2019 will be remembered as the year when AMD made a comeback to the CPU market with all guns blazing, setting Intel’s shares on fire. With the Ryzen 3000 processors, AMD is offering IPC on par with Intel’s latest products at lower price points and with higher core counts. The Epyc Rome CPUs have also started eroding Intel’s long-held monopoly in the server market. Now that Intel is taken are of, team red will be looking to re-establish a foothold in the high-end graphics card market. The company already launched the RDNA based Navi 10 GPUs (RX 5700 series) earlier this year to compete in the upper midrange market, but the top-end space is more or less ruled by NVIDIA.
AMD seems to be preparing to recapture the enthusiast space from NVIDIA with its Navi 20 (codename subject to change) based on the 2nd Gen RDNA architecture. This design will completely ditch GCN’s last vestiges and move to a more gaming-focused structure, favoring low latency and high clockspeed.
According to upcoming Linux graphics drivers, AMD might have already finalized its Navi 20 parts, with the drivers mentioning Navi 21, 22 and 23. If we go by the 1st Gen Navi naming-scheme, then the Navi 21 should be the flagship, but considering that it’s labeled as Navi 20 lite, there’s a good chance that that won’t be the case.
The driver files also mention Navi 12 Lite but we still don’t know anything about Big Navi based on the 1st Gen RDNA architecture. So, these lite versions are probably custom GPU solutions similar to the ones powering the consoles or perhaps a mobility graphics device.
From what we know, 2nd Gen Navi should launch in the second half of 2020 with products challenging NVIDIA’s entire lineup. By then, NVIDIA’s 7nm Ampere graphics cards will also be here (with beefed up raytracing capabilities) and so will Intel’s Xe graphics cards. The graphics card market is preparing for a major shakeup. For the first time in almost a decade, there will be three major competitors fighting for gamers’ favor. Good times ahead!