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Navi 10-based AMD Radeon RX 5700 still has elements of GCN, 'pure' RDNA coming only in 2020

AMD previewed its new RDNA architecture for Radeon GPUs at Computex 2019.
AMD previewed its new RDNA architecture for Radeon GPUs at Computex 2019.
The upcoming AMD Navi GPUs such as the Radeon RX 5700 will use a hybrid GCN-RDNA architecture according to information obtained from AMD by Swedish outlet, SweClockers. Apparently, AMD feels that GCN is a mature architecture that has been optimized well for modern games and therefore, will find place alongside RDNA in Navi 10 GPUs. AMD is expected to completely transition to RDNA with Navi 20 sometime in 2020.
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AMD kicked off Computex 2019 proceedings by launching Ryzen 3000 CPUs and previewing the upcoming Navi series of GPUs. We've been expecting 7nm Navi to continue using the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture as was evident in open source driver code, but AMD announced that Navi will be based on the new RDNA (Radeon DNA) graphics architecture throwing up a conundrum of sorts. However, it looks like upcoming Navi 10 GPUs such as the Radeon RX 5700 will be a hybrid between GCN and RDNA and that the full transition to RDNA will happen only by 2020.

While GCN has catered to both gamers and workstation users, RDNA is developed with an emphasis on gaming. RDNA-based GPUs feature a new compute unit design, multi-level cache hierarchy, and a streamlined graphics pipeline. RDNA GPUs will also be the first to support the new PCIe Gen4 standard for consumers. That doesn't mean AMD has abandoned GCN, though. The current generation (Navi 10) will still carry over elements of the GCN architecture. SweClockers quotes AMD sources who say that offering GPUs with 'pure' RDNA from scratch can have its implications.

GCN is a seven-year old architecture that has been refined through each GPU generation. Game developers have optimized their engines to make the best use of GCN and throwing all that optimization into the bin can prove fatal for Team Red if things happen to go south.

That being said, AMD does feel that the time has come to move on from GCN to RDNA on the lines of the transition from Bulldozer to Zen for CPUs. Unlike Zen, the company is taking it gradually this time implying that we won't be seeing the full benefits of RDNA until 2020 in Navi 20 — which is probably when Team Red will finally have a true competitor to NVIDIA's top-tier offerings.

RDNA brings new features to Radeon GPUs targeted at gamers. (Source: AMD)
RDNA brings new features to Radeon GPUs targeted at gamers. (Source: AMD)

Source(s)

SweClockers (Swedish)

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1395 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 05 > Navi 10-based AMD Radeon RX 5700 still has elements of GCN, 'pure' RDNA coming only in 2020
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-06- 1 (Update: 2019-06- 1)