from both AMD and NVIDIA. Software and driver support is another area where Intel has been unable to compete due largely to economics and the competitions’ decades of experience in this area.
There are many significant issues that have been solved in one fell swoop. Intel has partnered with AMD’s Semi-Custom Group to develop a modern and competent GPU that can be closely connected to the Intel CPU all the while utilizing HBM2 memory to improve overall performance. The packaging of this product utilizes Intel’s EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge) tech.
EMIB is an interposer-like technology that integrates silicon bridges into the PCB instead of relying upon a large interposer. This allows a bit more flexibility in layout of the chips as well as lowers the Z height of the package as there is not a large interposer sitting between the chips and the PCB. Just as interposer technology allows the use of chips from different process technologies to work seamlessly together, EMIB provides that same flexibility.
The GPU looks to be based on the Polaris architecture which is a slight step back from AMD’s cutting edge Vega architecture. Polaris does not implement the Infinity Fabric component that Vega does. It is more conventional in terms of data communication. It is a step beyond what AMD has provided for Sony and Microsoft, who each utilize a semi-custom design for the latest console chips. AMD is able to integrate the HBM2 controller that is featured in Vega. Using HBM2 provides a tremendous amount of bandwidth along with power savings as compared to traditional GDDR-5 memory modules. It also saves dramatically on PCB space allowing for smaller form factors.
EMIB provides nearly all of the advantages of the interposer while keeping the optimal z-height of the standard PCB substrate.
Intel did have to do quite a bit of extra work on the power side of the equation. AMD utilizes their latest Infinity Fabric for fine grained power control in their upcoming Raven Ridge based Ryzen APUs. Intel had to modify their current hardware to be able to do much the same work with 3rd party silicon. This is no easy task as the CPU needs to monitor and continually adjust for GPU usage in a variety of scenarios. This type of work takes time and a lot of testing to fine tune as well as the inevitable hardware revisions to get thing to work correctly. This then needs to be balanced by the GPU driver stack which also tends to take control of power usage in mobile scenarios.
This combination of EMIB, Intel Kaby Lake CPU, HBM2, and a current AMD GPU make this a very interesting combination for the mobile and small form factor markets. The EMIB form factor provides very fast interconnect speeds and a smaller footprint due to the integration of HBM2 memory. The mature AMD Radeon software stack for both Windows and macOS environments provides Intel with another feature in which to sell their parts in areas where previously they were not considered. The 8th Gen Kaby Lake CPU provides the very latest CPU design on the new 14nm++ process for greater performance and better power efficiency.
This is one of those rare instances where such cooperation between intense rivals actually improves the situation for both. AMD gets a financial shot in the arm by signing a large and important customer for their Semi-Custom division. The royalty income from this partnership should be more consistent as compared to the console manufacturers due to the seasonality of the console product. This will have a very material effect on AMD’s bottom line for years to come. Intel gets a solid silicon solution with higher performance than they can offer, as well as aforementioned mature software stack for multiple OS. Finally throw in the HBM2 memory support for better power efficiency and a smaller form factor, and it is a clear win for all parties involved.
The PCB savings plus faster interconnects will allow these chips to power smaller form factors with better performance and battery life.
One of the unknowns here is what process node the GPU portion will be manufactured on. We do not know which foundry Intel will use, or if they will stay in-house. Currently TSMC manufactures the latest console SoCs while GLOBALFOUNDRIES handles the latest GPUS from AMD. Initially one would expect Intel to build the GPU in house, but the current rumor is that AMD will work to produce the chips with one of their traditional foundry partners. Once the chip is manufactured then it is sent to Intel to be integrated into their product.
Apple is one of the obvious candidates for this particular form factor and combination of parts. Apple has a long history with Intel on the CPU side and AMD on the GPU side. This product provides all of the solutions Apple needs to manufacture high performance products in smaller form factors. Gaming laptops also get a boost from such a combination that will offer relatively high performance with minimal power increases as well as the smaller form factor.
The potential (leaked) performance of the 8th Gen Intel CPU with Radeon Graphics.
The data above could very well be wrong about the potential performance of this combination. What we see is pretty compelling though. The Intel/AMD product performs like a higher end CPU with discrete GPU combo. It is faster than a NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti and trails the GTX 1060. It also is significantly faster than a desktop AMD RX 560 part. We can also see that it is going to be much faster than the flagship 15 watt TDP AMD Ryzen 7 2700U. We do not yet know how it compares to the rumored 65 watt TDP Raven Ridge based APUs from AMD that will likely be released next year. What will be fascinating here is how much power the new Intel combination will draw as compared to the discrete solutions utilizing NVIDIA graphics.
