The next-gen graphics card war is heating up between AMD and Nvidia, with both putting out seriously powerful GPUs in the past few months, but a new regulatory filing hints that a new AMD Radeon RX GPU might be launching soon, and it could be a huge winner for AMD if it beats Team Green to market with a midrange or budget offering.
The best graphics card in AMD's lineup, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, is definitely a beastly GPU with a lot going for it, but price isn't one of them. Yes, it's a flagship-class graphics card under a grand, but only by the slimmest of margins.
Meanwhile, Nvidia's cheapest Lovelace offering, the RTX 4070 Ti, isn't much cheaper, meaning there is still an entire midrange graphics card market that hasn't really been able to upgrade their cards for years thanks to cryptominers sucking up a huge number of cards during the recent cryptobubble.
For those gamers, a filing with the South Korean National Radio Research Agency showing a new AMD GPU motherboard registration is a glimmer of hope. Twitter hardware leaker harukaze5719 (opens in new tab) dug into the new filings and spotted an entry for the D707 board model (opens in new tab) that would indicate a major component of an AMD graphics card is ready for certification.
AMD(ATI TECHNOLOGIES ULC) VIDEO CARDD70701D70702D70703D70704D70705D70706D70707https://t.co/73YhscuSirFebruary 17, 2023
As VideoCardz notes, the RX 7900 XTX uses GPU board model D702, while the RX 7900 XT uses board D704, so D707 could be paired with a Navi 33 GPU, which would be used in both the RX 7700 and RX 7600 cards, both XT and non-XT variants. That is pretty speculative at this point, though, since deducing which board gets paired with which GPU isn't as simple as looking at a model number. It's also important to note that a board being registered doesn't mean that the card itself is close to release.
Still, the thought of an RX 7600 hitting the scene very soon has me unexpectedly excited, and the more I think about it, the more it looks like the smartest move AMD could make right now.
AMD's high-end GPUs are great, but the midrange is where most gamers have always been
When it comes to gaming, the Steam Hardware Survey (opens in new tab) is a fascinating look at a very diverse community of gamers out there, at least when it comes to the hardware we use to play the best PC games.
One thing that absolutely stands out though is how few gamers have been able to upgrade from desktop graphics cards into the last-gen GPUs from the Radeon RX 6000-series and Nvidia RTX 3000-series. More than 40% of gamers are playing with desktop graphics cards at least two-generations-old, and they will almost certainly upgrade to a new GPU if the cost is accessible and a next-gen card is available to them, especially if they've been trying for more than two years only to get outbought by a shopper bot.
The RX 7600 might not be the most powerful card on the market when it lands, but it's light-years ahead of the older GTX and RX 500-series cards with new features like ray tracing and Radeon Super Resolution. For a lot of feature-and-performance-starved-gamers, buying a RX 7600 would be a no-brainer, especially if it comes in at a really great price.
Breaking with the standard graphics card launch cycle has plenty of upside
Typically, when a new generation of graphics cards is launched, it follows a fairly regular pattern, with high-end cards launching first to get all the good press (normally), followed by the midrange cards like the the RX 6600 XT or RTX 3060. Nvidia is currently working on launching the RTX 4070 and might not release the RTX 4060 along with it, which really does give AMD an opening to drop a cheaper midrange card that a lot of gamers are going to buy, especially since the overwhelming majority still play at 1080p.
Even if many of these gamers are still going to go for a higher tier card eventually, picking up a RX 7600 in the meantime to tide them over until they can afford an RTX 4070 or similar is not out of the question.
Offering a more budget friendly GPU right now would also catch Nvidia on the back foot somewhat, since it almost certainly will stick to its expected cadence of RTX 4070 to RTX 4060 to RTX 4050, with a sprinkling of Ti-variants tossed in for good measure. If a lot of gamers already have an RX 7600, they may be far less likely to make the jump to the RTX 4060 when it finally drops, even if it does end up being the best cheap graphics card of this generation.
It's not likely to be so much better than the RX 7600 that it's worth paying more for marginally better performance, and it can seriously eat into Nvidia's midrange installation base, which is a major source of Team Green's market power. Nothing like a friendly black-eye to the ol' balance sheet between competitors, no?
Finally, I would honestly like to see more affordable GPUs out there, and Nvidia has already shown some sensitivity to the current economic conditions that Nvidia frankly lacks. Not a whole lot of people are going to have $700/£700 to drop on a graphics card, and its about time that your run-of-the-mill PC gamer gets a break for a change. A surprise RX 7600 launch from AMD would definitely do that, and could gain some good will from Nvidia fans who might even be won over to Team Red.