AMD have plans to release their second-generation Radeon RX GPU next year. The new lineup of RDNA powered Navi GPUs will be introduced to the world at CES 2020. AMD are expected to kick off CES in January with products based on their 2nd generation RDNA and Zen 3.
AMD has been incredibly successful with it’s Zen 2 based lineup of Ryzen CPUs in 2019. They were able to take the fight to the market leaders Intel. But they’ve still been falling behind another market leader in a different segment. The Graphics game.
So what can we expect from the 2nd generation rDNA based Radeon RX Navi GPU? That’s what we’ll be covering in this article. Let’s begin.
2nd Generation Radeon RX Specs: What to expect
There have been some rumors spreading about the specs of the 2nd generation RDNA powered Navi GPUs. For instance, we’ve been hearing that they will be manufactured using an optimized 7nm+ process node. Buyers will be provided with multiple options of Enthusiast-grade desktop GPUs with hardware-level Ray Tracing support.
We can also expect the 2nd generation Radeon RX to be much more power efficient than the 1st gen. And finally, we can expect to see a mix of High Bandwidth Memory v2 (HBM2) and Graphics Double Data Rate Type Six (GDDR6) graphics cards as part of the lineup.
2nd generation RDNA
We have heard from AMD that with the second generation RDNA architecture, AMD GPUs will have hardware-level integration to support real-time ray tracing in video games. Ray Tracing was all Nvidia talked about with their current GeForce RTX 20 series, even though it failed to live up to the vibe. But apparently AMD has plans to take the competition to Nvidia.
With RDNA 2, AMD are also looking to target the higher end of the market. Currently, this region of the GPU market has almost exclusively belonged to Nvidia. The first gen Navi GPUs have managed to sell very well in the $300-$500 segment of the GPU market. But we are expecting to see enthusiast-grade Navi graphics cards come out next year.
Also, unlike in the current gen Navi cards, which exclusively feature GDDR6 as memory, the second gen Navi cards could adopt a newer HBM2E VRAM for the higher-end cards. The HBM2E solution can, according to Samsung, provide 64 GBs of memory at 1.64 TBps of bandwidth, when stacked in a 4-way configuration.
AMD vs Nvidia
AMD has clearly taken the fight to its competitor in the CPU market, Intel, with its latest range of Ryzen CPUs. But in the GPU game, they’re still not at par with their competitor Nvidia. Perhaps RDNA 2 can change this for AMD. Or perhaps not. Nvidia has plans of its own to release new 7nm GPUs based on their new ‘Ampere’ architecture. AMD are clearly falling behind in the Graphics game.
But regardless, 2020 looks set to be an exciting year for the GPU industry!
Evolution of AMD’s GPU Architecture (2016 – Present)
The Radeon RX 400 series of cards that debuted in 2016, are based on the GCN 4th gen ‘Polaris’ architecture. They are manufactured using Global Foundries’ 14nm process node and they use GDDR5 as memory. The GPUs in this lineup include Polaris 10 & Polaris 11.
The Radeon RX 500 series of cards debuted a year later in 2017. Like the RX 400 series, they are based on the GCN 4th gen Polaris architecture and Global Foundries’ 14nm process node. They use GDDR5 as memory and the lineup includes Polaris 20, Polaris 21, Polaris 22, Polaris 30.
A year later in 2018, the Radeon RX Vega series of cards made their debut. They are based on the GCN 5th gen Vega architecture. Some cards in this series are manufactured using Global Foundries’ 14nm process node while others are manufactured using TSMC’s 7nm process. Unlike the previous gen, Vega cards use HBM2 as memory and the GPUs in this series include Vega 10 and Vega 20.
This brings us to the current year and the Radeon RX 5700 series of cards. These cards are based on a new architecture called Navi which is powered by the first gen of RDNA. The chips are manufactured using TSMC’s 7nm process node and these cards use GDDR6 as memory. The lineup include Navi 10 and Navi 11.
Finally in 2020, we can expect to see the second generation of RDNA based Navi GPUs. They will be based on TSMC’s improved 7nm+ process node and will be using a mix of GDDR6 and HBM2 as memory. The lineup will include Navi 20, Navi 21 and Navi 23.
