AMD put 2TB of memory in a new $7000 graphics card

On the consumer side, AMD finally unveiled its lineup of Radeon RX Vega graphics cards for playing games at high resolutions and in VR. But to actually make those games—and for other professional content chores—AMD also announced a pair of beastly workstation cards with Vega-based GPUs. One of them wields a whopping 2TB of solid-state memory.

That would be the Radeon Pro SSG. Built for serious content creation, the Radeon Pro SSG pairs 16GB of HBM2 ECC memory with 2TB of NAND flash storage plugged into a pair of M.2 ports for extended memory support. So basically it supports having a pair of NVMe SSDs onboard. AMD did the same thing with its prototype Radeon Pro SSG (based off Fiji), but that card had just 4GB VRAM and topped out at 1TB of extended memory support. Plus it was only available as a developer kit and never saw a full retail release.

This new generation gets all the upgrades that come with Vega, like 16GB HBM2 with a 2,048-bit memory interface. More importantly, AMD's SSG API allows application developers to let the GPU talk directly to the 2TB of on-board SSD storage, bypassing the CPU, PCIe bus, and system interface, which can create bottlenecks. AMD says the SSG portion of the card can read data at up to 8GB/s and write data at up to 6GB/s. That's a lot slower than HBM2, but with the High-Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC) and thanks to the direct access, it's still over twice as fast as talking to SSDs over the PCIe bus.

While 2TB might seem like an obscene amount of 'memory' for a GPU—and it certainly is—all that memory helps creators to play back, manipulate, stitch, and post-process raw 8K content just as easily as a 4K workflow. According to AMD, this card represents a fundamental shift in hardware for those who deal with big data sets.

For developers who do not need the SSG aspect, AMD also introduced the Radeon Pro WX9100. It doesn't feature extended memory support, but is otherwise the same card. Both variants are equipped 64 next-generation compute units (4,096 stream processors) and can deliver up to 24.6 TFLOPS of double-precision performance, and up to 12.29 TFLOPS of single-precision performance.

Obviously no one is going to buy these to play games, or more precisely, solely to play games. One of the things AMD's latest driver release for its professional cards bring to the table is the ability to switch drivers without a reboot. This means that game developers can create content using professional drivers, then switch over to AMD's regular ReLive drivers to test things out (or simply to play games after a long day of coding).

The Radeon Pro WX9100 ($2,199) and Radeon Pro SSG ($6,999) will be both be available on September 13.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).