AMD RX 500 graphics card refresh may launch in 2019 with die shrink, clock boost

MSI Radeon RX 580 Gaming X+ 8G
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

AMD may not wait until next year to debut its next-generation graphics cards, according to a series of rumors from different sources. They seem to point to a launch for some refreshed RX 500-series graphics cards, using a die-shrunk 12nm core called Polaris 30. If true, this could lead to AMD offering a slightly more competitive midrange product, which those intrigued by the possibility of a still-unannounced GTX 2060 or 2050 could find an attractive alternative.

In the aftermath of Nvidia’s rollercoaster ride of a graphics card launch with its new RTX series, the question remained as to whether AMD would respond with a big GPU reveal of its own. The red team is expected to debut a new range of cards code-named Navi in 2019, but it may be that before then we see a refresh of its capable RX 500-series. If it was high-end only, we could see an RX 590 or RX 585 appear, but it’s equally possible such a range could be designated the RX 600-series.

The first hint of a stop-gap GPU generation from AMD appeared in a recent Linux driver release where a new Polaris ID was spotted by Phoronix. The ID, “0x6FDF” doesn’t correspond to any existing AMD graphics chip, but it is listed as being part of the “Polaris 10” family of graphics cards. That rules out it having anything to do with AMD’s planned 7nm die-shrink of its Vega technology, which is slated to be an enterprise-only product.

Backing up this rumor was a source on Chiphell, which WCCFTech translated, highlighting that Polaris 30 would be built on the 12nm process, a slight shrink of the 14nm process used in the RX 500 series. Such a rumored range could improve performance over the RX 500 series by around 10-15 percent, we’re told. That would hardly make them competitive with the RTX series of Nvidia cards, but if there is a significant delay in launching midrange GPUs from that generation, it would make such rumored AMD cards more attractive than the GTX 1060 and 1050 GPUs.

The Chiphell rumor suggests that the new range of cards will debut in October, too, so if any of this turns out to be true, we won’t have long to wait for it to be confirmed.

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