To reiterate, this is Intel as a customer for AMD’s Semi-Custom group rather than a licensing agreement between the two companies. They are working hand in hand in developing this solution and then both profiting from it. AMD getting royalties from every Intel package sold that features this technology will have a very positive effect on earnings. Intel gets a cutting edge and competent graphics solution along with the improved software and driver support such a package includes.
Update: We have been informed that AMD is producing the chips and selling them directly to Intel for integration into these new SKUs. There are no royalties or licensing, but the Semi-Custom division should still receive the revenue for these specialized products made only for Intel.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 13, 2017 - 01:36 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: rtg, raja koduri, radeon technologies group, radeon, amd
Radeon Technologies Group SVP and Chief Architect Raja Koduri is taking sabbatical from AMD as of today, with a target return date in December. As first reported by our friends at Fudzilla (and also Tweaktown), and that I was able to confirm through AMD this evening, one of our favorite people in the graphics industry will be stepping aside for the time being. AMD CEO Lisa Su will be taking over the Radeon Technologies Group in the interim.
Raja is a great personality and innovator in the graphics market and I was able to interview him during the Polaris roll out last year. He was candid, open to ideas, and clearly cared about the gamers and PC gaming market. It was only in September of 2015 that he returned to AMD as the leader of the newly created Radeon Technologies Group, a division of AMD rededicated to graphics leadership.
AMD Radeon Technologies Group SVP, Raja Koduri
The easy response to this news, and the most common reaction, will be to assume that Raja was pushed out and will not return due to the state of the Radeon division after the launch of Vega. But in truth, despite it having issues with efficiency and performance that we noted in our reviews, AMD has had no issue selling the Vega cards its made. The professional markets are competitive again and AMD's entrance into the enterprise compute space opens up a wide array of new opportunity for AMD architectures.
Nor has it had issues selling Radeon RX 400 or RX 500 products either. Whether you consider that good planning by Raja and his team or just the luck of the cryptocurrency market, it really doesn't matter. The Radeon group has provided value to the company and to shareholders.
The Radeon Vega family of graphics cards
As with most things in life, the truth is likely more complex than we can decipher from a single note or message. I was able to get my hands on the letter sent from Raja to his team, which I have provided below:
You haven’t heard from me collectively in a while – a symptom not only of the whirlwind of launching Vega, but simply of the huge number of demands on my time since the formation of RTG. Looking back over this short period, it is an impressive view. We have delivered 6 straight quarters of double-digit growth in graphics, culminating in the launch of Vega and being back in high-performance. What we have done with Vega is unparalleled. We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega in a very short period of time. The demand for Vega (and Polaris!) is fantastic, and overall momentum for our graphics is strong.
Incredibly, we as AMD also managed to spectacularly re-enter the high-performance CPU segments this year. We are all exceptionally proud of Ryzen, Epyc and Threadripper. The computing world is not the same anymore and the whole world is cheering for AMD. Congratulations and thanks to those of you in RTG who helped see these products through. The market for high-performance computing is on an explosive growth trajectory driven by machine intelligence, visual cloud, blockchain and other exciting new workloads. Our vision of immersive and instinctive computing is within grasp. As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.
At the beginning of the year I warned that Vega would be hard. At the time, some folks didn’t believe me. Now many of you understand what I said. Vega was indeed hard on many, and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you who endured the Vega journey with me. Vega was personally hard on me as well and I used up a lot of family credits during this journey. I have decided to take a time-off in Q4 to spend time with my family. I have been contemplating this for a while now and there was never a good time to do this. Lisa and I agreed that Q4 is better than 2018, before the next wave of product excitement. Lisa will be acting as the leader of RTG during by absence. My sincere thanks to Lisa and rest of AET for supporting me in this decision and agreeing to take on additional workload during my absence.
I am looking to start my time-off on Sept 25th and return in December.
Thank you, all of you, for your unwavering focus, dedication and support over these past months, and for helping us to build something incredible. We are not done yet, and keep the momentum going!
Straight from the man himself, the intention and reason for the leave appears to be to catch up on family responsibility. As someone who has often traded work-related travel for home-based committments in future months, I understand this completely.
