Radeon VII

Radeon VII

2019 Marked AMD's first keynote at CES and they wasted no time in lifting the top off of the world's first 7nm consumer graphics card.  We are excited to get our hands on one and dig into the details of this very interesting product. Some of the standouts from the keynote are as follows.

Pros:

-First consumer 7nm GPU ever.

-20% uplift in clocks (assuming 1800MHz is max boost clock compared to 1546MHz max boost clock on Vega 64)

-Double the amount of memory compared to the Vega 64 and the RTX 2080.

-insane memory bandwidth 1TB/s vs 483.8GB/s (Vega  64) and 448 GB/s (RTX 2080)

-Vastly improved Reference cooler design vs Vega 64.

-Quick response to the 2080 release (5 months)

Cons:

-Only 29% (as stated by AMD) increase in performance for 40% increase in price.

-No mentions of any Ray-tracing support or performance.

-No features similar to DLSS

Radeon 7 vs Vega 64 from Footnotes
Radeon 7 vs Vega 64 from Footnotes

Additional Thoughts:

The Radeon VII is an incredible leap forward as far as bringing 7nm products to the masses and is a generous improvement over the Vega 64. It also marks an incredibly quick response time on AMD’s part to the RTX 2080, pitting it as a viable competitor five months after its release for $100 cheaper (vs FE). On the surface this looks like a home run, however this is ignoring the incredibly detailed and beautifully ray traced elephant in the room. Dr. Lisa Su at the beginning of her presentation so aptly said

"...at the beginning of these projects you bet a lot on what is going to be there in the market in 2-5 years"

If ray tracing is a failed pursuit and DLSS falls flat, AMD has a winner. However if the opposite is true, a more realistic competitor to the Vega Radeon VII is the 1080ti as far as pricing and features (or lack thereof). Additionally the VII will age much like the 1080ti which still has the horsepower to best it in most titles. On top of it all, the 1080ti has been out for nearly 2 years already making the Radeon VII incredibly late to the party.

This coming year definitely is an inflection point, where AMD will find out if their gamble has brought them back into the fight with Nvidia, or if this Radeon VII is too little too late.