AMD RX 7000 series could be a performance monster, with much better ray tracing performance

Written by Neil Soutter on Mon, Jan 25, 2021 4:00 PM

As we head into a new year, it’s clear that the stock issues with new RTX 30 series and RX 6000 series graphics cards will not be getting much better anytime soon. On top of that prices are rising, and so it's looking more and more like 2021 won’t be a good year to upgrade your PC.

Thankfully, we can look forward to the next generation of GPUs already as some information on AMD’s next-next-gen graphics cards based on the RDNA 3 architecture (most likely called the RX 7000 series) have already surfaced, and it looks like it could be an absolute performance monster.

As a quick recap: AMD’s Navi 21 GPU (which is featured in the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT) is based on the RDNA 2 architecture. The way AMD’s works in comparison to Nvidia is comprised of Compute Units (CU) and Streaming Processors. For ray tracing, a “ray accelerator” is paired with every Compute Unit.

The top Navi 21 GPU features 80 Compute Units which translates to 5120 Cores. However, these new reports suggest that the Navi 31 GPU will actually feature a multi-chiplet design, with each chip featuring 80 CUs. That means the top Navi 31 graphics card will have a total of 160 Compute Units, a whopping 10240 Cores, which is twice as much as Navi 21.

Compute Units are also different to Nvidia's CUDA Cores, and so a direct number comparison is not relative to performance. Nvidia may have more Cores on paper compared to AMD, but that does not mean AMD's cards are weaker.

In fact, the new RDNA 3 architecture looks to be based on an MCM design. There’s a lot to unpack about what this means in terms of GPU performance, but the gist of it is that MCM designs will provide far better yields for performance as it combines multiple chiplets into one single package, rather than using a single large monolithic die. Patents for this new design have been discovered by user Underfox3 on Twitter, which can be seen below:

This will also see a big increase in ray tracing performance, which will be great news for some as so far the RX 6000 series has done very well at competing against RTX 30 series in terms of rasterization performance, but significantly lower in ray tracing performance.

AMD has revealed a rough roadmap for their gaming GPUs before, so we know that we’ll hear something about their RDNA3-based graphics cards by 2022 at the latest. Based on all the information we could find, here’s all the details about AMD and Nvidia’s latest and upcoming GPU architectures:

  AMD Navi 21 AMD Navi 31 Nvidia GA102 Nvidia AD102
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA3 Ampere Lovelace
Process Node 7nm TSMC 5nm TSMC 8nm Samsung ?
GPU Clusters 80 CU 2 x 80 CU 84 SM 144 SM
Maximum number of Cores 5120 10240 10752 18432
Memory GDDR6 ? GDDR6X ?
Launch date 2020 2021/2022 2020 2022+

What do you think? Are you excited for the next generation of GPUs from AMD and Nvidia? Does this make you want to wait for the next-gen GPUs rather than try and get any of the new cards? Could AMD possibly take the gaming crown? Let us know your thoughts!

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11:13 Jan-27-2021

I hate pre-ordering but I will have to for this one as scalpers would lap up everything if I don't I haven't got around to building a new PC due to CPU and GPU shortages at correct pricing.

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junior admin badge
14:14 Jan-29-2021

Your position is understandable.
I personally can't believe it has become necessary to preorder hardware to actually get the damn thing.

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10:00 Jan-30-2021

Yup. We truly are living in a dystopia now.

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16:58 Jan-26-2021

I just hope VRAM gets cheaper as currently with GDDR6 at 11.5$ per GB, mid-range GPUs and lower just lose their value when 12GB of GDDR6 costs 138$ alone.


A RX 6600XT with 8GB of VRAM would mean that just the VRAM costs 92$, which means that there is no way it will cost 200$ with 8GB of VRAM when almost half of that 200$ is just the VRAM.

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16:59 Jan-26-2021

Compare it to the rx 480 4gb for 200$ where the 8gb GDDR5 costed 22$. Now of course now we need more VRAM, that's why I'm comparing 4gb to 8gb.

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17:34 Jan-26-2021

I think I've read this same comment about 5 times by now...

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21:09 Jan-26-2021

Well because it's relevant on each article about new GPUs.

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junior admin badge
01:44 Jan-26-2021

Interesting on paper.
Hope it's stay that way when the rubber hits the road.

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00:30 Jan-26-2021

im glad people at least in this website dont bite these "could be" articles and rumors. This feels like seasons throughout the year. I mean its good to have a healthy debate on future tech but please dont hype the product so early.

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14:20 Jan-29-2021

I have rarely seen the hardware hype train leave the station on this site.

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15:44 Jan-29-2021

While reddit goes choo choo mfker!

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22:14 Jan-25-2021

I am so tired of these 'could be' articles all across the internet.


The RX 7000 will be impressive but it won't destroy the RTX 4000 series. It's stupid to think so. 5nm will help for sure and the overall RDNA 3 architecture will be improved. I think the biggest upgrade is the ray-tracing performance. AMD will for sure do all that they can to give it a big uplift in performance. By then, they will have their answer to DLSS

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19:05 Jan-25-2021

Ah well, had a feeling the next gen might come out before i can afford the current one. What a surprise.
But i do hope they do improve greatly

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17:00 Jan-25-2021

"insert any upcoming / rumoured / made up AMD card name here" is going to be a monster... we heard that too many times... what happened to the rdna2.0 nvidiakiller cards?

