AMD has announced a new Polaris-based workstation graphics card with a twist. The Radeon Pro Solid State Graphics (SSG) pairs a Polaris 10 GPU with two M.2 slots, giving the card direct access to a ton of solid state storage.
The idea here is that the Radeon Pro SSG will provide professional users with low-latency access to large amounts of data. Current workstation cards typically top out at around 32 GB of VRAM, so when some workloads require access to datasets larger than this, you get slowdowns or hit limitations. With SSDs connected directly to the Radeon Pro SSG to provide well above 32 GB of storage, better performance is theoretically achieved in these situations.
Connecting solid state drives directly to a graphics card via a dedicated PCIe 3.0 interface won't provide the same bandwidth as typical GDDR5 VRAM or HBM. However the improved latency is key for the applications the Radeon Pro SSG is targeting, such as 8K video editing, scientific and medical research, and oil exploration.
The Radeon Pro SSG can support at least 1 TB of storage through the dual M.2 slots, although it's not clear whether this sort of storage is provided along with the graphics card. Performance figures and specifications for the Polaris 10 GPU are also unknown at this stage.
For now, the Radeon Pro SSG is a being labeled as a beta product, with AMD selling developer kits that include the card for $9,999. Full availability for this card is scheduled for sometime in 2017.
Image via Tom's Hardware