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A gaming Tesla? New Model S to use same GPU as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X

Tesla’s newly redesigned Model S sedan for 2021 could be the perfect road trip companion. Alongside a top cruising speed of 200 miles per hour, you’re also getting the power of Sony’s PlayStation 5 inside your ride to keep you entertained for the entire journey.

In its press announcement in late January, Tesla didn’t reveal which processor or GPU will be powering its 2021 Model S, but we are now learning that the rig could be powered by the same AMD graphics architecture found across game consoles and PCs. A leaked schematic posted by Patrick Schur revealed Tesla could be using AMD’s Navi 23 graphics processor inside the new Model S, which would mean that the car would share the same RDNA 2 architecture as some popular gaming systems.


AMD’s latest RDNA 2 architecture has been showcased in powerful PCs and consoles, ranging from Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X to graphics cards like the Radeon RX 6000 series. Not only does RDNA 2 deliver a significant boost in performance, but it also allows AMD to remain competitive with rival Nvidia, as the graphics chip finally adds support for real-time ray tracing for cinematic gaming visuals.

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Though Tesla hasn’t detailed all the games that you can play with 10 teraflops of in-vehicle computing power — unlike desktop gaming PCs, you may not be able to install and run any game you want, as Tesla will likely create a curated dash experience for drivers and passengers. From the company’s released images of the updated interior, we know that Model S riders will be able to play The Witcher 3 on the sedan’s front and rear screens, and CEO Elon Musk added on Twitter that the car can handle Cyberpunk 2077 with ease.

“The esthetics of Cyberpunk are incredible btw,” he added in a subsequent tweet describing the in-vehicle gaming experience. It’s unclear what additional titles will be supported or when they will launch.

Delivering the gaming experience on the Model S follows on Musk’s vision for an autonomous driving future. In a prior interview with Elektrek, the CEO expressed his desire to focus on in-car gaming, which would help keep all occupants of the car occupied and entertained when self-driving vehicles become reality.

Schur also revealed that the Navi 23 GPU supports up to 16GB of GDDR6 memory, similar to what’s available on AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards, as well as a 128-bit memory bus that would provide a maximum bandwidth of 224 GB per second and is akin to what’s supported on the Xbox Series X, according to VideoCardz. There’s also PCIe Gen 4 support.

Given the information revealed from the diagram, the publication speculated that the RDNA 2 graphics on the Model S will be clocked at 2.44GHz, and that the GPU will come with 32 compute units (CU), though that’s unconfirmed.

If all this sounds good to the gamer inside you, the cost of not being bored is $81,190. This would make the new Model S the most expensive gaming rig on the market today. The price of the Model S tops pricey rigs from boutique PC makers, like Digital Storms’ Aventum X and Falcon Northwest’s Talon desktop towers. It even makes Apple’s $52,000 fully loaded Mac Pro seem affordable by comparison. But here, you’re also getting an electric vehicle that could go from zero to 60 in just under two seconds.

Tesla said that the refreshed Model S will start shipping in the first quarter this year, though it’s unclear if the car’s graphics silicon will be subjected to the same shortages that have plagued AMD’s and Nvidia’s GPUs. AMD CEO Lisa Su stated earlier this year that GPU shortages will likely extend through the first half of this year, while Nvidia’s CFO had predicted late last year that the situation may not get better until after the first few months of 2021.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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