Mini Tech-Babble #8: Navi 10 succeeds Polaris 10. Sash thoughts on Radeon GPU succession.

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

Some people are comparing Navi 14 to Polaris 10 and being disappointed by the relatively minor (~20%) performance uplift. Yes, I've been reading some dumbass comment sections again. I really should stop doing that. Anyway, I wanted to make a post on this subject so here it is.

Navi 14 is not the successor chip design to Polaris 10. Navi 14 actually succeeds Polaris 11 (Baffin), which powers the RX 460 and 560 series. In terms of die size and configuration. Navi 10 is the successor chip to Polaris 10 (not Vega 10). In AMD's historical GPU 'class'. Let's compare them.

Mid-size class

Polaris 10:

  • ~232 mm² @ 14nm

  • 5.7 billion transistors

  • 256-bit GDDR5 Memory Interface

  • 36 CU (2304 SP)

Navi 10:

  • ~251 mm² @ 7nm

  • 10.3 billion transistors

  • 256-bit GDDR6 Memory Interface

  • 40 CU (2560 SP)

High-end Class

Vega 10:

  • ~495 mm² @ 14nm

  • 12.5 billion transistors

  • 2048-bit HBM2 Memory Interface

  • 64CU (4096 SP)

Navi 12: (Speculation)

  • ~400-500 mm² @ 7nm

  • ~18-20 billion transistors

  • 2048-bit HBM2 Memory Interface(?)

  • 64CU (4096 SP) (?)

Entry Class

Polaris 11:

  • ~123 mm² @ 14nm

  • 3 billion transistors

  • 128-bit GDDR5 Memory Interface

  • 16 CU (1024 SP)

Navi 14:

  • ~158 mm² @ 7nm

  • 6.4 billion transistors

  • 128-bit GDDR6 Memory Interface

  • 24 CU (1536 SP)

Here is my arrangement of these Polaris, Vega and Navi (including a speculative spec of the "Big Navi", this is my speculation not a fact or a leak, so please take it as such). As you can clearly see, the Navi 14 chip is in the same class as the Polaris 11 chip, in tertms of size, memory configuration and compute unit count. I'd like to also point out, that successor chips tend to have almost twice the transistors, that represents some form of Moore's Law and progress of performance.

Replacement is not Succession

Navi 14 will 'replace' Polaris 10 / 20 / 30 tier performance, but at a lower price and lower power draw. It is not the successor to that chip, so don't think AMD has basically not pushed the envelope with Navi. If you want to compare progression with Navi, you may compare Polaris 10 (RX 480) with Navi 10 (RX 5700 XT) and see that the performance uplift often in excess of 2X, with only slightly higher power consumption.

Likewise, Navi 10 'replaces' Vega 10 in terms of performance at a lower price (it is slightly faster ~20%) but it does not succeed Vega 10. We will see a much larger RDNA-based GPU with almost twice the transistors of Vega 10 soon. That will represent progression for Radeon

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