First Thoughts: A Peek At What’s To Come

Wrapping things up, while today’s reveal from AMD is only a teaser of what they have been working on over the last few years with Vega, it’s none the less an important one. Based on what we know so far, Vega stands to be the biggest change to AMD’s GPU architecture since GCN 1.0 was released 5 years ago, and the changes to the ALUs, the ROPs, the memory structure, and other aspects of Vega reinforce this notion. To be sure, Vega is not a wholly new architecture – it is clearly a further refinement of GCN – but then this is exactly why GCN was designed to be able to evolve through refinements over a very long period of time.

What we have for now then is a quick look at what’s to come from AMD. There are still many things we don’t know, not the least of which is the actual GPU configurations. But for a teaser it’s enough to show that AMD has been hard at work. It sets the stage for the hardware and marketing ramp-up to come over the next few months.

But for now, let’s close with an image. As I mentioned before, the first Vega has taped out, and Radeon Technology Group’s frontman and Chief Architect, Raja Koduri, has one. The chip was just a few weeks old as of December, and while trying to discern die size may be a little too error-prone, we can see one important detail: 2 HBM2 packages.

Raja and AMD will not tell us what chip we’re looking at – like Polaris, two Vega chips have been confirmed – but either way we are looking at one of them in all its alpha silicon glory. Bearing in mind HBM2’s much greater bandwidth per pin, we could very well be looking at a design for a Fiji-like 512GB/sec of memory bandwidth in the chip Raja holds.  And for AMD, that is one more teaser for today to keep attention focused right where they want it: on Vega ahead of its H1’17 launch.

HBM2 & “The World’s Most Scalable GPU Memory Architecture”
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  • GreenMeters - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    Are any of Anandtech's writers still based in North Carolina? I can't read HBM2 without thinking HB2. Stupid legislature. Reply
  • Manch - Friday, January 6, 2017 - link

    Having trouble reading the article in your preferred bathroom? Reply
  • doggface - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    Great article Ryan. Looking forward to the launch Reply
  • TheFrisbeeNinja - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    Awesome job Ryan; I love the architecture articles, even the teaser ones. Reply
  • jjj - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    Spotted this in the press release
    Data based on AMD Engineering design of Vega. Radeon R9 Fury X has 4 geometry engines and a peak of 4 polygons per clock. Vega is designed to handle up to 11 polygons per clock with 4 geometry engines. This represents an increase of 2.6x. VG-3
    Reply
  • silverblue - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    If I'm correct, Polaris can do 2, the 1070 can do 3 and the 1080 can do 4. Reply
  • Hairs_ - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    While this is mildly interesting, I have to question why anandtech has, what 8 "live blog" articles today when there's still nothing in bench for the 470, 460 or 1050 cards. These keynote speeches aren't telling us anything that hasn't already been leaked or in press releases... Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    I would like to see reviews for the the GPU releases that have slipped through the cracks too. Anandtech has thus far missed the 460, 470, and 1050. Given the amount of time since those graphics cards have been released, it's a disappointment and does cause people to grumble about the site's supposedly looming demise or to lash out in CPU articles at Ian over the lateness of GPU publications.

    While I personally think live blogs don't have a lot of value, other readers have been quick to point out that they want them and criticize Anandtech for the omission. They're not going away and they do take time to conduct, but that doesn't excuse the months that have passed without reviewing parts of what's arguably the most significant GPU release in recent history thanks to the move to a small manufacturing process.
    Reply
  • tynopik - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    > the first Vega has tapped out

    Vega has already quit before it even got in the octagon?
    Reply
  • fanofanand - Thursday, January 5, 2017 - link

    IT'S ALL OVER! Reply

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