AMD NAVI and Ryzen COMPUTEX Re-Cap and Analysis

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The Break Down

Here are some key technology points to take home to as we move forward this year with AMD technology innovations.


This is big news, most rumors up to this point were stating that NAVI would be just another iteration of GCN, following Vega.  However, it was announced that the NAVI family of GPUs are based on a completely new architecture from the ground up, from scratch, called RDNA.  This architecture is meant to carry AMD GPUs to every platform, mobile laptop, PCs and console. 

The architecture has three major improvements, a new compute engine for actual IPC performance improvements, improved cache hierarchy and optimizations for faster clock speeds.  They will use GDDR6, so new re-designed memory controllers as well.  The new video cards will be called the Radeon RX 5000 series, and there will be cards in the Radeon RX 5700 SKU.  All specifications, prices and so forth will be revealed at E3. 

Our hope is that AMD has something up its sleeve to compete at the high-end, competing with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and beating it.  AMD really needs to come through on this, so here is hoping that RDNA can scale upwards to those heights.    

X570 and PCIe 4.0

This is rather a big one because this time it is AMD actually pushing bus technology forward, an unprecedented act.  AMD trailed on the PCIe bus support side for quite a while, only support PCIe 2.0 when the competition had been using the new PCIe 3.0 support for a long while.  No more however, now AMD is leading the gravy train on the platform side and the GPU side, at the same time. 

AMD is pushing this technology simultaneously.  It is unprecedented that GPU support for a new interface are ready at the launch of a new interface specification.  Typically, motherboards will support the new technology, and video cards will follow a year later based on that new interface.  However, this is the first time that both PCIe on the platform side and PCIe on the GPU side are in parity. 

Video cards supporting this new platform bus will be launched at the same time, so you can enjoy the benefits of it now, no waiting.  There are benefits of this bus, more PCIe lanes, and faster transfer speeds across I/O for things like super-fast SSD’s.  This really benefits high-end desktop, workstation, server and datacenter computing, but it will trickle down to the general PC user. 

What about PCIe 5.0 you ask?  Well, it is true that it has been fast tracked, in fact the specification was just recently announced. It will take some time to test and implement after the finalization.  We believe PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 may exist alongside each other for a while.  It wouldn’t be out of character for AMD at this point to also be thinking about that next generation beyond 4.0, and there are probably plans kept deep dark and secret in the works on that front.  AMD seems to be thinking a lot more ahead these days.

Zen 2 Cores

What can we say, we think AMD (at least on paper) sounds like they have a real winner here with these 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs.  One thing that AMD has pushed forward on technology is the core count.  Ever since the original launch of the 1st gen Ryzen CPUs AMD was all about increasing the core count for desktop PC users. 

This is something where Intel had fell behind on, it just wasn’t innovating in terms of multi-threaded performance on the desktop PC platform.  We were stuck with 4 Cores/8 Threads for the longest time.  Even now, it isn’t exactly cheap to step into an 8 Core/16 Thread setup from Intel.

This is where AMD stepped in with the original 1st gen Ryzen launch and gave us 8 Core/16 Thread CPUs on the desktop at a reasonable price.  It was a long time coming and it took AMD to make that leap, that innovation.  It really shocked Intel into action. 

The thing is, AMD is doing it yet again with the new 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs!  AMD wasn’t satisfied with having affordable 8 Core/16 Thread CPUs, now it is pushing the bar up once more and giving us an affordable 12 Core/24 Thread CPU for mainstream desktop PC users!  You no longer have to reach deep in your pockets to obtain a “high-end desktop” CPU from Intel, now AMD delivers that at an affordable price. 

Combined with the IPC improvements, clock speed improvements and cache improvements these CPUs should fly in multi-threaded applications.  It is really exciting to see AMD pushing the bar on CPU technologies.  It has shown us how far behind Intel has fallen and how much it did not innovate when it could.  AMD is the one giving us more and more cores, who woulda thunk it? 

Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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