AMD RDNA 2 GPUs Coming To PC First, Next Gen Consoles Later – Big Navi ‘Halo’ & Mainstream Radeon RX Graphics Cards With 2nd Gen Navi Later This Year

AMD has confirmed that its RDNA 2 'Big Navi' GPU will be coming to Radeon RX graphics cards for the PC platform before next-generation consoles from Sony & Microsoft. The confirmation came in the Bank of America 2020 Securities Global Technology Conference where AMD's CFO, Devinder Kumar, stated that their next-generation GPU architecture will be available on the PC platform before the next-gen consoles arrive.

AMD RNDA 2 GPU Powered Navi 2X Graphics Cards Coming To The PC Platform Before Next-Gen Consoles - Includes Halo 'Big Navi' Graphics Card Too

During the webcast, Devinder revealed that AMD will be focusing on delivering its RDNA 2 GPUs to the PC platform first in the form of its enthusiast Navi 2X powered Radeon RX graphics card. The lineup would feature the Big Navi GPU which Devinder has revealed to be a halo product that is going to be focused at the ultra-enthusiast gaming market. The next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony are planned for launch in Holiday 2020 so we might end up seeing Big Navi around the start of Q4 2020 or even earlier.

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A render of AMD's Vega 20 GPU featured in the last halo graphics card, the Radeon VII.

Devinder also revealed that the RDNA 2 architecture goes through the entire stack which means that we won't be getting just high-end products but also mainstream and high-end graphics card under the enthusiast segment at much affordable price points. Some of the key points that Devinder stated during the webcast are mentioned below (via Videocardz):

“There’s a lot of excitement for Navi 2, or what our fans have dubbed as the Big Navi“

“Big Navi is a halo product”

“Enthusiasts love to buy the best, and we are certainly working on giving them the best”.

“RDNA 2 architecture goes through the entire stack“

"it will go from mainstream GPUs all the way up to the enthusiasts and then the architecture also goes into the game console products... as well as our integrated APU products.

"This allows us to leverage the larger ecosystem, accelerate the development of exciting features like ray tracing and more."

via AMD's CFO, Devinder Kumar

Many enthusiasts have long been waiting for AMD to launch a successor to its Vega-based high-end graphics cards. The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT did end up topping Radeon VII in many use cases but NVIDIA still holds the crown for the top-performing graphics cards with Turing based GeForce graphics cards such as the GeForce RTX 2080, the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Even the Pascal-based NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti remains a formidable opponent versus the Navi 10 based Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards.

If Devinder's statements hold up, then Big Navi based Radeon RX graphics cards might definitely take the fight to NVIDIA's $1000 US+ RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. The news also comes out just a day after a mysterious AMD RDNA 2 GPU codenamed Sienna Cichlid was spotted within Linux drivers and is speculated to be the Big Navi (Navi 21) GPU itself.

AMD calling its Big Navi a Halo product is also interesting. Halo products are usually defined as the flagship products under each brand category. The halo product for Ryzen CPUs is the Ryzen 9 3950X, the halo product of the Threadripper lineup is the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X.

Currently, no halo products exist within the Radeon RX brand with the last one being the Radeon VII. It's been some time since the Radeon brand saw similar action as the Ryzen lineup but it does seem like things are about to change with AMD focusing more towards the Radeon (RTG) brand. AMD also sheds some light on what to expect from RDNA 2 and shares info that we will see more products within the family in the form of mainstream GPUs and also integration within next-generation APUs which is something that has recently been leaked out.

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Here's Everything We Know About RDNA 2 Based Radeon RX Navi 2X Desktop GPUs

The AMD RDNA 2 based Radeon RX Navi 2x graphics card family is also touted to disrupt the 4K gaming segment similar to how Ryzen disrupted the entire CPU landscape. That's a pretty bold claim from AMD themselves but leaks and rumors are suggesting that this might be the case for AMD's next-generation Radeon RX graphics cards.

AMD unveiled that its RDNA 2 GPUs will deliver a similar performance jump over the first-gen RDNA GPUs like Zen 2 delivered over Zen 1. The first RDNA GPUs delivered a massive 50% increase in performance per watt over GCN architecture and RDNA 2 GPUs are expected to do the same over RDNA 1, delivering another 50% increase in performance per watt.


