The year 2020 was an amazing time for both the PC and console world. We saw brand-new CPU and GPU releases from both AMD and NVIDIA, but also we got two next-gen consoles from Xbox and Sony.
TSMC already has the 5nm process in the works and AMD is planning to base its RDNA 3 and Zen 4 architecture on that. This means we can expect even further performance improvements.
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Why Should We Be Excited For RDNA 3?
There are a few reasons why. First, we have to acknowledge the fact that AMD finally brought something competitive enough to battle against NVIDIA’s finest. The RX 6900XT easily trades blows against the RTX 3090 in raw rasterization performance.
While lacking in ray tracing, these RDNA 2 GPUs still make for a good choice.
AMD has not been very active in the flagship/high-end section of the GPU market for the past several years (excluding RX 6000 series), so that is another big reason why we should be excited for RDNA 3.
The last time AMD came up with a counter to NVIDIA was more than 10 years ago in 2011 with the HD 7970 against the GTX 580 and GTX 680. If AMD makes another competitive comeback with RDNA 3 to incite rivalry, we are going to see a considerable improvement in price-per-performance from both companies.
Having said that, it is time to focus on the information we have about RDNA 3 and talk about exactly what we can expect.
- October 18, 2021: Added rumors about the PS5 Pro and the possibilities of it using RDNA 3.
- October 12, 2021: Changed wording for improved readability.
- October 4, 2021: Added new changes regarding the core count of Navi 33.
- September 27, 2021: Made a few changes, mostly fixed some grammatical errors.
- September 20, 2021: Added rumors regarding the potential performance.
- September 13, 2021: Added more release date information.
- September 2, 2021: Added a table explaining the possible SKU lineup of RX 7000 and a new specification table of Navi 31, 32, 33 and 21.
- August 18, 2021: Added new specification leaks and a block diagram detailing the Navi 33 chip.
- July 28, 2021: Added some new leaks and removed some old ones to support AMD’s drop of Compute Units and the switch to Work Group Processors.
- June 23, 2021: Added more info on the release date and possible Zen3+ stop-gap solution.
- May 10, 2021: Added information on the potential performance of RDNA 3 GPUs based on a popular leaker KittyYYuko.
- April 6, 2021: Added official information claiming a 50% increase in efficiency.
Currently, any kind of information regarding the release of RDNA 3 (Navi 3X) is just a rumor.
Official details about the release date and specifications are expected somewhere in the middle or late 2022. Although, at the time of writing, there are a lot of issues regarding chip and semiconductor manufacturing which means things could change, get delayed, etc.
Nothing is set in stone.
Recent leaks hint that both ZEN4 and RDNA3 could be delayed and would release at the same time. Specifically, Q4 of 2022. Whether this is true or not, we cannot know for sure, but considering AMD’s pattern of CPU and GPU releases, it might be possible.
It might be that our assumptions have been accurate as rumors mention that both Nvidia and AMD have no plans of releasing a next-gen GPU for 2021 or early 2022.
There have also been a couple of rumors for a PlayStation 5 Pro which could come with AMD’s RDNA 3 and Zen 4 destined for 2022. But, take these rumors with a handful of salt.
AMD Gaming GPU Architecture Roadmap
Considering that most of the GPUs from the RDNA 2 lineup were released around November 2020, it is safe to assume that we will not be seeing any high-end RDNA 3 releases from AMD at least until the end of 2022.
Based on AMD’s gaming GPU roadmap, they will have an advanced node ready for RDNA 3 before 2022. But, this roadmap is just for the development of the chip. This does not necessarily confirm a release of a consumer GPU.
The mid-end and low-end RDNA 2 SKUs scheduled to release throughout 2021 supports the roadmap above. It is important to remember that these tech companies are making most of their profits from the more affordable products.
In Q1 of 2021, RX 6700XT was released which is a direct contender against NVIDIA’s 6GB RTX 3060Ti (and 3070). But, a contender against the RTX 3060 is also expected (an RX 6700) and other lower-end GPUs.
There’s no official information regarding something more affordable, but an RX 6500 or at least an RX 6600 is anticipated in 2021.
All of this tells us that consumer RDNA 3 products are not bound for 2021. This was confirmed during AMD’s Q2 2021 investors call by Lisa Su claiming that both RDNA 3 and Zen 4 will be ready to launch in 2022.
