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AMD’s Big Navi GPU will have heaps of memory, according to rumour

Will the next generation of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards engage in a memory war?


We’re quickly approaching the anticipated AMD RDNA 2 and Nvidia Ampere release dates, and, as always with upcoming GPU releases, rumours are rife. Only yesterday we saw that high-end RTX 3000-series GPUs are now rumoured to double the memory configurations of the current Nvidia Turing generation. Now there’s a rumour about upcoming AMD graphics card memory configurations.

Chiphell forum user and leaker wjm47196 (via TweakTown) claims “Navi 21 has two versions, 16GB and 12GB”. ‘Navi 21’ is a codename for the GPU that people are calling ‘Big Navi’, aka the ‘Nvidia killer’. This GPU is rumoured to finally give Nvidia some competition at the high-end and is expected to launch later this year, possibly in November.

If this rumour is accurate and Big Navi comes in 12GB and 16GB (GDDR6) versions, we could possibly expect differing specs in other regards – one 16GB version with all CUs (compute units) enabled and one 12GB version with some CUs disabled for a lower price. All speculation, of course, but given the rumours surrounding Big Navi’s CU configurations it would make sense.

Big Navi is rumoured to have up to 80 CUs. The current best graphics card when it comes to AMD consumer GPUs is the RX 5700 XT, which has 40 CUs and still comes pretty close to RTX 2070 Super levels of performance.

If these CU and memory rumours are true, we could potentially see an 80 CU, 16GB variant to compete with ultra-high-end Nvidia graphics cards like the Titan RTX, and a 12GB variant with less CUs to cater to the more mainstream enthusiast consumer segment and compete with Nvidia’s next-gen RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 Super replacements.

The latest Nvidia RTX 30-series rumour, however, is that the top-end of the lineup will offer over 20GB of GDDR6 memory, with a 24GB PG132-10 board intended as an RTX 2080 Ti replacement, a 20GB PG132-20 board intended as an RTX 2080 Super replacement, and a 10GB PG132-30 board also intended as an RTX 2080 Super replacement.

If all of these rumours are accurate then, excluding the very top-end boards, we could have two high-end RTX ‘RTX 3080’ variants (10GB and 20GB), and two Big Navi variants (12GB and 16GB). We’ll have to wait and see how all this plays out, but it looks like people are expecting some pretty big jumps in GDDR memory capacity on the next generation of high-end consumer graphics cards.