When Tesla launched the 2021 version of its premium vehicles, Model S and Model X, they ensured a sufficient number of talking points for all fans. The improvement in powertrain design excited the auto experts, as did the tri-motor configuration for Plaid and Plaid+. The clean and simplistic interior gave a sense of calmness, except for the steering yoke, of course. What interested the younger generation was the improvement in the entertainment system.
Tesla announced that the system contains 10 teraflops of computing power. In comparison, popular gaming consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have 10.3 and 12 teraflops, respectively. This essentially means these vehicles are gaming hubs on wheels. Now, some more interesting details about the hardware have come up.
Details about GPU in Infotainment System Leaked
Late in January this year, a renowned tech leaker, Patrick Schur, leaked details about the hardware present inside the infotainment system of the newly-launched Model S and X. According to the leak, Tesla will reportedly be using an AMD Navi 23 GPU for its onboard infotainment system. This could be equipped with 16Gb Samsung GDDR6 memory chips (K4ZAF325XM). There are a total of four modules in the leaked image, and with 2 GB of memory per module, this could give the system a total memory of 8 GB.
One should note that the memory is 14 Gbps and is attached to a 128-bit memory bus. This should provide a maximum bandwidth of 224 GB/s. This figure is very similar to that in the Xbox Series S. Also visible in the diagram is the DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4 connections, along with PCle Gen4 x8 (* GBPS). These are connected to onboard monitors and a board-to-board connector. Of course, common people don’t understand this language, but it is enough to understand that it is similar to dedicated gaming consoles.
According to a report, Tesla will have to use 32 Compute Units of Navi 23 GPU (2048 Stream Processors) to achieve this computing power. Moreover, they will have to clock these units to at least 2.44 GHz.
AMD Ryzen System-on-Chip (SoC)
Let’s start off this section by understanding the difference between a CPU (Central Processing Unit) and an SoC. An SoC usually a CPU along with a graphics processing unit (GPU), memory, USB controller, power management circuits and wireless radios such as WiFi, 3G, 4G and so on. A CPU cannot function without dozens of other chips, but it is possible to build an entire computer with just a single SoC.
Now, according to the latest reports, the gaming system in the Model S and X will feature an AMD Ryzen SoC. Combined with the aforementioned AMD Navi 23 GPU, the Ryzen SoC will transform the onboard computer into a high-performance beast. This is taking a direct shot at General Motors’ Hummer EV. The Michigan company has highlighted its use of the Unreal Engine, which is a high-performance gaming engine. They will be using this gaming engine to render the displays in the upcoming electric SUV.
Elon Musk and Tesla have hinted at the different video games you can play in the new Model S and X. The rendered images on Tesla’s website shows the Witcher 3 video game on the main touchscreen. Musk also mentioned that you can play Cyberpunk 2077 in the car. Now, these video games require a massive amount of computing power, which is why many people were baffled at this announcement. But now that we know the details of the hardware, this doesn’t seem crazy.
Plaid Model S ships next month pic.twitter.com/HFUPTnQiPB
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 28, 2021
Tesla’s Supply Challenges
The interesting thing here is that the chip market is experiencing a shortage currently. Due to the pandemic situation and the subsequent lockdown, consumers stocked up on personal computers and electronics. Now, the supply is much lesser than the demand for these chips in electronics. This shortage is to such a high extent, that many automakers have mentioned that vehicle production may slow down this year. Sony also mentioned that consoles like PlayStation 5 are not in stock due to the same reason.
Of course, Model S and Model X are premium cars. This means that Tesla may not run into too many problems for acquiring the necessary chips. So if the rumours are true, and Tesla does manage a steady supply of AMD chips, it would essentially transform the new vehicles into computers on wheels, not just gaming hubs.
Elon Musk has a vision for a RoboTaxi service in the near future. An autonomous taxi service will require a good entertainment system for customer satisfaction. A powerful computer will provide passengers with the chance to play heavy-duty video games such as Witcher 3. Tesla also offers wireless controller compatibility. This means that you can play video games while sitting anywhere in the vehicle. The audio system consists of 22 speakers and operates at a rated output of 960 watts, paired with active noise cancelling. This will ensure an immersive audio-visual experience.
All in all, the entertainment part of these newly-launched vehicles has caught our attention. Let’s see if the other parts of the vehicle do so in the coming weeks.