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AMD will refresh its Navi GPUs, deliver more RDNA 2 graphics cards in 2020

Along with delivering a new generation of RDNA 2 graphics cards in 2020, AMD is planning to refresh its existing line of RDNA graphics cards, otherwise known as Navi. That may mean we’ll see brand new versions of the RX 5700 XT and 5700, and possibly even the RX 5500 XT and 5600 XT.

AMD released the first of its RDNA graphics cards in July 2019. Based on a new architecture, they were the first GPUs to not use AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture since its introduction in 2012. Building on that new baseline, AMD will release new RDNA 2 graphics cards in 2020. Based on the 7nm+ process node, with enhanced performance and efficiency, those cards are expected to be high-end options, including the long-rumored “Nvidia Killer,” Navi 21 GPU. But according to AMD CEO Lisa Su, we will also see refreshed first-generation Navi cards this year too.

During a financial year 2019 earnings call, Su again confirmed that AMD would launch a new-generation of RDNA 2 GPUs in 2020, but it was what she said about existing Navi graphics cards which was most intriguing.

“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,” she said, via WCCFTech.

It’s not clear what guise a Navi refresh would take, but there are some intriguing possibilities. AMD has refreshed many of its own GPUs in the past, most notably its RX 200 series, which was refreshed in the RX 300, RX 400, and RX 500 generations of GPUs, with slight performance improvements between each generation.

However, it’s also possible that AMD could borrow from Nvidia’s recent intergenerational refresh efforts, with its Super graphics cards. Those updated the existing GTX 16-series and RTX 20-series GPUs and made a sizeable improvement to their performance, almost matching the performance of the higher-end cards one notch up the stack. The RTX 2060 Super was very close to the RTX 2070, and the 2070 Super to the 2080. If AMD did something similar, a Super-sized RX 5700 XT would be a very capable card that, if priced similarly to its predecessor, would be an exciting upgrade prospect for many.

If AMD focuses its new-generation GPU launches on the high-end, this could be AMD’s way of maintaining competition in the midrange with whatever Nvidia has planned with its 7nm GPUs in the upcoming Ampere generation.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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