AMD’s reasons for embracing USB-C on Big Navi are unknown for the moment. With the proliferation of USB-C monitors in the last couple of years, the most obvious explanation would be to accommodate the new wave of monitors. Nevertheless, AMD will likely give us the low-down real soon on October 28, which is when chipmaker has scheduled its Radeon RX 6000 announcement.
One eagle-eyed Redditor spotted a new patch for AMD’s open-source AMDGPU driver for Linux that adds support for the USB-C interface. The patch mentions Sienna Cichlid, which is the rumored codename for AMD’s Navi 21-based graphics card. It’s not like it’s the first time that AMD is incorporating USB-C on a graphics card either. The Radeon Pro W5700, which is powered by Navi 10, comes equipped with a USB-C port. However, this might be the first time that the chipmaker is putting one on a gaming graphics card.
Despite popular belief, the USB-C port on Nvidia’s previous GeForce RTX 20-series (codename Turing) graphics cards wasn’t some specialized interface for VirtualLink. It was just your everyday USB-C interface that Nvidia conveniently adopted to support VR headsets, a feature that never took off. In fact, you could use it like any other USB-C port to connect your headphones, external SSD enclosures or USB 3.0 hubs, charge your Android smartphone, etc.