The Radeon Navi 2X graphics cards, based on the RDNA 2 architecture, will be launched in the course of 2020. They will integrate hardware units supporting ray tracing and should show a performance gain per watt of 50% !
AMD is on all fronts! Between the announcements of chips for supercomputers and future generations of desktop processors, the Californian firm released some information on its future Radeon graphics chips during an annual update with its investors.
The new generation of Radeon “Navi 2X” chips will be based on a whole new evolution of its microarchitecture, introduced last year at Computex and called “RDNA 2”. Its promises are enticing: in addition to the game in 4K, the Navi 2X generation will integrate many hardware units to support ray tracing. A specificity which was for the moment exclusive to RTX graphics cards from competitor Nvidia.
In addition to this photorealistic rendering effect, there is an impressive promise: the Navi 2X generation chips in RDNA 2 would offer a 50% improvement in performance per watt. In gamer language, this means many more frames per second at constant definition, or enough frame rates (framerate) to play at higher definitions.
The target definition is obviously 4K. For the first time, AMD announces that its chip will be able to run games in 4K while its best RDNA 1 card, the Radeon 5700 XT, is rather cut for 1440p.
This enormous performance gain would not be due to the fineness of engraving, which remains in 7 nm, but many profound improvements of the chip. From increasing the number of operations per clock cycle (IPC), through improvements in the organizational scheme of the chip to optimizations leading to increased frequencies.
Unified architecture between PC and consoles
The RDNA 2 architecture will not only arrive in PCs in 2020, but it will also land on new consoles from Microsoft and Sony. The enemy sisters are both designed on AMD’s “semi-custom” platforms based on Zen 2 (CPU) and RDNA 2 (GPU).
And this is an invisible asset for AMD, “free” optimizations from the console world. Weighing 30% more than the PC gaming market, console gaming generated $ 47.9 billion in 2019.
Console manufacturers and publishers will therefore be keen to take full advantage of the new technical platforms. Priority optimizations will therefore be based on AMD + AMD reference hardware, which could overturn the scales in the PC world.
In addition to its proven hardware superiority, Nvidia has partly succeeded in becoming number 1 in GPU power thanks to the quality of its tools and its software support.
However, considering the increasing CPU, but also GPU market share of AMD in the PC segment, its grip on the Mac world, its leadership position in cloud gaming (Stadia, xCloud), etc. Nvidia may have the most powerful cards, but AMD has the widest portfolio.
Nvidias response – which should not take long since it should take place the occasion of the GTC which was to take place from March 22 to 26 in San Jose and will ultimately take place online only – is therefore critical for the GPU champion. Because with Navi 2X, AMD seems to be preparing to release the big game.