Last week, news broke that AMD had won itself a new console design for the mainland China market by partnering with ZhongShan Subor. Now, fresh details have surfaced on that system, its market potential, and how it’ll be sold within China. There’s no news yet of an export option or any kind of international launch, so the chance of finding one of these systems at retail in the US seems low — and that’s unfortunate because this looks like exactly the kind of APU people have previously wanted AMD to launch.
This image states that the CPU is a 4C/8T design clocked at 3GHz with 24 compute units (1536 GPU cores total) clocked at 1.3GHz and with 4TFLOPS of total processing power. We’ve previously raised the question of whether or not this design is using Vega, but as AT points out, AMD is talking up Rapid Packed Math as a major feature, and that’s one option that’s Vega-only. If Intel’s Hades Canyon is actually a Polaris GPU attached to a Vega-style HBM2 memory controller, this APU might be a Vega GPU core attached to a conventional GDDR5 memory controller. If there’s an upside to this, it’d be that AMD has apparently built a non-HBM2 memory controller for Vega already, which could also be read as clearing the way for a Vega-based refresh of AMD’s desktop midrange (currently owned by Polaris)… except for the fact that AMD has given us absolutely no sign that it intends to launch a Vega GPU with GDDR5 in the consumer market. Storage is provided by a 128GB NVMe SSD, which seems a bit small for modern titles.
We’re not trying to be cute with this one or plant a rumor on the sly — just observing that this chip would seem to imply that AMD has done the work it would need to do in at least one area if it wanted to hook Vega to a different memory interface.
The ZongShan Subor Z+ will run Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, likely to give Subor more control over the difference between the “console” and the PC SKU. The console, in this case, appears to use a UI optimized for longer distance viewing, analogous to Steam’s Big Picture mode. The company has stated it intends to control for high-quality game lineups, promises to work with top Chinese esports teams, and intends to generate revenue through on-platform advertising, as well as through game and console sales.
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