AMD is reportedly cooking up a new GPU that performs in the same league as the Nvidia RTX 4080, but at half the price. What’s more, the latest RDNA 4 rumors say that this is where the forthcoming AMD Radeon 8000 series will top out, as the company reportedly plans to leave the very high end of the market to Nvidia in the next GPU generation.
That’s not necessarily a bad decision. While AMD has nailed rasterization performance with its latest GPUs, it’s struggled to keep up with Nvidia on ray tracing performance. That’s not a huge problem on a low-end card such as the Radeon RX 7600, which is listed on our best graphics card guide, but it makes an expensive GPU such as the Radeon RX 7900 XTX a hard sell at the high end.
As a result, AMD’s top-end Radeon RX 8000 GPUs are reportedly going to cost in the ballpark of $400-600, while targeting similar performance to the RTX 4080 and RX 7900 XTX. This bolsters previous leaks about RDNA 4 only targeting the budget and mid-range sectors.
If true, it marks a similar strategy to the one taken by AMD with its first-generation GPUs, which topped out with the mid-range Radeon 5700 XT and 5700 a few years ago, but it’s going to disappoint gamers at the high end, where quality competition to take on Nvidia is severely needed.
This apparently wasn’t always the plan, though. According to often-reliable YouTube tech leaker Moore’s Law is Dead (MLID), who reveals these rumors in the video below, AMD previously had a top-end Radeon RX 8000 GPU in the works, which was codenamed Navi 4C. If the rumors were true, this GPU took AMD’s multi-chiplet approach, where parts of the GPU are separated into individual dies rather than all being in a single chip, to the next level.
He shares a diagram that showed the GPU’s reported structure, with three “Shader Engine Dies” placed on top of each “Active Interposer die”, as well as a “Multimedia and I/O Die” – the result in the diagram is a GPU with nine separate Shader Engine Dies. This is a markedly different setup to current RDNA 3 GPUs, such as the Radeon RX 7900 XT, which only separate the cache from the main GPU area into separate chiplets.
However, MLID says “I’ve heard that’s canceled for a number of reasons” when talking about this high-end GPU. “They thought they could get it to work and it would be powerful, but it wasn’t going to be cheap,” he says “and it would have taken even more driver work…Would it have been the strongest card? Maybe, but it may have cost $2,500.”
The problem here, as MLID points out, is that a very expensive GPU really needs to deliver against the competition, and that’s a problem if AMD still hasn’t got its ray tracing performance up to scratch. “If these rumors are true,” he says, it looks as though “AMD’s just giving up for a couple of years because, and this is a theory, I don’t know this for a fact, but I think they’re worried that if they sell a card for $1,500, and FSR is worse than DLSS, and they have worse ray tracing, that no one’s going to pay $1,500 for it. I think that’s their fear.”
Instead, MLID says that AMD is going to abandon the multi-chiplet approach for the Radeon 8000 lineup. “My understanding is that they’re going to do two, at least two, monolithic dies that are much more analogous to what they did with RDNA 1,” he says, “they’ll probably compete at the start of the high end of Nvidia, but that’s it, and I think what I’ve heard is that they’re targeting bringing in 4080/7900 XTX performance down to $400-$600…but not beating the 4090.”
There’s no firm timescale for the launch of the new GPU yet, but our best estimate for the AMD Radeon 8000 release date is Q4 2024, marking two years since the release of its first RDNA 3 GPUs. Could this be the end of AMD competing in the high-end GPU arena? MLID doesn’t think so. “I don’t think they’re done in the high end,” he says. “I just think like this year they might launch RDNA 4 for the mid range, just like RDNA 1….I think RDNA 5 will be high end again, and they’re just kind of leap-frogging.”
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new GPU, check out our full RTX 4070 Super review, and Radeon RX 7600 XT review and you’ll also find recommendations for all budgets in our best graphics card guide.
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