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AMD to Introduce New Next-Gen RDNA GPUs in 2020, Not a Typical 'Refresh' of Navi

Navi 14
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD CEO Lisa Su dropped an interesting announcement during the company's earnings conference last night: AMD will soon release its next-gen RDNA architecture. However, due to a somewhat nebulous statement and different interpretations of Su's comments, multiple reports have emerged that AMD will release both a Navi refresh and a new lineup of graphics cards based on the next-gen RDNA architecture. 

Here's the quote, as transcribed by Tom's Hardware from the recording of the earnings call:

"In 2019, we launched our new architecture in GPUs, it’s the RDNA architecture, and that was the Navi-based products. You should expect those will be refreshed in 2020 and we'll have our next-generation RDNA architecture that will be part of our 2020 lineup." - Lisa Su.

Due to reports of both Navi refresh cards and a new lineup of cards based on next-gen RDNA, we followed up with AMD's communications team. 

AMD responded that it would introduce new GPUs with the next-gen RDNA architecture this year, which makes sense given recent statements that the company will compete in the high end of the graphics market. 

As to Su's reference to a Navi refresh, we're told she was speaking in terms of new additions to the product stack, and not stating that refreshed Navi cards would come with the next-gen RDNA architecture. 

To the tech community, the term "refresh" refers to a small iterative update to an existing lineup, much like the transition from Zen with the first-gen Ryzen products to Zen+ with the second-gen Ryzen processors. By that definition, AMD's "refresh" would mean new iterative updates to the RX 5700, RX 5600, and RX 5500 cards, like a step up to an RX 5750 model with the 7nm+ process, for instance.

To the investment community, "refresh" has a somewhat different meaning that typically refers to completely new products.

In the context of Su's statement, it doesn't appear that she was referencing a "refreshed" lineup of Navi cards analogous to the tech community's typical understanding of the term. Instead, we will see new products based on the next-gen RDNA architecture come to market, ostensibly to address the high end of the GPU market (Big Navi). 

Aside from the small statement during the call, Su didn't share any details about the new graphics cards but said the company would announce more details at its Investor Day on March 5, 2020. Su also said we could expect new data center GPUs in the second half of 2020, too.

  • jimmysmitty
    I am going to take a random shot in the dark and go based on their previous releases and say the top two or so GPUs will be RDNA2 with the rest just being renamed RDNA cards. A refresh is not typically a new uArch.
    Reply
  • hannibal
    Like Nvidia have 1600 series non raytrasing and 2000 series raytrasing variants... that could be possible. Now highend raytrasing cards and non raytrasing (too weak) will remain in low end to keep prices down and bring low end raytrasing when and if hardware becomes fast enough in coming years to support raytrasing Also in low end...
    Reply
  • TCA_ChinChin
    jimmysmitty said:
    I am going to take a random shot in the dark and go based on their previous releases and say the top two or so GPUs will be RDNA2 with the rest just being renamed RDNA cards. A refresh is not typically a new uArch.
    I agree. It's been this way with the rx-400 series/fury and the rx-500 series/vega. Wouldn't be too much of a stretch for RTG to do the same thing again.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    hannibal said:
    Like Nvidia have 1600 series non raytrasing and 2000 series raytrasing variants... that could be possible. Now highend raytrasing cards and non raytrasing (too weak) will remain in low end to keep prices down and bring low end raytrasing when and if hardware becomes fast enough in coming years to support raytrasing Also in low end...

    Except the 1600s are Turing based cards. I am talking like say the RX 200 series. The R9 290 was the only new uArch in the bunch, Being Hawaii based. The R9 280X was just a rebranded HD 7970GHz, Tahiti. And everything below it was just rebranded HD 7XX0 models.

    SO I would assume maybe 2 new models with the rest being refreshed older top models renamed for the new naming convention.
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    That's what it sounds like to me. I despise this rebranding crap.

    Heck, I'm an electronics engineer that works in the industry and I get confused as to which models are the new products and which ones are just repackaged leftovers. I can only imagine how tough it is for Joe Sixpack.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    jkflipflop98 said:
    That's what it sounds like to me. I despise this rebranding crap.

    Heck, I'm an electronics engineer that works in the industry and I get confused as to which models are the new products and which ones are just repackaged leftovers. I can only imagine how tough it is for Joe Sixpack.
    Joe Sixpack doesn't care, his son Kevin does. Newer is better.
    Now we could be getting a Polaris like refresh with the same chip enjoying better thermals and frequencies on a tweaked process AND a new top range, or simply a slightly overclocked range with a new top range (like 7770 and the r5 250), or even some rebadging with the new top range (like Tahiti)
    Reply
  • JustinxPH
    AMD has got a long way to go. Since 1080ti theyve been trying to catch up. I'll be happy if they get nvidia to lower prices.
    Reply
  • King_V
    JustinxPH said:
    AMD has got a long way to go. Since 1080ti theyve been trying to catch up. I'll be happy if they get nvidia to lower prices.

    Thank you - we are so, so glad that you created this account a few minutes ago just to criticize with zero basis in fact, and zero actual contribution to the discussion.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    Did no one actually read the article? It talks about how the word "refresh", in the context in which it was used, likely referred to adding new RDNA2 "big-Navi" cards to the lineup, not rebadged cards.

    I mean, most of the existing Navi cards came out within the last month or two. Seems a little early to talk about rebadging them.
    Reply
  • jimmysmitty
    TJ Hooker said:
    Did no one actually read the article? It talks about how the word "refresh", in the context in which it was used, likely referred to adding new RDNA2 "big-Navi" cards to the lineup, not rebadged cards.

    I mean, most of the existing Navi cards came out within the last month or two. Seems a little early to talk about rebadging them.

    I think it would be a bad choice to not have at least new models even if its just 5750XT or even 5700XTX to show improvements. Otherwise there is no "refresh" they are just releasing a new top end GPU.
    Reply