2nd Generation Radeon RX Release Date
So far the only information we have about the release date of the 2nd generation Radeon RX comes from Chiphell user ‘wjm47196’. This user has consistently provided accurate leaks about the release date of the previous Radeon GPUs. He was right about the Q4 2018 launch date of Radeon RX 590 (Polaris 30) and the Q1 2019 launch fate of the Radeon VII. He was also correct about the mainstream 7nm Navi cards beating high-end enthusiast-grade cards to the market this year.
According to the Chiphell user, the 2nd Generation RDA based Navi GPUs will be previewed during CES 2020. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual event held by the Consumer Technology Association in Las Vegas. CES 2020 will be held between Jan 7 – 10.
This leak makes perfect sense as CES has always been a great planform for big companies like AMD to showcase their latest technologies. AMD would most likely give us a preview of their new Zen 3 based CPUs along with the 2nd Gen RDNA GPUs.
Another reputable leaker, KOMACHI_ENSAKA, found requests by AMD partner Sapphire to register several RX 5800 and RX 5900 monikers in the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission). These included:
Radeon RX 5900:
- RX 5950 XT, RX 5950
- RX 5900 XT, RX 5900
Radeon RX 5800:
- RX 5850 XT, RX 5850
- RX 5800 XT, RX 5800
— 遠坂小町@Komachi (@KOMACHI_ENSAKA) June 26, 2019
Official remark from AMD
AMD has confirmed that the 2nd Gen RDNA based GPU architecture is in-design and will be launched in 2020. But they have not provided us with a date so far. During an interview back in July, AMD CEO Lisa Su gave the following response to a query about high-end 7nm Navi and mobile 7nm products:
“You asked a good product question. I would say they are coming. You should expect that our execution on those are on track and we have a rich 7nm portfolio beyond the products that we have currently announced in the upcoming quarters.”
While this statement doesn’t give up any definite dates, it is reassuring to know that the development is going smoothly. For any more information from AMD, we might have to wait till CES 2020.
Radeon RX 5700 Series
Two cards in the Radeon RX 5700 series were launched by AMD this year, the RX 5700 XT and the RX 5700. Engineered using a new 7nm architecture, Radeon DNA Architecture (RDNA), AMD claims that these cards perform 1.5X better than previous gen cards, while also delivering an overall improvement in power costs and latency.
AMD marketed 4 key points about their latest series of graphics cards:
7nm Process Node
The 7nm process node in a GPU is currently unique to AMD. AMD claims that this helps them deliver better performances in a smaller GPU. They also claim that their will be a 25% performance boost per clock and a 50% performance boost per watt over the GCN with these new cards.
8GB GDDR6 VRAM
Another key point marketed by AMD was the 8GB GDDR8 VRAM. They claim that it can provide bandwidth of up to 14 Gbps, ideal for 1440p gaming.
PCI Express 4.0 Support
AMD has marketed the Radeon RX 5700 series cards as the world’s very first PCIe 4.0 ready graphics product. The company claims that the doubling of the bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0 will give gamers and creators a 42% boost in storage performance.
DisplayPort 1.4 Support
And finally, the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT are DisplayPort 1.4 compatible and come with Display Stream Compression technology. This will allow gamers to enjoy their games at settings as high as 8K at 60Hz or 5K at 120Hz.
Green vs Red: GeForce RTX 2060 Super and Radeon RX 5700 XT Benchmark
Techspot recently ran a massive 41 game benchmark comparison of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super ($400) and the Radeon RX 5700 ($350) and the results were interesting. The beauty of a benchmark test with this many titles is that outliers don’t really affect the end result. The 41 test games included the likes of Borderlands 3, Battlefield V, Fortnite and Gears 5.
The results were close, but the RTX 2060 Super came off as the victor. Across the 41 games that were tested, at 1080p, the RTX 2060 Super performed 3% faster on average. At 1440p, the RTX 2060 Super performed 4% faster on average than the RX 5700. Having said that, it is worth noting that the GeForce RTX 2060 Super is also about 15% more expensive than the Radeon RX 5700. That means with the RTX 2060 Super, you’ll be paying 12% more per frame at 1080p and 11% more per frame at 1440p.
On a side note, Techspot also tried benchmarking an overclocked RX 5700 with a 5700 XT BIOS. While flashing a graphics card BIOS can be a risky business, they did record an average performance boost of 10%.