While much of the next-gen graphics card conversation has been dominated by the trio of new Nvidia Ampere GPUs this past week, a recent discovery inside AMD's Battle Arena map in Fortnite suggests they, too, could be quietly gearing up to announce their own set next-gen graphics cards, the long awaited second generation of their Big Navi GPUs.
Unearthed by streamer Miss Gina Darling in AMD's recently released Fortnite creative islands multiplayer map, the AMD Battle Arena, it looks like AMD's 'Big Navi' GPUs will form a new series of RX 6000 graphics cards rather than continue AMD's existing RX 5000 line. As you can see from the image below, there's a plaque on the wall stating "Something Big is coming to the AMD Battle Arena!" along with "+6000" projected onto the wall below it.
— Gina (@MissGinaDarling) September 4, 2020
The "Something Big" is almost certainly a reference to the current code-name for AMD's next-gen GPUs, "Big Navi", while the "+6000" is likely to be a hint for their eventual model names. AMD's first generation of Navi GPUs all fall within their RX 5000 family, for example, starting with the RX 5500 XT and topping out with the RX 5700 XT. There was previously some speculation whether AMD's 'Big Navi' GPUs would continue this naming convention with a potential RX 5800 or even RX 5900 GPUs, but it would now seem more likely that AMD's next-gen Navi graphics cards will indeed form their own distinct family of RX 6000 GPUs.
This would make sense, given that AMD's Big Navi GPUs will be based on AMD's newer version of their RDNA architecture (RDNA 2) instead of their existing one. As the name implies, RDNA 2 is the second generation of AMD's RDNA architecture, and will add in support for hardware accelerated ray tracing and variable rate shading (much like Nvidia's current and upcoming RTX cards), as well as several performance per watt improvements.
There's still a lot we don't know about RDNA 2, or indeed how many graphics cards AMD are planning to launch before the end of 2020. What we do know, though, is that these will be "top-of-stack GPUs with uncompromising 4K gaming" performance, according to an AMD presentation from earlier in the year, and that they'll arrive before the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which also have RDNA 2-based GPUs.
We still don't know exactly when the PS5 or Xbox Series X are coming out yet either, but with the Xbox Series X slated for some time this November, we can probably expect a proper RX 6000 announcement sooner rather than later. What remains to be seen is whether AMD will unveil their Big Navi GPU reveal inside their Fortnite Battle Arena, or whether they'll hold a more traditional live stream launch event in the same style as Nvidia's RTX 3000 reveal last week. Watch this space.