AMD has cornered the x86 console market with its handy semi-custom mix of processors and graphics. While we slowly await the next generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony, today AMD and Zhongshan Subor announced that a custom chip has been made for a new gaming PC and an upcoming console for the Chinese market.

The announcement states that a custom chip has been created for Subor that is based on four Zen cores running at 3.0 GHz and 24 compute units of Vega running at 1.3 GHz. The chip is supported by 8GB of GDDR5 memory, which the press release states is also embedded onto the chip, however it is likely to actually be on the package instead. Update: AMD has corrected the press release to say that the GDDR5 controller is on the chip, and the 8GB of GDDR5 is installed into the motherboard. Compare this to the specifications of AMD’s current SoC designs, such as the Ryzen 5 2400G, which has four Zen cores and 11 Vega CUs. Or Intel’s multi-chip design featuring four Intel cores and an AMD-based 24 compute unit GPU paired with 4GB of HBM2 memory. There is also AMD’s Vega Mobile chip, which is expected to be in the 24-32 compute unit range, however this is also paired with 4GB of HBM2.

AMD Semi-Custom Comparison
  Zhongshan
Subor
Ryzen 5 2400G
APU
Vega Mobile Intel with
Radeon
RX Vega
Xbox
One X
Sony Playstation
4 Pro
Year 2018 2017 TBD 2018 2017 2016
Cores/Threads 4 / 8 4 / 8 - 4 / 8 8 / 8 8 / 8
CPU uArch Zen Zen - Kaby Lake Jaguar+ Jaguar
Peak Frequency 3.0 GHz 3.8 GHz - 4.1 GHz 2.3 GHz 2.13 GHz
GPU Vega Vega Vega Polaris Polaris Polaris
GPU CUs 24 11 24-32 24 40 36
GPU SPs 1536 704 1536-2048 1536 2560 2304
GPU Freq 1300 MHz 1250 MHz ? 1190 MHz 1172 MHz 911 MHz
GPU DRAM 8 GB GDDR5 System
DRAM
4GB HBM2 4GB
HBM2
12GB GDDR5 8GB
GDDR5
Located Subor PC
Subor Console
Desktops - Hades Canyon NUC Xbox
One X
PS4 Pro


AMD's Scott Herkelman with Vega Mobile (left) and Vega 64 (right)

Assuming that this custom chip is a single chip design, with CPU and GPU, this means that AMD is handily gaining custom contracts and designing custom chip designs for its customers, even for consoles that won’t have the mass western appeal such as the Xbox or Playstation.

The demo given at the ChinaJoy event (the Chinese equivalent of E3 it seems) in Shanghai was initially of a PC that Subor plans to launch in late-August with the new chip. An upcoming console, based on the same hardware, is expected to be launched by the end of 2018. AMD cites that this is a key win for its semi-custom division, especially in a key market such as China. In this market, AMD also has semi-custom collaborations with Tsinghua, and a Joint Venture with THATIC.

The new SoC, name unknown, will support FreeSync, the Adrenalin software, and Rapid Packed Math, confirming that this is a true Vega design (unlike the chip used by Intel in its combination product).

Update:

Over at zol.com.cn, there are images of the unit:

Update 2:

AMD has updated its press release to state that it is the GDDR5 controller that is on the chip, and not the 8 GB of GDDR5. The memory is installed on the board elsewhere, as with a normal GPU for example.

Related Reading

Source: AMD

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  • cfenton - Saturday, August 04, 2018 - link

    So what games does this thing play? A bunch of free-to-play garbage made specifically for the Chinese market? It's interesting hardware, but if it's not just a PC running Windows, what good is all that hardware power? Reply
  • mode_13h - Saturday, August 04, 2018 - link

    That's not the point. Reply
  • cfenton - Sunday, August 05, 2018 - link

    The point of a game console isn't to play games? Or do you mean that the point is simply that the hardware exists and perhaps gives us an early look at what next-gen consoles will look like? Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, August 06, 2018 - link

    No, I mean that's not why anandtech is covering it. Most of us aren't interested in their games console, but rather the technological and business aspects and implications of the news.

    Whatever games it plays probably won't differ much from what China allows to be played on other consoles sold there.
    Reply
  • abufrejoval - Monday, August 06, 2018 - link

    I am totally mystified as to why this article doesn’t show up on the home page: Have to go to ‘CPUs’ to see it….?

