AMD Radeon VII Interview with Scott Herkelman @ [H]

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AMD Radeon VII Interview with Scott Herkelman

We had the opportunity to talk to Scott Herkelman at AMD about the new Radeon VII GPU at CES 2019, and he was kind enough to answer questions that we had. We get his thoughts on the new Radeon VII, its full specifications and die size, FreeSync, multi-GPU, 16GB of HBM2, AMD getting back into direct retail sales of video cards, and more.


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Interesting to see AMD selling GPU directly to customer thought a bit disappointed that there is a only a single SKU available at launch.
 
Great interview, very informative. I'm still a little leary over that narative AMD is pushing with the Devil May Cry 5 showcase where the character actually stayed in the corner of a few buildings in a closed off area that usually only reads the max fps a game can reach. Would have been much happier if they showed something in a more demanding area.

I was happy to see you poke him a bit about multi gpu, we can dream right?

I believe he was being mostly honest about the reallocation of resources back in the the gpu spectrum at AMD. They've clearly hit their goals on the cpu side and gotten themselves back into a stable position to work on GPU again as a company.

I'm probably going to end up trying to buy one off amd.com if it's available Feb 7th, these might not be easy to find for that long if the 20k unit run numbers floating around are true. We don't yet know how powerful these will end up as content creation / workstation cards, and that 16gb is going to ring out to a lot of people. I'm really looking forward to games that will start pushing the 10gb barrier that 'ol Carmac predicted like 10 years ago as the next evolution of realistic gaming.
 
I believe he was being mostly honest about the reallocation of resources back in the the gpu spectrum at AMD. They've clearly hit their goals on the cpu side and gotten themselves back into a stable position to work on GPU again as a company.
I talked to Scott at length about that while in Vegas, and I would suggest he is being honest on the resources question.
 
It seems like this is really a compute GPU like the Titan that has a side effect of being pretty good at gaming. 16GB HBM is 100% designed for number crunching. I don't mind it, a 2080 competitor is great at this point and if its target isn't resting solely on gamers they can sell more and ramp up the R&D.
 
Interesting to see AMD selling GPU directly to customer thought a bit disappointed that there is a only a single SKU available at launch.

rip i'm sad now because of that answer but glad my question got asked, thanks Kyle.

can't afford to drop 700 dollars on a gpu but still hope it lives up to AMD's expectations of the card. but i guess if you're going to test a new process swinging at the fences for a one off gpu isn't a bad way to do it.
 
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I would have loved him to give us more details on the upcoming Navi. But i understand why he couldn't at this stage.

It is good to see AMD coming out with a high end GPU again. Can't wait to see [H] review. Also good to see AMD selling these. Means no more huge mark-ups from greedy retailers.
 
rip i'm sad now because of that answer but glad my question got asked, thanks Kyle.

can't afford to drop 700 dollars on a gpu but still hope it lives up to AMD's expectations of the card.

I was surprise by the price when it was announce but glad AMD didn't take their sweet ass time this time around to release a competing card.
 
They artificially nerfed the vega20 double precision on this card? gamers wouldn't use it really but that's dissapointing.
 
They artificially nerfed the vega20 double precision on this card? gamers wouldn't use it really but that's dissapointing.
if they want to unlock FP64 performance this is not the card. it will be the frontier edition (if they have interest for it).
 
Thanks Kyle for the interview. I remember a while back when you mentioned about him going to AMD.

Scott really comes across as professional and polite. Seemed to genuinely listen to your questions, think about them, and answered head on. I appreciated that the answers didn't feel like scripted generalized responses.

I admit I hadn't thought of using DP for a possible work around for HDMI 2.1. Hope they and others in the industry can pull this off. Would be a win-win for all of us.
 
Also good to see AMD selling these. Means no more huge mark-ups from greedy retailers.
This is the best news in a long time that AMD is finally selling direct. I hope they come in sexy AMD branding, I always wanted ref review cards for this reason in the past but they are harder to find.
Vega20 seems to be an decent card on paper especially with the future-proof memory amount, as I personally find that in long term VRAM is often the limitation if GPU is fast enough.
 
I wonder how strong these cards will be in GPU accelerated video transcoding and general hobby level rendering.

I'm happy with the speed if my Pascal cards but the quality is always subpar.

And even my threadripper is too slow in big 4k jobs. Never done video work with an AMD card.

