AMD announces the Radeon VII graphics card: $699, February launch

Even though the company will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, AMD's keynote today was its first ever at CES. During the show, AMD CEO Lisa Su announced the next high-performance Radeon graphics card: the Radeon VII.

AMD CEO Lisa Su holding a Radeon VII card.

As you could probably surmise from the name, the Radeon VII is manufactured on TSMC's 7-nm process. Dr. Su referred to the chip aboard the Radeon VII specifically as a "second-generation Vega" part. While we don't have explicit details of the Radeon VII's core configuration yet, Su said it has 60 compute cores (giving it 3840 shader ALUs) running at a nominal frequency of 1.8 GHz. That GPU core is hooked up to 16 GB of HBM2 memory that, according to AMD's announcement, gives the card 1 TB/sec of memory bandwidth. Doing the math, that means it probably has four 4-GB stacks of HBM2 memory running at 2 GT/sec.

Among the slides that AMD showed behind Dr. Su were a few comparisons of the card's performance to the RX Vega 64 and to Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080. In DirectX titles Battlefield V and Far Cry 5, AMD claims competitive performance against the green team's card, while in the Vulkan-powered Strange Brigade, the Radeon VII decisively pulls ahead.

AMD presented the first ever live gameplay demo of Capcom's Devil May Cry 5, running on a Radeon VII.

AMD showed off the card playing an early version of upcoming action title Devil May Cry 5. Su said that the game was running in 4K (3840x2160) resolution with "max details," and we could clearly see the FRAPS counter onscreen showing us that the title was maintaining well over 60 FPS, even peaking above 100 FPS. Devil May Cry 5 runs on Capcom's in-house "RE Engine," the same used for Resident Evil 7 and the Resident Evil 2 remake; based on those games' hardware requirements, the game should be quite demanding. Unfortunately, there wasn't much going on gameplay-wise in the demo area.

You can't see it here, but the frame-rate counter in the top-right says 117 FPS.

AMD also used the Radeon VII as part of its demo for the third-generation desktop Ryzen parts, showing Forza Horizon 4 running consistently at over 100 FPS, again with max details. That demo was only running in 1920x1080 resolution, though.

The configuration and stated capabilities of the card give us the impression that it's likely to be a close relative of the Radeon Instinct MI50. This is purely speculation on our part, but we wouldn't be surprised if the Radeon VII supports PCI Express 4.0, given both that the Instinct MI50 does, and also that the Zen 2 and Epyc 2 processors that were also announced today will have PCIe 4.0 support. AMD didn't comment on any specific capabilities of the new card or its onboard GPU, so we don't know what—if any—of the Instinct MI50's high-performance compute capabilities the Radeon VII may retain.

AMD's fastest GPU ever will be available on February 7, both from the usual e-tailers and, apparently, directly from AMD. Better crack open the piggy bank, though, because single-card 4K AAA gaming doesn't come cheap: AMD expects the card to go for $699.

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