Could AMD’s RX 6000 Series & Big Navi Spell Big Trouble for Nvidia?

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At the beginning of the month, AMD showed off its big bad new Ryzen 5000 series CPUs. CEO Lisa Su didn’t stop there though, as she also previewed the much-awaited RX 6000 Big Navi GPUs. As with all tech releases, she proclaimed that the GPUs are “by far the most powerful gaming GPU we have ever built.”

But just how powerful is this new GPU? And will it actually cause big trouble for Nvidia? Here’s everything we know so far.

Design and Architecture

The RX 6000 series is huge for AMD, since it is the debut of the next-gen RDNA 2 graphics architecture. It’s the same architecture that powers the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. As the base for the custom GPUs on both consoles, we’ve already seen some examples of just how powerful RDNA 2 is. 

As for the design, Twitter user EB-18 leaked what seems to be the engineering board. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the final product will look anything like the leak. If you want to put faith in EB-18’s leak though, here’s what the RX 6000 Big Navi will feature:

  • 2 x 8-pin power connectors
  • 2 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI & 1x USB C VirtualLink Connector
  • 8 x GDDR6 spots 

AMD also dropped the first look of the graphics card way back in September. The black and silver theme with red highlights certainly stands out, if you are into that kind of thing. It also features three fans, which isn’t a big surprise given the power that the GPU is expected to have. 

AMD RX6000

From the image, Tom’s Hardware managed to gauge that the GPU “draws power through two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The PCIe slot delivers up to 75W and each 8-pin PCIe power connector can supply up to 150W, meaning the Radeon RX 6000 series could pull up to 375W.”

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Performance and Benchmarks

While it did not go into detail, AMD did preview a benchmark for an unspecified 6000 card running three games at 4K resolution on the highest graphics settings. Since we don’t know what model that benchmark is for, we can’t get too excited just yet. As PCMag put it, “Gaming performance can also depend on what CPU is being used and the software drivers.”

AMD RX 6000 Benchmark

Apart from that, there’s really not much we know about the performance of the RX 6000 Big Navi. A Redditor leaked specifications for some variants of the RX 6000 based on code in macOS Big Sur. The Redditor has a good track record, and if this is based on macOS code, it’s worth taking notice of. From the specs, it is clear we can expect significant performance uplift. 

The macOS Big Sur code is definitely worth taking notice of. Way back in June, data miners found references to Navi 21, 22, 23 and 31 in the code. Given how Apple likes to use AMD GPUs in its devices, it’s almost a no-brainer that the RX 6000 family will come to the Mac very soon. 

RX 6000 Series Release Date & Price

AMD will launch the RX 6000 series at a virtual event on 28 October. Traditionally, AMD has provided a more affordable alternative to Nvidia, with comparatively poorer performance. That changed last year when AMD launched the Radeon VII. Not only was the performance pretty close to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080, but so was the price. 

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Techradar expects the prices of the RX 6000 GPUs to be equal to Nvidia’s options, given the performance leaps it has made over the last year or two. With the end of October event, it’s possible the GPU could hit shelves by the end of November, assuming of course COVID-19 hasn’t thrown production way off. 

Team Red said the event will be live streamed on the 28th at 12:00 PM ET (4:00 PM GMT). You can catch the stream on AMD’s YouTube channel. Like the CPU event, expect a low-key launch with maybe a demo of the GPU in action. 

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