The latter end of 2020 marks the arrival of the new generation of graphics cards, with the Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi rivalry kicking off in style. Such a new leap in graphical fidelity is arguably just as exciting as a new console generation for PC gamers, with AMD looking to introduce 4K support and ray tracing for the first time and Nvidia hoping to push the performance ceiling to new heights.
But what is going to be the best graphics card for you? While nothing is official yet, we’ve looked over all the leaks and rumours to give you a glimpse of what to expect, so you’re better equipped to decide whether to invest your money into team green or red. Let’s jump into this Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi debate.
Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi specs – Which is more powerful?
There are no official specs for either of the next-generation graphics cards, with all the details provided below taken from various leaks and rumours. That means you should take everything with a pinch of salt until the official reveals, although we reckon we’ve got a pretty decent idea of what to expect from the two graphics card families.
AMD has already confirmed Big Navi will be 4K-capable, and will support ray tracing in order to embrace the revolutionary new light-rendering technology. This indicates AMD Big Navi will have a similar feature-set to Nvidia’s current crop of RTX graphics cards.
However, with RDNA 2 apparently allowing for a 50% performance-per-watt improvement on the current generation of Radeon GPUs, rumours suggest the flagship Big Navi GPU could be even more powerful than the RTX 2080 Ti, but at a potentially more affordable price point. The 7nm architecture may well give AMD a slight advantage over Ampere too, as it’s been reported that Nvidia is using Samsung’s slightly larger 8nm node. Smaller processes are generally more efficient, although comparing architecture is never that simple in practice.
Meanwhile, Nvidia Ampere looks to be building on Turing RTX graphics cards by boosting the performance and doubling down on ray tracing. Recent rumours claim Nvidia will hike up the video memory to an incredible 24GB GDDR6X for its flagship GPU. That’s astonishingly high, with memory manufacturer Micro (reported by VideoCardz) suggesting Ampere could break the 1TB of memory-bandwidth barrier. In comparison, Big Navi is thought to see a maximum video memory of 16GB GDDR6.
We haven’t got enough information to get a clear idea of the performance potential of Ampere, but this rumoured RTX 3090 graphics card sure looks powerful. From what we’ve seen so far, Big Navi will unlikely be able to compete with such power, but AMD rarely competes with Nvidia’s top-end cards, instead opting to focus on value over sheer performance. We would guess AMD’s high-end Big Navi graphics card will see a similar performance level to the rumoured RTX 3070, although this is complete guesswork.
Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi price – How much will they cost?
AMD and Nvidia usually keep the price close to their respective chest until the last possible moment in order to prevent the other getting an advantage, so there’s very little details on this front.
However, It has recently been speculated that the rumoured RTX 3090 could cost as much as SGD $2700, which would make it one of the most expensive consumer graphics cards ever to launch.
AMD is unlikely to set a price that high, with the Radeon graphics cards historically offering fantastic value. Although since AMD is adding 4K and ray tracing support, it’s likely that Big Navi will be more expensive than the current Navi range.
Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi release date – When will they launch?
It’s looking very likely that Nvidia will announce the Ampere graphics cards during the official September 1 showcase. A release will likely follow sometime in the following weeks, with Chinese publication IThome citing September 17 as a potential date.
There are no specific dates rumoured for AMD Big Navi, although a Wccftech source claims the Radeon graphics cards will launch in October. AMD has already confirmed that its upcoming graphics cards will be available before the PS5 and Xbox Series X, so October seems very likely.
Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi verdict – Which should you buy?
It would be very silly to make a final judgement before either graphics card has been revealed, but judging from history and recent leaks, it looks like both companies are targeting slightly different audiences.
As per usual, Nvidia seems to be targeting the high performance crowd with the potential RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 rumoured to be incredibly powerful and expensive. Nvidia will also likely launch RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 graphics cards of course, which will be far more affordable.
AMD, meanwhile, will likely want to launch the most affordable graphics cards available for 4K gaming and ray tracing. That’s no easy task with Nvidia already making huge strides in these areas, but we’ve learnt that it’s foolish to underestimate AMD.