There is a bit of intrigue surrounding AMD's plans for the high performance computing (HPC) market, as it relates to its next round of GPU accelerators. Over on the consumer side, AMD is pushing is 7-nanometer Navi GPUs. In the HPC market, however, AMD might be recycling its Vega GPU architecture for its next batch of Radeon Instinct cards, due out next year.
Leaks have pointed to these cards rocking Arcturus GPUs, and therein lies the intrigue. Arcturus made an appearance as back as 2018 in a Linux driver, where the codename was referenced alongside several Vega parts. At the time, it was thought Arcturus might be a successor to Navi. An AMD employee had confirmed the company would be using designated codenames for the chip, rather than family codenames that might reveal AMD's plans.
Now a year later, Arcturus is again making its presence known. Earlier this week on Wednesday, HWiNFO posted release notes for its newest beta build (v6.13-3945), with a reference to Arcturus. Here are the changes introduced in the latest beta...
- Added preliminary support of Intel Jasper Lake.
- Added reporting of serial number for Voodoo3-5 GPUs.
- Improved support of legacy VGAs/GPUs.
- Fixed support of PCI Configuration Mechanism 2 (Intel Saturn, Neptune).
- Added reporting of Core Performance Order for AMD Matisse.
- Added AMD Radeon RX 5500.
- Added preliminary support of AMD Arcturus.
We've bolded the last entry to highlight the Arcturus codename. In addition to the HWiNFO appearance, a leaker we have run across before (Komachi) posted what he claims is information pertaining to an AMD Radeon Instinct M100 accelerator, with Arcturus inside.
The series of chips he references also include several Vega GPUs, including Vega 10, Vega 12, and Vega 20. It's worth noting that AMD's current top-end Radeon Instinct is the MI60, which is built around a 7nm Vega 20 chip.
None of the leaked information paints a complete or overly compelling picture of what exactly Arcturus is to become in the next round of Radeon Instinct cards. However, it's entirely possible that it's another Vega refresh—the first refresh transition Vega from a 14nm node to a 7nm node, and the next one could see a 7nm+ node (it's also been rumored that Arcturus is a 7nm+ replacement for Navi, so who knows).
In essence, AMD would be maintaining its Vega architecture for its HPC an AI accelerators, and Navi for its consumer gaming lineup. As always when it comes to these things, however, we will have to wait and see. In this case, Radeon Instinct cards based on Arcturus should arrive in the first half of next year.