AMD Big Navi is officially being unveiled on October 28, just a bit over a month after Nvidia showed its Ampere graphics cards to the world. But because AMD likes little surprises, we actually got a bit of a sneak peek of the Radeon RX 6000 series at the AMD Ryzen 5000 unveiling back on October 8.
AMD is angling these upcoming graphics cards to finally compete with Nvidia at the high end, but it remains to be seen whether or not Team Red can match the gargantuan performance of the GeForce RTX 3080. However, with the performance hints dropped by Lisa Su earlier in October, we might finally see competition return to the high end – which will be good for everyone.
AMD RDNA 2 will also be the graphics architecture behind both the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5, supporting all the next-generation features like variable rate shading and ray tracing – even though there’s been a rumor that ray tracing support won’t be there all the way down the product stack.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? AMD’s hopefully high-end graphics card
- When is it out? Expected to launch on October 28, 2020
- What will it cost? No one knows, but it probably won’t be cheap
AMD Big Navi release date
It seems like AMD Big Navi release date rumors have been everywhere since the very beginning of time – or at least since Navi rumors first started appearing in late 2018. Initially, we had heard that Big Navi would be launching at Computex – but Computex didn’t even happen.
Days after Nvidia’s announcement of the RTX 3080 however, AMD teased the launch of both its Zen 3 desktop processors and RDNA 2 graphics cards, with the latter expected to come in right before Halloween on October 28 at 12pm EST – just a couple weeks before the November 10 launch of the Xbox Series X that the graphics architecture will be powering.
AMD Big Navi price
AMD has traditionally enjoyed a reputation for providing more affordable products than their competition, but we’re not so sure that’s going to extend to Big Navi.
And to back this up, we’d like to point to the AMD Radeon VII. With this graphics card, AMD genuinely provided performance that was pretty close to what the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 provided at the time, while sitting with a price tag of $679 (about £540, AU$970), which was very close to the RTX 2080’s $699 (£649, AU$1,119) price tag at the time.
Now, since launching its Navi lineup, AMD has put some price pressure on Nvidia’s mid-range lineup, most notably baiting Nvidia into lowering its prices on its Super cards at the last minute. So, we might see something that challenges the RTX 2080 Ti for maybe $200 (£200, AU$300) less than that card’s MSRP, but don’t expect graphics card prices to drop to where they were before Nvidia Turing made everything more expensive.
Because AMD is targeting the high-end, we entirely expect the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT (if that’s what it’s indeed called) to adopt the same $699 (£649, about AU$950) price point as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. And, if Team Red does have something up its sleeve to take on the RTX 3090, expect an eye-watering price for it.
AMD Big Navi specs and features
AMD is planning on dropping a 4K-ready graphics card that can handle ray tracing later in October. During AMD’s October 8 Ryzen 5000 reveal, Team Red hinted that the next-generation RDNA 2 graphics card will be able to get high framerates at 4K in games like Borderlands 3 and Gears 5.
A recent leak has supposedly detailed everything you would want to know about the upcoming AMD Big Navi specs. The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT – again, just a rumored name – will supposedly have 5,120 SPs, 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM on a 256-bit memory bus, and according to an even more recent leak, will have a Game Clock of 2.4GHz.
A quick side note on that: Rather than just listing a Max Boost Clock and a Base Clock like Nvidia does with its graphics cards, AMD clock speeds are separated into a Base Frequency, a Game Frequency and a Boost Frequency. The Game Frequency is simply the clock speed the graphics card will typically sit at during gameplay, where AMD’s Boost Frequency is the peak clock speed, and will only typically happen for like a second here and there.
But, of course, clock speed, especially with graphics cards, doesn’t mean everything, and is only one part of an incredibly complex equation for gaming performance.
As for the other cards in the lineup, the rumors are pointing to a Radeon RX 6800 XT and a Radeon RX 6700 XT with 3,840 SPs and 2,560 SPs, respectively. Meanwhile those graphics cards will be equipped with 12GB and 6GB of GDDR6 memory – though we’d be surprised if AMD launched a Radeon RX 6700 XT with less VRAM than the 5700 XT, especially when the competition with Nvidia is so steep right now.
At the end of the day, while we do have all of this juicy speculation, we don’t know what will ultimately end up being true and what won’t be. Either way, 2020 is going to be an exciting year for the best graphics cards.