Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang doesn't seem to be particularly impressed that AMD revealed the world's first 7nm gaming GPU, the Radeon VII, at CES 2019. Huang reportedly told PCWorld that he finds the Radeon VII "underwhelming" because "the performance is lousy and there's nothing new." And that wasn't his only jab at AMD--Huang also said that Nvidia's G-Sync essentially has no competition because AMD's FreeSync doesn't work.
Neither claim would be particularly surprising to find on any message board where people support their preferred graphics technologies like sports fans cheer for their favorite teams. But it's at least a little surprising to hear Nvidia's chief executive dismiss the world's first 7nm gaming GPU and claim that most FreeSync monitors "do not even work with AMD’s graphics cards." The former is based on speculation; the latter is outright baffling.
Huang's comments don't appear to be based on any special knowledge about the Radeon VII. Instead, his problem seems to be the apparent lack of ray tracing support or an equivalent to the Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology Nvidia introduced with its Turing architecture. AMD used HBM2 memory in the Radeon VII, too, and mass production on that memory started back in 2016. (The spec was updated in 2018, though.)
These omissions reportedly led Huang to say that the Radeon VII "barely keeps up with a 2080. And if we turn on DLSS we’ll crush it. And if we turn on ray tracing we’ll crush it." But press materials released by AMD dispute those claims: the company said the Radeon VII outperformed the RTX 2080 in Battlefield V, Forza Horizon 4, and Strange Brigade in different configurations in its testing. More details about those tests can be found here.
AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su also hasn't ruled out ray tracing support with the Radeon VII. She told Tom's Hardware in our wide-ranging interview from CES 2019: "I think that ray tracing is an important capability and we view that as important. We are continuing to work on ray tracing both on the hardware side and the software side, and you’ll hear more about our plans as we go through the year." So we'll see what happens in that regard.
Huang's claims about FreeSync appear to rely less on speculation than his dismissal of the Radeon VII. He said that of the "hundreds" of FreeSync monitors tested for G-Sync compatibility, only 12 activated it automatically. He trumpeted Nvidia's commitment to testing: “We will test every single card against every single monitor against every single game and if it doesn’t work, we will say it doesn’t work. And if it does, we will let it work.”
Right now this is quite literally a case of he-said she-said. We look forward to putting both Nvidia's and AMD's claims to the test when the Radeon VII debuts, or when the occasion rises to test Nvidia graphics cards' compatibility with assorted FreeSync monitors. Either way, it's nice to see that neither Huang nor Su's "devil may care" attitudes are limited to wearing leather jackets during major announcements of new graphics products.