Old habits die hard. Based on what was gleaned from their Q4 2019 earnings call, AMD is set to refresh its existing Navi lineup for 2020. The refreshed Navi parts will launch alongside second-gen Navi parts built on the 7nm+ process node. This is exactly what Lisa Su had to say:
In 2019, we launched our new architecture in GPUs, it’s the RDNA architecture, and that was the Navi based products. You should expect that those will be refreshed in 2020–and we’ll have a next-generation RDNA architecture that will be part of our 2020 lineup.
Putting this together with the extensive rumors about Big Navi, it’s easy to see what AMD has in mind: effectively the same refresh and new big GPU strategy we’ve seen as far back as the Radeon 200 series.
The Radeon RX 5500 XT, RX 5600 XT, and RX 5700 and 5700 XT will likely live on under new names (possibly as the RX 6000 series). Meanwhile, we’ll have an RDNA2 Big Navi part (with ray-tracing) at the top of the product stack.
This creates an interesting conundrum: Nvidia’s already had an entire year to monopolize the ray-tracing party with its RTX cards. And while AMD’s gone on record to emphasize its commitment to ray-tracing, this particular 2020 GPU strategy might mean that we’ll have only one ray-tracing capable card from Team Red this year.