It's never a surprise when a graphics card maker announces, 'Hey, there are going to be new graphics cards this year!' but we could be seeing a lot more GPUs from AMD in 2020 than we first thought. Announced during their latest financial Q&A with investors, AMD's head lady Dr. Lisa Su confirmed that not only will we be getting refreshes of their existing Navi graphics cards - that is, the Radeon RX 5700, RX 5700 XT, RX 5600 XT and RX 5500 XT - but that we'll also see their next-gen Big Navi cards arrive by the end of the year as well. Could we finally see some competition for Nvidia's RTX Super cards?
Exact details of which graphics cards will be getting a refresh are still thin on the ground, but given the RX 5600 XT launched just a few weeks ago, I'd imagine that's probably quite far down the list. Instead, the most likely candidates would be the RX 5700 and the RX 5700 XT, which launched last July and went straight into our best graphics card list - although quite how AMD will differentiate between the old and new refreshes is anyone's guess. They've been beaten to the punch on 'Super'. Maybe 'XTcellent' or 'XTraordinary'? I'm here all week.
Indeed, all Dr. Su said about AMD's 2020 Navi refresh was the following (as transcribed by Anandtech):
"In 2019, we launched our new architecture in GPUs, it's the RDNA architecture, and that was the Navi based products. You should expect that those will be refreshed in 2020 - and we'll have a next generation RDNA architecture that will be part of our 2020 line-up. So we're pretty excited about that, and we'll talk more about that at our financial analyst day."
I'd imagine the "next generation RDNA" cards will be AMD's high-end 4K cards, presumably with built-in ray tracing support to rival Nvidia's RTX Super cards (or at least that's what the rumour mill is currently whispering), but until AMD announce further details it's just another big old guessing game.
The larger question is whether Nvidia will respond in kind. They've had a habit of trying to gazump every new AMD launch over the last year, either by introducing their own RTX Super cards, as they did with the RX 5700, RX 5700 XT and RX 5500 XT, or by lowering the price of their existing cards, like they did with the RTX 2060 when the RX 5600 XT launched earlier in the month.
The RTX 2080 Ti, for example, is the only RTX card that hasn't seen a Super version arrive yet, so that may well be on the cards (pardon the pun) for later in the year to counter whatever AMD have up their sleeve. Still, considering Nvidia have already refreshed most of their RTX and GTX 16-series cards, maybe they'll just go and launch their next-gen RTX 30-series (or whatever the heck they're going to call them) instead.
Either way, it looks like another exciting year for new graphics card releases, whether you're upgrading to the latest and greatest or hoping to grab one of last year's cards on the cheap. Will 2020 be the year of AMD? Only time will tell.