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

Motorola’s Moto Z4 is totally fine, and that’s not good enough

Motorola’s new phone is the Moto Z4, a midrange device powered by the Snapdragon 675 with 4GB of RAM. It has a 48-megapixel rear camera and uses Quad Pixel technology for better low-light photos, but it’s not as impressive as it sounds.
Computing

AMD's latest RX 5000 Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD unveiled its first three Radeon RX 5000 GPUs: The RX 5700, Rx 5700 XT, and RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary Edition. Starting at $379, these GPUs are designed on AMD's new Navi architecture to take on Nvidia's RTX 2070 graphics.
Computing

AMD has an answer to Nvidia’s DLSS, but not ray tracing

AMD has launched its own solution to resolution upscaling, called Radeon Image Sharpening. It simulates the effect of moving from 1080p to 1440p, and offers a compelling alternative to Nvidia's DLSS.
Computing

AMD’s new Radeon RX 5700 wants you to leave 1080p gaming behind for good

At E3 2019, AMD has announced the first two graphics cards in its new 7nm Navi lineup. The Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT are built on a new RDNA microarchitecture that brings DDR6 memory and support for PCIe 4.0.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.