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AMD has silently ‘launched’ the RX 5300-series… with the same GPU as RX 5500

AMD RX 5500-series GPU

AMD has today silently ‘launched’ its RX 5300M series of graphics cards. Wait… what? Yeah, no sooner has Apple seemingly announced the AMD Radeon 5300-series of graphics card with its own MacBook Pro launch, but AMD lists a completely different 5300-series GPU on its own site.

It’s bizarre because the Radeon Pro 5300M that Apple’s got has just 20 compute units, while the RX 5300M GPU comes with 22 compute units. Yay, us PC gamers get one over Apple… except no they still get the full Navi 14 with 24 CUs that doesn’t seem to be coming to PC.

Whatever… the 22 CU RX 5300M spec is exactly the same as the 22 CU configuration of the RX 5500M graphics silicon, which makes it the exact same GPU. The only difference is that the RX 5300M comes with 3GB of GDDR6 and the RX 5500M comes with 4GB of GDDR6. So AMD is now differentiating between graphics card names in terms of the amount of video memory that’s being attached to it.

And that makes me worried for the expected RX 5500 XT card that’s due on our desktops before the end of the year… it’s looking increasingly likely that’s just going to be another 22 CU part but with 8GB of GDDR6.

You will, of course, find the GPU ‘Game Frequency’ – or whatever it’s being called at the time – being higher on the different SKUs of the RX 5300, RX 5500, and RX 5500 XT graphics cards, but in actual silicon terms the only point of difference will be in how much VRAM is jammed onto the PCB with each GPU.

The listing for the RX 5300M has appeared on AMD’s own site (via @momomo_us) and some further digging, matched up with some Linux driver leaks, and the specs given to the press by AMD at the initial pre-briefing about the RX 5500-series, seems to confirm that there isn’t going to be a full Navi 14 GPU hitting the PC. It looks like it will indeed be limited to Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 laptops.

AMD Navi 14 GPU

The following SKUs of the Navi 14 GPU were added to a recent Linux driver patch, and we can now be pretty confident what all but one Navi 14 SKU matches up to.

NAVI14_UMD_PSTATE_PEAK_XT_GFXCLK 1670 MHz
NAVI14_UMD_PSTATE_PEAK_XTM_GFXCLK 1448 MHz
NAVI14_UMD_PSTATE_PEAK_XLM_GFXCLK 1181 MHz
NAVI14_UMD_PSTATE_PEAK_XTX_GFXCLK 1717 MHz
NAVI14_UMD_PSTATE_PEAK_XL_GFXCLK 1448 MHz

Basically it looks like the entire PC lineup for both the mobile and desktop RX 5300 and RX 5500-series cards are hewn from the exact same GPU. The only difference being the clock speed and VRAM allocation.

GPU CUs RDNA cores Game clock VRAM
RX 5500 XT Navi 14 XTX 22 1,408 1,717MHz 8GB
RX 5500 Navi 14 XT 22 1,408 1,670MHz 4GB
RX 5300? Navi 14 XL 22 1,408 1,448MHz 4GB?
RX 5500M Navi 14 XTM 22 1,408 1,448MHz 4GB
RX 5300M Navi 14 XLM 22 1,408 1,181MHz 3GB
Radeon Pro 5500M Navi 14 24 1,536 ? 4/8GB
Radeon Pro 5300M Navi 14 20 1,280 ? 4GB

AMD listed the ‘up to’ specs for the desktop RX 5500-series as 1,717MHz and 8GB, yet the listing on AMD.com for the RX 5500 currently only points to 4GB and a Game Frequency/Game Clock (AMD changes what it’s called depending on who writes the list) of 1,670MHz.

AMD RX 5500-series specs

That matches up to the Navi 14 XT from the Linux patch, leaving the Navi 14 XTX as the top-spec 8GB 1,717MHz GPU.

That leaves a lower-spec Navi 14 XL desktop part, which it now looks like ending up as an RX 5300 card, though surely AMD wouldn’t hobble that with just 3GB of VRAM, would it?

So, why has this been a silent launch? It’s looking more and more like AMD is backing away from the 5500-series launch, potentially ceding the mainstream market to Nvidia, or just leaving Polaris to keep the Radeon flag flying.

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