AMD RDNA graphics architecture whitepaper reveals the Radeon RX 5700's deepest secrets

Grab a coffee, this'll take a while.

Credit: Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards kicked off a new era for AMD, and not just because they're great cards. The “Navi” graphics processors beating in their heart are the first GPUs built using the cutting-edge 7nm manufacturing process, and more importantly for AMD, they mark the debut of the company’s new underlying “RDNA” architecture, which replaces the “Graphics Core Next” architecture that has powered Radeon GPUs since 2012. On Wednesday, AMD brought a treat for graphics geeks, in the form of a PDF whitepaper revealing RDNA’s technical details.

You won’t find much new if you’ve been paying close attention to the Radeon RX 5700’s launch, but AMD goes deep on everything from the philosophy behind RDNA’s creation – the scalar architecture will be found in everything from mobile devices to higher-end enthusiast graphics cards – to the benefits of Wave32 execution and independent shader arrays.

rdna simd radeon AMD

Yup, it gets nerdy fast.

If you don’t know what those last two terms mean, consider checking out our Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT review for higher-level talk about RDNA’s benefits, or the excellent Gamers Nexus interview with chip analyst David Kanter embedded below. But if you can wrap your brain around highly technical GPU talk, grab a coffee and settle in. It’s a fun read, and a glimpse into Radeon’s future.

“Thanks to AMD’s wide influence and extensive partnerships, the RDNA architecture will roll out and eventually touch nearly every part of the industry,” the whitepaper concludes. “The RDNA family will ultimately grow to include power-constrained smartphone and tablet processors, gaming consoles, cloud gaming services, and a full spectrum of gaming GPUs from low-cost to the highest performance, bringing the benefits of the RDNA architecture to millions of devices and people across the planet.”

You can download the RDNA whitepaper (PDF) on AMD’s website.

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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