Like any good nerd, AMD likes numbers. After outgunning Intel’s 28-core CPU announcement with its own 32-core Threadripper, AMD this morning also took a major step forward by demonstrating the world’s first 7nm GPU.
This prototype Radeon Vega chip will be part of AMD’s Instinct line, which is aimed at accelerating machine learning, though AMD CEO Lisa Su was quick to reassure gamers that the technology will be making its way into Radeon gaming graphics cards as well. The perennial nanometer competition among chip companies is to build ever smaller circuits and components that allow them to fit more processing grunt into the same or smaller footprint.
AMD hasn’t disclosed the specs of what’s inside the 7nm Vega prototype, but the chip is substantial in size, framed by four stacks of high-bandwidth memory (HBM2) totalling a whopping 32GB. AMD gave a demo here at Computex of its new chip crunching its way through a Cinema 4D rendering task, though you really have to understand all the numbers involved in that job to be impressed by its speed (I didn’t and so I wasn’t).
The Radeon Vega Instinct 7nm chip is slated to add fresh optimizations for processing deep learning and AI tasks, and its expected landing spot will be in workstations and server farms. This marks rather an unglamorous start for the era of 7nm graphics chips, but it does bring us a little closer to seeing it show up in desktop systems we can buy. Samples of the 7nm Vega Instinct GPU are already going out to AMD’s hardware partners, and the company expects to release it by the end of this year.
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