I’ve always loved the idea of gaming inside a car. In fact, as a child I was never on a long car trip without my trusty GameCube screen and car charger. Yet I never really considered the possibility of my car being the games console, and especially not a high-end PC. Yet Tesla bundled an AMD GPU inside its car last year, and now AMD has reaffirmed its intent on getting even more GPUs into electric cars.
AMD is teaming up with ECARX (opens in new tab), a vehicle tech company, to create a standard computing platform for electric cars. It’ll begin rollout in late 2023 and the platform, AMD claims, will be capable of “high-end gaming.”
AMD has said it will use an embedded Ryzen V2000 APU, which includes up to eight cores and 16 threads of the modern Zen 2 architecture alongside built-in Radeon graphics. There are a few models of V2000 that could be used, so the exact specifications in terms of clock speeds, TDPs, and core counts may vary.
No matter the model, no onboard graphics chip is going to really live up to the “high-end gaming” promise. So alongside that chip AMD is bundling a Radeon RX 6000-series GPU.
No exact GPU model is given, but it could be one of many—anything from the top Navi 21 GPU to the more stripped back Navi 23 GPU. I’d take a guess it’s likely Navi 23, as that’s the same chip used within Tesla’s infotainment console. Tesla boasts 10 teraflops of performance out of its chip (opens in new tab)—akin to a modern day console—and it’s probably that the same will go for the new ECARX system, too.
Whether you’ll find this system in any car close to you is really dependent on which car brands use ECARX’s systems. Lotus and Smart are the two car brands that stand out to me as ECARX clients, but it’s primarily working for their owners, Geely. Geely is actually the owner or part-owner of tons of car brands, such as Volvo, Polestar, Lotus, Smart, and the makers of the London black cab, so it’s possible that these AMD systems end up in tons of EVs at one point or another.
For today, my PC is better than what AMD and ECARX will soon offer in automobiles, but I wonder for how long? I’m not sure exactly how I’ll feel if I find out one day that my next door neighbor’s hatchback is a better gaming PC than my painfully stationary desktop.
I suppose in many ways it’s a childhood dream come true to have a whole lot of gaming performance accessible from a screen inside a car’s cockpit. The ultimate toy. Yet with the chances of me personally experiencing that being slim to none, I’ll probably default to feeling extremely jealous instead.
At least I can have multiple monitors connected to my gaming PC. Oh, the car has that too? Whatever.