Wednesday, December 7

AMD’s next-generation GPU started on a napkin | Digital Trends Spanish


Have you ever imagined the process of creating the blueprint for a new piece of PC hardware? If you’re picturing a group of engineers and a whiteboard, you’re probably not wrong, but sometimes it all starts with a small idea jotted down during a slow meeting.

That seems to be the case with the upcoming RX 7900XTX and RX 7900XT from AMD. AMD experts talked about the process of creating the new GPUs, which will soon rival some of Nvidia’s best graphics cards.

It’s been a big year for AMD, with the groundbreaking 3D V-Cache Ryzen 5800X3D, the next-generation Ryzen 7000, and last but not least, the RDNA 3 GPUs. In the case of the RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT, the beasts that Standing at the top of AMD’s new line of graphics cards, it’s safe to say that the cards had rather humble beginnings. According to AMD Fellow Andy Pomianowski, the initial idea for the new RDNA 3 architecture was conceived on a bit of napkin and a notepad found in a hotel.

“We’ve been very successful in the server and desktop market, and the application of that technology to GPUs wasn’t obvious,” Sam Naffziger, AMD Corporate Fellow, told PC Gamer.

AMD has made some pretty significant architectural changes with the move to RDNA 3. Graphics cards now come with chiplets, bringing AMD’s Ryzen technology into GPU territory, but in a very different way. Graphics cards will come with a die containing all the graphics cores and then several dies dedicated to memory storage and Infinity Cache (each holding 16MB). AMD called the GPU core chip the Graphics Compute Chip (GCD) and the memory controller chip the Memory Cache Chip (MCD).

This is a big change, but it initially grew out of what appears to have been a boring off-site meeting for Naffziger. Referring to the meeting, he said: “There was one where we were sitting there thinking, my mind is working in the background, and just thinking about all the technological challenges and options. So I started scratching on a little hotel pad there, which nobody usually uses, but from time to time they come in handy.”

The design of the compute unit in RDNA 3 GPUs.

According to PC Gamer, Naffziger sketched out something akin to the GCD and MCD duo now powering next-gen graphics cards. Pomianowski liked the idea well enough to carry it out. “Start with a napkin. Then it’s PowerPoint, and then the engineering teams just do it,” Pomianowski quipped, simplifying what must have been hundreds of hours of work for AMD’s engineering team.

AMD not only introduced a completely new architecture, but also made each MCD much smaller than the GCD, thus increasing performances. This could improve the supply level once the initial hype subsides.

Although AMD won’t be trading blows with Nvidia’s champion RTX 4090, it has a good chance of being highly competitive against the RTX 4080, at a much lower price point. The GPU market is heating up and the next few months should be interesting.

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