AMD posted a blog detailing the way that the GPU boosting algorithm and thermal management systems work on the new Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards, just as the custom Navi cards are dropping.
There has been some mystery with how it all works but Mithun Chandrasekhar -- senior manager, product management, Radeon Technologies Group at AMD posted a lengthy and detailed blog on the official AMD website.
In the post, Chandrasekhar writes that with AMD taking its extensive network of thermal sensors spread out across the Navi GPU on the Radeon RX 5700 series cards to "intelligently monitor and tune performance in response to granular GPU activity in real-time".
He continues: "Paired with this array of sensors is the ability to identify the 'hotspot' across the GPU die. Instead of setting a conservative, 'worst case' throttling temperature for the entire die, the Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs will continue to opportunistically and aggressively ramp clocks until any one of the many available sensors hits the 'hotspot' or 'Junction' temperature of 110 degrees Celsius. Operating at up to 110C Junction Temperature during typical gaming usage is expected and within spec. This enables the Radeon RX 5700 series GPUs to offer much higher performance and clocks out of the box, while maintaining acoustic and reliability targets".
Now this is shocking for those who just saw the massive 110C number, but he did say that this is "expected and within spec". My testing with the reference Radeon RX 5700 XT (my review here) saw it reaching 84C and higher, while SAPPHIRE's new Radeon RX 5700 XT PULSE OC (my review here) runs much cooler at between 68-72C depending on the load.
I've got another custom Radeon RX 5700 XT review going up tomorrow, with some more thermal testing to be looked at. Once this review is out of the way we can take a deeper look at the thermal performance of the cards, and even test a custom Arctic Cooling solution I have on the way.
But however you shake it, 110C is a pretty insane height we're at right now... and this is on the 7nm node.
The post itself is quite detailed and worthy of the read, so check it out here.