AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT Could Beat NVIDIA To Market As The First PCIe Gen5 Graphics Card

Radeon RX Graphics Card
AMD gets a lot of love from the open-source community because it's willing to work with developers to ensure that its Radeon graphics cards are fast and stable on operating systems that aren't Windows. A prime example would be the recent updates to the Linux kernel to support GFX11, which refers to the company's upcoming RDNA 3 graphics architecture.

Scientifically-named Twitter leaker and rumor-monger Kepler has been investigating those patches and has discovered a number of interesting tidbits, like the fact that Navi 31 will apparently have fully six shader engines, compared to four on Navi 21, and just two on Navi 10.

His latest discovery is that the Radeon RX 7000 series will apparently ship with PCI Express 5.0 support. If so, and if these parts ship before NVIDIA's competing Ada Lovelace cards, that would make them the first desktop GPUs to ship with PCIe 5.0 connectivity. Intel's Alder Lake (12th-generation) platform already has PCIe 5.0 capability, so this would put the new GPUs in the curious position of working best with AMD's competitor's platform—not that that's a new or unique position for Radeon cards.

Of course, AMD could release its Socket AM5 platform and Zen 4 CPUs alongside the new Radeons. AMD confirmed to us that the Ryzen 7000 series desktop processors will have PCIe 5.0 support. With that said, it's unlikely to make a big difference; in the past, using a 16-lane interface, cards moving from PCIe 2.0 to 3.0, or from 3.0 to 4.0, has rarely made a significant difference in performance.

inline asrock phantom gaming rx 6500xt goldenfingers
This RX 6500 XT appears to have a full x16 interface, but most of the fingers are not wired up to anything.

The difference is mainly notable for folks who use these cards for compute purposes, where PCIe bandwidth can be a major bottleneck. High bandwidth across the system bus interface can also improve performance in memory-limited scenarios; some people have theorized that the x4-width interface on the Radeon RX 6500 XT is only as limiting as it is due to the card's 4GB of local memory, although the card's performance suffers on older systems with older PCIe revisions whether or not you're using all of the RAM.

In any case, we're waiting with bated breath to see what AMD's next-generation parts look like. In the meantime, the company purportedly has refreshed models of its RDNA 2 series on the way. If they materialize, rest assured that we'll take a close look at them.