This is the best news in a long time that AMD is finally selling direct. I hope they come in sexy AMD branding, I always wanted ref review cards for this reason in the past but they are harder to find.
Vega20 seems to be an decent card on paper especially with the future-proof memory amount, as I personally find that in long term VRAM is often the limitation if GPU is fast enough.

16G is a lot of frame buffer and being hbm makes it even better. I wonder if the actual gpu is a bottleneck for that vram lol?!

But in all seriousness for 3440 and 4k res having that high of speed should yield some good minimum frame rates.
 
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"Scott Herkelman: Regarding adaptive sync, NVIDIA adopting support for FreeSync is another big win for gamers and a testament to AMD's leadership position in technology and feature proliferation through open and tax free standards."

Seriously....... They're supporting Adaptive Sync standard and use their own implementation. Nothing to do with FreeSync.
 
$699 isn't bad per se, but I'm hoping some price drops occur for both major players, once RVII has been out for a while. If it drops $100-150, then it's going to be a surefire replacement for my 980Ti, while Zen2 gets the honor of replacing my aging 3770K.

It would be nice to get back to an AMD platform after all these Intel and nVidia hijinks.
 
HardOCP: Will we see AIB Radeon VII cards for sale at launch of will this be an all AMD "reference" card launch? Will AMD be selling variants of the Radeon VII, or just a single SKU?

Scott Herkelman: This will be an all-AMD reference card at launch and we are only announcing this configuration. We’ve chosen 16GB so that gamers and creators have a GPU that will be able to handle a variety of resolutions and workloads for today's most demanding applications and in the future.

So, is it assumed that there will be no custom AIB cards...ever?
https://www.pcbuildersclub.com/en/2019/01/amd-radeon-vega-vii-no-custom-models-planned/

Could Radeon VII just be a filler until Navi?
 
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"Scott Herkelman: Regarding adaptive sync, NVIDIA adopting support for FreeSync is another big win for gamers and a testament to AMD's leadership position in technology and feature proliferation through open and tax free standards."

Seriously....... They're supporting Adaptive Sync standard and use their own implementation. Nothing to do with FreeSync.

What motivation does Nvidia have to move away from G-Sync other than pressure from a competitor? How many times has platform cost been talked about on [H] for GPU+monitor? Nvidia likes making money. They aren't going to suddenly move to an open standard when they have a functional closed standard in place that makes them more money. My educated guess is that Nvidia's move to adaptive sync is in preparation to Navi as the current assumption is that Navi will "reset" the GPU market from the upper-mainstream down.
 
"Scott Herkelman: Regarding adaptive sync, NVIDIA adopting support for FreeSync is another big win for gamers and a testament to AMD's leadership position in technology and feature proliferation through open and tax free standards."

Seriously....... They're supporting Adaptive Sync standard and use their own implementation. Nothing to do with FreeSync.
You meant trying to support adaptive sync while rubbing of their own branding as G-Sync compatible... While maintaining that their implementation only works on "good"monitors . Wondering if that means you are going to pay extra :)
 
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You meant trying to support adaptive sync while rubbing of their own branding as G-Sync compatible... While maintaining that their implementation only works on "good"monitors . Wondering if that means you are going to pay extra :)
I am thinking more like Nvidia is having problems getting FreeSync working as good as AMD so a little posturing forthcoming. If AMD works with FreeSync well - I think that is mostly true, kinda hard for Nvidia to claim all those monitors are bad or don't work. We will see the quality of Nvidia Adaptive Sync shortly or lack there of. I am hoping Nvidia has good working Adaptive Sync so I can give the Vega's some rest and use those 1080 Ti's.
 
Great interview! I really hope NAVI does shake the mid range GPU market and RVII performs better than expected. Put the pressure on AMD!
 
I am thinking more like Nvidia is having problems getting FreeSync working as good as AMD so a little posturing forthcoming. If AMD works with FreeSync well - I think that is mostly true, kinda hard for Nvidia to claim all those monitors are bad or don't work. We will see the quality of Nvidia Adaptive Sync shortly or lack there of. I am hoping Nvidia has good working Adaptive Sync so I can give the Vega's some rest and use those 1080 Ti's.

I don't think its about async not working well so much as so many monitors simply not matching Gsync requirements. Wouldn't be surprised if a vast majority of the failed monitors did so simply because they have shitty async ranges. A monitor with a range of 45-60 FPS for Async/Freesync would fail immediately because it cannot support LFC. There are tons of freesync monitors that fall within that narrow range. I'd argue that a range that small qualifies them as having crap VRR support.
 
