Eagerly anticipated for later this month is the launch of AMD’s first wave of Radeon Vega cards, the first-run workstation/early adopter-focused Radeon Vega Frontier Edition. To date, AMD has not yet said anything further about the launch since last month’s Computex unveil, however it appears that either AMD is opting to quietly release the sure to sell out cards, or some of their retailers have jumped the gun, as listings for both models have begun to show up.

SabrePC, one of the industry’s more specialized retailers whom tends to focus on workstation and server products, has posted listings for both of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition cards that AMD has previously unveiled. That is, both the air-cooled card and the closed loop liquid cooled model. As you’d expect for these early-run cards, they won’t come cheap: the air cooled model is listed at $1199, while the liquid cooled card is higher still at $1799.

As a matter of editorial policy I don’t typically post news about retailer listings; these are often erroneous, or at the very least speculative. However any listings at SabrePC raise an eyebrow as they’re a more straight-laced player and one of the traditional retailers for workstation products. So they’re not known to post faulty listings. Which, coupled with the fact that other workstation retailers are also listing these cards, leads me to believe that this week’s listing isn’t an accident, even if AMD themselves aren't saying more about the product.

In any case, we had no real guidance for where AMD would price these cards at prior to today, so I’m admittedly a bit surprised to see the Frontier Edition cards come in as (relatively) cheap as they have. $1199 for the air cooled card is less than similar NVIDIA Quadros (and Radeon Pro cards, for that matter), and is perfectly aligned with NVIDIA Titan Xp pricing. Meanwhile the liquid cooled card is a bit more surprising with its $600 premium. All messaging so far from AMD is that these are a low volume part meant for customers to evaluate Vega as early as possible, so it’ll be interesting to see where AMD goes from here.

AMD Workstation Card Specification Comparison
  Radeon Vega Frontier Edition
(Unconfirmed)
Radeon Pro Duo (Polaris) Radeon Pro WX 7100 Radeon Fury X
Stream Processors 4096 2 x 2304 2304 4096
Texture Units ? 2 x 144 144 256
ROPs 64? 2 x 32 32 64
Boost Clock 1.6GHz 1243MHz 1243MHz 1050MHz
Single Precision 13.1 TFLOPS 11.5 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 8.6 TFLOPS
Half Precision 26.2 TFLOPS 11.5 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 8.6 TFLOPS
Memory Clock 1.89Gbps HBM2 7Gbps GDDR5 7Gbps GDDR5 1Gbps HBM
Memory Bus Width 2048-bit 2 x 256-bit 256-bit 4096-bit
Memory Bandwidth 483GB/sec 2x 224GB/sec 224GB/sec 512GB/sec
VRAM 16GB 2 x 16GB 8GB 4GB
Typical Board Power ? 250W 130W 275W
GPU Vega (1) Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Fiji
Architecture Vega Polaris Polaris GCN 1.2
Manufacturing Process GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Date 06/2017 05/2017 10/2016 06/24/15
Launch Price Air: $1199
Liquid: $1799
$999 $649 $649

Meanwhile SabrePC also lists technical specifications for the Frontier Edition cards, with both cards listed at the same memory bandwidth and peak throughput. At 13.1 TFLOPS FP32, this would put the GPU clockspeed at 1.6GHz on the dot, just a smidge higher than AMD’s own presentations last month. Meanwhile 483GB/sec of memory bandwidth puts the memory clock at just under 1.9Gbps. That both cards are listed with the same specifications is a bit surprising, and given the price difference I’m not wholly convinced that Sabre has the right specifications for the cheaper air cooled card – distinctly cheaper cards are usually built around harvested processors – but for now it’s what we have to work with. It may very well be that the listings are correct, but the air cooled card is expected to throttle more often relative to the high-efficiency air cooler.

In the meantime I’ve reached out to AMD for more information on these new listings, particularly since AMD's official Frontier Edition release isn't slated to be until the 27th. However quiet nature of these listings does have me wondering if AMD is purposely looking to avoid additional press at the moment – opting to silently get them into the hands of distributors to get out to their professional customers – as the company had made it clear that they’re not aiming these cards at consumers.

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  • leelab - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    They are going for the professional data scientists and most likely crypto currency folks. AMD chips are preferred there versus NVIDIA. They routinely sell for over asking price. AMD releasing these chips before the consumer ones may be strategy on their part to sell these for a higher average selling price. Reply
  • Frenetic Pony - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    There's even been a shortage of AMD GPUs recently after a big climb in bitcoin value. But I can't really see these being a huge hit for coin miners. It's a highly separable task, you don't really care if it's a dual GPU or Single that gives you that final "flops" number. So the Pro Duo is fairly competitive with these newer cards, especially as you don't half float precision for bitcoin either.

    AI and simulation stuff however very much do need all that ram/single card performance/half float stuff. So I can see them selling out there.
    Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    What does gaming performance to FLOPS ratio in games have to do with professional software? The software is very different and how it uses the GPU is different. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    Those are old benchmarks from AMD. It's stuff that Titan Xp won't do well in.

    The TDPs might be legit, but don't be concerned with that silly table.
    Reply
  • Meteor2 - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    Also that TDP is rather high, 375W versus 250W for Pascal XP?! :(. Suggests Vega's efficiency still falls short of Nvidia tech. Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    The air cooled version is only 300W, merely 50W more. 50W is not too shabby for the amount of extra performance you get. And the benches are industry standard real life workstation applications contrary to what some clueless fanboys might claim. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Monday, June 19, 2017 - link

    The fact one is air cooled and the other water cooled suggests the 375W TDP is required to sustain that extra one teraflop over the XP, which manages just fine on 250W of air cooling. Reply
  • jjj - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    Guess the retailer removed that info , here's the first pic i could find http://techreport.com/r.x/2017_06_16_Rumor_Vega_Fr... Reply
  • Meteor2 - Monday, June 19, 2017 - link

    Which if correct underline how pointless FLOP measurements are, CPU or GPU. Reply
  • AnotherGuy - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    "the first-run workstation/early adopter-focused Radeon Vega Frontier Edition."
    Hey Ryan, am I maybe not getting this right, but why does it seem like you are calling these cards Early Adapter cards? This to me sounds like u are trying to tell the public "Do not buy this"....
    Can you explain on this naming?
    Reply

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