Rumor has it that AMD has effectively ended focus on its highest-end consumer graphics card, Radeon VII. The card was first introduced in February, after a highly anticipated launch at CES. While targeted at gamers, it was clear from the get-go that it was even better for creators, with its super-strong compute performance, and not to mention a large 16GB framebuffer.
Well, it looks like with Navi’s introduction, the older stock is getting a cut. We reached out to AMD for an official statement, and was told, “We continue to see strong availability of Radeon VII in the channel for both gamers and creators.” You can make of that as you will, but based on what we see and have known up to this point, ceased production of the card isn’t a surprise.
The VII has always been rumored to just be a stop-gap of some sort. The cards are known to be rebrands of Radeon Instinct cards. That doesn’t make them bad for performance in any way, but it does cause issues for pricing and profits, thanks to its expensive HBM2 inclusion. With Apple’s help, Vega also became one of the most power hungriest and hottest graphics architectures we’ve ever touched, so it has that also going against it.
For creators, high-power didn’t matter much when the card offered extremely good compute and ProViz performance, and while it lacked Radeon Pro optimizations, it made up for it with the huge framebuffer. Right now, you still can’t get a GPU with that much memory for cheaper. To get it any other way, you are really going to be shelling out for it. TITAN Xp has 12GB, while TITAN RTX, at $2,500, has 24GB.
We could bring up double-precision, but clearly, that move was one made by AMD only to ruffle some NVIDIA feathers. AMD appeared to do the community a service by offering partially unlocked FP64 on VII, but what good does it really do if the cards had a life span of six months? AMD had to have known that people needing FP64 performance wouldn’t be opting for consumer-grade hardware, and Navi doesn’t share the the same FP64 boost. It makes perfect sense why NVIDIA didn’t decide to follow-up with it own partially FP64 unlocked card. It knew VII would effectively be a one-off. Double-precision is better-suited at financial and scientific markets, not gamers and creators.
Nonetheless, the reality of VII being potentially “done” brings us to a suggestion: if you’ve been eyeing a Radeon VII For any reason, you’ll probably want to act sooner than later, since the cards could very well disappear. AMD is adamant that the card is still alive and well, but current availability hints at another reality. Even on AMD’s own website, the standard VII is not available, but the special edition red version is. At Amazon, the only offers we see are for new cards priced at up to $1,000. There are plenty of used cards that don’t cost much different from the original VII.
Over at Newegg, there is one brand-new Radeon VII model in stock, and it’s less than SRP, at $669.99. We’re not exactly recommending it at this price, but lower-than-new is good to see. With our recent testing of NVIDIA SUPER and AMD RX 5700, we didn’t get a chance to get to the high-end cards yet, but we will likely have updated performance from it by the time NVIDIA’s RTX 2080 SUPER arrives.
The VII is a really cool graphics card in many ways, but it’s always rubbed us the wrong way how AMD marketed it for gamers when it clearly wasn’t designed for gamers. But, we guess sometimes, a company’s gotta do what a company’s gotta do.