Seriously....... They're supporting Adaptive Sync standard and use their own implementation. Nothing to do with FreeSync.
Seriously, he is simply referring to AS/VRR by AMD's own brand name. That's an easy and solid jab at NVIDIA. Give the guy a break.

$699 isn't bad per se, but I'm hoping some price drops occur for both major players, once RVII has been out for a while.
Hard to raise the MSRP once it is out there without a lot of ugly kickback, much easier to lower it. AMD will see what the market supports in terms of sales. We have no idea how many of these GPUs it can/will produce.

So, is it assumed that there will be no custom AIB cards...ever?
To my understanding there will be AIB cards for Radeon VII, just not at launch.

Could Radeon VII just be a filler until Navi?
I think it is possible to look at it that way.

Great interview! I really hope NAVI does shake the mid range GPU market and RVII performs better than expected. Put the pressure on AMD!
I would hope this is exactly what is happening, hopefully.
 
I noticed the chart you have posted shows 64 ROPs, assuming this is a typo? I thought they said the render pipeline was doubled for Radeon VII.
That is not a typo. That full chart was given to us directly by AMD, I simply put it into our format. I submitted it to AMD to double check before we published it.

Here it is directly from AMD.

upload_2019-1-14_11-30-3.png
 
I am thinking more like Nvidia is having problems getting FreeSync working as good as AMD so a little posturing forthcoming. If AMD works with FreeSync well - I think that is mostly true, kinda hard for Nvidia to claim all those monitors are bad or don't work. We will see the quality of Nvidia Adaptive Sync shortly or lack there of. I am hoping Nvidia has good working Adaptive Sync so I can give the Vega's some rest and use those 1080 Ti's.

Its not really problem its just that their entire point was to make free sync look bad lol. Like he was pissed about supporting it so they made a strict standard. Pretty much they disqualified all the original free sync monitors with low range. It's just more like they are supporting freesync 2. But honestly Its a shame that they didn't include other Freesync 2 monitors that are more than capable like my samsung that is top notch now after firmware updates and one of the best monitors. I feel like the whole point was to knock on free sync. It really feels like Jensen was too pissed about supporting freesync he had to make it look bad some how lol.
 
Thanks Kyle for the interview. I remember a while back when you mentioned about him going to AMD.

Scott really comes across as professional and polite. Seemed to genuinely listen to your questions, think about them, and answered head on. I appreciated that the answers didn't feel like scripted generalized responses.

I admit I hadn't thought of using DP for a possible work around for HDMI 2.1. Hope they and others in the industry can pull this off. Would be a win-win for all of us.

I liked the interview, but it does give a vibe of very carefully chosen words. Maybe that's just how he rolls.

I had never thought about DP to HDMI 2.1 either. Since most GPUs are packed with adequate DP ports that would be a good way to go if it is possible without any drawbacks like increased input lag etc. Don't know if USB-C to HDMI 2.1 would work too.
 
Excellent Interview, Kyle! Liked the questions and even the answers for the most part. Did not agree, however, with Scott's position on Crossfire/Multi-GPU. Turns out my RX-590/480 Crossfire rig works like a charm, btw. It works so well I have been very pleasantly surprised by it! D3d12 Multi-GPU support in SoftTR is excellent--scales beautifully at 3840x2160, where the scaling is almost 100% between the 590 by itself and the 590/480 multi-GPU support in the game (Benchmarks @ 32 fps 590 vs. 63 fps 590/480 D3d12 exclusive full screen.) CD has even back-supported D3d12 multi-GPU support to RoftTR, I discovered. The hard fact is that not everyone has $700 in disposable income sitting around to drop on a GPU. Two ~$300 cards, however, purchased months apart, is often very realistic and doable. Then you've got people who will insist on buying two Radeon VII GPUs to run in Crossfire and multiGPU! Just because D3d12 is on the rise doesn't mean that all those hundreds/thousands of games written for D3d11 and below will suddenly not benefit from Crossfire! In fact, the opposite is true, since D3d12 and beyond has moved multi-GPU support into the API--if anything its use should increase in the future, I should think. I'd say that 4k resolutions coming to the fore are certainly an incentive to support Crossfire/multi-GPU all the more. Years ago I had an X-fire system with twin 4850s, and it was very nice when it worked--but I've been amazed at how much better AMD's current implementation of Crossfire is for these RX5/4xx GPUs. Turned me from a skeptic into a believer...;)

