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What Customers Should Expect from AMD’s Next-Generation Navi GPU


Nov. 20 2020, Updated 9:01 p.m. ET

Rumors around AMD’s Navi GPU

Previously, we saw that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) could launch its Vega GPUs (graphics processing units) on TSMC’s (TSM) 7nm (nanometer) node by the end of the year. In a corporate blog, AMD chief technology officer Mark Papermaster stated that the company would be launching more products on TSMC’s 7nm node, including its next-generation Navi GPU.

AMD has not released many details about Navi, but its engineering head, David Wang, has been hinting about the GPU. He told PCGamesN that Navi’s architecture would be scalable and flexible, and work with both HBM2 (high bandwidth memory) and GDDR6 (graphics double data rate) memory. In another interview with PCGamesN, he hinted that Navi would not use a multi-chip module. Adding to these hints, some media reports have stated that AMD might build Navi on new microarchitecture. 

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No ray tracing in Navi

According to Digital Trends, Wang told 4Gamer that Navi would not support ray tracing until the company can make the technology cost effective enough to be introduced in all of its GPUs. He stated that the utilization rate of ray tracing would only increase when it is available in all price ranges.

AMD’s comments come as rival NVIDIA (NVDA) is introducing real-time ray tracing in its new high-end RTX GPUs. There are rumors that NVIDIA’s midrange GPUs may not support this technology, and Wang’s comments fueled rumors that AMD’s Navi would not support ray tracing, to keep prices competitive and costs low. According to TweakTown, AMD could price Navi at around $250 to remain competitive.

Rumors around Navi’s launch and pricing

According to Wccftech, AMD could launch three Navi variants.

  • The Navi 10, which could arrive sometime in the second half of 2019 or early 2020, is set to be designed for Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 5 console (expected to launch in 2020).
  • The Navi 14 is scheduled to arrive next.
  • The Navi 20 could arrive sometime around 2020–2021 and would cater to the PC market.

With these GPUs, AMD expects to grow its graphics business in the long term. Next, we’ll look at the company’s Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom business.

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