The new 5nm fabrication process from TSMC sounds promising. Especially when you consider the performance per watt increase we saw from AMD’s old GCN architecture to its successor, RDNA 1.
The 5700XT and 5700 offered a lot of raw rasterization performance for a very competitive price. The 5700XT sometimes even surpassing the 2070 Super which comes with a much more expensive price tag (at least $100+).
But, that’s not the most impressive part of the 7nm fabrication process. The impressive part was the monumental 50% leap from RDNA 1 to RDNA 2. The longer the architecture sticks around, the more optimization it can get to increase performance and efficiency (example: Intel’s 14nm+++ arch).
To put it simply, the 5nm fabrication process will probably bring us even more efficiency and raw power. AMD claims that another 50% leap is expected.
For those that are interested in more details and numbers regarding the specifications, keep in mind that most information by now is just rumors and assumptions. Find that extra bit of information under Specifications Rumors.
Multiple sources are rumoring that Navi 3 will be with a chiplet design which is something that we have not seen in the GPU industry before.
However, we have seen this same design in AMD’s Ryzen processors though. The chiplet design of their processors is their secret formula for the considerable increase in performance and physical cores. Maybe this secret formula will work with their RDNA 3 graphics cards too.
The problem with this kind of chiplet design is the increase in latency. This is probably why AMD Ryzen processors have higher latency than Intel CPUs and favor higher RAM clocks speeds.
Still, the gains from a chiplet design are worth it since it is effectively cutting down the price of one CPU almost by half.
The increase of latency in CPUs is not a huge problem, but an increase in latency with GPUs could be a serious downgrade in performance. Both SLI and Crossfire technologies always had problems with latency between multiple GPUs. Running GPUs in parallel is not optimal.
Because of this, AMD is coming up with a unique solution, an active bridge connecting all of the chiplets together. The first GPU chiplet would also be connected with the CPU directly through the Infinity Fabric.
Rumors claimed that Navi 31, a GPU part of the RDNA 3 lineup will have two chiplets with 80 CUs. That is a total of 160 CUs. However, that didn’t come to fruition as AMD dropped CUs (Compute Units) entirely.
Instead, AMD’s flagship or probably all of the RX 7000 GPUs will use WGP (Work Group Processors). But, the rumor that Navi 31 will come with two dies on a 5nm node (GCDs or Graphics Core Dies) and one Multi-Cache Die on a 6nm node is most probably true.
We’ll use this diagram by Olrak29_ to help explain exactly what’s packed in those two GCDs and the single Multi-Cache Die.
As seen in the diagram above, both of the GCDs have 3 Shader Engines (SE) and in each of them are a pack of two Shader Arrays (SA). So, a total of 12 Shader Arrays and 6 Shader Engines in one Navi 31 GPUs.
Each Shader Array has 5 of the previously mentioned Work Group Processors and in every single one of them 8 SIMD32s. So, let’s do the math to see exactly how many cores can be found in this potential 7900 XT GPU.
40 SIMD32 in one Shader Array makes for 80 SIMD32 in one Shader Engine. So, 240 SIMD32 in the three Shader Engines in one GCD. Since we have two GCDs, that’s 480 SIMD32. One SIMD32 packs 32 ALUs which leads to 15,360 cores/streaming processors per GPU or 7,680 per GCD.
What can we gather out of all this information? Well, taking into consideration that RDNA 2’s flagship, the RX 6900 XT has a total of 5120 cores, that means that the future “7900 XT” has three times the cores.
To add to that huge jump in core count, there are rumors circulating that Navi 31 is going to be rocking 512 MB of Infinity Cache compared to just 128 MB on the RX 6900 XT.
Whether that’s going to be 3 times the performance in raw rasterization or other tasks, we cannot know for certain.
A few older leaks believe that RDNA 3 could be 3.0x faster than RDNA 2. KittyYYuko being one of them.
We also got the same type of leak for the Navi 33 SKU, a block diagram explaining the GPU in detail.
It’s probable that Navi 33 will come with just one die paired with two Shader Engines compared to Navi 31 that has three Shader Engines per GCD (and two GCDs per GPU).
By dropping down to just two Shader Engines that puts us at 20 WGP, 160 SIMD32. Multiply 160 SIMD32 with 32 ALU, that’s a total of 5120 cores/streaming processors.
