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AMD Announces New Graphics Architecture Called Vega

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Today AMD unveiled preliminary details of its forthcoming GPU architecture, Vega. Conceived and executed over 5 years, Vega architecture enables new possibilities in PC gaming, professional design and machine intelligence that traditional GPU architectures have not been able to address effectively. Data-intensive workloads are becoming the new normal, and the parallel nature of the GPU lends itself ideally to tackling them.

However, processing these huge new datasets requires fast access to massive amounts of memory. The Vega architecture’s revolutionary memory subsystem enables GPUs to address very large data sets spread across a mix of memory types. The high-bandwidth cache controller in Vega-based GPUs can access on-package cache and off-package memories in a flexible, programmable fashion using fine-grained data movement.

“It is incredible to see GPUs being used to solve gigabyte-scale data problems in gaming to exabyte-scale data problems in machine intelligence. We designed the Vega architecture to build on this ability, with the flexibility to address the extraordinary breadth of problems GPUs will be solving not only today but also five years from now. Our high-bandwidth cache is a pivotal disruption that has the potential to impact the whole GPU market,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD.

Highlights of the Vega GPU architecture’s advancements include:

The world’s most advanced GPU memory architecture: The Vega architecture enables a new memory hierarchy for GPUs. This radical new approach comes in the form of a new high-bandwidth cache and its controller. The cache features leading-edge HBM2 technology which is capable of transferring terabytes of data every second, doubling the bandwidth-per-pin over the previous generation HBM technology. HBM2 also enables much greater capacity at less than half the footprint of GDDR5 memory. Vega architecture is optimized for streaming very large datasets and can work with a variety of memory types with up to 512TB of virtual address space.

Next-generation geometry pipeline: Today’s games and professional applications make use of incredibly complex geometry enabled by the extraordinary increase in the resolutions of data acquisition devices. The hundreds of millions of polygons in any given frame have meshes so dense that there are often many polygons being rendered per pixel. Vega’s next-generation geometry pipeline enables the programmer to extract incredible efficiency in processing this complex geometry, while also delivering more than 200% of the throughput-per-clock over previous Radeon architectures. It also features improved load-balancing with an intelligent workload distributor to deliver consistent performance.

Next-generation compute engine: At the core of the Vega architecture is a new, next-generation compute engine built on flexible compute units that can natively process 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit or 64-bit operations in each clock cycle. These compute units are optimized to attain significantly higher frequencies than previous generations and their support of variable datatypes makes the architecture highly versatile across workloads.

Advanced pixel engine: The new Vega pixel engine employs a Draw Stream Binning Rasterizer, designed to improve performance and power efficiency. It allows for “fetch once, shade once” of pixels through the use of a smart on-chip bin cache and early culling of pixels invisible in a final scene. Vega’s pixel engine is now a client of the onboard L2 cache, enabling considerable overhead reduction for graphics workloads which perform frequent read-after-write operations.

GPU products based on the Vega architecture are expected to ship in the first half of 2017.

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Components

ZOTAC GAMING Launches Limited Edition Hardware to Celebrate “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City”

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In celebration of Sony Pictures’ upcoming film Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City, ZOTAC Technology Limited has announced that its gaming brand, ZOTAC GAMING, will launch a global “Survive with Power” campaign featuring Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City-themed hardware, which will include AMP Extreme Holo graphics cards, the ultimate Mini PC, and more. The limited-edition hardware is designed to amplify your PC gaming experience and, in addition, love letters to ZOTAC’S worldwide community for supporting ZOTAC over the past 15 years since being established.

The “Survive with Power” campaign kicks off today and will run until December 17, 2021. For a limited time, ZOTAC and RESIDENT EVIL fans will have a chance to win one of the ZOTAC GAMING Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Limited Edition Graphics Card or Mini PC hardware. “Challenge yourself with our Mini Game and enter to win one of the ultimate prizes in the grand lucky draw, as well as join our social media giveaway where more awesome prizes await. Visit Official Page for more detail,” the company said in a statement.

