AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series release date 

AMD’s Big Navi has been rumoured since late 2018, but the most credible pre-launch rumour suggested we’d see Big Navi revealed at Computex, but as we’re all aware by now, big trade shows like Computex have been cancelled in 2020 amid coronavirus restrictions around the world. So, when should we see the AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series appear? 

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the Nvidia RTX 3080 in early September, AMD teased the release not only of its Zen 3 desktop processor, but the hotly anticipated AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series too. As confirmed by the company, we’ll get to see the Big Navi graphics cards just before Halloween, on 28 October 2020

That’s only a couple of weeks before the release of the Xbox Series X and PS5, both sporting custom AMD GPUs based on the upcoming RDNA 2 graphics architecture.  

AMD Radeon RX 6000 series pricing 

Generally speaking, AMD tends to undercut the likes of Nvidia when it comes to its product offerings, but that’s probably not going to be the case with the Big Navi range. Yeah, we’re gutted too.  

Of course, isn’t set in stone at this point, but we can get a good idea at pricing by looking at AMD’s Radeon VII. The high-end GPU offered comparable performance to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080, and the price reflected this in the US, costing $679 (around £540) compared to Nvidia’s £649/$699, although it was better value for money for those of us in the UK. Not very often we get to say that these days, is it?  

Nvidia’s RTX 3080 costs £649/$699, and if the RX 6000 Series is as capable as AMD is hinting, we expect it to cost a similar amount to Nvidia’s option.  

Regardless of price, AMD suggests that it won't see the same release day stock issues that plagued the release of the RTX 3080. In a response to a Twitter post, Frank Azor, AMD's chief architect of gaming solutions claimed that AMD is "doing our best to set and meet proper expectations. We are listening, learning and adapting to offer the best experience we can."

The RX 5700 XT looks good, but the RX 6000 will look even better

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series features and spec rumours 

Like any big product release, there are plenty of rumours circulating online, but we’re only going to address those that are likely to hold some weight.  

The main highlight of the upcoming AMD GPU is the 4K performance, as that has already been confirmed by AMD itself. During AMD’s financial day, AMD doubled down on the performance of the RDNA 2-powered GPU range, claiming that the top-of-stack RX 6000 Series would provide “uncompromising 4K gaming” alongside hardware-based ray-tracing and variable-rate shading, two features already present in Nvidia’s RTX GPUs.  

It’s important to pay attention to the focus on the top-of-stack GPU, as rumours suggest it’ll only be the top-end graphics card that boasts ray-tracing technology, with the lower-end/mainstream options simply not offering the capacity to offer hardware-level raytracing at a competitive frame rate. Considering the huge jump in performance from Nvidia’s 2080Ti to 3080, with even the 3070 offering solid 4K ray-traced gameplay, that doesn’t sound too enticing.   

Raytracing aside, there are rumours that the flagship RX 6000 series GPU will sport an increased 80 compute units, and a separate rumour suggests not one but two of the range will sport more VRAM than Nvidia's RTX 3080.

The rumour appeared on Twitter, with user @_rogame claiming that the Navi22 (which we assume will be the flagship of the RX 6000 Series) will offer 16GB of VRAM, while a slightly less powerful SKU dubbed Navi21 will offer a reduced but still powerful 12GB of VRAM. It's worth pointing out that, if true, there won't be a direct competitor to the monstrous RTX 3090, with its 24GB of VRAM.

Separately, a reddit user spotted a detailed breakdown of the rumoured Big Navi range within macOS Big Sur beta code, backing up the previous rumour and adding a few more juicy details.

As mentioned, the flagship GPU will sport 80 compute units, along with 5120 stream processors, putting it much higher than current-gen Radeon GPUs (and eliminating the theory that the code is referring to current GPUs). The leak even suggests one variant of Big Navi clocks up to 2.2GHz, but of course, it's hard to see the impact on performance without seeing how AMD's new RDNA 2 architecture performs. 

The leak also suggests single-precision performance for Navi 21, the assumed flagship, hits 22.5 TFLOPS. That's impressive, and although it does fall behind the RTX 3080's 29.8 TFLOPS, it has the RTX 3070's 20.4 TFLOPS beat. That's something, right?

The alleged specs for the upcoming range also appeared in a Newegg Insider blog. The blog suggests AMD is prepping to release three GPUs at the October event, dubbed the Radeon RX 6700 XT, Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6900 XT.

The most powerful in the range, the RX 6900 XT, will sport 5120 streaming processors, 16GB of VRAM and a memory bandwidth of 512Gbps, while that drops down to 3840 SPs, 12GB of GDDR6 and 385Gbps on the RX 6800 XT and 2560 SPs and 6GB of GDDR6 on the entry-level RX 6700 XT. 

While AMD didn't confirm exact specs during its recent Zen 3 launch, the company did tease the upcoming GPU range in the form of benchmark results - and it sounds promising. A system with a Ryzen 5000 Series CPU and RX 6000 Series GPU is able to run Borderlands 3 on max settings at 4K and achieve an average frame rate of 61fps, while that jumps to 73fps in Gears of War 5 and 88fps in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. 

There were rumours that the Navi 21 graphics card would feature a power consumption rating of 225W, but this has been debunked by Igor's Lab. The report claims that the initial 225W figure was "misrepresented", stating that the 225W figure only accounts for the GPU. When taking other components, like the 16GB memory interface, MOSFETS and more, the figure comes to 320W or 355W for custom boards. 

Regardless of specifics, that’s a lot of tech to keep cool, and the current blower-style coolers aren’t going to be sufficient – even Nvidia switched to more efficient dual-fan designs with the transition from Pascal to Turing – and AMD VP Scott Herkelman confirmed on Reddit that the upcoming GPU has to do the same thing.  

In early September, AMD shared the first look at the new RX 6000 Series, complete with a new triple-fan setup as teased. If that wasn't enough, there's even a huge model available on Radeon's Creative Island in Fortnite for everyone to inspect up close (code 8651-9841-1639 if you were interested). 

Of course, this is all complete speculation and we don’t yet know for sure what AMD has planned for the release of the RX 6000 series, but with the October reveal fast approaching, it’s likely that we’ll see more revealing details appear as the weeks go by. 

For the latest on AMD's new CPUs, here's everything you need to know about the Zen 3.