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18:55 Jan-25-2021

They managed to get to Nvidia's high end level, not much more than the expected wins and losses by a few margins in different titles. Im more bummed about the prices than the performance not being "nvidia killing"

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11:18 Jan-26-2021

That's true, they offer really competitive raster performance. But then you look at the software features that Nvidia has (including the almost black-magic levels of brilliance of RTX Broadcast and DLSS) and you realize that hardware alone doesn't sell cards anymore, because it's not 2008. AMD could be a bit faster and I'd still buy Nvidia because I need CUDA acceleration, for example.

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11:33 Jan-26-2021

Well you see even as a video editor i don't need anything Nvidia has. Except maybe shadow play, but i haven't been able to test it myself if or how much better it is than AMD's own software and OBS

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12:35 Jan-26-2021

well, I'm not a video editor by profession, but I am a 3D artist and photographer. For me, CUDA is necessary. I use a CUDA-based GPU rendering engines for 3D, the CPU engine we also use for work has Optix denoising. For discord/teams calls - RTX Broadcast is pure awesome (takes away my keyboard clacking and any other noises that are not my voice). Most other software seems to run on OpenCL or OpenGL engines, so Nvidia cards are not a must there. Gaming? DLSS helps a ton and RTX looks oh-so-awesome (especially to me as a 3D guy).

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12:42 Jan-26-2021

There are a lot of little tools, as well as bigger engines, that utilize CUDA. Some devs just outright say "we won't support AMD cards" because OpenCL stability and development apparently suck. Some devs, like Sonic Ether (SEUS PTGI Minecraft RT shader) focus on Nvidia cards because they do what he needs done better (without even using RT cores). And that is, of course, on top of OpenCL/OpenGL support. With Nvidia cards I am not limiting myself in my choice of software and features as I would be if I bought AMD - that's basically the gist of it.

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16:34 Jan-25-2021

I "could be" a drug dealer, I "could be" a doctor...who knows!

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16:26 Jan-25-2021

Plot twist: Intel will dominate the gpu market in 2022 LFMAO. Ok let's be serious i think Nvidia will continue to have to upper hand in ray-tracing, they have invested lots of money on this technology.

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18:58 Jan-25-2021

They sure did throw alot of money on that Ray Traced hype train. But then again i can't really see it as something i really NEED in my games. Considering the implementations and performance decrease of course. I still want the tech to mature and for developers to really make good use of it.

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10:28 Feb-04-2021

Intel has been selling out for the past 3 years, why would it be different this year? Intel is making a ton of money, but they know it won't last if they don't get their act together, that's why the new CEO is actually hiring CPU architects. :D

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16:26 Jan-25-2021

"could be a performance monster" wasnt that sayed for the rx6xxx and rx5xxx series

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16:36 Jan-25-2021

"iM wAiTiNg FoR vEgA"
It's been like that for a while now.. At the End of the day AMD always "kinda... almost... in some cases" managed to compete and I don't expect that to change. I'm sure RX 7000 will be a performance monster by todays standards, so will the rtx 4000 series.

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17:04 Jan-25-2021

yep they said hbm will "change everything", then 7nm will, then as all failed navi was supposed to "change everything" and rdna2.0 was supposed to be the "nvidia killer"... well nvidia is still alive and well so...

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17:51 Jan-25-2021

That would be because the fanboys always want to talk big about some "[insert opposite team] killer"...

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06:30 Jan-26-2021

But they did change things. Look at Nvidia releasing nonsense cards with more vram just because amd pushed them to do it with their cards. Even if AMD isn't better, it doesn't mean they're not changing anything, even if not directly. We'd still have 8 gig cards if they didn't push 16 on their line up.

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11:21 Jan-26-2021

1st of all - that's not the change Tforulez was talking about (HBM was basically supposed to make GDDR "obsolete", as the marketing went). Secondly - nobody argues that competition doesn't push for better stuff - we absolutely must avoid monopolies, otherwise we get stagnation.

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10:33 Feb-04-2021

The rx 6000 series do compete with the rtx 3000 series, so there is that. IDK why people expect there to be some sort of a massive winner.

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16:22 Jan-25-2021

"could be" - Can we stop with those titles?

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16:13 Jan-25-2021

It's kinda hard to be excited about new computer hardware if you know that you probably won't get your hands on it for months after the initial release..

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19:02 Jan-25-2021

I was quite happy when i got my RX 580 literally a year after it came out though. It really depends on the person in my opinion . . . and also the wallet.

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16:11 Jan-25-2021

Guess I'll wait some more. Perhaps I will try to push the core clocks on this card to 1.6GHz at 1.3v. Currently 1.532Ghz at 1.25v

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19:04 Jan-25-2021

After alot of overclocking on my old CPU and GPU, i found out that marginal performance improvements for a much bigger heat output and an increase in the power bill weren't really practical for me. So from my perspective it's not really worth it.

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20:19 Jan-27-2021

Yeah, that's what I was thinking as well. Going from the default 1240ish MHz to 1532MHz (basically permanently past boost clocks, those were -1340MHz iirc) I gained 10 to 15 FPS in games. Adding another -75MHz would not add much, perhaps two or three FPS.
Most games I play run at 60FPS fine with adaptive vsync, but it's the drops and stutters (1% and 0.1%) that I want to fix.
I mean, some games run fine on maxed out settings at 60FPS, but have more notable stuttering. Could that be the bandwidth of this GPU? (atm at 131.4GB/s)

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14:35 Jan-28-2021

Frame times are a bit harder to fix, oddly enough. Since just making the frames doesn't mean that they are made consistently. For example LTT's video on overclocking both the 6900XT and the 3090 showed that at 8K in DOOM Eternal, the frametimes were in AMD's favor, even though they were both doing around 60FPS. Though alot of other things favored Nvidia. So sometimes overclocking doesn't fix or help performance as much as we would like.

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