AMD RDNA 2 GPUs Expected This Year – But Will They Have Ray Tracing?

AMD has recently announced that they are still on track to release their Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 graphics cards later on in 2020. 

AMD’s CEO Lisa Su spoke at AMD’s earnings call and confirmed that “late 2020” was still the expected launch date. 

While it’s not a firm date, it does seem to coincide with the rumors of the Ryzen 4000 desktop CPU launch being in September. Rumors also suggest that the RDNA 2 graphics cards will drop in either October or November. 

What Do We Know About The Zen 3 Processors?

AMD’s Zen 3 processors will be built with TSMC’s new and improved 7nm+ architecture which we expect will be a great boost in performance from the previous Zen 2 CPUs. 

It’s reported that Zen 3 processors will deliver up to 10-15% IPC gains, higher core counts, and faster clock speeds. 

What About The RDNA 2 Graphics Cards?

The launch of RDNA 2 and talk of ‘Big Navi’ graphics cards have been some of the most anticipated news for this year. 

It shows that AMD is ready to embrace the world of ray-tracing support which looks like AMD will be going head to head with Nvidia’s top of the range Turing GPUs in the future. 

Rumors suggest that AMD’s ‘Big Navi’ GPUs will offer twice the amount of power and performance as the Radeon RX 5700 XT. The flagship card, reportedly called the Radeon RX 5950 XT will feature a die size of 505²mm in comparison to the 251²mm die size of the RX 5700 XT. 

In theory, this should mean that the new GPU should double the number of compute units from 40 CUs to 80 CUs. However, we may have a long wait ahead of us to see if that’s true. 

Will AMD Graphics Cards Come With Ray Tracing?

With a new generation of graphics cards to come this year, we’ve all had high hopes for ray tracing. However, according to information from PTT Forums, only some variants of the RDNA 2 GPUs will offer ray tracing support. 

It will reportedly only be AMD’s high-end Navi 2X graphics cards that will get the ray tracing treatment. This is because AMD’s lower-end and mainstream options won’t support the hardware needed for ray tracing to run at an optimal frame rate. 

While this may be disappointing to a few people, it’s probably not a massive shock. Previously, Nvidia has only included ray tracing support with its higher-end graphics cards. So, it would make sense for AMD to do the same. It looks like AMD will be splitting their range of RDNA 2 GPUs into two categories – one with ray tracing and one without. 

The category with ray tracing will be for graphics card enthusiasts and those with the budget to splash on a high-end AMD GPU. However, we’re expecting that even the mainstream versions without ray tracing will be impressive and worth the upgrade. 

We’ll be interested to see if AMD’s claims about the boosted performance are true, including the boast that RDNA 2 will lead to a 50% improvement in performance per Watt than previous RDNA architecture. 

If we hear any more news about the upcoming CPUs and ‘Big Navi’ GPUs, we will keep you updated.