AMD RDNA 2 release date, specs and rumors: everything we know about ‘Big Navi’

AMD RDNA 2



(Image credit: Future)

As we inch closer to the AMD RDNA 2 release window, we’re getting more speculations and leaks about the next generation graphics cards than ever before. This isn’t surprising. Thanks to the triumphant success of AMD Navi fronted by the Radeon RX 5700 XT and RX 5700 GPUs, people have had a taste of AMD’s mid-range champions. And now, they’re hungry for ‘Big Navi’. 

Right off the bat, we know that it’s highly likely that this upcoming AMD graphics card is set to dethrone the reigning champ, RTX 2080 Ti. This is supported by a more recent report from Coreteks that asserts AMD’s flagship graphics card will offer performance on par with the Nvidia RTX GeForce 2080 Ti and will be launched as a rival to the Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3080.

And, while sadly, the AMD RDNA 2 may not all feature ray tracing support, the rumors that have been surfacing, painting a picture of incredibly powerful AMD graphics cards that might give Nvidia some much-needed competition on the high-end. That’s on top of the fact it will be the graphics architecture behind the next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

Coincidentally, another rumor suggests that AMD is planning to launch the Big Navi flagship GPU alongside the release of these two consoles in November. 

Beyond that, AMD hasn’t come out and officially announced many details about RDNA 2 or the supposed ‘Big Navi’ card that is rumored to be coming out. Although, what could be the AMD Big Navi graphics card has been spotted in Linux driver recently. And, we may have already gotten our first hint that RDNA 3-based GPUs are already in the works – thanks to Apple’s macOS Big Sur driver code.

Still, we’ve got enough gossip, speculations and updates to tide us over until the AMD RDNA 2 cards hit the streets. So, we gathered all of them in one place. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked, as we’ll keep it updated with all the latest AMD Big Navi rumors and information.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? AMD’s hopefully high-end graphics card
  • When is it out? Possibly in November 2020
  • What will it cost? No one knows, but it probably won’t be cheap

AMD RDNA 2

(Image credit: AMD)

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. However, here we are in 2020 still without a solid release date for AMD’s high-end graphics card. 

Initially, we had heard that Big Navi would be launching at Computex – but that show has been pushed all the way back to September due to Covid-19, so that’s a no go. But even if it did appear at the giant Taipei tech show, we probably won’t see it until the end of 2020 – think October or November. 

At the AMD Financial Analyst Day back in March, Team Red said itself that it was targeting the end of 2020 for the launch of Big Navi. Kumar even reinforced this target release window, saying that AMD is “on track to launch our next-generation Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 GPUs in late 2020”. 

While that feels like it’s still a long way away, these AMD graphics cards seem like they will arrive before the PS5 and Xbox Series X. However, a more recent rumor has the Big Navi flagship GPU release coinciding with that of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. A source has claimed “AMD has its sights set on November, preferably around Thanksgiving, for their Big Navi “Nvidia killer” launch.”

Either way, we’ll get an AMD RDNA 2 graphics card release date when AMD is ready. However, because Computex did get pushed back, we wouldn’t be surprised if AMD came out of nowhere with a giant online-only event to show off the RDNA architecture any day now. Stay tuned. 

AMD RDNA 2

(Image credit: Future)

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. 

AMD RDNA 2

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD Big Navi specs and features

We have heard so many different rumors about what the ‘Big Navi’ card will eventually look like, but we’re only really diving into what’s actually feasible here. 

What we know is that AMD is planning on dropping a 4K-ready graphics card that can handle ray tracing in 2020. That much comes directly from AMD CEO Lisa Su, who came out in an interview and said “I can say you’re going to see Big Navi in 2020.”That’s definitely a blunt way to tell us to expect the high-end GPU this year. 

Then, during AMD’s financial day, AMD doubled down on RDNA 2 coming, with a slide saying that the top-of-stack graphics cards would not only provide “Uncompromising 4K gaming,” but that it will also feature hardware-based ray tracing and variable rate shading – two features already present in Nvidia Turing GPUs.

Unfortunately, we have to take this rumor with a grain of salt. Newer rumors suggest that only flagship variants of AMD’s RDNA 2 GPUs will feature ray tracing. It seems that the feature will now be reserved only for AMD’s high-end and enthusiast-grade Navi 2X GPUs. And, that’s apparently due to the lower-end and more mainstream options not having the capacity to support hardware-level ray tracing at an optimal frame rate.

Beyond that, we have seen rumors that suggest the RDNA 2 flagship will feature 80 compute units, which if each compute unit has the same amount of Streaming Processors (SPs) as the original RDNA graphics cards – we could see 5,120 SPs on a single GPU – but it could be even more. 

Of course, that’s a lot of silicon to cool, and AMD’s current blower-style coolers probably wouldn’t be sufficient. Even in the transition from Pascal to Turing, Nvidia abandoned blower-style coolers in favor of more efficient dual-fan designs, and word on the street is that AMD could be doing the same thing

What is perhaps more important is that the rumors are saying that Big Navi could be up to 30% faster than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, which would frankly be amazing if true – that card can already destroy pretty much every game at 4K, so a further 30% boost could probably mean that we’ll see more accessible 4K gaming lower in the product stack. 

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. And, even if AMD Big Navi ends up blowing Nvidia Turing out of the water, it’s entirely possible that the RTX 3080 may be close behind. Either way, 2020 is going to be an exciting year for the best graphics cards. 

August 18, 2020
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