Hardware

AMD Navi 14 Support To Be Backwards Compatible With Mesa 19.2 And Arrive In Lower-End Affordable Graphics Cards?

AMD is yet to officially confirm its Navi 14 GPU. However, the AMD’s Navi 10 GPU which uses the RDNA 1.0 architecture and is made using a 7 nm production process at TSMC, could debut soon, indicated multiple entries. The Navi 10 GPU succeeds the ‘Polaris’ GPU, indicated a Linux driver and even the CompuBench database that appeared last month. It is interesting to note that AMD is expected to backport the Navi 14 support to the Mesa 3D Graphics Library. The Mesa3D’s Mesa 19.2 version, which could be released within the next 30 or so days, should include the support for the latest Navi 14 GPU.

Navi 14 is reportedly the smaller version of Navi 10 GPU, which is currently found in the Radeon RX 5700. The mid-range, powerful AMD graphics card debuted last month. In fact, Navi 14 is most likely the successor to the Radeon RX 580/590 “Polaris”. Also, it could be the direct competitor to NVIDIA GTX 1660 “Turing” series. It is not clear which AMD products will be based on the new Navi 14 architecture. However, given the nature of the same, it is quite likely that AMD will incorporate the Navi 14 GPU within the RX 5500 or RX 5600 graphics cards. The CompuBench database from July certainly indicates the possibility.

Needless to add, cards packing the Navi 14 GPU architecture would be aimed at the affordable segment. These lower-end AMD graphics card, however, should offer a considerable and noticeable performance improvement over the prevalent AMD RX 500 Series cards. In other words, AMD is trying to place its graphics card with Navi 14 architecture between the 500 Series and the RX 5700 lineup.

Mesa 19.2 To Arrive In Autumn Linux Distribution Updates?

AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver Marek Olšák has also announced that he would be interested in back-porting Navi 14 to Mesa 19.2. Interestingly, the prominent driver developer is already deep in development of the same and intends to merge all the relevant code.

Adding Navi 14 support is certainly important to the card lineup, but it is quite tricky not only because of the inclusion of new PCI IDs. Developers will also have to work hard to fix-up its legacy pipeline support as well as switching transform feedback support to it. Interestingly, the legacy pipeline is working better than the Next-Gen Geometry (NGG) code-path due to hangs. The backward support for the new architecture clearly indicates AMD is readying to launch new graphics cards. Experts indicate cards with Navi 14 support in Mesa 19.2 could arrive before the current year runs out.

It was believed earlier that the version 19.2 of Mesa 3D Graphics Library could arrive in popular Linux distributions like Fedora 31, Ubuntu 19.10, and other autumn Linux distribution updates. Navi 14 support for the AMDGPU kernel driver will be added to the upcoming Linux 5.4 kernel. However, the stable version of the new kernel will not arrive before November 2019. Hence neither the upcoming Ubuntu 19.10 nor the Fedora Workstation 31 should get the same.


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