2017 is shaping up to be quite the year for AMD. After more than a decade of dominating the enthusiast gaming and content creation market, it looks like Intel may finally have some competition thanks to the new next gen Ryzen CPUs from AMD. Those of you who follow the developments in this market are well aware of the new AMD top of the line Ryzen Threadripper CPUs offering up to 16 cores and 32 threads of simultaneous multi-processing power for about half the price of competing equivalents from Intel.
And now it looks like AMD are gunning for a huge chunk of NVIDIA’s GPU market when it comes to catering to high-end professional graphics users, who depend on blazing fast GPU acceleration for their daily work, whether it being 4K or 8K editing or 3D graphics. At the second annual SIGGRAPH event in LA, AMD unveiled new professional graphics cards designed to dramatically accelerate the pace of professional content creation at the highest resolutions.
The two new GPUs are the AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 and Radeon Pro SSG that according to their maker “defy convention, introducing advanced technology never before seen in the professional space that reduces or eliminates traditional content creation barriers, empowering artists, designers and engineers to better realize their visions”.
“…Real-time visualization, graphics virtualization, and machine intelligence are coming together to enable extraordinary new possibilities for professionals, and no one is better positioned to win than AMD. Radeon Pro was built on the promise of enabling the art of the impossible, giving professional content creators a means to realize even their wildest ambitions. But their visions and the technology needed to achieve them is a moving target, an unending challenge that demands more from creators and the technology they use every year.
With the new Radeon Pro WX 9100 and Radeon Pro SSG, we’re breaking new ground and we can’t wait to see how you unleash this power,” said Ogi Brkic, general manager, professional graphics, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD.
With its crazy-fast 12.3 teraflops of peak precision compute performance, the new AMD Radeon Pro WX 9100 workstation graphics card is designed to excel in the most demanding media and entertainment, and design and manufacturing workloads. Compared to the AMD FirePro W9100, the Radeon Pro WX 9100 runs models more than twice as fast, delivering over 2.6x the peak throughput-per-clock.
The Radeon Pro WX 9100 uses a whopping 16GB of ultra-fast High-Bandwidth Cache based on the newest, HBM2 Error Correcting Code (ECC) Memory, and harnesses the revolutionary High Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC), the world’s most advanced GPU memory architecture.
The Radeon Pro WX 9100 is a dramatic improvement over AMD’s previous generation graphics card, boasting 51% more memory bandwidth, 2.6x performance/Watt, 2.3x the compute performance, and a wide range of API support including Vulkan 1.0, OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.0, and DirectX 12.1, and the latest display technologies including support for 8K at 60Hz, 4K at 120Hz, and DisplayPort 1.4 HDR-ready with support for up to six displays using AMD Eyefinity Technology.
And if that wasn’t enough, AMD also introduced their “sickest” GPU yet – the mighty RADEON PRO SSG (the SSG stands for Solid State Graphics) packed with 2 TB of graphics memory, making it the first GPU ever to offer that much capacity. The Radeon Pro SSG makes mince meat out of 8K footage, enabling smooth, native 8K video editing in real-time.
GoT fans would appreciate Ser Jorah Mormont narrating the Radeon Pro SSG promo below:
With the Radeon Pro SSG, AMD set out to solve those obstacles with a fundamental shift in the science of PC technology, with high-speed, high-capacity NVMe devices onboard the graphics card. At Capsaicin SIGGRAPH, AMD demonstrated how the Radeon Pro SSG effortlessly scrubbed through raw 8K content shot on the RED Weapon cameras in Adobe Premiere Pro providing near instantaneous access to any position in the video.
The Radeon Pro SSG card empowers video editors to playback, manipulate, stitch and post-process raw 8K content as easily as today’s 4K workflows and represents a fundamental shift in hardware for those who deal with big data sets. According to AMD leading ISVs are adapting their software to make the most of this next-generation architecture. No doubt that Blackmagic will probably update support for the new AMD monstrous GPU for either the current or future versions of Resolve.
The massive high-speed memory of the Radeon Pro SSG combined with the “Vega” GPU architecture’s immense computation capabilities also enables stunning next-generation workflows, unlocking huge data sets and real-time responsiveness.
AMD Radeon PRO SSG Highlights
- AMD “Vega” GPU architecture
- Purpose-built to handle big data sets and a diverse range of computational workloads.
- Up to 12.29 TFLOPS peak SPFP
- 16GB HBM2 ECC Memory
- 2TB On-board NVMe Solid State Graphics Memory
- 64 Next-Gen Compute Units, 4,096 Stream Processors
- Open CL 2.0 Support
- Native 1o-bit colour support
- TDP of 250 Watts
- Price: $6,999
- Availability: September, 2017
You can check out the AMD presentation from SIGGRAPH below (skip to 56:00 onwards for the Radeon PRO SSG presentation with Jarred Land, CEO of RED on stage)
Crazy performance such as this won’t come cheap though – the Radeon Pro WX 9100 is said to cost $2,199 upon release in the 2nd week of September, while the top-end Radeon Pro SSG will have an expected MSRP of $6,999.
While I can say with certainty that I won’t be able to afford the Radeon Pro SSG, the Radeon Pro WX 9100 makes for a serious competitor to the Titan XP and GTX 1080 Ti, which are very popular with PC editors. I am currently exploring ways to depart the Apple ecosystem completely by migrating to a PC editing rig for 4K editing.
Up until, now I was dead set on going with a GTX 1080 Ti (those CUDA cores tho) + either an AMD’s Ryzen 7 or 1950x Threadripper CPU based machine, however, the new WX 9100 seem like a very enticing option. Sure, it is 2x more expensive than the 1080 Ti (at least at launch), which is no slouch, and I am not sure how it will fare with Open CL support with Resolve on a PC.
I am currently on a 2015 MacBook Pro, which despite its 16GB RAM is well underpowered for a serious 4K workflow, hence why I am exploring options to move away from a Mac and Intel based system soon. What do you guys think of the new AMD announcement? Let me know in the comments below.
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