Following the retail launch of AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700 cards over the weekend, there are a spattering of models available to purchase, but none so far that use custom cooling designs. That is going to change. The question is when, and the answer, according to AMD, is around the middle of August.
AMD posted an update on Reddit regarding when users will see new Navi cards from its hardware partners that sport custom cooling shrouds (like the ones MSI is planning to release), as opposed to ones that stick with the reference blower-style cooler. The latter tends to be favored by enthusiasts because of the potential for better cooling performance. Custom cooling solutions also run quieter in some instances, compared to reference designs.
As to why AMD opted for a blower design for Navi rather than a more aggressive cooling solution, the decision came down to ensuring consistent results between AMD's own benchmarking data and what reviewers would see when testing the cards.
"The Radeon group historically has had a bad reputation of producing product launch charts that didn’t match up to real world performance. Love it or hate it the blower allowed us to guarantee performance in every system to match our launch charts. Not everyone cools their PC as good as a reviewer and definitely not as good as some of the pictures you guys have shared. It was my goal to clean all of this up so that you can trust our performance you hear from us on stage," AMD's Scott Herkelman stated.
AMD's decision to roll with a blower cooler is notable because rival NVIDIA went the opposite direction with its GeForce RTX 20 series based on Turing. NVIDIA ditched the blower design that it has used with its Pascal cards and opted instead for a dual-fan cooler on its newest Founders Edition models.
That said, AMD is listening to feedback and is considering two different ways of launching graphics cards in the future. They include:
- If blower design are used also offer dual/tri-axial options at launch for the enthusiasts. I like this idea.
- Have reviews hit before shelf date (working on this with team)
- Keep jebaiting NV - easily done.
That third entry is a tongue-in-cheek reference to AMD's last-minute price drop on its Radeon RX 5700 series. The insinuation is that AMD baited NVIDIA into countering the launch with its GeForce RTX Super cards, and then announcing the real Navi pricing shortly after. It makes for a humorous story, one that pitches AMD in a shrewd and savvy light, though who knows if it actually went down that way.
In any event, custom-cooled Navi cards are coming in about a month, so hang tight if that is what you are after.