AMD Vega release date, news and features: everything you need to know

At CES 2017, chipmaker AMD officially revealed the first details about its Vega graphics processing unit (GPU) architecture. However, it wasn’t until April that we found out the first Vega cards would make their way to market in the second quarter of 2017, most likely in June, but certainly before July. 

While we’ve technically already seen the first Vega card, unfortunately, questions still linger. We don’t have, for instance, an exact date on which the affordable consumer-grade Vega GPUs will be released, nor do we know how much they will cost or what the spec range will consist of. Rather, all we have right now is the $999 (£960, AU$1,700), air-cooled version of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The follow-up to AMD’s Polaris GPU architecture
  • When's it out? August 2017
  • What will it cost? Hopefully cheaper than Nvidia’s lot

AMD’s latest GPU, the Radeon RX 480, in action

AMD Vega release date

Although we expected to find out the release date of AMD’s Vega GPUs at its Capsaicin event earlier this year, it’s still lost on us beyond the month when exactly we’ll see the mainstream AMD Vega cards on the shelves of our stores and e-retailers. We’re likely to find out the specifics at SIGGRAPH 2017, which takes place in Los Angeles on July 30. 

We can confidently say that the more affordable, consumer-facing AMD Vega products will be available to purchase this quarter. Otherwise, it’s unclear what day – or even what week – we’re bound to see AMD’s (hopefully) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti contender start making its rounds. Then again, we’re even more out of the loop when it comes to AMD Vega pricing.

AMD’s slick new Vega logo

AMD Vega price

That’s right, with presumably less than a month to go before Vega arrives on our doorstep, we still know next to nothing about how much the Vega GPUs will cost.

What we do know is that the current Radeon RX 500 lineup starts as low as $169 (about £136, AU$219), and though it's mostly defunct at this point, the Radeon R9 Fury X was still going for a cool $389 (about £313, AU$506) up until its demise. 

So then, the question remains: what can this information prepare us for?

If AMD wants its Vega GPUs to be competitive on the high-end with Nvidia’s Pascal-series GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti, then maybe we will see AMD cards begin to approach the $699 or £699 (about AU$930) mark. 

At the same time, there’s no doubt in our minds the company intends to keep up its low- to mid-range offerings come Vega so that less hardy spenders aren’t left in the dust.

Demonstrating Vega’s benefits from HBM2 versus GDDR5

AMD Vega specs

Following its 2017 Capsaicin livestream event, AMD has managed to stay predictably mum on exact specifications for Vega GPUs. Lucky for us, inside sources speaking with Tom’s Hardware have not. We now have some major specs on four different reference boards.

The most powerful of the bunch is reportedly the Radeon Vega XTX, which you can buy air- or water-cooled, depending on your budget and preference. The more expensive water-cooled version will operate with a thermal design power (TDP) of 375W while the air-cooled model will run at 285W.  

This era of Vega GPUs will ditch GDDR5 memory altogether for a new format known as HBM2, or high-bandwidth memory. AMD believes this decision will reduce the footprint of Vega graphics by 50%. AMD also claims that Vega’s high-bandwidth cache controller will improve maximum frame rates by 50% and minimum frame rates by 100% over GDDR5 memory.

The Vega XTX and the model down from it, allegedly called Vega XT, are both going to sport 8GB of HBM2, each packing 64 compute units. The Vega XT, interestingly enough, will also demand the same amount of wattage from your power supply as the Vega XTX. On the low-end, the Vega XL still runs at a 285W TDP, but with only 56 compute units.

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 itself. 

Stay tuned for more details regarding everything AMD Vega, as we'll be updating this page with the latest as it happens.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

from TechRadar – All the latest technology news


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