AMD RDNA2 Graphics Architecture to Offer 50% Gain over RDNA

When AMD debuted their 7nm RDNA graphics architecture in July 2019 it achieved an almost 50% gain in performance/watt over the previous Vega architecture. During its 2020 Financial Analyst Day presentation AMD said that their upcoming RDNA2 architecture will offer a similar 50% performance/watt increase over RDNA. The RDNA2 architecture will be based off the 7nm+ (7 nm EUV) process which offers up to an 18% transistor density over 7nm DUV.

To remain competitive with AMD will be leveraging both real-time ray-tracing and variable-rate shading. Both of these have been standardized by Microsoft under DirectX 12 DXR and VRS APIs. RDNA2 will have dedicated ray-tracing hardware on-die and will use the industry-standard DXR 1.1 API on the software side.

Variable-rate shading has been missing out on AMD hardware. It allows graphics applications to apply different rates of shading detail to different areas of the 3D scene being rendered to conserve system resources. NVIDIA and Intel already use VRS tier-1 standardized by Microsoft and AMD “Turing” GPUs go a step further to support VRS tier-2. AMD however did not detail its VRS tier support.

AMD plans to release RDNA2 on everything from desktop discrete graphics to mobile (notebook / tablet), and even for cloud graphics. AMD finally touched on next-generation RDNA3 graphics architecture. Not much was revealed, but we do know that it will be based on a more advanced node than 7nm and will come out some time between 2021 and 2022. RDNA2 will cover AMD client products over the next 5-6 calendar quarters.

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