Gamereactor was invited to an online press conference recently, during which we learned that AMD is stirring the waters around the pro-GFX market. But what does that mean for gaming? Simply put, it means that AMD will most likely follow up with the same level of aggression towards Nvidia in the gaming market within a reasonable timeframe.
The new Radeon VII is all the right things. It's fast, has a huge capacity, and is priced extremely aggressively compared with the Nvidia's Quadro, GV and RTX series.
It attacks Nvidia in three main categories where Nvidia has been king of the roost for far too long: 'design simulation', 'broadcast & media', and 'high-performance computing' (HPC).
While we gamers often think of our hardware as expensive, $9,000 dollars per graphics card isn't unusual within these industries. Therefore it must be said that AMD is aiming for the throat with a sub-$1900 graphics card that does the same as an Nvidia Quadro GV100, just better.
This means that AMD is now going for the throne within double-precision computing, more intricate simulations, design validation, and the usage of 64-bit datatypes. This is hard and complex work, requiring expensive graphics cards. This will typically be used to calculate when a part, or an entire machine will break, how much heat an aeroplane can withstand, and saves the company the financial burden of testing innumerable prototypes.
The same goes for 'computer-aided engineering', something that is needed and used with almost all modern products, including cars, and requires a vast amount of data to be calculated. The simulation software market alone is anticipated to make up more than $19 billion USD in five years.
While sold as a single unit, it will often be set up in a double configuration, replacing the Nvidia Quadro CP100 at $7,769, or replacing the $8,999 GV100 card, while "only" costing $3,798 for a double Radeon VII configuration.
Such a configuration is not only cheaper, but yields more speed as it supports PCIe Gen4, and has six Display outputs with and active IFL bridge versus the 4/4+1DVI-D DL ports. The computing power is massive; at 13.1 TFLOPs it is more than double the raw computing power of a GP100, while the 7.4TFLOP of the GV100 is nowhere near the dual Radeon Pro VII card, which also happens to beat the 870/717 GB/S Memory bandwidth, with more than 1TB/S per card. And then the Nvidia cards still use the slower GDDR6 memory and they use 36% less power than the RTX 4000, too.
Unlike some other cards, it also offers Error Correction and stays under 73 degrees, while some of the competition, like the Quadro RTX 5000 reach more than 80 degrees.
Software such as Altair's EDEM already supports PCIe 4.0 and double-precision acceleration, giving the Radeon VII at least twice the performance of an Nvidia Quadro RTX5000, and 5.6 times the performance per dollar compared with the Nvidia Quadro GV100.
To no one's surprise and perhaps more relevant for Gamereactor readers, this new AMD card will also be aimed at 8K TV production, bringing costs down considerably. To put into perspective how powerful an editing computer it is - which can be used remotely with the help of AMD software - one hour of 8K TV usually takes one month to shoot, and two-three months to edit and sound mix, according to AMD.
This transcends to gaming, as AMD expects 8K, 33,177,600 pixels on the screen, to be the new standard. And while they refused to talk about upcoming models and releases for gaming, they had better, as all but the most expensive gaming rigs currently struggle with fluid 4K gaming at +60 Hz, and more importantly, +60 FPS. There might be a hint in the fact that the Radeon VII has built-in both en- and decoding of 8K video.
AMD has already released a beta of its new ProRender 2.0 software, which combined with a Threadripper CPU can harvest the synergy at a level not seen before, and supporting known platforms such as Blender, Maya and Unreal Engine.
The company ended the presentation by pointing out the use of an integrated security processor, as well as confirming that AMD is the weapon of choice for two new supercomputers, the Frontier, 1.5 Exaflops, turning on next year, and the 2 Exaflop El Capitan that starts computing in early 2023.
With AMD going for the jugular, Nvidia has to fight back, both in terms of performance and price. This will affect their gaming cards as well, and hopefully mean that we get better, more powerful, and even cheaper cards than we otherwise would have been expecting.
It also means that AMD's rumoured high-end gaming cards, direct rivals to the high-end RTX cards, maybe closer than we think, and that the insane pricing of graphics cards might soon get hammered down, at least a bit, enabling more users to enjoy, if not 4k, then at least 1440p +60 FPS +144Hz gaming, without the need to sell their own organs and sacrifice a family member to the dark gods.
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