AMD Project Quantum still alive: Team Red could soon launch gaming mini PCs with unique designs
Back in 2015, AMD was still struggling on the CPU side, yet its discrete GPU lineup was quite decent, as it was preparing to launch the Fury X cards. Nevertheless, these enthusiast GPUs unveiled during that year’s E3 show were almost eclipsed by Team Red’s surprise reveal of the Project Quantum mini PC. Remember that new concept PC that kind of looked like it could be the next gen Xbox? No? It seemed as if AMD just went dark on this project, but a recent batch of patents spotted on freepatentsonline.com prove that the exotic mini PC system seems to be alive and well, and could finally be launched soon.
AMD appears to have resubmitted the patent for the mini PC case on February 6 2020, and it got approved on September 15 2020. The patent papers do not provide any specs, unfortunately, but they make reference to a video on Youtube posted in the summer of 2015, which contains additional details. Moreover, we also found several online sources providing more details, including a PCWorld article that essentially dissects one such system.
First of all, the video released by AMD touts this project as a VR gaming system. VR was the next big thing back then, but it’s not that hyped anymore, so we reckon the system could now be advertised as AMD’s own alternative to the Intel NUCs. According to the PCWorld article, the small form-factor case measures 9.5 x 9.5 x 6.5 inches and has two connecting compartments. The initial concept cases were designed and produced in-house at the Austin, Texas AMD facilities.
Project Quantum is a particularly interesting design, as the upper compartment is made of plastic and includes a 180 mm radiator, a pump and a liquid coolant reservoir, while the lower compartment made of aluminum houses all the PC components along with the waterblocks plus heatpipes that run up through the connecting aluminum section between the two compartments. Of course, the power supply is external in order to keep things as compact as possible.
Now, bear in mind that the components shown by PCWorldare 5 years old, so the internal arrangement would look different now since NVMe SSDs are more readily available. The cable management also appears to be quite messy on the 2015 system. In any case, we can see a SATA III SSD, single GPU Fury X, and, surprisingly enough, an ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard featuring an Intel Core i7-4790K CPU. Looks like AMD itself was not trusting its own FX processors too much back then. Meanwhile, AMD launched the Ryzen CPUs that helped it regain crucial market shares, so, if AMD ever launches a commercial version of Project Quantum (maybe in collaboration with certain mini PC makers?), it would without a doubt integrate a Ryzen CPU and at least a mid-range Navi 22 GPU.