AMD Responds to Non-working Shader Prefetch HW Claims and Says That the Experimental Feature Is Supported but Not Intended for 7900 XT/XTX Cards

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AMD responds that its newest Radeon RX 7000 series graphics cards are working as intended following claims of a non-functioning feature. The claims, made by Kepler said in a tweet dated December 14, were reported on Friday but in a statement to Tom’s Hardware AMD responds that the shader pre-fetch function is an experimental feature not intended for these RDNA 3 graphics cards.

“Like previous hardware generations, shader pre-fetching is supported on RDNA 3 as per [gitlab link]. The code in question controls an experimental function which was not targeted for inclusion in these products and will not be enabled in this generation of product. This is a common industry practice to include experimental features to enable exploration and tuning for deployment in a future product generation.” — AMD Spokesperson to Tom’s Hardware.

Common Practices

As further explained in their article it is nothing new for a manufacturer to include code for a feature that is still in testing and may be rolled out with future releases. It was noted that AMD even had code for its upcoming 3D V-Cache processor, the 5800X3D, in previous Ryzen 3000 products but didn’t enable it until after that processor was released. It should also be noted that code for upcoming features often gets found in drivers and firmware months, sometimes, years before their potential inclusion as an active feature. Many hardware and feature leaks have been spotted this way.

Tom’s Hardware also reached out regarding the use of A0 stepping with these RDNA 3 cards. A0 stepping is sometimes referred to as an engineering sample or first-run silicon. AMD did not respond but sources told Tom’s that A0 stepping silicon was used. However, this is in fact common practice for the industry and not just AMD, for the first gens of new architectures in order to produce working silicon during the first releases.

Rumors for both of these, A0 stepping and pre-fetch, have led to numerous claims of unfinished hardware being released as well as confusion regarding irregular performance with the new 7900 XT/XTX cards. In terms of irregular performance, it should be expected that new drivers will smoothen things out and improve performance, as is also common for newly released hardware, which has seen multiple AMD graphics cards age like a “Fine Wine”.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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