AMD Ryzen 6000 chips are in line for a massive GPU overhaul

Ryzen 5 5600X
(Image credit: Future)

A new rumour has emerged claiming Zen 3+ is not only very much alive and well, but will be paired with RDNA 2 graphics for AMD's Ryzen 6000 Rembrandt APUs. We've been waiting for AMD to release an update to the graphics cores in its APU lineup for a while now, and if this turns out to be true, then it would make for a serious all-in-one package that has the potential to play games at decent frame rates and resolutions.

The latest rumour originates from ExecutableFix, who tweeted on May 8 that Rembrandt uses RDNA 2 and has a maximum of 12 compute units (CUs). This follows a tweet on April 30 saying Rembrandt would employ Zen 3+ using TSMC's 6nm production process.

A couple of weeks ago we reported the refresh to Zen 3, aka Zen 3+, had disappeared from AMD's roadmaps at least with respect to its mainstream CPU line-up (codenamed Warhol). That refresh was expected to land in the fall, but it didn't allow for the other potential Zen 3+ refresh, namely AMD's APU line.

Unlike Intel, which has integrated graphics in most of its chips, AMD reserves its integrated graphics for the mobile and desktop APU lines. Until now these APUs have stuck with AMD's Vega architecture, which is starting to show its age. Even so, the likes of the Ryzen 5 3400G, which has 11 Vega CUs, can run the latest games, such as Resident Evil Village at respectable framerates, albeit at 720p.

The expectation was that we would see the first generation of AMD's RDNA architecture make its way into APUs before making the leap to its very latest graphics tech. This rumour suggests this won't be the case, although Rembrandt isn't expected to make an appearance until 2022, so there's still time.

Having said that, AMD has just introduced a whole new family of APUs, with its Ryzen 5000 G-Series, although these are initially only for OEMs, with the promise that they will be coming to DIY builders later in the year. These new chips are only Vega-powered though, and the promise of RDNA 2 integrated graphics in Ryzen 6000 series chips is a big enough improvement to make it worth waiting for.

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RDNA 2 is what you'll find powering the likes of the impressive Radeon RX 6800 XT, and while that may have a lot more cores on offer, 72 compute units to be exact, the underlying architecture scales well. One of the magic ingredients of RDNA 2 though, is the Infinity Cache, but I can't see there being room for that in the already cramped space of an APU. We'll have to see how this plays out. 

Rembrandt is also expected to offer support for DDR5 and PCIe 4.0 and thus be AMD's first APUs to use its next-gen AM5 platform. It almost sounds too good to be true, but a lot of this tech is already out there, or on the cards, so it's certainly all possible. Here's hoping the rumours are true.

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.