Radeon Pro Solid State Graphics keeps big data close to the GPU

AMD threw the latest in its series of Capsaicin events at the SIGGRAPH conference this evening. At the show, the company announced the Radeon Pro SSG, for "solid state graphics"—a new kind of graphics card that's meant to keep large amounts of data close to the GPU. This card has what AMD calls a "one-terabyte extended frame buffer" that relies on non-volatile memory to store all those bits—presumably NAND. In turn, the GPU is connected to that memory using a dedicated PCIe bus. For perspective, consider that AMD's previous capacity champ, the FirePro W9100, only has 32GB of GDDR5 RAM on board.

To demonstrate the benefits of keeping large data sets close to the GPU, AMD showed off a demo where an 8K file was scrubbed in the timeline in a pro video app. Without the Pro SSG card, that demo only ran at 17 FPS. Throw in that huge chunk of flash storage, however, and the app could churn through the same video while updating at more than 90 FPS. AMD also envisions the card changing the way pros work with big data sets and GPU computing in the medical, scientific, and petrochemical industries. Interested developers can apply for a beta version of the Radeon Pro SSG hardware now, assuming they're willing to pony up $10k for a card if they're approved.

We're sadly not at SIGGRAPH this year, but I'm working on setting up a briefing with AMD this week so we can learn more about how the Radeon Pro SSG works. Stay tuned.

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