The first picture of what could possibly be our first look at AMD's upcoming Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card has leaked online at Bilibili (Via @Avery78). The image shows an early test board that could feature a next-generation RDNA 2 GPU which will also be utilized for AMD's enthusiast-class graphics card.
AMD Radeon RX 6000 Graphics Card Pictured - Early Test Board, Rumored To Feature 16 GB GDDR6 Memory, 256-bit Bus
According to the leaker, the picture is a test board of one of the many AMD RDNA 2 based Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards that the red team plans to unveil on 28th October. The graphics card comes with a standard rectangular PCB and considering that this is an early test board, the final retail version would be vastly different. With that said, there are a couple of details mentioned so let's take a deeper look at what the PCB has to offer.
It is mentioned that this particular PCB features the Big Navi "RDNA 2" GPU. The particular SKU is not mentioned but the board has the "XT" label on it so we are most probably looking at the full GPU die underneath the cooler which unfortunately isn't pictured. Since the back of the PCB has been pictured, we can clearly see the PCB markings for GDDR6 memory. There were rumors that AMD's Big Navi GPU could utilize HBM2e memory but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
The card is allegedly using 16 GB GDDR6 memory that is featured along a 256-bit bus interface. That is an interesting choice which means that there would be a total of 8 GDDR6 dies at the front of the PCB in a 3+3+2 layout.
This also means that any professional variant of the card could feature double-sided memory with up to 32 GB of memory. With that said, a 256-bit bus suggested that either AMD will have two 16 GB models with vastly different core configurations or a 16 GB and 8 GB option within its Radeon RX 6000 series lineup unless they plan on cutting down the bus for a 12 GB model or going with a different bus.
To get to 16 GB capacity without using dual-sided memory, AMD will be going for the 16Gb dies which have been in production since early 2018 and can hit speeds of up to 16 Gbps. A 16 Gbps memory speed would give us 512 GB/s of bandwidth for this particular card. But once again, the specifications are not finalized yet since this is only test board and the final version may offer a different PCB with different memory specifications. Other interesting details on the card include the LEDs that show GPU LED. This is part of the GPU Tach which has been featured on several high-end Radeon RX graphics cards before and acts as a load meter that shows the amount of load that is being put on the GPU. There are also certain connectors to run diagnostics in a test environment.
As for cooling, you can see an inverted tower heatsink which is a common sight for test boards from both NVIDIA and AMD. The heatsink features a large aluminum fin block with fans on both sides and several heatsinks connecting to the GPU itself.
Here's Everything We Know About RDNA 2 Based Radeon RX Navi 6000 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.
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. AMD's CFO, Devinder Kumar also shed some light on the RDNA 2 GPU based Radeon RX products for the PC platform, stating that PCs will be first to get a taste of the new architecture in the form of the Big Navi (Halo) graphics card followed by mainstream GPUs.
“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
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 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.”
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 from what we've seen so far and will be available first to consumers, starting the 17th of September.
The second half of 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.