AMD Radeon RX 5000 With Navi GPUs A Hybrid of RDNA & GCN Chip Architecture – Pure RDNA Based ‘Navi 20’ GPU Coming in 2020

Hassan Mujtaba

At its Computex keynote, AMD announced the new Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards based on the Navi GPU architecture. During the announcement, AMD unveiled that the Navi GPUs are based on an entirely new chip architecture known as 'RDNA' which paves the path for their next-gen GPU families but it looks like the new chip design still features some, even if just a little, form of the GCN (Graphics Core Next) design.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 Series With First Gen Navi Have a Hybrid RDNA and GCN Architecture, Next-Gen Navi '20' To Be Pure RDNA Based

During the official announcement, AMD previewed some architectural aspects of their RDNA based Navi GPUs. AMD stated that they have achieved a 1.25x increase in performance per clock & a 1.5x increase in performance per watt over existing Vega GPUs. Some of the key upgrades on Navi GPUs will include:

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  • New Compute Unit Design
  • Multi-Level Cache Hierarchy
  • Streamlined Graphics Pipeline

We know that AMD Navi GPUs are being fabricated on TSMC's 7nm process node which is why they are just around half the size of their competitors. AMD confirms that they still haven't changed the stream processor count which remains at 64 shaders per compute unit, however, each of the Navi Compute units will run faster with increased IPC and improved efficiency.

So clock to clock, Navi is 25% faster in terms of IPC and 50% more efficiency. RDNA also includes new cache and memory changes such as reduced latency, higher bandwidth (GDDR6 memory subsystem versus GDDR5) & lower power to reach higher bandwidth than predecessors. AMD is also introducing a much more streamlined graphics pipeline that's optimized for performance per clock and high clock speeds so we should expect a nice boost over the current Vega based cards.

AMD Navi based graphics cards will also be the first, fully PCI Express 4.0 compliant series in the industry which will be compatible with their X570 platform that also launches in July along with the AMD Ryzen 3000 processor lineup.

  1. AMD APUs and GPUs based on the Graphics Core Next and RDNA architectures contain GPU Cores comprised of Compute units, which are defined as 64 shaders (or stream processors) working together.
  2. Testing done by AMD performance labs 5/23/19, showing a geomean of 1.25x per/clock across 30 different games @ 4K Ultra, 4xAA settings. Performance may vary based on the use of the latest drivers.
  3. Testing is done by AMD performance labs 5/23/19, using the Division 2 @ 25x14 Ultra settings.  Performance may vary based on the use of the latest drivers.
  4. Testing is done by AMD performance labs 5/23/19, using the Strange Brigade @ 25x14 Ultra settings. Performance may vary based on the use of the latest drivers. via AMD

However, while Navi sounds like a completely new chip design from the ground up, Sweclockers reports that it still has many things that it carries over from GCN. According to them, GCN GPU architecture has been here for almost a decade and AMD has made lots of optimizations for the gaming side for GCN which if they wanted to build a new GPU would just wash away. So there are still some design aspects being used by Navi GPUs that make it a hybrid of RDNA and GCN but for those looking for a purely new GPU, the next iteration of Navi which is rumored as Navi 20 will be the first completely RDNA design with AMD shifting all of their optimizations for gaming to the new enthusiast-grade chips.

AMD's current Navi GPUs, let's call them Navi 10, are more of a mainstream replacement for the sub $500 US market but Navi 20 will be aiming the enthusiast stuff, replacing the Radeon VII that currently serves the red team's flagship consumers. Meanwhile, companies like ASRock are already showing their new concept designs for Navi based Radeon RX 5000 series GPUs, all of which rock a triple fan design and beefy aluminum heatsinks in 2.5 to 3 slot configuration. The designs seem pretty beefy so it looks like we are going to be looking at some aggressive power or temperature numbers.

AMD Radeon Navi RX 5700 Leaked Specs & Rumored Pricing

Graphics CardGPUStream
Performance Class
RX 5700 XTNavi XT2560256-bit8 GB GDDR6RTX 2070$499 US
RX 5700 ProNavi ProTBATBATBARTX 2060$399 US

We have already been shown some demos of the Radeon RX 5000 series graphics card performing 10% faster than the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 and we also know that at least two variants will be launching, a 180W TDP (225W TBP) priced around $499 US and a 150W TDP (180W TBP) SKU priced around $399 US. The pricing is still not confirmed but we expect more details at the Next Horizon Event at E3 in a few weeks so make sure to stay tuned for our coverage on that.

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