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No, AMD Radeon did not say it's done making RDNA 3 GPUs

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTXImage: AMD

There’s a shocking new development in the world of GPUs. Apparently, AMD’s Radeon graphics division is done with the RDNA 3 platform just eight months after introducing it. Except, no, that’s not what’s happening at all.

As is so often the case, an out-of-context quote surrounding the launch of the new Radeon RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT cards has developed a life of its own, and created some misconceptions (nudged along with some eye-catching headlines). So to put the matter straight: An AMD representative did not say the company won’t make any new RDNA 3-based GPUs.

What AMD said

The quote in question comes from Scott Herkelman, AMD’s Radeon chief (and a regular guest on PCWorld’s YouTube channel). Herkelman appeared on a panel during the AMD Gaming Festival livestream at Gamescom on Friday. When asked if the latest cards would “complete the RDNA 3 portfolio,” he answered, “The RDNA 3 portfolio is now complete. So of all products that we have planned to launch, that is, this is the last few products that we will launch.”

As always, more context is more helpful. Herkelman continued, “We may have some different versions, but they are not a new ASIC.” (ASIC means “Application-specific integrated circuit” — basically, a single chip design sold to suppliers.) So to break down a bit of this business jargon into more practical terms, Herkelman is saying that there are no new base-level chips planned to be added to the current Radeon 7000-series lineup, which breaks down as follows:

RX 7600 — $270RX 7700 XT — $$450 (releasing September 6th) RX 7800 XT — $500 (releasing September 6th) RX 7900 XT — $900RX 7900 XTX — $1000

The Radeon RX 7900-series uses various configurations of the Navi 31 GPU; the new Radeon RX 7800 XT and 7700 XT use Navi 32; and the Radeon RX 7600 uses Navi 31. What Herkelman means is there will be no new Navi chips introduced in the RDNA 3 family going forward.

There is a big $400 gap in that lineup between the RX 7800 XT and the RX 7900 XT, so the news that there’s no GPU in between is a bit of a surprise. The RX 7900 GRE might have filled it, but it’s only available as a stand-alone retail card in China at the moment.

What AMD didn’t say

What Herkelman did not say is, “There won’t be any new graphics cards based on the RDNA 3 chip design.” And anyone who’s familiar with AMD’s graphics card strategy over the last few years knows it. Based on the Radeon 6000 series, we can expect mid-generation upgrades — hypothetically cards titled RX 7750 XT, RX 7950 XT, et cetera — to be released twelve to eighteen months after the initial designs. These cards may have small boosts in clock speed, and perhaps other upgrades like extra RAM or an expanded memory bus, but still using the same underlying Navi 33, 32, and 31 chips at their core. It’s also not clear whether Herkelman was including Radeon laptop GPUs in his statement.

What it all means

Of course AMD is working on next-generation products, presumably RDNA 4 chips and a Radeon RX 8000 family of GPUs. But the last time it showed a public roadmap for its GPU development was in the summer of 2022, and plans for 2024 weren’t made explicit. Combined with Herkelman’s statement at Gamescom, you shouldn’t expect to see a new generation of AMD graphics cards until the end of 2024 at the very earliest…and probably a bit after that, to be honest.

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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