AMD’s beastly new Big Navi graphics card could be twice as powerful as the RX 5700 XT

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD’s so-called ‘Big Navi’ graphics card, the incoming high-end GPU to challenge the top Nvidia GeForce performers, could be twice as powerful as the RX 5700 XT, based on speculation which has poured forth following a leak on Twitter.

The fresh info was highlighted by Komachi, a prolific source of leaks on Twitter, and was posted over at the forums. 

It’s a source we have to treat with some considerable caution, although Wccftech notes it has been a reliable one in the past (and the rumor on Twitter, as floated by Komachi, is that it could be somebody who works at TSMC which makes AMD’s chips).

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At any rate, bearing caveats in mind, the claim is that Navi 21 or Big Navi will witness a die size of 505 mm², meaning it’s a hefty chip. 

That’s twice the size of the RX 5700 XT which features a 251mm² die, so theoretically we could see the 40 CUs (compute units) of the 5700 doubled up to 80 CUs (and remember that the other part of the performance equation is that this will be an RDNA 2 GPU, meaning it uses AMD’s next-gen architecture).

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that AMD’s incoming flagship graphics card – which will possibly be called the Radeon RX 5950 XT – will be hitting 80 CUs, meaning 5,120 stream processors.

But as we’ve observed in the past, there’s a lot more to exactly how powerful this GPU will work out than the raw die size or number of compute units. AMD will also have to balance clock speeds, and indeed temperature concerns – cooling and power consumption. However, there has been good news on the latter front, given that AMD has previously boasted that RDNA2 brings with it a 50% improvement in performance per Watt compared to the original architecture.

Of course, we mustn’t forget that about the ray tracing support which comes with RDNA2, and the question of dedicated ray tracing cores – and how much space they might take up on the GPU die. In short, there are a lot of factors which could come into play.

Competitive high-end GPU?

Having said all that, we shouldn’t get carried away with speculation around what is, ultimately, a leak that needs to be taken with more than a grain of salt. But of course, it makes sense that AMD would want to push out something truly powerful at the high-end to finally start to compete with the likes of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

The concern remains that if indeed this is the beefy hardware the purported RX 5950 XT is running with, how much will the card cost, and will AMD be able to keep the GPU competitive? And indeed how will Big Navi’s arrival be timed compared to Nvidia’s next-gen RTX 3000 series?

In case you’re wondering, the Big Navi graphics card is expected to arrive towards the end of 2020, assuming that coronavirus disruption hasn’t become a fly in the ointment.

Finally, you doubtless noticed that the above tweet also reveals the size of Navi 22 and Navi 23 GPUs which are allegedly 340mm² and 240mm² respectively, with AMD apparently having big plans for a number of major launches in the future.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).