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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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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150 comments
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Kristian 28 Oct
The last time I had a ATI card(as they were called back then) it resulted in a "hardware manufacture error". Being boycotting them ever since. I will sooner cut off my leg and eat it before I ever buy a AMD card. I treat them as they don't exist and hate them with a passion. So I have been Nvidia only since that incident in 2009 and seeing people talking about problem with AMD cards under Linux for the first period after release has only confirmed my stance. What can I say, I have grudges...
CFWhitman 28 Oct
Quoting: lunixIf the driver breaks with a kernel update then one would assume that it's obvious that it is the kernel which breaks its own interface and not vice versa. The kernel doesn't provide any stable interface. Read about the latest breakage: https://lwn.net/Articles/827596/

There's no point in trying to promote a stable driver binary interface for the Linux kernel because that's never going to happen. It would break too many things the developers care about in order to "fix" something they don't care about at all.

Linux is a cross-platform kernel. A stable driver binary interface is very platform specific. Open source drivers in Linux will do things like allowing a wireless card to run on both an ARM device and an AMD64 device with the same driver. Freezing a binary interface for one platform prevents that. You'd have to maintain separate binary interfaces along with their drivers for different architectures.

A stable driver binary interface would be an anchor weighing down kernel development. Linus Torvalds has made it very clear that it's not going to happen while he's in charge, but everyone deeply involved with Linux kernel development would tend to feel the same way.


Last edited by CFWhitman on 29 October 2020 at 11:43 am UTC
Cybolic 28 Oct
Quoting: illwieckz
Quoting: ShmerlAlso, what's that "direct storage" thing? How does GPU supposed to support it?

At some point in the past they even integrated a 1Tb SSD in their GPU to get access to larger storage without being slowed down by the CPU and other components:

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3099964/amds-new-ssg-technology-adds-an-ssd-to-its-gpu.html

I guess that may be a variant of this that would still uses computer's SSD (so they don't have to ship it themselves, to reduce price) but in a way performance approach this. There was huge improvements in PCIe and specific AMD technologies for interconnecting things last years.

I know little of this stuff in general, but according to Phoronix, it's built on the PCIe resizable BAR support that seems to have been in the kernel since 2013 and will be supported on Linux with these cards.
chelobaka 29 Oct
Quoting: KristianThe last time I had a ATI card(as they were called back then) it resulted in a "hardware manufacture error". Being boycotting them ever since. I will sooner cut off my leg and eat it before I ever buy a AMD card. I treat them as they don't exist and hate them with a passion. So I have been Nvidia only since that incident in 2009 and seeing people talking about problem with AMD cards under Linux for the first period after release has only confirmed my stance. What can I say, I have grudges...

Hate is bad for your health, be it people or objects, you know? Learn to accept the world around you and you might see it through different eyes ;)

I was really glad to read about RDNA 2 announce today, though my 5700XT is still doing its job pretty good and I have no plans to upgrade it.
Quoting: lunixEvery product is different and the ideology is the least important difference between them.
This statement involves at least two major misconceptions. The first is about the nature of the word "important" as it relates to individuals' choices. Obviously, you cannot define for another person what is important to them. If their values are different from yours, what is important to them will also be different. People have different needs and so on. So for instance, if I'm buying a consumer product, it may be important to me that it be purple (note my handle). But I would not claim to you that purpleness is the most important feature of that consumer product and you are a fool making a mistake if you fail to get a purple one. I accept that, for whatever perverse reason, for many people purpleness just isn't that important. So saying ideology is, or is not, important to someone else's choice is in a basic sense a category error.

The other is about the nature and implications of ideology. An ideology is an understanding of how the world works, in a political and economic sense, combined with some values. If you have an ideology, inevitably it has implications about how the world should work--it might imply that the world should work exactly how it does work, although given how it does work that would be kind of a crappy ideology.
I say "if", but in fact everyone has an ideology. "Pragmatists" who imagine they do not have one are, in reality, just practising some received ideology they do not understand because they absorbed it without thinking about it. You might say instead of them having an ideology, it has them. Refusing to think through what your ideology is or, if you do, to take any actions derived from it, is basically a matter of passivity--accepting that you will be acted on, not an actor, and that the world will be the way all the people who do act cause it to be. Now that's OK in a way, but people who abdicate their agency that way shouldn't be getting on the case of people who have thought things through and do have positions.

Basically, if you haven't reached an understanding of the world or can't be bothered to act in ways consistent with it, shut up when those of us who do know what we're talking about and do have some consistency with our beliefs are talking.
WJMazepas 29 Oct
Quoting: GuerrillaWhile I am impressed with the price/performance with the Big Navi reveal, given how much of a dumpster fire the Nvidia 3000 series launch was with scalpers and the fact that I'm not particularly savvy with Linux, I'm thinking of buying a 5600XT for my new build.

