Update: We recently chatted with an AMD representative to get more insight on AMD's battle plan with Vega, namely its high-bandwidth cache controller and the multi-game optimization deal with Bethesda. Read it right here!
During CES 2017, processor maker AMD officially revealed the first details about its Vega graphics processing unit (GPU) architecture. Set to launch later this year, however, there is still plenty that we don’t know about Vega.
When exactly Vega GPUs will be released, for how much, and how well they’ll actually be specced – namely against the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti – are all still hanging questions around AMD’s new graphics tech. Unfortunately, it seems like it'll be a little while longer before those questions are answered.
- Here's how to watch the AMD Capsaicin 2017 livestream
AMD held a livestream event on February 28, during , its second annual “Capsaicin” event. While the firm did share some more tidbits regarding its Vega GPUs, not concrete details were given regarding price, release date or power profiles – received even less attention.
That said, we did learn that Bethesda plans to work with AMD to ensure that its games take every advantage of Vega and Ryzen technologies – from how its games exploit their benefits to adopting them into its server technology.
Without further ado, here’s everything else we know about Vega just following AMD’s Capsaicin 2017 event.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? AMD's newly-named Radeon RX Vega GPUs
- When's it out? Between April 1 and June 30
- What will it cost? Hopefully cheaper than Nvidia’s lot
AMD Vega release date
The Red Team has yet to mention any specific release date for the Vega line of GPUs, and that’s exactly what we expected to get from the Capsaicin event.
Sadly, that was not the case during the firm's livestream at GDC 2017. However, we did learn that the GPUs, when they do release, will be known simply as Radeon RX Vega graphics cards.
For now, while AMD's lines is that RX Vega products "are expected to ship in the second quarter of 2017." So, that generally means between April 1 and June 30.
However, Wccftech reports (via German site Heise Online), that Vega may well wait until the last possible moment to launch, as AMD's 500 series GPU refresh is tipped to take place in April. The outlet also points to AMD's Computex event as a likely place to officially reveal the Radeon RX Vega line.
AMD Vega price
Sadly, we still know next to nothing about how much the new Vega products will cost when they land later this year.
However, the current Radeon RX 480 lineup starts as low as $169 (about £136, AU$219), with the Radeon R9 Fury X still going for a cool $389 (about £313, AU$506). So, what can this information prepare us for?
If AMD wants its Vega GPUs to compete with the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti that's expected to launch shortly, as well as offer a range of options similar to that of the new RX series, then perhaps we should expect GPUs priced within this range - and likely beyond in the case of the highest end.
AMD Vega specs
Following its 2017 Capsaicin livestream event, AMD has managed to maintain predictably mum on exact specifications for Vega GPUs. We still don’t know the clock speeds or memory details of these cards, for instance.
However, we did learn that Vega's high-bandwidth cache controller has been rated to improve maximum frame rates by 50% and minimum frame rates by 100% over the previous generation with GDDR5. In a recent interview, AMD further explained that this tool increases effective memory size by mapping some into system RAM and smartly storing data on local memory.
And, to its credit, AMD has already revealed quite a bit at the high level regarding what these cards are capable of.
For example, we know that the highest-end Vega GPU will contain the same amount of geometry engines for rendering polygons as the previous generation. However, these chips will be able to handle more than twice as many polygons per clock cycle, at 11, as the R9 Fury X’s four per clock.
This era of Vega GPUs will also ditch GDDR5 memory for a new format known as HBM2, or high-bandwidth memory, which AMD claims brings a 50% smaller footprint. To that end, Vega chips will be more equipped to handle compute tasks than ever – specifically 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit or 64-bit operations in each clock cycle – which will have benefits beyond video games.
Finally, AMD’s new Pixel engine will debut in Vega, now moved to a client of the GPU’s L2 memory cache. This will enable it handle graphics workloads which perform frequent read-after-write operations with less overhead on the rest of the GPU.
(We've also seen that at least one of the Vega graphics cards uses an 8-pin and 6-pin power connector, as opposed to the R9 Fury X's dual 8-pins, according to PCWorld, but not from AMD.)
Stay tuned for more details regarding everything AMD Vega, as we'll be updating this page with the latest as it happens.
- Will Vega feature in the next best gaming laptops?