AMD's RDNA 2 Architecture Powers 10 TFLOP Gaming PC Inside Tesla Model S, Model X
Slowly but surely, AMD has been expanding the reach of its second generation Radeon DNA (RDNA 2) graphics architecture. It is what powers both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, as well as the Radeon RX 6000 series on the desktop and Radeon RX 6000M series in laptops, and soon it will also hitch a ride with two of Tesla's electric vehicles.
That's right, RDNA 2 has called shotgun on the refreshed Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X. This comes by way of an embedded Ryzen APU tasked with powering the infotainment system in both cars, with a discrete graphics chip based on RDNA 2 that fires up when running triple A games. From inside the car. What a time to be alive, eh folks?
AMD CEO Dr. Su made the announcement during Computex 2021, adding that the custom RDNA 2 graphics chip will provide up to 10 TFLOPs of computing power. That is comparable to the custom graphics hardware inside Sony's PlayStation 5 game console, which has a variable frequency up to 2.23GHz to deliver up to 10.28 TFLOPs.
It did not take long for Tesla founder Elon Musk to celebrate the announcement on Twitter.
"Yeah, new Model S & X have PS5 level entertainment computing power," Musk stated on Twitter, in reference to the announcement.
As additional points of reference, the RDNA 2 hardware inside the Xbox Series X delivers 12.15 TFLOPs, while the one inside the Xbox Series S is capable of 4 TFLOPs. So in theory, the infotainment systems in the Model S and Models X are going to be more than twice as powerful for gaming than Microsoft's lower end Xbox Series S console.
Of course, there are other factors at play that affect actual gaming performance, and a TFLOPs measurement is not the end-all-be-all. However, it does give us a rough way to compare GPUs, especially when they are based on the same underlying graphics architecture—in this case, RDNA 2.
The announcement is in line with tweets Musk made earlier in the year, saying the Model S would be able to play games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. But would you want to do that in a car? The refreshed Tesla vehicles sport a pair displays, including a 17-inch screen up front and a smaller one in the rear for passengers.
We can see this being a benefit on long trips, either when the driver needs a break to blow off some steam (or pass the time when charging up the car), or to keep passengers in the back occupied—it beats listening to them sing 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, that's for sure.
While obviously not for everyone, this is another market AMD has been able to tap into. Dr. Su has done a wonderful job guiding AMD into profitable waters, and moves like this can only help.