Even with all of the leaks and rumors, there is quite a bit of intrigue surrounding Navi, the next-generation GPU architecture that AMD is planning to launch later this year. We have heard it could be a mid-range solution, and there are rumblings that it will compete at the high-end of spectrum. Which is correct? Perhaps both, according to the latest chatter.
Paul CrimsonRayne from RedGamingTech posted an interesting video on YouTube in which he outlines the scuttlebutt surrounding Navi. More than just loose gossip, though, Paul claims to have come across information about Navi from a source who has "proven to be extremely reliable in the past."
According to what the source told Paul, AMD will launch two versions of Navi. The first is Navi 10, and that will debut this year. The aim with Navi 10, as the story is told, is to fix issues with AMD's GCN architecture. Navi 10 will be a lower cost, mid-range solution, offering performance perhaps up to the level of a GeForce RTX 2070, minus ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) support. However, there is a version of Navi that will implement ray tracing hardware, Paul says.
According to the supposedly reliable source, Navi 20 will come out next year and will be a higher end solution. What is most interesting, however, is that AMD is said to be implementing its own ray tracing hardware. It's not clear how this will differ from NVIDIA's RT cores, though we presume AMD's solution will work with Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API.
The source of this information does not have all of the details, but says that AMD's ray tracing technology is looking "extremely impressive" at this early stage. If true, that is good news, considering that AMD still has a year to tweak and fine tune whatever it is working on.
Of course, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical. Vega, for example, did not prove to be a disrupting force in the GPU space as many had hoped. Even now, the Radeon VII feels more like an afterthought than a card that AMD is heavily promoting.
That's fair, though Paul points out that former Radeon Technologies Group boss Raja Koduri joined the team when Vega's design was already close to completion. The targets were always Navi and beyond, for AMD to be truly competitive again. Koduri is now gone, having left AMD and joined Intel to lead its own efforts in discrete graphics, but Navi lives on.
How this all plays out remains to be seen, but if everything Paul and his source said are true, then 2021 is when things will get really interesting in the GPU space, at least from AMD's perspective.