On Saturday night, semiconductor company AMD revealed its new graphics processing unit (GPU), the Radeon RX Vega.
AMD hasn't revealed the Radeon RX Vega's technical specifications, but it's a gamer-grade version of its upcoming Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, which AMD's senior vice president and chief architect Raja Koduri said in a Reddit AMA is aimed and priced at researchers and scientists. The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition goes for $1,000 or $1,500 depending on whether you want air or liquid cooling, and the Radeon RX Vega will start at $400.
But the real news was AMD's reveal of the mysterious Radeon Holocube, which I can best describe as some kind of holographic display pulsing with the glow of a Code Red Mountain Dew.
AMD hasn't fully explained what the Holocube does, but a video of a live unboxing of the Radeon RX Vega at the LTX 2017 event in Canada gives us a vague idea.
"It actually thinks with Radeon software to project certain images, like if there's a driver update or a new game you want to play, or if your DVR capture is on," Linus Sebastian, the host of the PC hardware-focused YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips, said in the video starting around the 2:11 mark. "Inside the cube is another cube."
The crowd, huddled around the stage, oohs and ahhs while Sebastian dangles the enigmatic cube before them, but consider that this is the same crowd that cheered when a display port cable was unveiled two and half minutes later in the same video.
"AMD appreciates the excitement and curiosity surrounding the Radeon Holocube," the company said in a statement. "The Radeon Holocube was developed as a prototype and at this time, it is one of very few that exist in the world. The Holocube will not be shipping with Radeon RX Vega in August."
Glowing displays that provide detailed information on the temperature of different PC components and fan speeds are common with specialized PC gaming hardware, be it at the top of a keyboard or on the glass side of a PC case. I can only assume that the Holocube will serve a similar function, flashing red when it hungers for a driver update. I don't think I would buy a Holocube if I had a choice, but if I had one it'd be cool if it displayed in-game frame rates and customizable notifications.
It looks futuristic, but hologram displays have been around for quite a bit (you can even make one with your smartphone and some clear plastic), it's just that they haven't found their way into any super popular consumer electronics.
For now, the Holocube largely remains a mystery. It is possible it's simply a doodad that doesn't do much more than what Sebastian hinted at the video above. It is possible the Holocube's true power exceeds the comprehension of the human mind. It is also possible it runs Crysis. We simply don't know.
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