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AMD has recently registered a trademark called Vega 2. This could be graphics cards for the workstation or data center area, but also gaming GPUs.
Vega is not yet obsolete
AMD has in some ways made a crash landing with the Vega graphics architecture. The gaming graphics cards RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 did not come close to Nvidia’s flagship at the time, the GTX 1080 Ti, on the one hand, and on the other hand were so poorly available that prices became very high. But the graphics cards fulfilled the actual purpose of Vega perfectly. Thus Vega is apparently primarily aimed at pro users and therefore very well suited for workloads. The Radeon Instinct graphics cards for the data center were extremely strong. Apple also relied exclusively on Vega for the new iMac Pro models. The HBM2 graphics memory also emphasised this right from the beginning.
For the Pro market, the architecture is apparently far from being obsolete. AMD already announced in the middle of the year that it would also bring Vega to the 7nm structure. The Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 were recently introduced at an event. The graphics cards will be delivered as samples to the first partners in 2018. The fact that AMD also brings the Vega architecture to 7nm indicates again a very good performance in the compute environment. Navi is probably the better choice for the gaming market. But Vega could continue to play a role especially for the professional market.
AMD Vega 2 / Vega II: what’s it all about?
AMD has recently registered a new brand. It’s the Vega logo, which has two stripes on the right side of the V. It’s probably the mark of a Roman 2, that’s a II. This suggests that AMD is using the Vega brand name again as a kind of second generation. However, what AMD could use the logo and brand for is still completely open. The Vega logo is used on all Radeon products. AMD also uses the logo in relation to Radeon Pro and Radeon Instinct, but very sparingly. In gaming, however, the Vega logo was very present.
So there are several ways AMD could use the new Vega 2 logo. On the one hand, the designation of the Vega 20 graphic chips is a possible use. This would give the new Vega 7nm architecture its own name and logo. The other possibility is that AMD with Vega 2 also has other graphics cards than the Radeon Instinct derivatives already introduced in planning.
Option 1: Pro models with Vega 2
One of the most likely theories about Vega 2 are professional graphics cards with this branding. The only Vega 20 graphics cards currently released, the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50, are already in the data center segment. For the gaming market, the new Navi architecture will come in 2019. However, it is still questionable whether there will also be pro-branches of this architecture. Some insiders say that Navi is mainly aimed at the Playstation 5, which will contain an AMD APU.
It would therefore be quite possible for AMD to launch a Frontier Edition or WX graphics cards with Vega 2 architecture on the market. Then the company would have consistently separated the pro and gaming sectors. Vega 2 would therefore only be for the pro sector, while Navi is the sole gaming architecture. This would be a reasonable option, especially in terms of pure computing power and Vega’s focus on Apple. A second version of the iMac Pro or a new edition of the Mac Pro might already be based on Vega 2.
Option 2: Gaming graphics cards with Vega 2
One of many hoped for possibilities would be that AMD would also serve the gaming sector with Vega 2. However, in 2019 this is mainly attributed to the Navi architecture. The latest leaks have shown that Navi is primarily intended to reach the performance range of the RTX 2070. Another leak recently revealed that a high-end version could also be at the level of the RTX 2080. The question then arises why AMD should launch the relatively old Vega architecture as a gaming graphics card. As a high-end variant, it would probably not be on a par with its own Navi graphics cards. We therefore consider it very unlikely that AMD will compete with itself. It would be possible in any case, but it doesn’t make sense.
Option 3: Vega 2 is the pure architecture name
The third and probably most likely option is that AMD simply defined a name for the second Vega generation. The fact that the name was not mentioned at the launch of the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 contradicts this, but the data center derivatives do not need a real name either. The fact that a logo was also defined speaks more for marketing with the Vega 2 name. This could then take place with possible professional graphic cards.
Conclusion: Vega 2 could be everything and nothing
With the registration of the Vega 2 brand, AMD has once again stirred up some dust. Since everything is currently talking about Navi, Vega 2 sounds more like a step backwards. However, the architecture continues to do an excellent job in the data center and pro area. So the most likely thing is that we might see Vega 2 in these areas in the future. It remains to be seen to what extent the Vega 2 brand will be advertised or appear in product names. We think it is most likely that they will be professional graphics cards.