CHIPMAKER AMD has followed its 32-core Threadripper reveal with the unveiling of the 'world's first' 7nm GPU.
The Radeon Instinct Vega GPU, designed for servers and workstations, rather than gaming rigs, has been built to a 7nm process and is intended for graphics cards with 32GB of HBM2 - rather than GDDR5X or GDDR6 - memory.
As such, it won't be cheap, but AMD CEO Lisa Su said that the company is currently sampling it with selected customers and that it will be formally launched in the second half of the year.
The focus on high-end workstations and servers for the Radeon Instinct GPU indicates how the GPU battle between AMD and Nvidia is migrating from gaming PCs and heading to the enterprise for artificial intelligence, machine learning and other mathematics-intensive applications.
While the Radeon Instinct indicates that AMD is making good progress on its shift to 7nm, fanboys and gamers, in particular, will be disappointed. The Vega microarchitecture released last year in the form of the Vega 56 and Vega 64 not only failed to match inflated expectations, but graphics cards based on the GPUs also fell short of matching - let alone beating - Nvidia's top-of-the-range offerings.
However, AMD's RX570, RX580, Vega 56 and Vega 64s have been the GPUs of choice of cryptocurrency miners, driving the price of AMD graphics cards into the stratosphere and off the shelves of computer retailers. Prices have only just started to return (more or less) to normal after more than doubling between November and April, in line with the spike in the value of Bitcoin, Monero and other cryptocurrencies.
Earlier at Computex, AMD showed off its Threadripper 2 CPUs, which will come in two flavours: one offering 28 cores and 48 threads, and the top-of-the-range part offering 32-cores and 64-threads - albeit at the trade-off of a lower, 3GHz base clock speed and the requirement of a motherboard capable of supplying up to 250 watts power.
That had trumped Intel's efforts yesterday, in which it trailed a 28-core Core i9 workstation CPU and an anniversary Core i7-8086K CPU. Launching on Thursday, it will be based on the Core i7-8700K, but with a boost clock speed of 5GHz on a single core, in a nod to the 5MHz clock speed of the original 16-bit 8086 CPU, launched on 7 June 1978.
To celebrate, Intel will be giving away 8,086 of the Core i7-8086K CPUs around the world, with 500 copies earmarked for the UK. The competition will open tomorrow, but participants will have just 24 hours to enter. µ
Note: At the time of writing the link for the Intel competition was redirecting to the company's China home page, for reasons best known to Intel.
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