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AMD RDNA Navi 31 uncovered in Big Sur beta code: multi-chip MCM design on the cards?

Tipster @_rogame recently found what appear to be references to an as-yet-unseen RDNA part, codenamed Navi 31, in driver code for Apple’s Big Sur macOS 11 beta.

The Navi 31 reference sits alongside references to MI100 and MI200, AMD’s upcoming Radeon Instinct server-oriented GPUs, succeeding the MI25. What’s truly interesting, though, is corroborative evidence from Igor’s Lab that indicates that MI200, in particular, could be implemented as an MCM (multi-chip module) design.

The 5700XT, the first commercial RDNA card on the market

With AMD now on the fourth generation of Ryzen products, their MCM approach, at least on the CPU side, is relatively mature. Looking at interviews with AMD’s then GPU lead Raja Koduri, it appears that Team Red has been seriously considering MCM designs for GPUs since at least 2015. According to Igor’s Lab, AMD internally refers to single and multi-chip variants of the MI200.

With a bit of speculation, it wouldn’t be hard to see MCM designs coming to consumer-oriented GPUs as well: if AMD’s already doing this for servers, there’s nothing infeasible about it from a technology perspective. If this is true, Navi 31 – and other high-end upcoming RDNA2 GPUs – could make use of multiple GPU dies for an unprecedented boost to overall capabilities. 

Arjun

Penguin-published author, and journalist. Loves PC hardware but has terrible hand-eye coordination. Most likely to be found playing Total War or watching weird Russian sitcoms.

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