AMD Interview: Radeon Instinct, RX Vega and Ryzen CPUs

AMD’s Robert Hallock discusses the significance of GPU/CPU developments for gaming.

Posted By | On 03rd, Aug. 2017 Under Article, Interviews


AMD has been on something of a role lately with its Ryzen CPU, Radeon GPUs and its technology being used in both the PS4 Pro and upcoming Xbox One X. That’s not including recent announcements of Radeon RX Vega GPUs and the recent Radeon Pro SSG, the latter using 16GB of HBM 2 ECC memory along with a massive 2TB NAND flash storage. GamingBolt had the chance to speak to AMD processor technical marketing manager Robert Hallock about the impact that upcoming AMD technology would have on the gaming space, especially with regards to mid-range GPUs.

Radeon Instinct

"This product offers outstanding energy efficiency and enhanced performance over our last generation."

GPU compute has major implications outside of the gaming space. Can you elaborate on Radeon Instinct™ and the future of GPU compute in neural networks and machine learning?

We’ve created a society that has so much data from our phones, from the Internet of Things, that being able to analyse that data and learn from that data has become incredibly challenging. So now we have to create new machines that go and look at the data we’ve created with other machines and try to make sense of it and to learn from it. That is what Radeon Instinct Initiative is about. It’s a combination of the Radeon Instinct accelerators and AMD ROCm (Radeon Open Compute platform) software that can enable deep learning inference. It’s setting the blueprint for an open software ecosystem for machine intelligence, helping to speed inference insights and algorithm training.

AMD Ryzen™, according to AMD, has seen a 52 per cent IPC increase versus its previous “Excavator” core. With beefier benchmarking, how have you managed to make Ryzen significantly cheaper than the 7th gen Intel chips?

Ryzen processors mark a complete departure from previous generation architectures and are entirely different than previous generation hardware. This product offers outstanding energy efficiency and enhanced performance over our last generation. Our view is that PC gaming is a great way to reach millions of people. There’s a direct relationship between how many people can buy processors vs the price and so we put out a great product at a great price, and we’re really excited to bring up to 8-cores and 16 threads of performance to so many more people.

Radeon RX 580

"With Ryzen™ Mobile, we’re targeting an over 50% CPU performance increase and over 40% more graphics performance at roughly half the power, compared to our current generation APUs."



What is AMD’s plan when it comes to the mid-range GPU market?
How has the Radeon™ RX 580 fared thus far?

The Radeon™ RX 500 series graphics cards were designed specifically for system upgrades, catering to the 9 out of 10 PC gamers today who are hindered by outdated technology and aren’t able to enjoy optimal experiences in modern games, or the latest display technologies. With high performance, revolutionary gameplay capture software, latency-reduction technology, Day 0 driver support for game launches, open standards like Radeon™ FreeSync, and innovative features like Radeon™ Chill, we know gamers who have been patiently waiting to upgrade will have more than enough reasons to now.

What will be the impact of Ryzen in the coming months? What is the long-term plan for the CPU line?

At our Financial Analyst Day we unveiled our CPU core roadmaps through 2020 with emphasis on performance and performance-per-watt leadership. We have launched Ryzen™ 7 and Ryzen™ 5 series processors to system builders and consumers but we expect to see Ryzen powered high-end desktops from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo this quarter. Our Ryzen™ Mobile APUs that feature the “Zen” CPU core and “Vega” graphics will launch in 2H 2017. With Ryzen™ Mobile, we’re targeting an over 50% CPU performance increase and over 40% more graphics performance at roughly half the power, compared to our current generation APUs.  We also announced our Ryzen™ Pro commercial client solution which are timed for desktop in 2H 2017 and mobile in H1 2018.

Ryzen™ Threadripper™, AMD’s 16-core, 32-thread CPU designed for HEDT platforms was also announced and will compete with Intel’s Basin Falls platform. Threadripper is scheduled for summer 2017.

Radeon RX Vega

"We can’t say much more but the wireless IP will strength AMD’s role in furthering our VR vision."

Information has apparently leaked for the Radeon™ RX Vega especially with regards to it having 64 compute units with 64 GCN stream processors each. Without outright confirming these rumours, what can you tell us about “Vega” and AMD’s goals for the GPU?

AMD announced the Radeon™ Vega Frontier Edition, its first graphics card based on the high-end Radeon “Vega” architecture and as a premier solution for both machine learning and advanced visualization. With 64 compute units (4096 stream processors), Radeon Vega Frontier Edition delivers an estimated 25 TFLOPS of FP16 and an estimated 13 TFLOPS of FP32 peak performance and is designed to handle the most demanding design, rendering, and machine intelligence workloads. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition will be available for purchase in Q2 2017.

Can we expect more concrete information in the near future regarding the “Vega”-based graphics?

We can’t share any additional “Vega”-based graphics news than what has already been announced at FAD and Computex but stay tuned for more information soon.

What are your thoughts on the current state of VR? How far does the technology have to go in your opinion?

One of the biggest challenges in the VR is wires. They’re an inhibitor to what should be giving great freedom of movement. We recently acquired technology and talent from Nitero, specifically its high-performance 60 GHz wireless IP that allows multi-gigabit transmit performance enabling low-latency wireless in room-scale VR environments. We can’t say much more but the wireless IP will strength AMD’s role in furthering our VR vision.

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