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Did AMD Just Confirm Big Navi Is Coming?

Note: Not a Big Navi chip
(Image credit: AMD)

Although AMD's keynote at CES 2020 was far from unimpressive, one would be forgiven for being just a little disappointed not having heard about a Big Navi GPU, especially after AMD teased that "something big" would happen at the show. (Even if we'd already heard enough rumors to indicate that it wasn't going to happen.)

Of course, that something big turned out to be the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X, which is indeed something big. Despite that, many of us would also have liked to see Big Navi at the show, and while the following may not give as many juicy details as we crave, yesterday AMD might have confirmed that Big Navi is actually coming soon.

The information comes from a Q&A session that was transcribed by AnandTech. During this session, Gordon Ung from PC World asked: "Do you think that AMD has to have a high-end competitor in the discrete graphics market?"

This was Lisa Su's answer:

"I know those on Reddit want a high end Navi! You should expect that we will have a high-end Navi, and that it is important to have it. The discrete graphics market, especially at the high end, is very important to us. So you should expect that we will have a high-end Navi, although I don’t usually comment on unannounced products."

The real question is whether or not this is a confirmation of Big Navi. It can go one of two ways: maybe it is indeed confirmation of Big Navi's existence;  or perhaps it is simply a very well-recited answer to a question that was bound to come up -- and if you read closely, you'll note that Su speaks of what we should expect and what is important, but she doesn't definitively confirm a high-end Navi product.

Of course, even if it confirms Big Navi, the statement doesn't tell us anything about just how sizeable Big Navi will be, when it is landing, how it will perform or what it will cost. Given that the RX 5700 XT, AMD's zippiest Navi card currently available, nears the performance of the RTX 2070 Super, we reckon Big Navi would certainly have what it takes to compete against Nvidia's fastest RTX chips. 

There is a problem though: Nvidia's high-end RTX chips have been on the market for quite some time now, and there are already rumors around about the next-generation Ampere graphics cards. We know Nvidia's Ampere chips will be fabricated on 7nm silicon, so AMD had probably better be swift to bring Big Navi to the market, or it might end up merely keeping up rather than taking the crown. 

  • jimmysmitty
    Big Navi would have to be quite a good performer IF any of the rumors of Ampere are true. I wont say they are, rumors are rumors, however Nvidia is pushing a new uArch onto 7nm which, per TSMCs specifications, is 2x the density of their 12nm. Even Samsungs 7nm is probably 2x as dense as well if not more since it should be using EUV.

    I really want to see Radeon be the performer it used to be. I still remember my 9700Pro which was a beast at the time.
    Reply
  • Rdslw
    navi was solid but very power hungry chip.
    but AMD did show us ~120% ish gains on APU for mobile, IF they know how to do it (or it was mostly from GPU) then 2020 will really be a gamer year from both R B N teams.
    Reply
  • Lucky_SLS
    The gpu in Xbox project scarlet is claimed to offer twice the performance of the Xbox one. That's 12 TFLOPS. The RTX 2080ti has 13.45 TFLOPS performance.
    1205331072822718464View: https://twitter.com/AMD/status/1205331072822718464?s=19
    Reply
  • paul prochnow
    admin said:
    AMD CEO Lisa Su may have confirmed that Big Navi is coming in a question-and-answer session at CES 2020.

    Did AMD Just Confirm Big Navi Is Coming? : Read more

    If AMD comes up with a performance comparo GPU for partners that selll AIO cooled cards for $400 less than the top RTX2080ti 11G, nVidia will be out of it entirely excepting "N" uberfanbois. I feel at $1,000 range there is a LOT of slack in the pricing, a lot, as AIO bumps pinnacle Nvidia cards from $800 to $1400
    Reply
  • paul prochnow
    If AMD comes up with a performance comparo GPU for partners that selll AIO cooled cards for $400 less than the top RTX2080ti 11G, nVidia will be out of it entirely excepting "N" uberfanbois. I feel at $1,000 range there is a LOT of slack in the pricing, a lot, as AIO bumps pinnacle Nvidia cards from $800 to $1400
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    Rdslw said:
    navi was solid but very power hungry chip.
    ...

