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The Vega Frontier is a Right Hook as AMD Comes Out Swinging


The Vega Frontier is not your average GPU card. This is a product that was built with a particular type of performance requirement in mind. This is a card for the data scientist, the extreme VFX rendering professional. A GPU that prioritized parallelization above all.

Terrifying Numbers

This is a $1000 piece of hardware. A card that has 64 of the latest Vega compute units adding up to 4096 stream processors. Those units run at an average of 1382 Mhz, but with the right cooling solution can hit 1600 Mhz. The FLOPs abound with the Vega Frontier Edition. With a whopping 13.1 TFLOPS for single-precision operations it comprehensively stomps a card like the Titan XP. This was already apparent in early benchmarks back in June.

Another standout feature is the 16GB of high-bandwidth memory. The memory-bus is an incredible 2048-bits wide. While this memory is only clocked at 945 Mhz, the wide bus means the total bandwidth is 483 GB/s. The philosophy of “wider” runs through both the GPU and memory.

A Driver for Every Occasion

Another thing that makes the Frontier Card so special is the fact that AMD is not limiting it to just professional, scientific or commercial use. It offers a special computer mode driver, professional certified drivers, a switchable game developer driver and a full-on gaming mode driver.

That promises a lot more flexibility than we often have with pro-GPUs like the Quadro. At the end of the day your fancy card might have compatibility issues with your entertainment applications. AMD want this to be a card to serve all purposes.

Cooling and Power

Despite being an absolute monster in the performance department, the Frontier “only” consumes a peak of 300W. That’s on air, but liquid-cooled models add another 75W on top. Compare that to the Titan Xp which uses 250W and produces 1 TFLOP less. Clearly AMD have finally moved into the same ballpark as Nvidia when it comes to power consumption. A real problem with the last few generations of cards from the Canadian company.

Speaking of which, you can get a liquid edition as well, which will of course cool things down, provide more boost headroom and be quieter.

First of its Name

It may seem like an odd move to release this specialist card ahead of all the consumer cards that we are only starting to see in the wild now, but with the Frontier Edition AMD was making a statement and laying down a challenge to Nvidia. Despite month having passed there’s nothing even an inch less impressive about this behemoth. It should certainly be on the shortlist of any high-end professional build.