Rumored AMD Navi Radeon RX 3080 Branding Is Risky And Ridiculous

radeon vii front
Unless you've been living under a rock, then you know that Q3 is shaping up to be a big launch period for AMD. The company has confirmed that it will launch third-generation Ryzen 3000 desktop processors, second-generation EPYC server processors and Radeon RX Navi consumer GPUs. 

Of those products, we know the least about Radeon RX Navi, which means that speculation has been running rampant in the months leading up to the official reveal. With the launch window closely approaching (as early as next week according to recent reports), we've had to decipher a lot of information regarding Navi.

One of the more recent rumors zeroed in on a $330 price tag for the alleged Radeon RX 3080 XT with performance that would match the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070. Considering that the GeForce RTX 2070 retails for around $500, that would make for a powerhouse performance bargain. But reality has sunken in and there's no way that AMD could possibly undercut NVIDIA by that much on its new 7nm process node... even if it was having remarkable success with initial yields.

amd next horizon gaming

This morning, a more credible rumor suggested that the Radeon RX 3080 XT would be priced at $499, which would put it right in line with the GeForce RTX 2070. The rumor, which apparently stemmed from a Sapphire employee, also claimed that the card would offer performance that is "stronger than 2070". There's also expected to be a less powerful Radeon RX 3080 Pro, which would be priced at $399 and would compete against -- you guessed it -- the GeForce RTX 2060.

All of these rumors floating around leads us to the big question on the docket: what exactly are these cards going to be called? There doesn't seem to be any concrete evidence that AMD is going with a Radeon RX 3xxx naming scheme for its consumer Navi cards, and it doesn't exactly mesh with previous AMD graphics cards. 

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For example, AMD's current top offering is Radeon VII, which is built on a 7nm process. Its previous enthusiast-class cards carried the Radeon RX Vega 56/Vega 64 designations. And the company's mainstream offerings include the Radeon RX 4xx and RX 5xx GPUs. So why exactly would AMD all of a sudden switch to a Radeon RX 3xxx sequence? 

The popular opinion seems to be that AMD is looking to "one-up" NVIDIA which is currently using GeForce RTX 20xx for its Turing-based ray-tracing enabled graphics cards. 3xxx is bigger than 20xx, so for AMD to do this would seem to be an effort to strike confusion in the marketplace, or somehow score points with uninformed consumers that might not consider performance results over model numbers. If all of this is true and these are actually the model numbers, which would honestly seem hard to believe, it would be in poor taste and not the best strategically for AMD's marketing efforts.

Again, we do not know if AMD has chosen to go down this route; like most everything else about Navi at this point, all we have to go on is speculation. For all we know, AMD could lump the cards into a new Radeon RX 600 series and we wouldn't fault the company one bit. That would at least be more logical. And of course a complete departure from current model numbering is just fine too, just not something so close to a competitive product.

In the end, we only have a little over a week before we should start hearing the official details about AMD's consumer-based Navi cards. Until then, we'll take everything we hear about Navi with a grain of salt.