AMD next-generation “Navi” graphics architecture is being eagerly awaited after the company one-upped Intel with its Threadripper CPUs. However, despite gaining momentum against its rival in CPU technology, it is still adopting traditional technology for its upcoming graphics cards.
Gamers have traditionally preferred multi-card setups to boost the performance of their gaming rigs. But it has always been a headache for game developers and graphics card makers to support multi-card setups. Hence AMD was rumored to be working on infusing multiple processing chips onto a single graphics card. While in theory this seemed like a great idea, practically, the Multi-Chip Module or MCM increased complications without significantly contributing to bettering gaming performance. Hence the latest “Navi” architecture for consumer graphics cards will stick to traditional, singular GPU setup. Unlike its CPU brethren, the powerful Threadripper, Navi won’t adopt MCM architecture.
Why Won’t AMD Adopt MCM Despite Its Proven Track Record?
AMD’s “Infinity Fabric technology”, adopted for its latest Ryzen-series CPUs worked exceptionally well without significantly jacking up prices. Akin to next generation HyperTransport or HT 2.0, this technology significantly boosted the bandwidth of the Threadripper CPUs as well as Vega GPUs making them technologically potent while staying economically viable. But CPUs work very differently than GPUs. Given the non-linear nature of graphics card performance, AMD chose to follow the traditional route of maintaining one processor chip per die.
Although CrossFire Multi-GPU setup was quite popular with gamers, game developers and AMD always had a tough time ensuring equitable performance boost in games. Additionally, games seldom truly supported the multi-chip technology. In fact, many applications and games still treat or view the Ryzen CPUs as single processor unit despite featuring more.
Needless to say, without the software or games fully supporting and utilizing multiple chips simultaneously, this technology isn’t useful. Hence AMD as well as Nvdia have chosen to scale down development and production of multi-GPU cards.
Will AMD and Nvidia Abandon Multi-GPU Architecture?
Although games don’t tap into the full potential, data centers and professional computing platforms direly need Radeon’s unified CPU architecture, and will benefit from MCM graphics cards. Hence it is quite likely that the companies will soon offer MCM-based products to professionals, while staying with single-chip architecture for the gaming industry.
Along with CPUs, Graphics chips are rapidly moving towards smaller and more efficient die sizes. The Vega chips that are currently manufactured on 14nm will soon move on to 7nm processing line. AMD is about to manufacture Navi GPUs with the same die size. Hence industry insiders speculate multi-card setups could soon become a rarity for gamers.