    I wouldn't say that unless you are thinking it should be way less for being on 7nm.

    5700xt - average game power consumption (per Tom's) is 218W
    2070s - average game power consumption (per Tom's) is 212W

    5500xt - average game power consumption was ~ 100w (as per Tom's review)
    1650S - average game power consumption was ~ 100w (as per Tom's review)

    So power draw per performance is comparable to Turing.

    TSMCs current 7nm isn't overly great on the power consumption side - 7nm+ will be a fair bit better in that area according to them.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    joeblowsmynose said:
    5700xt - average game power consumption (per Tom's) is 218W
    2070s - average game power consumption (per Tom's) is 212W
    So power draw per performance is comparable to Turing.
    Bit of a nitpick, but on average the 5700 XT's performance is a lot closer to the 2070 than the 2070S. The 2070 FE draws ~188W according to Tom's review. So the 5700 XT is still lagging a bit on efficiency.
    Reply
  • joeblowsmynose
    TJ Hooker said:
    Bit of a nitpick, but on average the 5700 XT's performance is a lot closer to the 2070 than the 2070S. The 2070 FE draws ~188W according to Tom's review. So the 5700 XT is still lagging a bit on efficiency.


    Fair enough, but I've seen reviews have it land anywhere between the two, sometimes right on the heels of 2070S - a bit over in a few titles.

    Tweaktown numbers over 5 games, 1080p, puts the 5700xt 5.55% behind 2070s (my math across all the games the tested). https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/9049/amd-radeon-rx-5700-xt-step-right-direction/index9.html Although I generally don't like to use one review only.

    Anyway, "very power hungry" seems to be a common sentiment with Navi - but I think that's just mostly carried over sentiment (rhetoric) from Vega.

    The higher the performance is pushed, the less efficient current Navi is. Its certainly not linear. And while I have been pressed to find the source (and can't seem to), I'm pretty sure I heard an AMD guy (maybe in a Full Nerds interview) say that current Navi is a GCN / Navi hybrid - and that their vision for full navi won't come until 2020 sometime. So there may be more efficiencies coming in the architecture down the road.

    On the flip side, the 5500xt is, I believe, a better performer than 1650super - so its more efficient at the lower levels. Vega is also surprisingly efficient at lower performance levels - hence why AMD is still using Vega in APUs (albeit, they've kept working on it and made it 59% more efficient at that level - according to the CES presentation)
    Reply
  • mcgge1360
    Lucky_SLS said:
    The gpu in Xbox project scarlet is claimed to offer twice the performance of the Xbox one. That's 12 TFLOPS. The RTX 2080ti has 13.45 TFLOPS performance.
    1205331072822718464View: https://twitter.com/AMD/status/1205331072822718464?s=19
    FLOPS doesn't mean performance in gaming. It means performance in compute. The RX 480 has the FLOPS of a GTX 1070 but the gaming performance of a GTX 1060. The xbox one X has similar power to an rx 480 and is AMD based as well. Twice the power would mean it's similar to a Vega 64 or RX 5700, not in a league CLOSE to a 2080ti. More like a 2060 Super.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    AMD does seem to have significantly improved their gaming performance to compute performance (FLOPS) ratio with Navi (although they're still behind Nvidia in this regard). If we assume that the new Xbox has twice the FLOPS as the One X, it could actually have more than double the gaming performance as the One X due to the improved Navi architecture.

    That being said, the exact quote I've found is "we're over 8 times the GPU power of the Xbox One, and two times what an Xbox One X is." So I don't know if we can say with certainty if that means twice the FLOPS or what.

    If we say that a 5700 XT is about on par with a 2070 while having ~30% higher FLOPS, if we apply that same ratio to the Xbox Series X FLOPs we end up with something a little better than a 2070 Super. Obviously this is a very crude, back of a napkin sort of estimate.
    Reply