AMD's Van Gogh Chips to Have DDR5, Navi 2 Graphics

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The sharp-eyed folks at Phoronix have spotted new Linux updates that add support for AMDs pending line of 7nm Van Gogh APUs, and the patches confirm that the pending APUs support DDR5 and LPDDR5. The Linux kernel patches also indicate the APUs will sport the Navi 2 graphics engine, setting up a pitched battle between AMD's Van Gogh and Intel's Y-Series Tiger Lake chips.

AMD submitted the 45 Linux kernel patches, which weigh in at 275,000 lines of code, to enable Linux support for the coming APUs. The patches also reveal that Van Gogh comes with Video Core Next 3.0, which supports AV1 decode. In the past, Phoronix has found patches indicating VCN 3.0 (video encode) is native to the Navi 2 graphics engine. 

Pairing the Navi 2 / RDNA 2 graphics engine with DDR5/LPDDR5 could unlock quite a bit of graphical horsepower, as integrated graphics engines tend to respond well to increased memory throughput. Van Gogh is also predicted to come with Zen 2 cores, and it will certainly be interesting to see what kind of impact the improved memory throughput has on the Zen 2 architecture. 

The current wisdom is that the Van Gogh APUs will slot into the 7.8W to 18W space for ultra-thin mobile devices to compete against Intel's Y-series Tiger Lake chips. Intel's chips currently support DDR4/LPDDR4, though Intel says Tiger Lake will support DDR5 in the future.

AMD hasn't made any official announcements detailing the Van Gogh chips, but they're predicted to land in 2021, while AMD's Cezanne APUs with the Zen 3 microarchitecture are thought to slot in for higher-performance applications. 

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.