I have no doubt that Raja takes this leave with some reluctance. He built this team himself (for the most part) and my conversations with AMD employees always mention respect and appreciation for what he has been able to do. He loves the industry, he loves the technology, he loves the fans. That doesn't mean he can't or won't leave or be forced out if comes down to it, but it does give me hope that the potential for his return after the sabbatical is better than most other news outlets and pundits might lead us to believe.
For the interim, I have a lot of faith in Lisa Su to handle RTG. She has led AMD out of the CPU doldrums and into competitiveness for the first time in a decade. Any additional knowledge, experience, or input she can can gleam from her time as the lead at the Radeon Technologies Group can only be a benefit to AMD in the long run.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 04:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vega 56, amd, radeon, R9 Fury
Having wrapped up their initial review of AMD's new RX Vega 56, [H]ard|OCP was curious how it stacks up in a direct competition with last generations R9 Fury. The comparison is interesting, ROPs and Texture Units are the same in both cards, while the Fury uses HBM1 at a 4096bit interface while the Vega 56 uses HBM2 at 2048; clocks are 500MHz versus 800MHz respectively. The prices are quite different, the Fury clocked in at $550 while the Vega 56 should be available at $400; not that there is any stock at any price.
Check out the full article for specifics; the short answer is that you can expect the new Vega card to boast an average 25% performance advantage over the Fury.
"Do you have an AMD Radeon R9 Fury based video card and want to know if AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 at a lesser price is a performance upgrade? Do you want to know if architecturally AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is faster than AMD Radeon R9 Fury? This follow-up performance review should answer those questions."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- RX Vega 64 Liquid “Unleashed” – 10 VR Games Benchmarked vs. the GTX 1080 & GTX 1080 Ti @ BabelTechReviews
- The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid, Vega 64 & Vega 56 Test: 32 Games Benchmarked @ TechSpot
- Vega 64 “Unleashed” – 27 Games tested using the Liquid Cooled Edition vs. the GTX 1080 & GTX 1080 Ti @ BabelTechReviews
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 9, 2017 - 01:10 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, relive, radeon software, radeon, live stream, live, giveaway, crimson, amd
UPDATE: Did you miss today's live stream? Catch it right here:
Last year, AMD and its software team dispatched some representatives to our offices to talk about the major software release that was Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition. As most of you probably saw last week, AMD launched the Crimson ReLive 17.7.2 driver and we are pleased to let you know that we will again be hosting a live stream with our friends at AMD! Come learn about the development of this new driver, how the new features work and insight on what might be coming in the future from AMD's software team.
And what's a live stream without prizes? AMD has stepped up to the plate to offer up some awesome hardware for those of you that tune in to watch the live stream!
- 2 x MSI Radeon RX 580 Gaming X Graphics Cards
AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Live Stream and Giveaway
10am PT / 1pm ET - August 9th
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
The event will take place Wednesday, August 9th at 10am PT / 1pm ET at https://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience. To win the prizes you will have to be watching the live stream, with exact details of the methodology for handing out the goods coming at the time of the event.
I will be joined by Adrian Castelo, Software Product Manager and Gurman Singh, Software Marketing Manager. In short, these are two people you want to hear from and have answer your questions! (Apparently Terry Makedon will be hiding in the background as well...)
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from AMD?
So join us! Set your calendar for Wednesday at 10am PT / 1pm ET and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
Subject: Processors | July 31, 2017 - 03:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vega 64, vega 56, vega 10, Vega, radeon, amd, X399, Threadripper, ryzen, 1950x, 1920x, 1900x
Just in case you wanted to relive this weekends event, or you feel that somehow Ryan missed a detail when he was describing Threadripper or Vega, here is a roundup of other coverage of the event. The Tech Report contrast the Vega 64 and Vega 56 with a few older NVIDIA cards as well as more modern ones, giving you a sense of the recent evolution of the GPU. They also delve a bit into the pricing and marketing strategies which AMD has chosen, which you can check out here.
"AMD's Radeon RX Vega graphics cards are finally here in the form of the RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56. Join us as we see what AMD's new high-end graphics cards have in store for gamers."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU Specs and Pricing Revealed @ [H]ard|OCP
- AMD Radeon RX Vega Preview @ techPowerUp
- AMD Vega Microarchitecture Technical Overview @ techPowerUp
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper Specs and Pricing Revealed @ [H]ard|OCP
- AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, Threadripper 1920X, and Threadripper 1900X CPUs revealed @ The Tech Report
RX Vega is here
Though we are still a couple of weeks from availability and benchmarks, today we finally have the details on the Radeon RX Vega product line. That includes specifications, details on the clock speed changes, pricing, some interesting bundle programs, and how AMD plans to attack NVIDIA through performance experience metrics.
