AMD’s Vega II at CES could actually be a Prosumer Card
A 7nm Radeon RX coming, but likely based on Navi
Rumors around what AMD could potentially unveil at next week’s CES trade fair have been making rounds for a while. According to a new report, the red team will also showcase a Radeon Vega II graphics card at the show, and that it will be available in both professional and consumer forms.
Is AMD planning to introduce its next-generation Radeon RX based on the 7nm Vega GPU? But then, what about the Navi graphics architecture which is expected to debut later next year?
A Vega 20-Based Consumer Graphics Card In The Plans?
We already have some information on the next Vega graphics core. As for the name itself, AMD last month filed a trademark for the RX Vega II logo. The company also previously revealed that its Vega 20 GPU will be built using the new 7nm process from TSMC, which has allowed it to cram 13.2 billion transistors into a 331-mm² die.
It’s primarily a fine-tuned Vega 10 GPU featuring minor improvements to make it optimized for deep learning applications. Yes, from what we’ve heard so far, Vega 20 will only target the professional segment due to its high-production costs.
AMD has already debuted the world’s first 7nm accelerators in the form of Radeon Instinct MI50 and Radeon Instinct MI60 both based on the 7nm Vega GPU. Accordingly, it has always been assumed that the company would only introduce its professional-grade products at CES 2019.
In addition to its first 7nm data center GPUs, AMD is expected to showcase the new Epyc processors with up to 64 cores built with the revised Zen 2 architecture.
More recently, however, it was reported that the red team is also readying to unveil a Radeon RX 3000 series, and so a line of new gaming GPUs.
The latest rumors don’t go that far – they speak only of a “consumer version” of the Radeon Vega II graphics series. Which means, this can quite well be any graphics card released under the “Radeon RX Vega II” brand
AMD Vega II at CES 2019: A Radeon RX or Vega Frontier Edition
Based on the several different rumors we’ve heard so far, a new Radeon Frontier Edition – which is basically a prosumer level product – seems to be a more viable option. It will of course cost more than a Radeon RX, but can fit well with the Vega 20 GPU, which is already expensive in itself thanks to the four HBM2 stacks.
As for the release, the new Radeon graphics card could appear in the first half of 2019 after CES. This could be right after the event or even a few months later – we’re just not sure yet.
To conclude, it’s not impossible for AMD to showcase its first 7nm consumer products at CES; however, what seems unlikely is the launch of the exact same products we’ve been hoping for and their immediate availability.
As I said above, there’s a chance that a rather expensive Vega 20 based Frontier Edition could actually debut next month, on which you can play. The gaming-focused Radeon RX graphics card featuring Vega 20 seems unlikely especially when new products based on AMD’s brand-new Navi architecture are also expected to arrive in 2019.
Currently, there is no information available regarding the Vega 20 performance in games. Assuming the GPU has the same specs or it’s slightly better than Vega 10, the new consumer graphics card built on 7nm will be around 15% faster than the RX Vega 64.
This is more or less the same performance uplift Navi is expected to deliver, though the production cost would be a lot cheaper.
Now if Navi follows the roadmap and lands in the second half of 2019 while the RX Vega II is already there, then the two products would potentially collide with each other shortly after they launch.
But Wait, What about The Navi?!
AMD’s Navi GPU is a bit of a mystery at the moment. It’s unclear what exactly it is and when the products will launch – which is also making it difficult to understand the situation of Vega II for consumers. With that said, I would still be surprised if the company launches a Radeon RX product built on the Vega 20 GPU.
As for whether a new Vega Frontier Edition would be worthwhile for gamers compared to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX series, we can’t be sure yet – at least unless and until we know that it’s significantly faster than its predecessor.