amd-radeon-pro-SSGAMD has surprised the graphics world with a new GPU sporting M.2 slots to accommodate SSD drives to boost the internal storage capacity to 1TB. This is a highly unusual solution for a simple problem: many workstations have to deal with datasets that go beyond the normal VRAM capacity of GPUs. This means that large amounts of data need to be swapped over the PCIe bus, and this situation creates performance problems.

By putting 1TB of disk storage directly on the graphics card, AMD can move data much faster without going through PCIe and the rest of the PC system, possibly many times faster. At $10,000 per card, this is not a cheap solution, but when you have urgent work that cannot easily scale over multiple nodes, it may well be worth the investment.

Developers will have to create specific code to support the Radeon Pro SSG in their apps, so don’t expect a wide support right now. Niche markets will start first; then the bigger player may provide a software update if their clients’ workloads justify the effort.

Before you get too excited: this is not going to appear in consumer cards anytime soon. First, because game developers are mindful their apps need to work on a large install base, secondly because the extra dollars can probably be spent on something better like performance, a monitor or just a better SSD for your PC.

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