There is a lot going on today and I continue to have less to tell you about more products, so I’m going to defer a story on the architectural revelations that AMD made to media this week and instead focus on what I think more of our readers will want to know. Let’s jump in.
Radeon RX Vega Specifications
Though the leaks have been frequent and getting closer to reality, as it turns out AMD was in fact holding back quite a bit of information about the positioning of RX Vega for today. Radeon will launch the Vega 64 and Vega 56 today, with three different versions of the Vega 64 on the docket. Vega 64 uses the full Vega 10 chip with 64 CUs and 4096 stream processors. Vega 56 will come with 56 CUs enabled (get it?) and 3584 stream processors.
Pictures of the various product designs have already made it out to the field including the Limited Edition with the brushed anodized aluminum shroud, the liquid cooled card with a similar industrial design, and the more standard black shroud version that looks very similar to the previous reference cards from AMD.
|RX Vega 64 Liquid||RX Vega 64 Air||RX Vega 56||Vega Frontier Edition||GTX 1080 Ti||GTX 1080||TITAN X||GTX 980||R9 Fury X|
|GPU||Vega 10||Vega 10||Vega 10||Vega 10||GP102||GP104||GM200||GM204||Fiji XT|
|Base Clock||1406 MHz||1247 MHz||1156 MHz||1382 MHz||1480 MHz||1607 MHz||1000 MHz||1126 MHz||1050 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1677 MHz||1546 MHz||1471 MHz||1600 MHz||1582 MHz||1733 MHz||1089 MHz||1216 MHz||-|
|Memory Clock||1890 MHz||1890 MHz||1600 MHz||1890 MHz||11000 MHz||10000 MHz||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Memory Interface||2048-bit HBM2||2048-bit HBM2||2048-bit HBM2||2048-bit HBM2||352-bit G5X||256-bit G5X||384-bit||256-bit||4096-bit (HBM)|
|Memory Bandwidth||484 GB/s||484 GB/s||484 GB/s||484 GB/s||484 GB/s||320 GB/s||336 GB/s||224 GB/s||512 GB/s|
|TDP||345 watts||295 watts||210 watts||300 watts||250 watts||180 watts||250 watts||165 watts||275 watts|
|Peak Compute||13.7 TFLOPS||12.6 TFLOPS||10.5 TFLOPS||13.1 TFLOPS||10.6 TFLOPS||8.2 TFLOPS||6.14 TFLOPS||4.61 TFLOPS||8.60 TFLOPS|
If you are a frequent reader of PC Perspective, you have already seen our reviews of the Vega Frontier Edition air cooled and liquid cards, so some of this is going to look very familiar. Looking at the Vega 64 first, we need to define the biggest change to the performance ratings of RX and FE versions of the Vega architecture. When we listed the “boost clock” of the Vega FE cards, and really any Radeon cards previous to RX Vega, we were referring the maximum clock speed of the card in its out of box state. This was counter to the method that NVIDIA used for its “boost clock” rating that pointed towards a “typical” clock speed that the card would run at in a gaming workload. Essentially, the NVIDIA method was giving consumers a more realistic look at how fast the card would be running while AMD was marketing the theoretical peak with perfect thermals, perfect workloads. This, to be clear, never happened.
With the RX Vega cards and their specifications, the “boost clock” is now a typical clock rate. AMD has told me that this is what they estimate the average clock speed of the card will be during a typical gaming workload with a typical thermal and system design. This is great news! It means that gamers will have a more realistic indication of performance, both theoretical and expected, and the listings on the retailers and partner sites will be accurate. It also means that just looking at the spec table above will give you an impression that the performance gap between Vega FE and RX Vega is smaller than it will be in testing. (This is, of course, if AMD’s claims are true; I haven’t tested it myself yet.)
The software team at AMD and the Radeon Technologies Group is releasing Radeon Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2 this evening and it includes a host of new features, improved performance capabilities, and stability improvements to boot. This isn’t the major reboot of the software that we have come to expect on an annual basis, but rather an attempt to get the software team’s work out in front of media and gamers before the onslaught of RX Vega and Threadripper steal the attention.
