AMD’s CES ultra-tease of its Vega hardware suggests that it could be as powerful if not more so than some of Nvidia’s most expensive graphics cards. It suggests that with advancements in the geometry pipeline, its new pixel engine and high bandwidth memory 2 (HBM2) it could end up being nearly 50 per cent faster than a Fury X.
AMD has been teasing information about its upcoming Vega GPU line for a while now and a couple of leaks gave us hope that it would indeed be able to take Nvidia head on in performance. AMD has now given us a lot more official information on Vega and if true, it should come in faster than a GTX 1080 and possibly even a Titan X and GTX 1080Ti.
Scott Wasson of AMD’s Radeon Technology Group, describes Vega as the biggest advance in AMD GPU architecture in half a decade and should be highly efficient, as well as incredibly powerful. PCGamer breaks down that the big jump comes from major changes to the way graphics core next works.
Vega cards will have HBM2, but AMD is calling its system a high-bandwidth cache, which we’re told lets the GPU have a virtual address space far larger than the amount of memory it actually has. This may end up being a feature that is more useful for developers than gamers, but it shows AMD is really changing up how it handles memory usage on its GPUs and that could have a strong trickle down effect with game developers too.
Anandtech’s break down is the most comprehensive, looking at aspects of the compute cores and how AMD has managed to get Vega to output 11 polygons per clock with 4 geometry engines, which is a massive increase over hardware it has produced in the past. 2.6 times that of its Fury X cards.
Other changes to the pixel engine allow AMD to forgo rendering pixels that won’t be visible in the final scene, thereby improving the efficiency of the GPU. It is also said to be ever more efficient with DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs, which are seeing increased usage across PC gaming. Considering AMD already tends to have an advantage with those APIs and a more favourable comparison with Nvidia at higher resolutions, 2017 looks rather rosy for Vega.
If all that AMD says is true of course.