There have been game and hardware delays left right and centre over the last few months, but AMD have confirmed that their upcoming Big Navi GPUs are still due to launch before the end of 2020. Speaking at Bank Of America's Global Technology Conference webcast, AMD's chief financial officer Devinder Kumar said, "We remain on track to launch our next generation of Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 GPUs in late 2020," and he also stated that we'll see these Big Navi graphics cards before the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Will these 4K-capable cards be going head to head with Nvidia's upcoming Ampere GPUs sometime this autumn? Here's everything you need to know.
While most of the webcast was pretty dry financial chat, Kumar did confirm that AMD's Big Navi GPUs will be their "first RDNA 2-based product", which suggests they'll arrive on PC before the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X this Christmas. Kumar didn't reveal an exact release date for AMD's Big Navi cards, but the current rumour doing the rounds online is that it will be sometime this autumn, which is also the current rumour window for Nvidia's RTX 3000 graphics cards.
"Big Navi is a halo product," Kumar continued. "Enthusiasts love to buy the best, and we are certainly working on giving them the best."
As you may have noticed, there's a rather large hole in AMD's graphics card line-up at the moment, as they currently don't have anything to rival Nvidia's flagship RTX cards, such as the RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2080 Ti. Indeed, their current top-end graphics card, the RX 5700 XT, is more of an RTX 2070 Super competitor than anything else. But that's all set to change with the launch of their Big Navi or Navi 2X GPUs.
Widely expected to be proper 4K-capable graphics cards, AMD's Big Navi GPUs will utilise their 2nd generation RDNA 2 architecture, which AMD have said will bring several improvements to their overall performance, especially their performance per watt. It will also introduce other technologies such as ray tracing and variable rate shading.
We got a glimpse of what ray tracing will look like on one of AMD's RDNA 2 GPUs when Microsoft first announced DirectX 12 Ultimate, which you can watch below. Be warned, you might need some sunglasses for this, as this is one shiny demo video.
However, it's possible AMD have got a lot more graphics cards than just these Big Navi GPUs arriving before the end of the year, as Kumar went on to say that, "With the RDNA 2 architecture, it goes through the entire stack. It will go from mainstream GPUs all the way up to the enthusiasts, and then the architecture also goes into the game console products [...] as well as our integrated APU products."
This would tally with statements AMD made earlier in the year, when they confirmed a full Navi refresh in 2020. As a result, it's possible we might see successors to AMD's current crop of 1st Gen Navi cards, the RX 5500 XT, the RX 5600 XT and the RX 5700 series, to bring them in line with Big Navi, but there's currently no telling whether they'll arrive all at once or in dribs and drabs throughout the end of 2020 and beyond into next year. As soon as we know more, I'll let you know.
Either way, the race for the next best graphics card is about to get a lot more interesting.