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AMD Unveils 2nd Gen RDNA Radeon RX 6000 Graphics Cards – Double the Performance, 50% Energy Efficiency, and Support Ray Tracing

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On October 28, AMD held its second fall presentation (October 8, the Ryzen 5000 desktop CPU based on the Zen 3 architecture debuted) – tonight show dedicated entirely to the Radeon RX 6000 (Navi 2X) family of graphics cards with the 2nd generation RDNA architecture. GPUs on the same architecture are used in the hardware platforms of the Xbox Series X | S and PlayStation 5 game consoles.

As expected, the Radeon RX 6000 series is initially represented by three models: the Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT and RX 6800. All of them are based on the advanced AMD Navi 21 GPU in various configurations.

With the new series, the “red” chipmaker intends to rebuff the eternal “green” rival on all fronts. Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 are direct competitors of the already well-known NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070. Will AMD’s plans succeed only after independent reviews are released, but for now let’s sum up the presentation of Lisa Su and her team …

Graphic microarchitecture RDNA 2

One of the key innovations of the RDNA 2 architecture, which is an evolutionary development of the first generation RDNA used in the Radeon RX 5000 (Navi) adapters, is the Infinity Cache technology (in tune with the Infinity Fabric bus used to transfer data between CCX core complexes and the input chiplet). output per generation in Ryzen processors). The video buffer of all new products is represented by 16 GB of GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit bus – the Infinity Cache technology (a special 128 MB cache), according to AMD, provides an increase in bandwidth (2.17x) while simultaneously reducing (0.9x) power consumption.

Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards fully support the latest DirectX 12 Ultimate graphics API, including hardware-accelerated ray tracing (there are special blocks for this), as well as Microsoft DirectStorage technology, which debuted in Xbox Series X | S – rational loading of textures from SSD directly into video memory, bypassing processor and RAM (similar to NVIDIA RTX IO). In addition, AMD is working on an analogue of DLSS technology.

You can also highlight the new Rage Mode utility for simple one-click overclocking and the Radeon Boost input lag reduction technology. At the presentation, company representatives showed the benefit from using the FreeSync and Radeon Boost tandem using the example of Fortnite – a decrease in latency by 23 ms (up to 40 ms). In addition, owners of a Ryzen 5000 CPU will be able to take advantage of Smart Access Memory technology – it synchronizes the CPU and GPU, opening the first direct access to video memory to increase performance, including in games.

Combined with other architectural improvements and optimizations, AMD was able to achieve a 30% improvement in specific performance over first-generation RDNA, as well as a 54% better performance / watt ratio. Comparing the speed of RDNA 2 with the first generation, the company representatives claim a two-fold superiority.

The release of GPUs with RDNA 2 architecture for Radeon RX 6000 video cards is carried out at TSMC factories using 7nm technology. The advanced process technology allowed for increased frequencies and performance while keeping power consumption at a relatively low level. In terms of energy consumption, the Radeon RX 6000 even outstrips the competitors of the RTX 3000 series – the nominal TGP level (total graphics power) of the Radeon RX 6800 XT is 300 W versus 320 W for the RTX 3080.

Radeon RX 6000 Series Graphics Cards

The Navi 21 XTX GPU at the heart of the flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT contains 26.7 billion transistors. That is, it is about the same size as the NVIDIA GA102 GPU. Navi 21 XTX has 80 compute units or 5120 stream processors. The operating frequency is from 2015 to 2250 MHz in dynamic overclocking.

The pre-top model Radeon RX 6800 XT is content with a Navi 21 XT crystal, operating 4608 stream processors with an operating frequency of 2015 to 2250 MHz. The nominal heat pack is declared at 300 W.

The youngest representative of the new line of gaming video cards in the person of the Radeon RX 6800 is limited to 4096 stream processors operating at a frequency of 1815 to 2105 MHz. The nominal TDP is 250 watts.

The reference design Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards have a cooling system with three ~ 90mm fans. For image output, there are two DisplayPort 1.4 interfaces, as well as one HDMI 2.1 and Type-C. two 8-pin connectors are used to connect an additional power supply. There is a reinforcing plate on the back of the cards.

As for the recommended prices, the Radeon video cards turned out to be cheaper than the opponents from the “green” camp: in the reference version, the RX 6900 XT will cost $ 999, the RX 6800 XT will cost $ 650, and the RX 6800 will cost $ 580.

Detailed technical characteristics of the first Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards compared to the predecessors of the Radeon RX 5700 are shown in the table below.

Video card Radeon RX
6900 XT
Radeon RX
6800 XT
Radeon RX
6800
Radeon RX
5700 XT
Radeon RX
5700
Core Navi 21 XTX Navi 21 XT Navi 21 XL Navi 10 XT Navi 10 XL
Architecture RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA RDNA
Technological process, nm 7 7 7 7 7
Number of transistors, billion pieces 26.8 26.8 26.8 10.3 10.3
Infinity Cache, MB 128 128 128
Number of Computing Units (CU) 80 62 64 40 36
Number of stream processors 5120 4608 3840 2560 2304
Number of texture units 320 288 240 160 144
Render Output Unit (ROP) 128 128 96 64 64
Number of blocks to speed up ray tracing 80 72 60
Boost frequency, MHz 2250 2250 2105 1905 1725
Game frequency, MHz 2015 2015 1815 1755 1625
Memory type GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6
Memory capacity, GB sixteen sixteen sixteen 8 8
Memory frequency, MHz 16,000 16,000 14,000 14,000 14,000
Memory bus, bit 256 256 256 256 256
Computing power (FP32), TFlops 23.04 20.74 16.17 9.75 7.95
Interface PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 4.0 PCI-E 4.0
Power, W 300 300 250 225 180
release date 8 December 2020 18 November 2020 18 November 2020 July 7, 2019 July 7, 2019
Recommended cost, USD $ 999 $ 649 $ 579 $ 399 $ 349

Performance tests Radeon RX 6000

The company backed up its claim for success with the results of its own tests (below). The presentation also showed a fragment of the Godfall gameplay with ray tracing and interviews with the developers of FarCry 6, Dirt 5 and WoW Shadowlands, who told about DirectX 12 Ultimate support in their own games.

Full recording of the presentation at 1080p60

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