AMD Radeon VII: 7nm Vega 20 With An Elegant Design
There is a lot to talk about with respect to the new Radeon VII. Below is a quick side-by-side of some of the Radeon VII’s main speeds and feeds versus the Radeon RX Vega 64. Take a quick look at the comparison to set expectations and then we’ll dive in a little deeper and see how the Radeon VII performs with a variety of games and workloads...
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Unboxing And Video Tour Of AMD Radeon VII
Roughly 700M transistors separate the two GPU designs, though in terms of their actual configuration, they are quite similar. The Radeon VII has 60CUs and a total of 3,840 active stream processors, versus 64CUs and 4,096 stream processors in Vega 64, but keep in mind that the full configuration of Vega 20 has the same CU and stream processor count. The Radeon Instinct MI60 has the full 64CU and 4,096 stream processor Vega 20 configuration, along with double the HBM2 memory. That’s interesting to note because it technically opens the door for a faster, fully-enabled Radeon VII variant at some point down the line, but we digress.
Although both cards use HBM2 memory, the Radeon VII’s is attached via a wider interface and is clocked slightly higher. The Radeon VII has a 4,096-bit wide memory interface – double that of Vega 64 -- with memory clocked at 1GHz (2GHz effective). With an interface that wide and at those clocks, the Radeon VII offers up a whopping 1TB/s (yes, Terabyte) of peak memory bandwidth, which is more than double that of its predecessor.
Radeon VII - Of Single And Double-Precision Compute PerformanceCompute performance and fillrate are also increased on the Radeon VII versus Radeon RX Vega 64. There are the same number of ROPs on the Radeon VII, so its fillrate advantage comes by way of its increased clocks. The Radeon VII’s theoretical peak half and single-precision compute performance advantages are also the result of the GPU’s higher clocks, but we should note that some enhancements have been made in this regard as well. The Vega 20 GPU features additional floating point and integer accumulators versus the original Vega design, which can increase utilization, efficiency, and ultimately performance with some compute workloads. AMD had also previously communicated that Radeon VII would offer up to 0.88 TFLOPS (DP=1/16 SP) of double precision compute performance. However, based on customer interest and feedback the company decided to increase double precision compute performance to 3.52 TFLOPS (DP=1/4SP). As you'll see a little later, this has a big impact in performance in some workloads.
The Radeon VII’s physical attributes are understated but attractive in our opinion. The design is clearly more minimalist versus NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX and RTX cards, but the Radeon VII looks good nonetheless. A brushed aluminum shroud with chamfered edges encases the front of the Radeon VII, with three axial fans evenly spread out across the front. At the upper-corner of the card, a lighted ‘R’ cube is present too.
The back side of the card also features a brushed aluminum plate, but with linear vents cut into it to add some visual flair. The GPU’s heatsink retention bracket is also exposed on the back of the card, along with a handful of screws that hold everything together.
The first batch of Radeon VII cards to hit the market will all have a similar design to the one you see pictured here, but in time we suspect AMD’s board partners will offer up some custom solutions as well.