Back again, talking about AMD again, because AMD isn’t settling for simply gunning for the title of CPU champion — see more on Ryzen 3000 here — they’re coming for NVIDIA too, sort of.
Let me clarify: Nothing is beating that RTX 2080ti anytime soon. But, NVIDIA’s brand new RTX 2060-Super and RTX 2070-Super (Which I’m gonna refer to as 2060S and 2070S) have some serious competition, not only did AMD slash their prices for their new GPU’s before they even launched them, they didn’t even need to.
The new pricing as it stands is that a RX 5700 is going to set you back $350 RRP vs the $400 of the RTX 2060S its aimed at rivalling, the same scenario mirrors with the RX 5700XT which costs $400 RRP vs the RTX 2070S at $500, an even better saving on what are some incredible value cards.
These cards surprisingly don’t feature HBM2 as Radeon are known for putting on their high end cards in the past but instead they both opt for 8GB of GDDR6 memory, both require 1x 6pin PCIE power connector and 1x 8pin PCIE power connector, initially this had me believe these cards would follow the trend of being majorly power hungry but more on that later for now I want to talk about what these cards mean for the GPU landscape.
The performance per dollar/pound spent for these cards outperforms NVIDIA, flat out, no competition there. The actual frame count, however, is like watching a never ending duel. Blow for blow they’re up or down, but never enough to claim an overall winner. unless you 100% need RTX Raytracing then there really isn’t a reason to buy NVIDIA’s 2060S or 2070S anymore, this is getting ahead of myself though.
I suppose I should paint the picture on what to expect then, as I’ve mentioned they’ve not got hardware specific Raytracing features, but theyre cheaper than the NVIDIA RTX counterparts so what are these cards for?
These card are aimed squarely at 1440p ultra-high gaming with high FPS counts, were seeing titles like Forza Horizon claim solid victories for Radeon while games like Metro Exodus Radeon falls behind slightly, the RX 5700XT is on average only 2% slower than the RTX 2070S and 9% slower than the original RTX 2080 while the cheaper non-XT RX 5700 is actually on average 2% faster than the 2060S/ the original 2070. That’s insane price to performance and its what I was hoping for.
These new cards are relatively great when it comes to their power draw too, despite needing the additional 6pin vs NVIDIA cards requiring a single 8pin my fears are put to rest we see the 5700 drawing 185W and 225W for the 5700XT, in the past AMD has been considered very power hungry when it comes to graphics cards but these numbers are a mere 10W higher than NVIDIA’s 2060s at 175W and 2070S at 215W, overall that’s not really going to force you into a bigger power supply or have any effect on your electricity bill is it? so again this is a big step forward for Team Red, who are now so close that they’re becoming almost a shadow of Team Green
We don’t fully endorse the reference designs of the new Radeon cards, yeah theyre Curvy but reference coolers aren’t great for overclocks so while they may have more power the thermal performance limits you, and its looking like a nice watercooling setup or a beefy board-partner cooler could offer you the keys to overclocking kingdom which would definitely place these cards in the lead, I’d estimate you could squeeze another 20% more performance out of these cards with a good cooler, but only time will tell as water blocks and non-reference designs will be available next month.
So far I’ve been pretty positive about Navi, incredible price, incredible performance, good power draw, nice oc headroom, ect.
It’s not all sunshine and roses for those of you with older AMD GPU’s though as Navi’s architectural changes may in-fact have a negative effect on the beloved AMD FineWine technology, if you’re not familiar with FineWine in short its the optimisation and upkeep of AMD Drivers for older cards as they’re based on generations of GCN architecture, meaning the R9 290 is still an incredible card even today due to optimisation and driver updates trickling down from say the RX Vega 64 improvements, improving one kinda improves them all.
there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to finewine but as its namesake suggests, its the idea that older cards are getting better rather than worse, take a GTX 770 which is now completely overthrown by its once defeated rivals. That’s finewine in action.
Until now GCN has been a core part of how AMD makes GPU’s, that architecture started with Tahiti (GCN 1.0) architecture for cards like the classic HD7970 back in 2011 and its been carried all the way through to RX Vega (GCN 5.0) in 2017
The new Navi architecture is actually technically named RDNA, breaking away from GCN finally which is why we see such a better power draw to performance ratio this generation, its likely that RDNA will be the new GCN and AMD will continue to improve it with further generations but for now, its a new architecture built from the ground up to be better than GCN in every way. This spells less frequent updates for GCN based cards until they eventually slow their finewine to a halt, this obviously wont be immediate or even for a few years while RDNA really settles in as AMD’s new breed of GPU architecture.
We’d love to get our hands on a 5700 to pair with a Ryzen 5 3600, it seems AMD have really conquered the mid-high range of the market in one swoop, considering the figures mentioned today are from launch further driver updates and better coolers will likely see AMD grasp a very firm victory on this segment of the market unless NVIDIA slashes prices on its RTX2060 and 2070 super models.
Sound off in the comments if youre looking to Team Red or Team Green for your next GPU!