The streaming processor count is more than double of Navi 23, the RX 6600 XT (2048 cores).
|SKU Name||Navi 21 (6800 XT, 6900 XT)||Navi 33 (RX 7600 XT?)||Navi 32 (RX 7700 XT?)||Navi 31 (RX 7800/7900 XT?)|
|Node||7nm||6nm||5nm + 6nm||5nm + 6nm?|
|One -Monolithic||Two – Multi-Chip Module||Two – Multi-Chip Module|
|Infinity Cache||128 MB||256 MB||384 MB||512? MB|
|Shader Engines (SE)||4||2||2 (per GCD)||3 (per GCD)|
|Shader Arrays||1 per SE||1 per SE||2 per SE||2 per SE|
|Work Group Processors (WGP||40||20||20 per GCD||60 – 30 per GCD|
|CUs||80||40||80 (per die)||120 (per die)|
|Release Date||December 2020||2H 2022||2H 2022||2H 2022|
Another thing to note is AMD’s response to Nvidia’s DLSS feature, FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) which could provide a bit of extra performance for RDNA 3. Although, FSR does work for Nvidia GPUs too.
More rumors by greymon55 adds a few changes to Navi 33 specifications. Instead of 5120 cores like the 6900 XT, it’s going to be less than that. Specifically, 4096 cores. That is definitely lower.
However, the information that Navi 33 is going to be faster than Navi 21 still holds.
We’ve seen frequent rumors about all the possible SKUs from RDNA 3 and its architecture, but we haven’t seen a lot about possible performance increases over Ampere or RDNA 2. At least not until Tom from Moore’s Law Is Dead shared a few RDNA 3 and RDNA 4 whispers.
As seen in the image above, Tom is highly confident in a 60% performance leap over the previous generation. And that’s the minimum. We’re not sure if this 60% minimum is just for the flagship model (7900XT/7950XT) or for the entire generation. Hopeful, but entirely possible considering the switch to a chiplet design.
That’s not all though.
With these increases in performance, a higher price tag is expected on all SKUs. To be exact, an entire tier jump in performance.
Energy efficiency should improve, but total power usage is going to be higher too. At least for the high-end models.
Another interesting performance-related rumor we have is about Navi 33 (7700XT). By now, we already know that Navi should be on a 6nm process with 128-bit GDDR6 VRAM. Fast memory and the 6nm architecture could put the 7700XT with a performance close to the RX 6900XT based on known leaker greymon55.
Ambitious for a $450 card to surpass a previous-gen $1000 GPU, but definitely possible.
Another leak/speculation by 3dCenter.org suggests that AMD’s RX 7000 SKUs will be a mix of RDNA 2 and RDNA 3.
Here’s a table to help you understand the new lineup of GPUs.
|Radeon RX 6000 series||Radeon RX 7000 series|
|Navi 31 (5nm + 6nm?)|
RX 7900 – between $1000 and $1500
|Navi 32 (5nm + 6nm)|
RX 7800 – between $600 and $1000
|Navi 21 – RX 6800/RX 6900|
|➔||Navi 33 (6nm)|
RX 7700 – estimated at $450
|Navi 22 – RX 6700|
|➔||Navi 22 refresh or a 6nm refresh|
RX 7600 – estimated at $350
|Navi 23 – RX 6600|
|➔|| Navi 23 refresh or a 6nm refresh |
RX 7500 – estimated at $250
|Navi 24 – RX 6500 |
|➔||Navi 24 refresh or a 6nm refresh|
RX 7400 – estimated at $150
As seen in the table above, there will probably be only two or three “true” RDNA 3 cards while the rest will just be a refresh of the SKUs from last generation. Whether the refresh is just going to be a frequency bump and a price drop or jumping RDNA 2 to 6nm, we do not know.
Either way, with the current state of the GPU market, we welcome these kinds of price drops.
With the lack of official information for RDNA 3 and the 5nm fabrication process, it is impossible to predict the pricing of the Navi 3x lineup. Hopefully, there will be more details in late 2021.
However, we can assume that RDNA 3’s price tag will not deviate too much from the current pricing. It seems like both NVIDIA and AMD have hit an MSRP sweet spot. They will find no reason to provide any cheaper offers.
There may not be a lot of details regarding RDNA 3, but the pattern is quite clear, showing huge performance and efficiency leaps. All that is left is to wait and see.