    For me the major question is if the SoC is designed and fabricated generic enough to bring the Infinity Fabric out to the pads and allow stacking: That would be a complete game changer, because you could combine it into 2x, perhaps 3x, 4x or indeed turn it into a nice HPC supercomputer with proper switch chips while just 2x passive setup should already make many power gamers quite happy.

    Of course, AMD could always another SoC for that, but without the scale of something like this Chinese console market…

    I’d also hope that HMC capabilities would have been retained, just in case HPC would want to go extra dense…

    If this is in fact PC compatible enough to run Windows, Linux, Android-x86 and not “illegal” for some reason outside China (e.g. lack of CE etc.), I can see it selling like hot-cake.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, August 06, 2018 - link

    > I can see it selling like hot-cake.

    I dunno. The CPU performance will lag the current Ryzen 3's. GPUs are not so expensive, these days. 8 GB of unified memory is not great. Lastly, the only upgradable aspect of it will be storage. So, for $625 + a hefty margin for importers (assume US street price easily north of $700, not including tariffs), it's not exactly a slam dunk. But, at something like half the price, it would be a steal.
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Monday, August 06, 2018 - link

    kind of a slap by AMD for Ryzen 2200/2400g if they were "able" to use the same cpu design (4c/8t) with a gimped Vega that uses system ram when they probably could have "easily" done a 2200/2400g with more CU version Vega on it instead of "castrating" potential performance by 2.18+%

    I know they are in business not to cater but to make $$$$$$, but gimping things just to make other sales is beyond my understanding, that seems very Intel or Ngreedia way of doing things.

    they likely could have "locked" the speeds based on the box cooler for example 15-35w TDP for 2200g 20-45w TDP with 2400g and a 2200/2400g X variant that has a better boxed cooler but also a more "substantial" XFR and Vega variant (using the 24 CU instead of only 11 at "best")

    the 2200/2400g are "pretty ok" for what they are, but seeing what they end up releasing AFTER the fact says they probably could have done a bit more for the price especially in the case of 2400g ~$120 more from what I have seen and yet "in the real world" does not really justify this price increase.

    almost like the specs for this "new" subfor one is what they 2400g should have been and the 2200g should have been what the 2400g is (with the clock speed base 3.8ghz for 2400g with 24 CU Vega and 2200g 3.0ghz base and 11 CU Vega) likely they could have "played" a bit more to justify the pricing etc, because likely with the difference of 2400g at 3.8Ghz base 24 CU Vega it would be "very much" worth that extra price increase.

    Maybe they should do this and call the "old" 2200g as 2100g reduce clock to 3.0 base with vega 8, upgrade 2200g with vega 11 call it 2250g, rebadge the 2400g as 2300g (as it currently is) make the 2400g as 2450g with the better vega core design, this way here in all cases there is enough product/performance/price segregation to "make it matter"

    I just really do not get AMD for doing this, either it makes the ones who already purchase 2200/2400g look stupid or it makes the "china" market get something "better" for whatever reason again..RX gpu have done this a few times, given "special editions" to them that WE (north america) do not end up getting.

    either way, this seems like what the 2200/2440 could have and should have been right off the bat, hell just the vega 8 and 4gb GDDR3 4 or 5 at 3Ghz and 2400g 8gb GDDR3 4 or 5 with Vega 11 at a higher available TDP would have made a very distinct difference.

    I guess just goes to show that whomever "thinks of these things" may not fully understand product segregation or testing to make sure there is enough distance between the goals posts or something.

    on another note, that consol almost looks like a combination/frankenstein of Xbox (gen 1) PS3 and PS4 with the angular approach they are using, maybe they will have been smart enough to use cooling fans you can easily replace unlike Sony and MSFT with their consoles that for whatever reason did NOT do this (which is moronic)
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, August 06, 2018 - link

    Woah. You're making a lot of questionable assumptions, there.

    You need to see how 2400G's performance is affected by memory speed to see the degree to which it's limited by 128-bit DDR4. This thing uses 256-bit GDDR5. That's what you need to keep a 24-CU Vega well fed.

    Anyway, the chip was build like all the other console chips - by contract. It is not an AMD product - they were contracted by Zhongshan Subor to build it.
    Reply

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