IT SEEMS LIKE every new generation of GPU from AMD is supposed to be the chosen one. Navi, Vega, Polaris, Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti, Cayman—if those names don’t mean anything to you, they’re the codenames for everything from HD 6000 up through to RX 5000. Many were good, but few were unequivocally great. But this time is going to be different, or so the story goes. Could RDNA 2 and Big Navi finally put AMD ahead of Nvidia at the top of the GPU stack?
After seeing the RTX 30-series Ampere GPUs launch over the past few months, we were skeptical. Nvidia doubled down on FP32, Tensor core, and ray-tracing performance. Leaked AMD specs for Navi 21 looked decent, but nowhere near enough to take down Ampere. Then AMD started talking about its new Infinity Cache, and we remembered the hype around Vega’s High-Bandwidth Cache Controller: much ado about… well, not nothing, but not much either.
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