For professional work, of course, nobody needs Crossfire/multi-GPU. But for gaming--it's very nice, especially if you are like me and want *decent frame rates* at 4k resolutions and don't want to have to spend $800-$1300 for the privilege. My guess right now is that the Radeon VII is mainly a professional-level card, and that AMD's 1-2 punch for gaming is yet to come. But that's just a guess. With D3d12 being so quickly adopted (especially with reference to D3d9.0c!) it's fairly obvious Scott really needs to rethink his position on X-Fire/Multi-GPUs. As the business manager for Radeon, he should know that criticizing multi-GPU support and adoption is *not* a smart business decision...;)

With reference to my RX-480 system at home and how easy it was to do 590/480 X-fire, note that of the following hardware components, the only thing I had to add was the RX-590--just dropped it in and booted up and that was it. Nothing else required. Made a huge difference @ 4k.

MSI Gaming Pro Carbon AC UEFI bios 2.F0
Corsair CX-750M PSU (62a x1 12v rail)
AMD Ryzen 5 1600 @ 3.8GHz, voltage set, 1.385V
RAM 16GB 2x8GB, Patriot Viper Elite @3200MHz 16 16 16 36 1T
Stock AMD cooler (95W version--thanks AMD!)
LG MultiDrive DVD writer SATA
Boot: Samsung 960 EVO NVMe 250GB (UEFI boot partition)
2x 1TB WD Blue 7200 rpm
ST2000DM SATA III 2TB
ST4000DM004 S3 4TB
AoC U3277PWQU 3840x2160 monitor
AMD RX-590 8GB/RX-480 8GB Crossfire
Realtek 1250 sound w/Nahimic 3
Win10x64 build 18312 UEFI
 
When i first heard about M-Gpu i was excited. But the more i thought about it, the less i became. The simple fact is, it is now up to the developer to include it. AMD and Nvidia don't do the work like they did with DX11 profiles. Even those weren't always the best. Seeing as there is a very few people percentage wise running these setups, the only way game devs will take there time to implement it is if one or both of AMD/Nivida pays them to do it.

And as for a single card solution where both chips and memories are pooled, both companies have reported that this is extremely difficult and we won't be doing this anytime soon, even though they have been working on it.

The simple fact is buying a single fast card will always be the best solution and will be for years to come. The good news is AMD now have a card in the high end to compete.
 
Cmon AMD M.A.G.A. = Make AMD Great Again. I want you to Rip Jensen Huang's Leather Jacket off and shove it up his ass. Tired of NGreedia's Wallet Rape to all PC Gamers. Competition = Good for us all. We'll see faster innovation, better prices, and an all around better time for us all.
 
Cmon AMD M.A.G.A. = Make AMD Great Again. I want you to Rip Jensen Huang's Leather Jacket off and shove it up his ass. Tired of NGreedia's Wallet Rape to all PC Gamers. Competition = Good for us all. We'll see faster innovation, better prices, and an all around better time for us all.
Navi is coming. I would suggest that AMD is on track with its roadmap.
 
FP64 support was the major selling point of this card for me and for many other amateur professionals, students and budget conscious researchers for whom Instinct is not a good fit at all. Without it I've lost interest and so have many of the people I've talked to. It went from a sellout hit to a mediocre flop imo. They should have increased the price and marketed it against the Titan V which is the only recent FP64 enabled gaming card.

It seems like this is really a compute GPU like the Titan that has a side effect of being pretty good at gaming. 16GB HBM is 100% designed for number crunching. I don't mind it, a 2080 competitor is great at this point and if its target isn't resting solely on gamers they can sell more and ramp up the R&D.

No it is nothing like the Titan. Titan V has FP64 acceleration. This doesn't so it is a half-baked compute card.
 
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Then why is it not a Vega in your system :p

2 + years ago when I bought the GTX 1080 at launch, I wasn't so fed up with Nvidia. I was upset about the founders edition crap, I was naive enough to believe they wouldn't keep exploiting and Wallet Abusing the hardcore PC Gamer back then. After witnessing the 1080Ti, Titan X, Titan XP, and now this RTX Series, I'm so rooting against them. I have to also admit, I feel AMD has a small part in this by not competing as aggressively as they could have tho.
 
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