AMD Readies APUs With RDNA-Based 'Cyan Skillfish' Graphics

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD appears to be working on an accelerated processing unit (APU) with a built-in graphics processor codenamed "Cyan Skillfish" and based on the first-generation RDNA architecture (Navi 1x). The APU will likely target various consumer, as well as embedded applications that can take advantage of a relatively modern GPU architecture.

AMD engineers have submitted driver code that enables AMD's Radeon "Cyan Skillfish" in the upcoming Linux 5.15 OS release, Phoronix reported today. The actual patches that enable the Cyan Skillfish GPU released earlier indicate that the graphics processor is based on the RDNA architecture and belongs to the Navi 10-series family of GPUs.  

So far, AMD has not officially announced any APUs with RDNA or RDNA 2 architecture (not counting custom console SoCs), but it's suspected that AMD's next-generation APUs will use RDNA 2 and RDNA, even though using an architecture released in 2019 would be a little odd. The enablement of Cyan Skillfish indicates that the company is at least considering an RDNA-powered APU or even APUs.

While AMD's RDNA 2 architecture is indisputably better in terms of performance than the original RDNA introduced two years ago, the latter has a key advantage: smaller die size, due to a lack of ray tracing logic and generally higher transistor density. Smaller die size means lower cost, and for some applications, that's the key priority. 

Since AMD hasn't confirmed anything about potential APU or APUs with Cyan Skillfish, we can only speculate about Team Red's plans. Theoretically, AMD could integrate its small Cyan Skillfish GPU into entry-level APUs for client PCs and embedded applications. Both can benefit from RDNA's feature set but don't necessarily need high performance. 

Additionally, a small GPU can go into mainstream offerings if AMD finds performance acceptable (i.e., higher when compared to existing Vega-based integrated GPUs) or even higher end processors should AMD decide that it needs basic graphics capabilities in virtually all of its CPUs. 

In any case, AMD has a small Radeon "Cyan Skillfish" RDNA-based graphics processor in the pipeline that belongs to the Navi 10 family. This one could be used for a variety of products and only time will reveal what AMD's plans are or how Cyan Skillfish may compete against the best CPUs

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • Joseph_138
    Coming soon, to a Best Buy near you.
  • deesider
    It seems that AMD's APU strategy is to simply keep a bit ahead of Intel. I guess the concern is that being too ambitious and releasing a really strong APU would cannibalise sales of their GPUs. A pity really.