While it's not a huge jump over my R9 Fury (likely 50% performance improvement), it has the advantages of:

- Pop OS! 20.04 will have great support out of the box
- Available at much lower prices (if lower end Big Navi was revealed, this would not be a point)
- Is actually available for purchase

The plan is to take my current PC and basically turn it into a "game console" connected to the TV. The 5600XT will go into the new build and in a year or two, I can move it into the TV PC and get a nicer GPU for my desktop. By that point, Big Navi will likely be better supported and possibly at a nicer price.

I have a RX470 and honestly, im pretty happy with it. Of course i would love to have a Big Navi with a Ryzen 9 5950X but it would be really expensive and i just dont want to deal with problems of a new release. I got a Ryzen 2700 instead of a 3600 because it was cheaper and all the issues had gone already
WJMazepas 29 Oct
Quoting: KristianThe last time I had a ATI card(as they were called back then) it resulted in a "hardware manufacture error". Being boycotting them ever since. I will sooner cut off my leg and eat it before I ever buy a AMD card. I treat them as they don't exist and hate them with a passion. So I have been Nvidia only since that incident in 2009 and seeing people talking about problem with AMD cards under Linux for the first period after release has only confirmed my stance. What can I say, I have grudges...

I know how you feel because i had issues with a Dell with a Radeon 260X in 2015 that it was easier to just deactivate the GPU.

But i have in my main PC a RX470 and it works great. The support is good and all drivers are mature now. I had zero issues whatsoever running the Mesa drivers.

If you buy a new card from AMD and decide to use Mesa, there will be issues, but a older card will work just fine
jarhead_h 29 Oct
Let's see, with all of my tax returns coming in the next months, I should be able to finally finish out my existing x570 build with an Asus PG43UQ 43” 4K, a 5900X, a Sabrent 1tb Rocket Plus PCIE4 NVME, and 6800XT, OR MAYBE a 6900XT. Not sure, have to wait and see if the performance justifies the price. Not buying anything until February probably so should have the best build relative to what's available that I've ever had. Ihaven't decided on the distro yet. Still leaning towards Fedora 33, but PopOS is tempting.

It's actually kind of sad. I don't game anywhere near what I used to, especially not AAA devs, but I am doing video editing, and 4K Windows games via Steamplay need all the GPU horsepower you can bring.
jarhead_h 29 Oct
Quoting: WJMazepasI have a RX470 and honestly, im pretty happy with it. Of course i would love to have a Big Navi with a Ryzen 9 5950X but it would be really expensive and i just dont want to deal with problems of a new release. I got a Ryzen 2700 instead of a 3600 because it was cheaper and all the issues had gone already

If you buy a new card from AMD and decide to use Mesa, there will be issues, but a older card will work just fine

I have a slightly different upgrade strategy. Buy the best mobo and heaviest PSU you can, skimp on ram, NVME, GPU, and CPU. Each one basically drops in one at a time.

I bought an x570 & Corsair 850 in January. It got an on-sale Samsung 970 evo 500gb, a standard on-sale 2600, 16gb ddr4, and a recycled 1060-6GB to run a 60hz 1080p tv. Now running 32gb of TridentZ Neo c16 timing. Been waiting on Sabrent and AMD to release the rest, and the IRS to get me my money back.

Hoping there won't be any major issues with Mesa or kernel support by end of Q2 2021. There were some weird bugs with the Ryzen 2000 series, but I haven't experienced any this year. The 850 should handle the power draw of the 6900XT just fine, according to LTT the 3090 has issues with a psu that small iirc.

And I was gonna go AMD this gen no matter what simply because I'm on me third XX60 NVIDIA gpu and I'm sick of NVIDIA's proprietary drivers. More than once I've had to revert back and wait for a kernel update because the new driver breaks my system.


Last edited by jarhead_h on 29 October 2020 at 4:13 am UTC
TheRiddick 29 Oct
I'll probably get a 6800XT even tho I want to see pretty lights in CP2077 and won't be able to on release, I do know that eventually they will be supported with AMD cards.

I did try to buy a 3080 on launch but no stop exists anywhere except for for %200 marked up models...

Quoting: jarhead_hThe 850 should handle the power draw of the 6900XT just fine

Why do people think they need a 850W PSU for a 300W card? I've always been confused by this thinking. Is your CPU drawing 500W?

Quoting: KristianThe last time I had a ATI card(as they were called back then) it resulted in a "hardware manufacture error". Being boycotting them ever since.

If I had this policy, I would actually not being using computers right now because all brands have burnt me at some point. (basically bought all cpu/gpu and brands over the decades at one point or another).


Last edited by TheRiddick on 29 October 2020 at 10:39 am UTC
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