In the lab: AMD's Radeon VII graphics card

AMD pulled some surprises out of its hat at CES this year not just by showing off one of its impressively efficient Zen 2 CPUs, but also by unveiling the first graphics card for consumers made on a 7-nm process. The aptly named Radeon VII has the GeForce RTX 2080 in its sights, according to AMD's own benchmarks, and it's got plenty of big numbers to go with its big britches.

The Radeon VII boasts 3840 shader ALUs spread across 60 Vega compute units, 16 GB of HBM2 RAM running at 2 Gb/s per pin, and a 4096-bit-wide memory bus capable of delivering a theoretical terabyte per second of memory bandwidth. Those considerable resources come together to power AMD's long-awaited contender in the truly high-end, under-$1000 graphics market established by the GTX 1080 Ti. The move to TSMC's 7-nm FinFET process has allowed AMD to crank core clock speeds to a peak of 1800 MHz, too, compared to a peak of 1546 MHz on the RX Vega 64.

The Vega 20 GPU

Along with its encouraging performance potential, CEO Lisa Su noted during her CES keynote that the Radeon VII will deliver "25% higher performance at the same power." If we take that to mean "the same power as the RX Vega 64," it's no surprise that the company has opted for a triple-fan, open-style cooler rather than the harsh-sounding blower that shipped aboard the RX Vega duo. The Radeon VII also needs two eight-pin power connectors to do its thing, just like its RX Vega predecessors. The only partner cards we've seen announced for the Radeon VII so far are just rebadged versions of this cooler, so it remains to be seen whether custom-cooled designs will eventually emerge.

Stay tuned for our full review of the Radeon VII. This card will launch Thursday, February 7 for $699.

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