AMD Unveils Radeon RX 5700, 5700XT: New Navi GPUs to Tackle Turing

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AMD announced its new Radeon GPUs at E3 last night. The new Radeon RX 5700 and 5700XT are positioned as responses to Nvidia’s RTX 2060 and 2070 family, rather than a frontal assault on the RTX 2080. As previously rumored, the Radeon VII will remain in-market against the RTX 2080.

Navi, however, appears to be a significant leap forward for AMD on multiple fronts. We’ll have an architectural deep dive coming in the near future, but for now, let’s look at the speeds, feeds, and competitive positioning. All slides may be clicked to open a larger version in a new window.

5700XT-Stats
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The Radeon 5700XT is a 40 CU design, with 2,560 stream processors, 9.75TFLOPs of floating-point performance, and substantially higher clocks than anything we’ve seen before. The new RDNA architecture from AMD, which finally replaces GCN, is substantially more efficient than its predecessor, with a 1.25x projected uplift in performance-per-clock. TDP on the 5700XT is 225W, compared with 295W on Vega 64. Power delivery is via one 8-pin and one six-pin connector.

Radeon-5700-Stats
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The Radeon 5700 is a 36 CU design with 2,304 stream processors and the same 8GB RAM pool as the 5700 XT. As anticipated, there’s no sign of HBM on these products. The 5700 has a 180W TDP and the same 1x 8-pin + 1x 6-pin power delivery system.

The RDNA Architecture

According to AMD, its new RDNA architecture is a major improvement over GCN, with substantial improvements to performance-per-clock, raw clock speed, and performance-per-watt.

Navi-Gains
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The 1.25x improvement in performance per watt isn’t in lieu of clock speed gains but in addition to them. This is a good moment to talk about AMD’s newly defined clocking scheme, so let’s discuss that.

The base clock on these cards is equivalent to what you’ll see if you run a power virus type of workload on them, like Furmark. The “Game Clock” is a conservative estimate of the clock you’ll see when running actual titles over significant periods of time. According to AMD, this is not the median GPU clock rate over time while gaming — it’s actually a bit lower than that, to allow for silicon and cooling variations from system to system. AMD derived its Game Clock values by measuring average in-game GPU clock speeds across 25 separate games.

The Boost Clock is an opportunistic clock that the GPU

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will try to hit when possible. Even this value doesn’t represent the maximum potential speed (AMD referred to this as “near-max”). The GPU clocks are substantially higher than anything we’ve seen from AMD before, thanks to improvements in the underlying architecture and overall design. (We’ll get into these in far more detail in the days ahead.)

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According to AMD, the improvements in power consumption give RDNA a 1.5x performance boost in power-constrained environments when compared with an equivalent GCN configuration. The shift to 7nm is responsible for a bit more than 20 percent of the overall gain, with design-level frequency and power improvements accounting for ~15-18 percent. The majority of the improvements are the result of boosting the execution efficiency of the GPU core. As a teaser for the deep dive we’ll be writing: RDNA can execute instructions every cycle, compared with GCN, which took a minimum of four cycles. The net result of these improvements is a GPU that’s substantially more efficient than the cards it replaces, allowing for a substantial performance improvement and simultaneous power consumption decrease.

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AMD expects the Radeon 5700XT to offer performance approximately 1.14x faster than Vega 64, while drawing 23 percent less power. The rated TDPs on the 5700XT and 5700 are still higher than their Nvidia counterparts, but TDP is not a stand-in for power consumption; we’ll have to actually test the hardware to see how the GPUs compare. The improvement in performance-per-area is substantial. Vega 64 was a 495mm2 part, while Navi is a 251mm2 part. The RTX 2060 and 2070, in contrast, are 445mm2.

These gains should put the 5700XT a bit above the GTX 1080 and on par with the RTX 2070 in terms of overall performance. AMD also told us that it has heard our feedback in terms of reference cooler noise.

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Not only do the 5700 and 5700XT both use shrouded blowers that exhaust heat out of the system, but AMD also promises that they’ve locked the blower to a 43dbA volume. (It isn’t clear if that’s absolute maximum volume or the maximum volume provided you don’t manually set the fan to 100 percent). That should address one of the consistent complaints about AMD’s own reference cards — namely, that they’re often substantially louder than the competition under load. New buyers will receive a card redeemable for a three-month subscription to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for PC service.

We’ll have much more to say about Navi and its underlying architecture in the days ahead. The GPU appears to have taken a substantial step forward in cutting AMD’s power consumption relative to Nvidia and appears to hit a better performance/watt target than Radeon VII did.

Both cards are priced to move, assuming their performance figures land as indicated. The Radeon RX 5700XT will be available for $ 449, while the RX 5700 is a $ 379 GPU. The RX 5700 is priced significantly above current RTX 2060 cards, which retail for $ 335 at the bottom of the market. The RX 5700XT is a $ 450 card, compared with the ~$ 500 price of the RTX 2070. A $ 500 50th Anniversary of the card will also be available.

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