AMD’s next generation of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards could be upon us soon, and some recent Linux patches for a mysterious as yet unannounced graphics card hint at the possible RDNA2 Big Navi GPU, codenamed ‘Sienna Cichlid’ in the patch files.
Sienna what now? Yes it seems like a very weird name, but developers often have to release patches and drivers in advance, and so it would be no surprise that using a mysterious codename could help mask what the product actually is, mostly to prevent leaks from going out.
However, no one would even bat an eyelid at the name or guess that it was a graphics card if it wasn’t for the sign off from Alex Deucher at AMD, stating that "Sienna Cichlid is a GPU from AMD," so much for being mysterious. The patch itself adds support for "power management, display, kfd, interrupts, gfx, multi-media,etc." The total of 207 patches give us a little indication as to some of the kind of features we can expect.
So what’s interesting here is that these Linux patches suggest the Sienna Cichlid is utilizing AMD’s VCN 3.0 (Video Core Next) for video encoding, and DCN3 (Display Core Next) for displays, instead of the existing 2.0 versions on previous Navi graphics cards like the Radeon RX 5000 series.
If this is indeed the case, then we could see the new GPUs in the market soon as we already know that AMD is planning to release their RDNA2 cards by the end of this year, and this would corroborate with the recent rumors of Nvidia and AMD’s next-gen graphics card coming out this September.
Nvidia managed to get a headstart on the market with their RTX graphics cards, whilst AMD struggled to come out with a competitive GPU that could offer similar performance and support ray tracing. But these new RDNA2 graphics cards could be a big enough jump, offering a similar 50% performance per watt increase over the RDNA1 architecture.
The 'Big Navi' by AMD refers to the flagship card coming out after AMDs current Navi Radeon RX 5000 generation graphics cards that we can buy today, and will most likely be a major upgrade from the RX 5700 XT and a direct competitor to the RTX 2080 Ti (or at least we hope).
What do you think? Could the Sienna Cichlid be AMD’s fabled Big Navi GPU? Are you excited for the RDNA2 lineup? Let us know!