AMD's RDNA 4 Navi 4X GPUs Rumored To Skip High-End Graphics Cards

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This one's a bit of a weird one, and it's going to require some analysis to understand, so pay close attention. The rumor this time around is that AMD's RDNA 4 graphics card line-up "will not have any high-end GPUs." The leaker compares the situation to RDNA 1 (the Radeon RX 5700 XT) and Polaris (the Radeon RX 480), release generations for which neither really had parts competitive in the high-end of the market.

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The leaker in question is Kepler_L2, a fellow known for several accurate AMD leaks in the past. He's also known as someone who generally keeps his finger on the pulse of the latest hardware news and rumors. So saying, even though his remarks are surprising, we don't really have a lot of reason to doubt what he's saying besides the usual skepticism that any reasonable person should apply to what are essentially rumors.

The idea that the RDNA 4 generation will entirely skip the high-end is pretty surprising, though. That's both because you would naturally expect AMD to want to release products that serve the high-margin enthusiast market, but also because AMD itself has already said that it plans to release faster cards in the next generation.

Specifically, AMD's Rick Bergman said in an interview with Japanese site 4Gamer that AMD "promises to evolve to RDNA 4 with even higher performance in the near future." Higher performance than the Radeon RX 7900 XTX would surely require a "high-end" GPU, but then, perhaps he's simply talking about the relative performance of the architecture; RDNA 4 could be more efficient, hitting higher performance levels with a smaller GPU.

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The GeForce RTX 4090 is really in a class of its own. From our RX 7900 XTX review.

Alternatively, perhaps there's some confusion about exactly what constitutes "high-end." Arguably, NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090 is in a class of its own, and perhaps Kepler is simply saying that AMD won't release an RDNA 4 GPU that can compete with the RTX 4090. That would be slightly disappointing, but certainly not the end of the world; the top-end Ada GPU is much faster than is necessary for almost any current game aside from Cyberpunk 2077 with path tracing—and without frame generation. (There's Remnant II also, but that's a CPU limit.)

There's been talk about an RDNA "3.5" revision, also known as "RDNA 3+". However, that GPU architecture is only rumored to exist in integrated graphics products. It's not clear what differences or upgrades it has from RDNA 3, but the existence of RDNA 3+ does sort-of lend some credence to the early rumors about RDNA 3 GPUs having major errata reducing performance. It's possible that RDNA 4 ends up being like a "fixed RDNA 3."

Whatever the case, if AMD can bring out a mid-range GPU like the Radeon RX 5700 XT with solid specifications, good power efficiency, and do it at a reasonable price, the company could really have a winning product on its hands. While there wasn't a lot of enthusiasm around the Radeon RX 5700 XT, it was a capable performer at a reasonable price for the time, and GPUs like that are in short supply these days. Here's hoping.