AMD has demonstrated a new type of graphics card with a full terabyte of solid state memory, presumably NAND flash, kept close to the GPU. The first of the products made this way is the Radeon Pro SSG. SSG is short for 'solid state graphics'. AMD's unveiling was the second of its Capsaicin events, held at the SIGGRAPH conference yesterday evening.
The rationale behind the Radeon Pro SSG is that researchers and professionals in many fields are always longing for a processing solution "with enough memory to get the job done". AMD lists industries such as genome sequencing, media and entertainment (M&E), medical imaging or oil and gas exploration as all eager for such a product. The Radeon Pro SSG with 1TB of memory held close to the GPU is said to enable the "art of the impossible," allowing very large dataset applications to offer "vastly higher performance compared to existing GPU memory implementations". To be more precise about the architecture, a one terabyte extended frame buffer is dedicated to support the GPU and is connected over a dedicated PCIe bus.
How it was before the AMD Radeon Pro SSG
AMD's Raja Koduri said that many researchers wish to work on terabytes of data but the only terabytes in a PC system are "a very long way away from the GPU," usually some HDD or SSD tech. To demonstrate the potential of the Radeon Pro SSG, live on stage, Raja and his assistants fired up a ($10,000) pro-graphics PC system containing the best CPU, GPU and storage they could find to do 8K video editing. The system managed to run the video editing demo at just 17fps. Swapping out the GPU for a Radeon Pro SSG the system became much more responsive and could play back, work with and scrub 8K videos real-time, at an uncapped frame rate of 92fps.
The full second edition Capsaicin SIGGRAPH livestream was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. I've embedded that video for you below. The section of the presentation concerning big data processing starts at around the hour mark.
AMD says that applications for developer kits are now being accepted. These are available for $9,999. Full availability is planned for 2017. There is an official press release available.