AMD's Navi 21 flagship GPU isn't out yet and the existence of an upcoming Navi 31 GPU has been confirmed thanks to the code for MacOS 11 Sur Beta (Hardware Leaks via Videocardz). AMD's Navi 21 aka 'Big Navi' has been a GPU that has been anxiously awaited for a very long time now. It is expected to land later this year and will increase AMD's performance at the top end significantly. A 'potential' Navi 31 is going to be the successor to Navi 21 (duh) and it looks like AMD is already working hard on it.
AMD's Navi 31 leaks out in driver code - new flagship GPU in the works already?
Usually, when chips started getting detected in AMD's drivers, it is very close to release and pretty far ahead of the development cycle. I am not entirely sure what to make of the fact that Navi 21 hasn't landed yet and we are already seeing Navi 31 pop up in drivers. To be specific these are drivers for AMD's macOS11 "Big Sur" which are part of the company's plan to move to their own ARM-based silicon and away from Intel (and AMD) parts. This does imply that Apple plans to stick to AMD dGPUs for its products for the time being and does not have plans to move that portion of the silicon in-house as well.
AMD's philosophy is to always design the chip for a semi-custom product and then trickle that down to the PC space. So Navi 31 might be the chip in development for Apple's ARM-based lineup of Macs and one that will trickle down into the PC space shortly afterward. [opinion] This could imply that we might get to see Navi 31 sooner than expected thanks to an acceleration fueled by Apple's plan to transition as soon as possible. [/opinion]
Here are the mentions of AMD's Navi 31 spotted in AMD's Apple drivers (courtesy of Hardware Leaks):
Other Navi GPUs including the Navi22 and 23 were also spotted in the drivers in the form of added support for PCI IDs (which means the silicon has already cleared the final validation stage and PCI IDs have officially been assigned). These were:
- 0x73A0 (Navi22)
- 0x73A2 (Navi22)
- 0x73A3 (Navi22)
- 0x73AB (Navi22)
- 0x73AE (Navi22)
- 0x73BF (Navi23) two times
The drivers also saw mention of AMD Cezanne. This is AMD's upcoming APU with Zen 3 architecture and RDNA2 Navi GPU architecture. These are expected to turn up the heat against Intel's Tiger Lake series of processors and should offer a significant power-up over their existing Renoir lineup which is based on Vega-based graphics.
AMD currently refers to its new Ryzen 4000 (Mobile) lineup as 3rd Gen simply because it's based on the Zen 2 architecture while the rest of the Ryzen 4000 processors (Desktop) will be referred to as 4th Gen since they will be based on the Zen 3 architecture. The same would be the case with Ryzen 5000 CPUs which would be referred to as 4th Gen since it will make use of the Zen 3 core architecture.
Like this year's lineup, the Cezanne lineup would be split into two segments, the high-performance Cezanne-H and the low-power Cezanne-U. The processors will feature the FP6 package which is the same as the existing chips. It's a BGA platform and will definitely help laptop makers since it keeps the same design. One thing is for sure though, AMD is working full steam on extremely exciting designs and the cost to gamers will keep going down as they roll out these products. [opinion] I am also sensing that a price war with Intel (and maybe NVIDIA) is on the horizon so it might soon be a very good time to be a PC gamer [/opinion].