It was previously rumored that AMD would launch its next-generation Navi GPU around the middle of the year, perhaps at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June. Now a new rumor has emerged, and reportedly AMD is delaying its Navi GPU launch until later in the year, and likely in October. Does the rumor have merit?
We can't say, though what we do know is that AMD is fresh off a high-end graphics card launch, namely the Radeon VII. It's the first graphics card for gaming to sport a GPU on board that is built on a 7nm manufacturing process, though it's not the first 7nm graphics product—AMD's Radeon Instinct MI60 came before the Radeon VII.
Our own hands on testing shows the Radeon VII performing in the neighborhood or just behind NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080 in standard rasterized games. As such, it gives AMD at least foothold in the high-end GPU market, and justified or not, the company is confident it will be received well by gamers. So in that regard, we can see where AMD might decide to hold Navi back a few months, especially if there are derivatives of second generation Vega in the works.
It's not clear if that is the actual reason, though. The rumor originates from Cowcotland, a French website that heard from its unnamed sources that Navi will arrive in October. Beyond that tidbit, there are no other details.
We still don't know what to expect out of Navi. Past rumors have been mixed—there have been reports that Navi will be a mid-range GPU, while AMD has made comments that suggest it could be compete at the high-end.
"We believe, we will be very competitive overall and that includes the high-end of the GPU market. Obviously there are new products out there from our competition. We will have our set of new products as well and we will be right there in the mix," AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su said at the 22nd Annual Credit Suisse Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference.
Dr. Lisa Su made those comments before AMD launched the Radeon VII, so it is possible she was referring to that card, and not Navi. It is also possible that she was speaking generally about AMD's graphics strategy moving forward, which would include Navi. It is anyone's guess at this point.
One thing Navi has going for it is that it is built on a 7nm process, just like Vega 20. They are not the same GPU by any means, though. Vega initially launched as a 14nm GPU and is architecturally different than Navi. To what extent, we don't know, and we might have to wait until the fourth quarter to find out.