AMD flashes a mug-sized, cube-shaped device packing four 'Vega' graphics chips

amd cube shaped vega graphics deep learning data centers radeon rx480 press 10
In addition to showcasing the power of its upcoming graphics cards based on its new “Vega” chip design — by running Doom at an Ultra 4K resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate — AMD also revealed a coffee mug-sized, cube-shaped device packed with four Vega-based prototype boards. It’s currently dubbed the Vega Cube or Koduri Cube, although there’s no official name for it just yet. However, the device is slated to provide 100 teraflops of half-precision computing power for deep learning and machine learning scenarios.

The device was introduced during AMD’s recent Tech Summit 2016 conference. That introduction wasn’t official, so there’s no indication of when the product will be made available for the deep learning market. Moreover, the model shown on stage didn’t even contain actual Vega-based GPUs. Instead, AMD’s head of the Radeon Technologies Group, Raja Koduri, said the solution uses a special interface that the company isn’t revealing quite yet.

There’s speculation that the Vega Cube serves as AMD’s response to Nvidia’s NVLink technology. This is a communications protocol developed by Nvidia that establishes a direct connection between the company’s graphics chips and a CPU, and between more than one Nvidia-made GPU. It’s meant to provide faster communication lanes than the slower PCI Express method, pushing between 5 to 12 times more bandwidth. The tech is built into Nvidia’s latest graphics chips based on its “Pascal” design, and aims at the high-performance computing market.

For instance, one graphics card that takes advantage of NVLink is Nvidia’s Tesla P100 for the data center. It’s meant for parallel computing, meaning it works alongside the system’s processor to help handle computing loads. When installed in servers optimized with Nvidia’s NVLink technology, the card provides 10.6TFLOPs of single-precision performance, 21.2TFLOPs of half-precision performance, and NVLink communication speeds of up to 160GB per second.

As for the Vega Cube, each of the four Vega-based GPUs will provide 25TFLOPs of half-precision computing performance. This cube-shaped solution would presumably be installed vertically, unlike Nvidia’s Tesla P100 that’s installed horizontally. This is mostly speculation for now given the device is only making headlines thanks to reports stemming from the show, not through AMD.

Reports of the cube-shaped computing device arrives alongside the introduction of Radeon Instinct, a passively cooled accelerator card solution optimized for machine learning, deep learning frameworks, and their related applications. There’s a full-sized MI6 model packing 5.70TFLOPs of performance, 224GB per second memory speeds, and a power requirement of around 150 watts. The MI8 model is a small form factor card with 8.2TFLOPS of performance, 512GB per second memory speeds, and a power draw of around 175 watts.

AMD also introduced the MI25 model based on its new Vega graphics chip design. This is a high-performance accelerator card built specifically for training artificial intelligence. The company doesn’t provide specs, but the general summary lists a power draw of around 300 watts, “2x packed math,” and a high bandwidth cache and controller.

AMD is scheduled to host an event on Tuesday showcasing the performance of its upcoming Zen-based Summit Ridge desktop processors. The solutions mentioned here likely won’t be part of the show, but there’s high indication that the company will reveal a Vega-based graphics card for the high-end PC gaming market. AMD, it seems, will have a very busy 2017.

Product Review

Packed with features, the Ring Spotlight Cam Wired makes home security a breeze

With an integrated spotlight, crystal-clear video, and color night vision, this device makes home security a cinch. Here's why we like the Ring Spotlight Cam Wired as a great choice for outdoor home security.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Web

Rid yourself of website notification requests in just a few easy steps

Wish you knew how to block browser and website notifications? You can do it on a case by case basis, but that can become dull after the 10th site has asked for your approval. Here's how to block them outright.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Decades-old Apple IIe computer found in dad’s attic, and it still works

A New York law professor went viral last weekend after he discovered an old Apple IIe computer sitting in his dad's attic. In a series of tweets, he showed that the vintage machine still works perfectly fine after 30 years.
Computing

Logitech’s G MX518 gaming mouse pairs classic looks with all-new tech

Logitech is relaunching one of its most popular classic gaming mice, the MX518. Now called the G MX518, it sports upgraded internals that give it a 16,000 DPI optical sensor and new and improved memory.
Computing

Microsoft could be planning a laptop with foldable screen, hints patent filing

Filed in late 2017 and titled "Bendable device with Display in Movable Connection With Body," the patent filing explains a new mechanism for laptops which can eliminate a hinge and allow the screen to fold shut from the inside,
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for February 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in February 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Computing

RTX might be expensive, but the 16 series could have the best Nvidia Turing GPUs

Set to debut at a step below the RTX 2060 on the price and performance spectrums, the GTX 1660 Ti and its other 16-series brethren could be Nvidia's killer mid-range cards of 2019 — especially with Tensor Core-powered DLSS.
Computing

Ryzen 3000 chips will be powerful, and they might be launched as early as July

AMD's upcoming Ryzen 3000 generation of CPUs could be the most powerful processors we've ever seen, with higher core counts, greater clock speeds, and competitive pricing. Here's what we know so far, based on both leaks and the recent…
Computing

With no plans for merging operating systems, Apple opts to combine apps instead

Apple is working on combining all of the the apps it offers to iPhone, iPad, and Mac users by 2021. App developers will soon be able to build and submit one version of their apps to be used by Apple product users.