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AMD reveal RDNA 2 with Radeon RX 6900 XT, Radeon RX 6800 XT, Radeon RX 6800

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Today AMD formally revealed the next-generation Radeon GPUs powered by the RDNA 2 architecture and it looks like they’re going to thoroughly give NVIDIA a run for your money.

What was announced: Radeon RX 6900 XT, Radeon RX 6800 XT, Radeon 6800 with the Radeon RX 6800 XT looking like a very capable GPU that sits right next to NVIDIA's 3080 while seeming to use less power. All three of them will support Ray Tracing as expected with AMD adding a "high performance, fixed-function Ray Accelerator engine to each compute unit". However, we're still waiting on The Khronos Group to formally announce the proper release of the vendor-neutral Ray Tracing extensions for Vulkan which still aren't finished (provisional since March 2020) so for now DirectX RT was all they mentioned.

Part of the big improvement in RDNA 2 comes from what they learned with Zen 3 and their new "Infinity Cache", which is a high-performance, last-level data cache they say "dramatically" reduces latency and power consumption while delivering higher performance than previous designs. You can see some of the benchmarks they showed in the image below:

As always, it's worth waiting on independent benchmarks for the full picture as both AMD and NVIDIA like to cherry-pick what makes them look good of course.

Here's the key highlight specifications:

  RX 6900 XT RX 6800 XT RX 6800
Compute Units 80 72 60
Process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
Game clock (MHz) 2,015 2,015 1,815
Boost clock (MHz) 2,250 2,250 2,105
Infinity Cache (MB) 128 128 128
Memory 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6
TDP (Watt) 300 300 250
Price (USD) $999 $649 $579
Available 08/12/2020 18/11/2020 18/11/2020

You shouldn't need to go buying a new case either, as AMD say they had easy upgrades in mind as they built these new GPUs for "standard chassis" with a length of 267mm and 2x8 standard 8-pin power connectors, and designed to operate with existing enthusiast-class 650W-750W power supplies.

There was a big portion of the event dedicated to DirectX which doesn’t mean much for us, but what we’ve been able to learn from the benchmarks shown is that they’re powerful cards and they appear to fight even NVIDIA’s latest high end consumer GPUs like the GeForce 3080. So not only are AMD leaping over Intel with the Ryzen 5000, they’re also now shutting NVIDIA out in the cold too. Incredible to see how far AMD has surged in the last few years. This is what NVIDIA and Intel have needed, some strong competition.

How will their Linux support be? You're probably looking at around the likes of Ubuntu 21.04 next April (or comparable distro updates) to see reasonable out-of-the-box support, thanks to newer Mesa drivers and an updated Linux Kernel but we will know a lot more once they actually release and can be tested.

As for what’s next? AMD confirmed that RDNA3 is well into the design stage, with a release expected before the end of 2022 for GPUs powered by RDNA3.

You can view the full event video in our YouTube embed below:

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Additionally if you missed it, AMD also recently announced (October 27) that they will be acquiring chip designer Xilinx.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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pageround 28 Oct, 2020
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Quoting: mosCool.
The only detail I'm currently interested in though is WHEN THE FECKING rdna1 PRICES WILL GO DOWN

I just want a reasonably priced Radeon laptop. The Dell G5 looks good but is a hair too expensive. I'm hoping that prices drop some too.
Mohandevir 28 Oct, 2020
Keeping an eye on which one will be the new RX5600xt iteration to replace my super noisy/furnace hot GTX 1660 Super (Asus Phoenix single fan) that I will probably use in a dedicated streaming server for my kids, in my well vented Cooler master HAF-XB case, hidden in my "server room". Let them beat it to death! :)

Last edited by Mohandevir on 28 October 2020 at 3:28 pm UTC
Linas 28 Oct, 2020
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I was one of the early adopters, and got myself a Vega 56 when it came out. Was a bit rough in the beginning, but it literally is a plug'n'play experience now. Just install Linux and enjoy. Moreover, it is getting better almost every day. Games that were barely running when I first got it are butter smooth now, all thanks to the steady flow of Mesa, ACO, Proton, and kernel driver upgrades.

