AMD promises very heavily for its next graphics cards

During the AMD Financial Analyst Day conference, the company gave news about all its projects. Perhaps the most anticipated is the new generation AMD RDNA 3 graphics cards.

Source: AMD

AMD has managed to make a name for itself in the field of processors against ARM and Intel for several years now. On the other hand, the results in the graphics card sector are more mixed. Admittedly, AMD is constantly evolving and has managed to reposition itself as a competitor with the RDNA 2 generation, but the company is still lagging behind Nvidia in many respects.

Worse, it now sees Apple and Intel arriving on their land with their own solutions. Not everything is bleak for AMD’s graphics division, which nevertheless benefits from the large game console market: PlayStation, Xbox and Steam Deck consoles integrate AMD solutions.

AMD Financial Analyst Day 2022 (1)
Source: AMD

The brand now needs to continue this rapid progress with the next-generation RDNA 3. This was essentially what it was able to promise at its Financial Analyst Day conference intended to take stock of its investor roadmap.

+50% performance per watt

RDNA 3 is the name of the next architecture for AMD Radeon RX 7000 graphics cards and will therefore compete with future Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000s. This isn’t a conference dedicated to graphics cards and AMD didn’t go into detail about the RDNA 3 architecture, but the initial information is reassuring.

Source: AMD

First, AMD promises a move to 5nm manufacturing, likely the TSMC N5 process. This change should already provide the brand with a huge optimization surplus compared to the TSMC 7N used with the RDNA 2 architecture. This is a huge leap forward and the second in two generations since AMD already offered RDNA 2 a 50% boost over RDNA 1.

Some of you may be wondering what this energy efficiency is all about. It’s simply the relationship between performance and power consumption, also referred to as “Performance/Watts”, an indicator widely used by AMD and Nvidia. The larger this ratio, the better the card’s performance.

The performance per watt is a very important factor for a graphics chip. A gain of more than 50% means that graphics cards consume much less with equal performance for laptops or much more efficient desktop PCs.

The first GPU with a “chiplet” design

To achieve this efficiency gain, AMD mentions an optimization of the “Graphics Pipeline” and an architecture change for the “Compute Units”, the main execution cores of a Radeon graphics card. The company did not go into detail on these points. We hope that the new Compute Units will do better with the calculations of ray tracingthe major weakness of RDNA 2.

More interestingly, AMD is confirming years of rumors by promising that RDNA 3 will be the generation of the “chiplet” design. This is a more modern way of designing a processor that has already been used by AMD for its Zen processors. The chiplet design makes it possible to create a modular chip that is easier to design and manufacture compared to a monolithic design. However, it is a very difficult principle to apply to graphics chips because of the mass of data that must be sent and processed in parallel, compared to a more conventional central processor.

AMD is therefore tackling this topic, which could give it a clear edge over its competitors if the company succeeds in implementing it. The industry agrees that chiplet design represents the future of graphics chips and AMD could be the first to achieve this position for such a powerful graphics chip. It remains to be seen how the company solved this data processing problem to create a chiplet design. Perhaps the brand uses technology similar to Apple UltraFusion, the solution Apple used to create the Apple M1 Ultra by connecting two Apple M1 Max chips.

AMD Financial Analyst Day 2022 (2)
Source: AMD

It is clear that AMD will not stop launching the RDNA 3 Radeon RX 7000 graphics cards, which is planned for the end of 2022. The company is already promising the launch of the RDNA 4 architecture by 2024. Production will happen on a advanced process “, without further details. AMD probably does not want to commit to a production capacity that mainly depends on the developments of TSMC.

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