Get equipped with the ultimate cooling and power to survive the worst of any game. The HoloBlack design turns ruby red with the limited-edition Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Graphics Card. With the power of the GeForce RTX, see with real-time ray-traced visuals, play in up to 4K with greater graphics efficiency with DLSS enhanced AI graphics processing, and react quickly with NVIDIA Reflex.

Fight the thirsty zombies and other evils and survive with the ultimate compact system MAGNUS ONE. At just 8.3 liters, MAGNUS ONE takes full advantage of the small footprint to feature the most powerful hardware including a ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card and the powerful Intel Core i7 processor to offer unrivaled performance.

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Components

Truck Carrying NVIDIA RTX 30 Series Graphics Cards Robbed

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Amid the supply chain delays, global microchip shortages and increased interest in cryptocurrency mining, demand for graphics cards has skyrocketed, with secondary market prices rising. Unfortunately, in light of this, some have resorted to crime, and now a truckload of NVIDIA graphics cards has been stolen.

The news broke on EVGA’s own forum, where product manager Jacob Freeman revealed that at the end of October, a shipment of its GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards had been stolen during a truck delivery run from San Francisco to the company’s Southern California distribution center.

While no specific number has been provided as to how many GPUs were actually stolen, Freeman did point out that due to increased demand for the cards, each of them had an estimated retail value of anywhere between $330 to $1,960.

He also emphasized that under state and Federal law, it’s both a criminal and civil offense to buy, receive, conceal, sell, and withhold any of the stolen items and that EVGA will not honor any product registration and warranty or upgrade claims for them.

The company is also hoping anyone with information regarding the robbery or stolen items would contact them at stopRTX30theft@evga.com.

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Cryptocurrency

Nvidia May Restart Cryptomining GPU Production

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Nvidia is thinking about beginning production of crypto-mining specific Ampere graphics cards that come without display outputs, but first, it needs to find out whether there’s enough mining demand for the latest graphics processors. 

“If crypto demand begins or if we see a meaningful amount, we can also use that opportunity to restart the CMP [mining-specific GPUs] product line to address ongoing mining demand,” said Colette Kress, chief financial officer at Nvidia, at the 19th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech/Auto Forum Conference.

Demand for gaming graphics cards, high-performance processors, and game consoles has exceeded supply for months as people spend more time at home and entertain themselves playing the latest game titles. Cryptocurrency valuations have skyrocketed recently, reactivating miners who rushed to get graphics cards, further increasing demand for GPUs. Nvidia has had a hard time understanding how demand from cryptominers affects its current sales, but it is mulling restarting the production of mining-specific graphics cards. 

“We don’t have visibility on how much of the GeForce RTX 30-series end demand comes from mining,” said Kress. “So, we don’t believe it’s a big part of our business today. Gaming demand is very strong, and we think that’s larger than our current supply.” 

It doesn’t always make a lot of sense to mine Bitcoins using Nvidia’s latest GPUs, which tend to be pretty expensive. There are special accelerators designed for Bitcoin mining, and those ASICs tend to be considerably more efficient than graphics processors. In contrast, GPUs are used to mine Ethereum, which has been gaining price in recent weeks, just like Bitcoin. 

Since demand for Nvidia’s products has generally been high in recent months, it isn’t easy for Nvidia to understand how significantly cryptominers affect this demand, especially keeping in mind the fact that select makers of graphics boards have mined cryptocurrency at their own facilities before releasing these cards to the market.  

It is beneficial for Nvidia to clearly understand how many of its GPUs are needed by cryptominers. Since miners only need compute capabilities of a GPU, they do not need display outputs, and they do not care if the GPU they use comes with disabled texture mapping units or lacks video processing capabilities. As a result, Nvidia can sell them graphics processors that would otherwise go to waste. Those come in the form of the aforementioned CMP GPUs. 

But before making such chips available to add-in-board (AIB) manufacturers, GPU designers need to figure out the total available market that they are trying to address so they don’t bin chips that aren’t needed. Before that happens, GPU developers may just enjoy additional demand for their products.  

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