AMD is dominating yet another Computex because of their new Ryzen CPUs and APUs. However, this time around the graphics department of the team, Red also showed its might. They have more or less revealed the rumored Navi architecture. They have announced a new stream of Graphics cards based on the hybrid Navi architecture. The company did not show the individual graphics cards under the new RX 5700 series; instead, they showed a reference GPU.
During the presentation, AMD revealed that the new Navi architecture is based on an entirely new chip design called RDNA. The new hybrid chip design paves the way for an entirely new architecture that AMD plans to unveil next year. The RDNA chip design employs some features of the mastered GCN architecture and their new Navi architecture.
During the announcement, AMD provided the “numbers” from their test on the new reference RX 5700 Graphics card. AMD stated that they had achieved a 25% increase in peak performance from the new architecture with the incremental architectural benefits over the VEGA architecture. Moreover, they were able to attain 1.25x performance per clock and 1.5x per watt over the previous architecture.
The upgraded architecture includes a new compute unit design though the number of stream processors per compute unit stays the same at 64. They have also employed multilevel cache hierarchy so that they can store data on different cache levels depending upon the power requirement. Nvidia has been doing this for years; it greatly improves the efficiency of the GPU. Lastly, they have upgraded to a more streamlined Graphics pipeline. These improvements have not only enabled AMD to achieve performance better than the VEGA 64 but also at lower power dissipation.
Power dissipation has always been a problem with AMD GPUs. Their Graphics cards suffer from performance losses and lower clock speeds due to heating issues. With TSMC’s 7nm process, they were able to mitigate some of these issues when they launched the VEGA VII GPU. The new architecture improves it a bit, though we cannot say anything for sure before thorough testing. The newer GPUs will also be fabbed under the TSMC’s 7nm process.
AMD Navi Graphics cards will also be fully capable of utilizing the upcoming PCI Express 4.0 interface, giving them an edge against Nvidia’s offering. They will also be compatible with their new X570 chipset platform that is releasing in July with the Ryzen 3000 series of processors.
Coming to the hybrid architecture. Reports from sweclockers suggest that AMD is still banking on their GCN architecture. They are still getting the most out of their old architecture. So, the new Navi architecture will have some of the added benefits of the GCN architecture. AMD plans to release the “Full Navi” architecture next year, after finally retiring their GCN architecture.