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“Big Navi” not so Big?

Reports from sources in Asia indicate AMD has started sharing details with partners about the upcoming RDNA2 based gaming GPUs.

Unfortunately for us PC enthusiasts it seems the news aren’t great regarding the so-called “NVidia Killer”. The performance level of the high-end GPUs based on the codenamed Sienna Cichlid ASICs is around the same as NVidia’s last-gen top SKU, the 2080ti, according to these reports. A best case scenario supposedly shared by AMD is that at most gamers should expect to get about 15% over the 2080ti in a select AMD “optimized” titles. According to the same sources AMD is aiming to launch the “Big Navi” as a direct competitor to the soon to be launched RTX 3080, and not as a competitor to NVidia’s highest performing part as has been widely reported (let alone beat it). Some have suggested that “Big Navi” would be up to 50% faster in traditional rasterization than the RTX 2080ti but according to AMD’s partners that will not be the case.

The “Big Navi” reveal should happen sometime in early September with the actual launch happening on the 7th of October. Pricing for the “Big Navi” GPU will be determined by how much NVidia decides to sell the upcoming RTX 3080 for, with AMD looking to undercut said product.

According to the same sources there will be 2 SKUs based on Sienna Cichlid for the gaming market, one using a full die and another one cut-down, similar to what we saw with the 5700XT and 5700 GPUs from last year. Both will be using GDDR6 memory, with two other HBM based models coming to the Pro market based on the same micro-architecture (more on this below) in the future.

Navy Flounder is a mid-range GPU based on the same ASIC as Sienna and should come to market in Q1 of next year. It’s expected to be the “x7xx” class GPU, and target the mid-range, although details shared with partners on that part are scarce as of right now.

At the time of writing there was no information shared regarding real-time ray tracing capabilities, but a recently published patent suggests AMD might be using hardware acceleration for ray intersection, as seen in fig. 1

Fig 1
#139 above points to the possibility of a hardware acceleration unit for Ray Intersection in a possible embodiment of a real-time ray tracing application, according to this patent published on the 7th of July 2020.

In addition to this information I should add that I speculated in a recent video that changes to the SDMA in RDNA2 pointed to the possibility of 3D stacked memory coming with Sienna Cichlid but with more time to look at the code in the public repositories and other sources it seems I was incorrect in that assessment. Although there have also been multiple patents published recently that describe various methods and inventions which suggest that there will be multiple 3D stacked devices coming to market from AMD in the coming months (as one would expect), it appears in the case of Sienna Cichlid the increased bandwidth will be used for chip-to-chip communication, either in a server environment or with a product similar to the Radeon Pro Vega II Duo which launched for Apple workstations last year. This would indicate that that product will not be an Apple exclusive. Based on the recent code commits, there seems to be the possibility of linking up to 2 Sienna based ASICs in this Pro context, for a total of 4 dies. The video memory will be unified/shared between all of them as well as with the host CPU.

Seeing that AMD is currently sharing information on these upcoming products with partners it’s likely we will be hearing more in the coming days/weeks. Follow me on twitter for updates @coreteks

Disclaimers: This article may contain amazon affiliate links. Information in the article is based on reports from industry sources and reported to the best of the author’s ability and in good faith but may contain inaccuracies or mis-translations and should thus be read as “rumor”. Note that there can be changes made to products that are reported on right up to launch day.


24 thoughts on ““Big Navi” not so Big?

  1. People are repeating the same mistake as always, jumping on hype train and expecting miracle…
    Anyway, if AMD can set realistic price for whole range of RDNA2 cards, many ppl might be interesting in it.
    By the way, no info about possible DLSS competitor? Looks like nVidia’s marketing might advertise this as premium feature of their cards. And you know what that mean…

    1. nobody cares abut DLSS since the sparpening image from AMD is better and doesn’t consume fps like DLSS. i think i am not mixxing the technologies here. but honestly when was the last time you bought a gpu because of the DLSS? or RT? never. nothing to gain here. jsut raw power would be enought and later when the RT is going to replace the Rasterization sure, we can buy cards that do RT! right now is a waste of money to tech that is slow and that generation of cards 20xx are really worthless for full RT. DLSS is kidn of a similar scenario.

      1. you might be wrong here… Look at DLSS v2… It improves frame rate so high that AMD cards can’t compete while maintaining good image quality for the supported games… There is also a rumor that says NVIDIA is going to enable the next version of DLSS by default for games and also developer effort to adopt DLSS was reduced a lot now… If NVIDIA is successful in doing it then AMD will have very tough time without a competing technology…

      2. I share your point of view, still I believe we are minority 🙂 Marketing is powerful tool to pull $$$ from your pocket

  2. By most reports, the RTX 3060 will be as powerful as the 2080 TI, and boast much better ray tracing. If AMD’s top card performs at the same level as 3080, their card will beat the 2080 TI by 30%.

    1. By most reports, you refer to a random YouTuber who has zero clue what he’s talking about.

      The 3060 won’t be as powerful as the 2080Ti, neither raster nor raytracing performance.

      Raytracing performance does not only depend on the RT cores, but also much on the shader cores. That rumor is just good old BS.

  3. Honestly I don’t need the highest tier of performance like the 3080ti will offer. I am fine with AMD cards offering the best price/performance ratio as they have until now. I don’t give a ears ass about features like ray tracing and nvec encoder or w/e else is there that I can’t remember right now.

    But that is just me.

  4. Nvidia Ampere super refresh in early 2021 – massive improvement to ray tracing performance – DLSS 2 improvements and future DLSS 3 – New improved ray tracing comes at a cost
    GTX 2650 around the performance of an GTX 1660 super 6gb GDDR6 $175
    GTX 2660 around the performance of an RTX 2060 without ray tracing 6gb GDDR6 $250
    RTX 3060 around the performance of an RTX 2070/2070 super +/- 10% 8gb GDDR6 $450
    RTX 3070 around the performance of an RTX 2080/2080 super +/- 10% 8gb GDDR6 $600+
    RTX 3080 around the performance of an RTX 2080ti +/- 10% 12gb GDDR6x $800+
    RTX 3090 around 30-40% better than a RTX 2080ti 16gb GDDR6x $1500+
    rDNA 2 two cards it each series non-xt and xt and xx50 refresh in early 2021 to compete with the RTX super refreshes – Ray tracing on RX 6700 and RX 6900 only – software based DLSS competition as part of Fidelity FX suite AMD prices will be matched with Nvidia to offer similar performance in a slightly lower price bracket.
    RX6300 series around the performance of an RX 5500xt +/- 20% 8gb GDDR6 <$100-$150 rDNA 1 possible cu bump
    RX6500 series around the performance of an RX 5700xt +/- 10% 8gb GDDR6 $250-$350 rDNA 1 rebranded 5600xt & 5700xt
    RX6700 series around 30-40% better than RX 5700xt equivalent to an RTX 2080ti 12gb GDDR6x <$700 rDNA 2 36cu’s
    RX6900 series around 70-80% better than RX 5700xt equivalent to an RTX 3090 16gb GDDR6x <$1200 rDNA 2 72 cu’s

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