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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang Thinks AMD's Radeon VII Is 'Underwhelming'

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.

  • SkyBill40
    Why so salty, Jensen? You made an awful lot of unsubstantiated claims but that's nothing new coming from you. Are you going to support them with actual data and verifiable evidence or are we supposed to just take you for your word... as untrustworthy as that happens to be?

    I say this as an Nvidia owner going back several cards. Your schtick is tired, man.
    Reply
  • redit
    Sounds like Nvidia might be getting a bit nervous. Vega vii doesn't have to be better than anything. It only has to offer better bang for the buck. Time will tell. Just ask Intel.
    Reply
  • siman0
    yeah the radon 7 is a little disappointing with current information. But we really don't know what its able to do quite yet. IMHO AMD should have been talking about its navi architecture allot more, and if its going to try and hang on with the Polaris rererefresh this year, its going to have problems. Well if Nvidia can get its shit together and release good mid tier cards. freesync works... Nvidia might have problems with it, because they didn't and still don't want to use it; but it does work. Will also state it also works better than gsync at least with my setups.
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  • bigdragon
    I think Nvidia is upset that developers have screwed them over with the ray tracing and DLSS stuff. Nobody wants to properly implement support for these new Nvidia-only technologies given how few devices they actually work on. Nvidia, EA, and friends can show all the tech demos they want -- none of it matters when the end product is downgraded from the tech demos. AMD's dismissal of Nvidia's vision for the future of graphics doesn't help Nvidia move the market in the direction they want.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    Man the salt is everywhere this time. I think your right redit, Nvidia does seem nervous.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    21663950 said:
    Sounds like Nvidia might be getting a bit nervous. Vega vii doesn't have to be better than anything. It only has to offer better bang for the buck. Time will tell. Just ask Intel.

    Except right now we have a good idea. Lisa said 30% better on average than Vega 64. The RTX 2080 FE (and I am sure some AiB cards) is on average 41% better than Vega 64 (used Anadtech benchmarks at 4K). That means on average the RTX 2080 will be around 11% better than the Vega VII. If at the same price, $699, the RTX 2080 will be the better value. If priced higher it will make sense.

    I am not sure AMD will have as much price wiggle room either as HBM is much more expensive compared to GDDR6. Add in that retailers will price gouge the GPU to start since its "new" and it might not hold the bang for buck much.

    In reality AMD needs a new GPU uArch. GCN has lived well past its prime.

    21663997 said:
    I think Nvidia is upset that developers have screwed them over with the ray tracing and DLSS stuff. Nobody wants to properly implement support for these new Nvidia-only technologies given how few devices they actually work on. Nvidia, EA, and friends can show all the tech demos they want -- none of it matters when the end product is downgraded from the tech demos. AMD's dismissal of Nvidia's vision for the future of graphics doesn't help Nvidia move the market in the direction they want.

    AMD will eventually do ray tracing as well. There has never been a time when both vendors jump on the latest and greatest support wise, it takes a few years and generations to fully adopt. Tesselation was similar. AMD jumped on it pretty fast and supported it better to start. Now its in every game and both parties support it fully.

    I like nVidias idea though. Hardware support for ray tracing will be superior to software support. I wouldn't doubt that AMD is working on some sort of hardware design to support it as well.
    Reply
  • agentnathan009
    I think Jensen Huang is underwhelming... What an arrogant bastard. He's probably scared because nVidia lost half it's value from September to November in stock market. He needs to man up and focus on selling their products rather than bashing the competition that is gaining on him and has open source at that (no egregious royalty fees).
    Reply
  • rabbit4me1
    Makes me wish mean Gene was still alive and that way he could take on the two cards Head to Head like an old school wrestling match
    Reply
  • animalosity
    I don't even know why his negative connotation commentary was necessary. Even if AMD comes close to the 2080 in terms of performance, at $699 MSRP with the obvious AIB partners inevitably coming up with even better 3rd party cooling options is still $100 cheaper than a 2080. Ray tracing has already proven to be a bit of a joke which Jensen admits that they weren't ready for. Neither is any developer ready to jump on that bandwagon yet (if at all) either. So once again, AMD appears to offer a better bang for buck product.

    Sounds like Huang is simply jealous and perhaps threatened by AMD completely utterly dominating the mid range market as well as being the first to 7NM. Even Nvidia has to outsource that to Samsung...
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  • jaexyr
    Kinda like the Turing vs the Pascal?
    Reply