AMD’s software team is big on its user satisfaction ratings, which it should be after the many years of falling behind NVIDIA in this department. With 16 individual driver releases in 2017 (so far) and 20 new games optimized and supported with day one releases, the 90% rating seems to be about right. Much of the work that could be done to improve multi-GPU and other critical problems are more than a calendar year behind us, so it seems reasonable the Radeon gamers would be in a good place in terms of software support.
One big change for Crimson ReLive today is that all of those lingering settings that remained in the old Catalyst Control Panel will now reside in the proper Radeon Settings. This means matching UI and streamlined interface.
The ReLive capture and streaming capability sees a handful of upgrades today including a bump from 50mbps to 100mbps maximum bit rate, transparency support for webcams, improved optimization to lower the memory usage (and thus the overhead of running ReLive), notifications of replays and record timers, and audio controls for microphone volume and push-to-talk.
Specifications and Design
Just a couple of short weeks ago we looked at the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition 16GB graphics card in its air-cooled variety. The results were interesting – gaming performance proved to fall somewhere between the GTX 1070 and the GTX 1080 from NVIDIA’s current generation of GeForce products. That is under many of the estimates from players in the market, including media, fans, and enthusiasts. But before we get to the RX Vega product family that is targeted at gamers, AMD has another data point for us to look at with a water-cooled version of Vega Frontier Edition. At a $1500 MSRP, which we shelled out ourselves, we are very interested to see how it changes the face of performance for the Vega GPU and architecture.
Let’s start with a look at the specifications of this version of the Vega Frontier Edition, which will be…familiar.
|Vega Frontier Edition (Liquid)||Vega Frontier Edition||Titan Xp||GTX 1080 Ti||Titan X (Pascal)||GTX 1080||TITAN X||GTX 980||R9 Fury X|
|Base Clock||1382 MHz||1382 MHz||1480 MHz||1480 MHz||1417 MHz||1607 MHz||1000 MHz||1126 MHz||1050 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1600 MHz||1600 MHz||1582 MHz||1582 MHz||1480 MHz||1733 MHz||1089 MHz||1216 MHz||-|
|Memory Clock||1890 MHz||1890 MHz||11400 MHz||11000 MHz||10000 MHz||10000 MHz||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Memory Interface||2048-bit HBM2||2048-bit HBM2||384-bit G5X||352-bit||384-bit G5X||256-bit G5X||384-bit||256-bit||4096-bit (HBM)|
|Memory Bandwidth||483 GB/s||483 GB/s||547.7 GB/s||484 GB/s||480 GB/s||320 GB/s||336 GB/s||224 GB/s||512 GB/s|
|300 watts||250 watts||250 watts||250 watts||180 watts||250 watts||165 watts||275 watts|
|Peak Compute||13.1 TFLOPS||13.1 TFLOPS||12.0 TFLOPS||10.6 TFLOPS||10.1 TFLOPS||8.2 TFLOPS||6.14 TFLOPS||4.61 TFLOPS||8.60 TFLOPS|
The base specs remain unchanged and AMD lists the same memory frequency and even GPU clock rates across both models. In practice though, the liquid cooled version runs at higher sustained clocks and can overclock a bit easier as well (more details later). What does change with the liquid cooled version is a usable BIOS switch on top of the card that allows you to move between two distinct power draw states: 300 watts and 350 watts.
First, it’s worth noting this is a change from the “375 watt” TDP that this card was listed at during the launch and announcement. AMD was touting a 300-watt and 375-watt version of Frontier Edition, but it appears the company backed off a bit on that, erring on the side of caution to avoid breaking any of the specifcations of PCI Express (board slot or auxiliary connectors). Even more concerning is that AMD chose to have the default state of the switch on the Vega FE Liquid card at 300 watts rather than the more aggressive 350 watts. AMD claims this to avoid any problems with lower quality power supplies that may struggle to hit slightly over 150 watts of power draw (and resulting current) from the 8-pin power connections. I would argue that any system that is going to install a $1500 graphics card can and should be prepared to provide the necessary power, but for the professional market, AMD leans towards caution. (It’s worth pointing out the RX 480 power issues that may have prompted this internal decision making were more problematic because they impacted the power delivery through the motherboard, while the 6- and 8-pin connectors are generally much safer to exceed the ratings.)
Even without clock speed changes, the move to water cooling should result in better and more consistent performance by removing the overheating concerns that surrounded our first Radeon Vega Frontier Edition review. But let’s dive into the card itself and see how the design process created a unique liquid cooled solution.