To me, one of the best parts about miniature PCs is seeing how much power companies can pack into such a small case, as well as how they manage to do it. None have impressed me as much as AMD’s new Project Quantum, however, which the company unveiled at its E3 press conference earlier this week. While its simply a proof-of-concept that you can’t actually purchase, the Project Quantum packs two of the company’s new Fiji GPUs, which equates to more than seventeen teraflops of power, and actually water-cools them. Like… damn.
Powerful miniature PCs fascinate me as much as ships in a bottle, so when AMD unveiled its Project Quantum at E3 I was intrigued. I wanted to know just how AMD jammed not one new Fiji GPU into this mini PC, but two of them, and managed to “water”-cool them too. Yes, 17.2 teraflops of power in a PC smaller than a breadbox. And yes, I’ve seen a breadbox. We’ve had mini-PCs for a while now, but they’ve generally lacked oomph. Project Quantum points to a future where powerful things will come in small packages, and that’s going to be fun to watch. To find out what made Project Quantum tick, I spoke with Devon Nekechuk and Victor Camardo of AMD. First, they told me, Project Quantum is mostly a proof-of-concept from AMD. Compared to a GeForce GTX Titan X or say, a Radeon R9 290X, the Fiji’s use of HBM memory, stacked close to the GPU itself, means very tiny graphics cards can be built. Believe it or not, it’s not cheap to make an actual computer case, even a $50 one. It can cost a hundred thousand dollars to tool up a case factory for production. Rather than do that, AMD hand-built and machined the Project Quantum chassis out of metal and plastic. One nice touch apparent in the picture above: AMD intentionally put a polished surface between the two compartments, so the LEDs would put off a nice red glow. Obviously green LEDs were not an option.