According to the roadmap shared by AMD, the RDNA 2 GPUs would feature three key features that will be part of the new GPU architecture. First and foremost is the performance per watt increase which is due to a number of reasons. AMD will be shifting from TSMC's 7nm process to the more advanced 7nm process node. The new process node itself increases transistor efficiency on the new GPUs while decreasing its overall size, allowing AMD to cram more performance in a much smaller package.

The key changes that have led to a 50% increase in performance per watt include a redesigned micro-architecture with improved performance-per-clock (IPC), a logic enhancement that helps reduce design complexity and switching power and physical optimizations such as increased clock speeds.

AMD has also announced that RDNA 2 GPUs would feature VRS (Variable Rate Shading) and hardware-accelerated ray tracing. AMD is following suit with NVIDIA here who have already implemented the said technologies on its Turing GPU based GeForce RTX graphics cards. With the launch of the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony imminent, AMD is going to work to provide these features with its own optimization framework to developers for integration within next-generation gaming titles.

AMD has also recently showcased its RDNA 2 GPUs running Microsoft's DXR 1.1 (DirectX 12 API Ultimate) demo internally which utilizes hardware-accelerated ray tracing. AMD's approach to ray tracing is to offer simplified development and speedy adopting and that is definitely possible through consoles where the mass majority of game developers focus their efforts towards.

A recent rumor hinted that only AMD's high-end RDNA 2 GPU lineup would feature ray-tracing technology on hardware-level whereas the entry-tier and mainstream lineup will focus on higher performance efficiency, similar to how NVIDIA distinguishes its GeForce RTX and GeForce GTX line of Turing graphics cards.

AMD's CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, has already stated that we can expect a new RDNA 2 GPU based Radeon RX high-end family and a 7nm RDNA refresh family to launch this year. The same was stated during the presentation in which it was stated that the "Navi 2x" lineup would scale from top to bottom and as the name suggests, would deliver twice the performance efficiency increase over the first-generation RX graphics cards.

With that said, we are already aware of a recent rumor which pointed out that AMD's high-end Radeon RX Navi GPUs could be up to twice as fast as Navi 10, featuring a massive die size and GDDR6 memory. Some of the features to expect from 2nd Generation RDNA Navi GPUs would be:

  • Optimized 7nm process node
  • Enthusiast-grade desktop graphics card options
  • Hardware-Level Ray Tracing Support
  • A mix of GDDR6 and HBM2 graphics cards
  • More power-efficient than First-Gen Navi GPUs

One of the key features on the Big Navi Radeon RX GPU is that it is going to disrupt the 4K gaming segment, similar to how Ryzen disrupted the entire CPU segment. These are some bold claims by AMD, but if those rumored specifications are anything to go by, then these claims may not be that far fetched.

“With the Radeon 5000-series we are essentially covering 90-something-percent of the total PC gamers today,” says Chandrasekhar. “And so that’s the reason why no 4K right now, it’s because the vast majority of them are at 1440p and 1080p.

“That doesn’t mean a 4K-capable GPU isn’t coming, it is coming, but for here and now we want to focus on the vast majority of gamers.”

“Similar to Ryzen,” he says, “all of us need a thriving Radeon GPU ecosystem. So, are we going after 4K, and going to similarly disrupt 4K? Absolutely, you can count on that. But that’s all I can say right now.”

- PCGamesN

Once again, AMD in its own presentation emphasized enthusiast-class performance for the RDNA 2 based Radeon RX 'Navi 2X' GPUs so that's something to consider. The competition however from the other side won't just go eyes closed as AMD launches its high-performance graphics cards. The next-generation NVIDIA based GeForce GPUs are shaping up to be a beast on their own based on the early specs that we have seen.

Rumors have also suggested that both NVIDIA and AMD are planning their next-generation and flagship gaming graphics cards to hit streets by September 2020.  So it looks like AMD's RDNA 2 GPUs would compete against whatever is NVIDIA's next-generation GPU inventory. Q3 and Q4 2020 would definitely be interesting times for all the hardware enthusiasts and mainstream PC gamers who are looking forward to upgrading their PCs with the best hardware.

How fast do you think AMD's Big Navi (RDNA 2) GPU Powered Radeon RX graphics cards will be?
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