Navi Refresh & RDNA2 Scheduled For 2020, AMD Reveal
AMD released their final financial disclosures of 2019 overnight, summing up both fourth quarter and full year performance. The results were predictably good; Q4 revenue was up an impressive 50% YoY, and overall FY 2019 revenue reached $6.73bn, up 4% on 2018. All this was also on the back of improved margins and better net income, whilst also reducing AMD's principal debt level. As we start 2020 AMD look to be going from strength to strength on the back of the broad portfolio of Ryzen CPUs in both consumer and Enterprise sectors.
During CES it was revealed that AMD's 4000-series APUs would be launched in consumer notebooks in the near future. The chips are a twist on the familiar Zen 2 architecture found in Ryzen 3000-series CPUs: based on the architecture, but utilising a modified monolithic design that incorporates Vega Graphics Compute Units. It will take the fight to Intel in the mobile space, competing more strongly on power efficiency than was the case with prior generations in a field that Intel have had to themselves for more than a decade. Little, however, has been said thus far about AMD's other product range that's relatively weak versus the competition: graphics.
Yesterday's investor briefing by AMD's CEO finally laid out some of their 2020 plans for Radeon Graphics. Dr Su stated that 2nd Generation RDNA graphics architecture would debut in 2020, and that the current generation of Navi GPUs would be refreshed. More detail was not disclosed, but it seems fair to expect that the 5700-series and below will transition to TSMC's updated 7nm+ process and an updated naming scheme. The statement was not however an admission that a flagship RTX 2080 Ti-killer was on its way, even if persistent rumours lean in that direction.
A veritable horse and cart can be driven through what hasn't been disclosed here. The assumption is that 2nd Generation RDNA will debut in desktop GPUs first, but there's an outside chance that the architecture is utilised in next-generation consoles where they will be premiered late in the year. Furthermore, the capabilities of Radeon's architectural update are unknown outside AMD; does it incorporate hardware real-time ray tracing optimisations for instance, and is it compatible with any of the increasing number of Variable Rate Shading techniques introduced over the last 14 months? Even a next-gen 'Big Navi' that defeats NVIDIA's best in pure rasterisation performance may well be left behind without these new features.
These will be major concerns for the near future. Nonetheless, 2019 was an exceptional year for AMD. Now they need to solidify and extend their position against a wounded Intel and dominant NVIDIA.
SOURCE: AMD FY2019 results