Funny how AMD drivers are better on Linux than on Windows. They should just do the reverse NVIDIA and put the Mesa stack on Windows, and open-source their Windows driver.
Shmerl 28 Oct, 2020
Quoting: LinasFunny how AMD drivers are better on Linux than on Windows. They should just do the reverse NVIDIA and put the Mesa stack on Windows, and open-source their Windows driver.

Someone was already planning to make radv work on Windows.
mos 28 Oct, 2020
Quoting: GuestEvery product is different
how is one (green) GPU is fundamentally different from another (red) pray enlighten us.

the rest of the post is just not worth of replying to really.
iskaputt 28 Oct, 2020
I'm pretty excited for the 6000 series, currently rocking a Vega 56 and the new cards might be able to finally double the 4K performance. Just hoping that the driver situation this time is better than before with Vega and the 5000 series. IIRC it took about 6 or more month for proper support for those cards (please correct me if I remember wrongly).
omer666 28 Oct, 2020
Quoting: GuestIf your number-1 metric is vanity then you're destined to make bad decisions.
It depends on what you call a "bad decision." There can be plenty of good technical reasons to choose AMD as well, and keep in mind that not everybody buys higher-end cards.
For what it's worth, if I had to buy some GPU today, I'd clearly buy an RX 5600, and that's not even driver or FOSS-related.
x_wing 28 Oct, 2020
Quoting: GuestHaving the driver in the kernel is both a pro and a cons. With integrated driver modules you are forced to use the latest kernels which can introduce stability issues. If we rely on dkms then we don't need to live on bleeding-edge and we can get the latest drivers immediately but the linux kernel developers don't guarantee any compatibility from new kernels, only for their own driver modules.

From an outsider's perspective this sounds bad.

Not sure what you meant with this as any GPU company can follow DRM interface and deliver your driver through dkms. The problem here is that Nvidia approach completely avoids the guidelines Linux provides for graphic drivers, so if their module gets broken after a kernel update the guilt is a 100% on them.
mos 28 Oct, 2020
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: mos
Quoting: GuestEvery product is different
how is one (green) GPU is fundamentally different from another (red) pray enlighten us.

the rest of the post is just not worth of replying to really.

I already enumerated them but let's do it again: driver stability, driver updating, price/performance, cooling solutions(performance/noise, heat(affects other components too), OC headroom), performance/watts, generic OC headroom, 3rd-party warranty programs, special features(gsync, freesync, wayland, KMS, RTX, DLSS etc.). You can't make an informed purchase without knowing about these.
Aaaand in the grand scheme of things the red ones are just as good pound4pound as the green ones.
The majority of the consumers won't care about the intricacies and obscure technicalities or even a dozen more FPS here and there. NVIDIA currently has the upper hand at hardware ray-tracing? Who cares? Well, about 5% of gamers. See?
What's left is support and the Free Software support in particular, how well it alignes with the rest of the stack and in this department there's a clear winner.
Back to square one I guess.
illwieckz 28 Oct, 2020
Quoting: GuestOr just be a conscious customer and evaluate products properly instead of relying on ideologies only.

So you can't buy Nvidia, only AMD or Intel can be bought if you evaluate products properly, and if you need Navi-like power, only AMD can be bought if you evaluate products properly.

Nvidia are bad products on Linux, they require closed obsolete technology, provide experience that did not evolved since year 2000, are badly supported and become quickly obsolete and lose driver support on short time. If Nvidia asked me to build-up for them a catchword, I would say “Nvidia: bringing you year 2000 experience, faster”.

Also, Nvidia drivers are a pain to deal with. As a game developer for Unvanquished, I can testimony we face kind of bugs we never see with Intel or AMD, we even have to hardcode special workaround for their driver brokenness.

We tested more than 50 GPUs that comes from the past 18 years to today:
And I can testimony: Nvidia is trash and pain, garbage and suffering.

On the contrary AMD support is stellar, it works really well, performance are awesome, and support is stellar.

The only reason to buy Nvidia today is that if you're constrained to use CUDA, so you're likely victim of a racket. Being forced to use proprietary software is worst than not using any software, it's a kind or racket: a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem. Being forced to buy Nvidia hardware to run a software is a racket.
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