The most surprising and revolutionary announcement that AMD had during their event wasn’t the new base workstation cards. They saved the best for last, and it was a technological marvel. The Radeon Pro SSG (Solid State Graphics) gives a Polaris GPU access to 1TB of non-volatile memory. That’s more than enough for a lot of workloads.

Radeon Pro SSG

Radeon Pro SSG puts the NAND close to the GPU

The implications of having this much available frame buffer are enormous. This isn’t simply an SSD connected to a GPU, but instead is NAND connected nearly directly to the GPU in such a way so that it’s speed is not limited by SATA. The marriage is an answer to how Hollywood seems to need GPUs to evolve in order to actually use them for large-scale project rendering. Typical CGI movie scenes will have assets that far exceed the VRAM amounts that even professional GPUs have available, so that rendering is actually done on the CPU to make use of the massive amounts of RAM available. This, along with advancements in making mGPU memory pools unified, are all in an attempt to help render these large, realistic scenes, solely with the GPU.

But this isn’t just useful in Hollywood, either. AMD sees potential in all manner of industries, especially in the medical field. In their own presentation they made mention of using the Radeon Pro SSG to render medical visualizations completely in real-time. That would only be possible with the a large asset cache such as this. The NAND here isn’t using a SATA, or likely even a PCIe controller, meaning it won’t be limited in quite the way that we see it as storage. Depending on how it’s connected, it could be some orders of magnitude faster. This may not seem like much initially, “only” being a P10 die, though the significant is being realized by the industries it’s intended for. It’s a developer kit at the moment and you can sign-up to get one, though at an appropriately high price for something new to this field.