It was a fairly quiet year for AMD’s graphics department in 2018, but 2019 has the chance to dial things up a bit with the expected announcement and launch of new Vega II graphics processors built on a 7nm process.
The wait for a new AMD graphics card has been long and arduous, but Vega II may put AMD back on the map. Based on what we’ve heard AMD’s 7nm GPU architecture could outpace Nvidia Turing 12nm graphics cards from both a shrunken architectural-aspect and for performance-to-price.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? AMD’s first 7nm graphics cards
- When is it out? Likely within the first half of 2019
- What will it cost? TBD
AMD Vega II release date
AMD Vega II’s release date remains to be a mystery, but there’s been plenty of speculation and leaks on the internet street. Currently, the most reliable release date we could pin down is the first half of the year – yes that’s really the tightest window we’ve seen reported thus far.
The original lineup of Vega graphics cards built on a 14nm process was announced at CES 2017 and didn’t hit the market for consumers until that August. Now, two years later, we’re likely on the cusp of Vega II’s announcement and there’s a possibility AMD may follow the same rollout pattern.
There have been plenty of signs pointing to an unveiling at CES 2019. For one thing, AMD will have a keynote at CES. That keynote paired with the recent spotting of a new trademark application for what looks like a Vega II logo strongly hint at Vega II featuring in the keynote. Given AMDs GPU roadmap, the Vega II should turn out to be built on a 7nm process.
PCGamesN has suggested that the new 7nm Vega II may release as early as the end of the first quarter of 2019. However, Wccftech believes it may take until the end of the first half of 2019 for the GPU to hit the market. Since the first line of consumer Vega cards took more than half a year from their announcement to their release, the Q1 release does seem optimistic.
AMD Vega II price
If you thought AMD Vega II’s release date was nebulous, pricing on AMD’s new graphics cards is an even bigger mystery as we practically haven’t seen any reports to suggest anything. For the time being the best way of telling what the company’s next GPUs will cost is looking back at how it priced its previous parts.
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 64: $499 or £549 (about AU$630)
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56: $399 (about £305, AU$505)
Knowing AMD’s usual MO and its mission to serve underserved gamers, you can bet it will produce affordable graphics cards rather than the most powerful parts for extremely expensive prices.
In December 2018, we heard one report of an AMD Radeon RX 3080 that could match GeForce RTX 2070 for half the price. If these rumors are even half true, they strongly support our theory.
AMD Vega II specs
The switch from a 14nm process to a 7nm process should allow AMD to pack even more power into each GPU. Since AMD’s strategy of late has seemed to be to throw more and more cores at a problem, as we’ve seen clearly with the 32-core Threadripper.
Rumors of AMD 7nm processors have thus far included 16-core Ryzen 3rd Generation processors and Ryzen Threadripper 3rd Generation CPUs are expected to up the ante once again as well.
The 7nm process has already been used in GPUs by AMD with the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 cards. An interesting aspect of these cards is that they’re based on the Vega architecture, and they also use HBM2 memory modules. This suggests that Vega II could also continue to use the HBM2 seen on the original Vega graphics cards.
It’s worth noting that, though the Vega II is expected to be powerful, it’s not necessarily going to be targeted at gamers. It could instead be geared toward professionals and creatives.
That’s not to say the cards won’t be gaming ready.
A YouTuber named AdoredTV leaked of 7nm AMD GPUs including a Radeon RX 3080, RX 3070 and RX 3060 that could go head to head with all but Nvidia’s highest-tier RTX cards. However, these GPUs seemed to fall under a separate Navi architecture and not Vega II. So, just what we will really get from Vega II is a question CES 2019 will hopefully answer, but all signs point to a lot of power.
Aside from standalone cards, it seems all but guaranteed that the Vega II series will find its way into mobile and lower-power devices as integrated graphics processors. With a new generation of Ryzen processors expected, a new generation of Vega graphics to integrate into APUs is only fitting.
In fact, laptop benchmarks have already shown “Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx” integrated graphics showing up with Ryzen 3000 APUs, so it’s likely just a matter of time. Even the anticipated Xbox Scarlet Cloud could see Vega II built into its APU.