CES 2019: AMD's Radeon 7 pushes PC gaming to 'the bleeding edge'

AMD's new GPU helps push 4K and frame rates to new levels -- and it launches for $699 this February.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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2 min read

AMD President and CEO Lisa Su unveils the Radeon VII, the world's first 7nm gaming GPU.

James Martin/CNET

CES 2019 marks the first time AMD has ever given a keynote at the international trade show -- so naturally, you'd expect the company's debut conference to be packed. On Wednesday morning, AMD President and CEO Lisa Su didn't disappoint, talking up the company's upcoming third-gen Ryzen desktop CPUs, the new Epyc Rome chips for data centers and how, in partnership with Acer and HP , it debuted the first ever AMD-powered Chromebooks

AMD's biggest announcement of the show, however, is clearly the Radeon VII: The world's first 7-nanometer  gaming graphics card.

Thinking about an upgrade? Expect a Vega-based GPU with 16GB of HBM2 memory and over 1TBps of bandwidth. Basically, enough horsepower that the company feels comfortable making some big promises.

At a separate press conference at CES 2019, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang threw some shade at AMD, calling the announcement underwhelming.

Su, in a follow-up interview after the keynote, said she was confident about her products.

"When people see all the specs and nitty gritty details, you'll find we're very competitive," she said on Wednesday at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas.

"It's a high-end card for those operating on the bleeding edge."

AMD says the Radeon VII will boost performance by 29 percent in games like Battlefield V, up to 25 percent for esports titles and as much as 40 percent in games that support Vulkan. The company says users who rely on programs like Adobe Premiere and Blender should get a notable bump in performance as well. 

Watch this: AMD announces new high-end GPU for gamers

To prove this point, AMD trotted out a 4K demo of Devil May Cry 5 during the conference. We don't have the full benchmark for how the game performed, but it was gorgeous at a glance. Su says the 4K demo was running "well above" 60 fps -- leaving no doubt that the new GPU will be able to handle Dante's next adventure when it launches later this year.

The Radeon VII is due to launch on Feb. 7 at an MSRP of $699 (roughly £550 or AU$975). It's not the most expensive GPU on the market right there (hi, Nvidia ), but you can still breathe easy if it leaves you with a light pocketbook: Radeon VII buyers will also get copies of The Division 2, Capcom's upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake and Devil May Cry 5.

First published at 10:16 a.m. PT.
Update at 1:36 p.m. PT: Includes additional CEO quotes.

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