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
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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  • Ryan Smith - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    "This to me sounds like u are trying to tell the public "Do not buy this"...."

    Correct. These are not consumer cards and AMD is doing all they can to tell consumers not to buy them. These cards are primarily meant for developers who need access to the Vega architecture to begin writing software against it. Hence the reason they're called "Frontier Edition"; AMD's hinting that they're not quite yet ready for us city-slicker consumers.
  • waltsmith - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    IMHO, The whole idea of "Frontier" is mainly a face saving launch. AMD has had a horrible rep for years of missing launch windows, not updating drivers in a timely fashion and generally just not doing what they say when they say it. Lisa has the whole gain back the public trust that our word is our bond vibe going on. Hence, the Crimson driver initiative with its regular updates. We all know initial CPU reviews are king, sometimes for life of the architecture. So why launch Ryzen with that horrible beta version microcode that wouldn't support decent memory and destroyed early benchmarks that depend on faster memory for the Infinity Fabric? Because they promised a First Quarter launch, that's why! They gave a hard window and have promised repeatedly that Vega would hit the shelves 1H 2017. They have also known for months now that its not ready for primetime and surely don't want to repeat the Ryzen launch fiasco...yet they promised a launch this quarter....Therefore, I give you(Drumroll Please) FRONTIER EDITION!!! lol
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    Yeah, it's clear that stock or drivers or something else just wasn't ready, so AMD made a psuedo-Titan.

    Honestly, it's not the worst idea they've had.
  • Yojimbo - Friday, June 16, 2017 - link

    They did something else that is clever in a sneaky sort of way. Although it does not come with professional application certification, I think they are shipping it with drivers geared towards professional applications, and that is why they are anti-selling it for gaming. Raja Koduri came out and said that the Radeon RX Vega would outperform the Vega FE in gaming. I think that's because the Vega FE doesn't ship with gaming drivers.

    Exxact Corp. published professional graphics oriented benchmark comparisons showing the Vega FE beating the Titan Xp, which is a card that does not ship with professional graphics-oriented drivers. The Vega FE specviewperf benchmarks are beaten handily by the Quadro P5000, which is a GP104 chip, and killed by the P6000 that uses the more powerful GP102 that the Titan Xp uses. In fact, even the previous generation M5000 that uses the GM204 and has 8GB of VRAM, less than the 12Gb of the Titan Xp, is listed on spec.org as outperforming Exxact's Vega FE specviewperf scores. One can get a Quadro M5000 for $1760 on Newegg and it does come with professional app certifications.

    The Vega FE would no doubt be hammered by the Titan Xp in machine learning tasks, the other area that AMD says the Vega FE is geared towards, because the CUDA libraries have a huge advantage there. So the card doesn't seem to have much of a market. It could be for getting hardware in the hands of developers, as Ryan said. But my opinion is in line with waltsmith's. It has more to do with meeting their promised Q2 launch. I assume that by the time the Radeon Pro Vega cards launch they will have more mature drivers that will make the cards more competitive with their Quadro competition than the Vega FE is.
  • gunmaker - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    im going to be serious here. i invented the ideA of loading cpu instructions to the gpus buffer. its a logically simple one liner buffer call. BIG WOOP.
    if you want gpu calculations done using any gpu(and all) copy cuda.dll to the system32[or wow64] folder and register the dynamic link library file, and forget about buying nvidia cards ever again. ps dll-files.com isnt going anywhere ;) ;)
  • Yojimbo - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    Yeah, true, but it only works on Mars on July 19th, 1964 ;) ;)
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    Yes, any time they launch a professional product like a workstation card or a server CPU they're clearly doing it to save face. I mean, why even launch non-consumer products? That's just like, silly, or something. Plus even though Ryzen is getting tons of design wins and is generally hailed as a solid architecture and lineup, it's a failure. Because. lol
  • gunmaker - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    they are simply trying to avoid the frustration (and driver download server load) that occurs when the cards are emmediately sold out :)
  • gunmaker - Saturday, June 17, 2017 - link

    its clear you got paid to trash amd. especially considering the fact that amd releases drivers monthly, and launch windows are only to boost sales in the first place, and that amd is completely SOLD OUT at walmart , fries electronics and even online vendors. its about time that nvidia took a fall for thier intentionally OVERclocked( i mean the literal term) cards that fail well within three months of load.

    to be brutally honest, if you see a heavy and large bank of capacitors on anything accept a subwoofer? it means they are desperatly trying to make use of speed where they don't know watt to do with the voltage.
    long story short, amds gpus can red line day and night but nvidias GARBAGE would be lucky to last 3 days gunmaker guardian aka geniusthemaster- legendary white hat.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, June 18, 2017 - link

    There is definitely a shortage of Radeon 570/580 cards (unless you count gougers selling them for double etc). Crypto currency strikes again... supply should shake loose again soon I hope.

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