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Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi: Battle of the graphics cards

The Nvidia Ampere graphics cards have finally been revealed, boasting impressive specs that deserve the ‘next-gen’ description. But with AMD expected to launch its own next-gen graphics cards next month, how does the Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi face-off look it’s shaping up?

We’ll be comparing the official details of Nvidia Ampere with what AMD has already teased, to give you a better idea of which brand you should opt for when you decide to upgrade your gaming rig. But with the AMD Big Navi graphics cards yet to be revealed, nothing is final for team red just yet.

We’ll hoping to publish reviews of the new Nvidia cards in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s our breakdown of the upcoming graphics card specs.

Related: Nvidia Ampere

Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi specs – Which is more powerful? 

The specs for the Nvidia Ampere graphics cards are now official, and they look incredibly impressive. The RTX 3090 is the most powerful of the new graphics cards, and is supposedly capable of 8K gaming at 60fps. Such power would make it the most powerful gaming GPU on the market, with no current AMD GPU coming remotely close. It’s unlikely any upcoming AMD Big Navi graphics card will be able to compete, although don’t rule them out entirely.

Nvidia also launched the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070, which are both capable of 4K gaming. This is where AMD is likely will be competitive, with the company already confirming high-end Big Navi graphics cards will be 4K-capable and will support ray tracing.

Nvidia CUDA Cores Boost Clock Speed (GHz) Memory Graphics card power (W)
RTX 3090 10,496 1.70 24GB GDDR6X 350
RTX 3080 8704 1.71 10GB GDDR6X 320
RTX 3070 5888 1.73 8GB GDDR6 220

AMD’s new RDNA 2 architecture apparently allows 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, with Nvidia confirmed to be using Samsung’s slightly larger 8nm node. Smaller processes are generally more efficient, although comparing architecture is never that simple in practise. 

Nvidia has counteracted this by using the ultra-speedy GDDR6X video memory. Big Navi is speculated to see a maximum video memory of 16GB GDDR6 for comparison. It will be interesting to see how the different memory types differ in terms of performance, but we can’t be sure until we test the graphics cards for ourselves. 

A consequence of all this power is that the Nvidia RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 demand a lot of wattage, with Nvidia recommending a 750W PSU. That may mean many people will need to replace their PSU to accommodate the next-gen GPU, which hikes up the cost even further. It’s expected that AMD Big Navi graphics cards will be more power efficient, and so may run perfectly fine with a less powerful PSU.

Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi

One area that Nvidia didn’t cover with Ampere is the Full HD market. The GTX 1660 Super and RTX 2060 already do a fantastic job here, but it’s very likely that AMD will launch a ray tracing-capable Full HD graphics card that takes advantage of the performance boost provided by the RDNA 2 architecture.

That said, we’re pretty confident Nvidia will launch an RTX 3060 graphics card in the coming months, with rumours pointing at a November release.

Related: AMD Big Navi

Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi price – How much will they cost?

Nvidia has officially revealed the pricing of its three Ampere graphics card. The RTX 3090 will cost £1399, while the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 will cost £649 and £469 respectively.

There’s no word on prices for the AMD Big Navi graphics cards yet, but they’ll likely be very competitive with the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070. AMD is renowned for prioritising value over performance, so we expect them to undercut the prices of the Nvidia graphics cards while offering largely the same feature set.

Related: Best Graphics Cards 2o2o

Nvidia Ampere vs AMD Big Navi release date – When will they launch?

The Nvidia RTX 3080 will arrive in stores on 17 September 2020, while the the RTX 3090 will be available from 24 September. The RTX 2070 will then follow in October, although Nvidia is yet to provide a specific date.

There are no specific dates rumoured for AMD Big Navi. 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?

With AMD yet to reveal the Big Navi graphics card, it’s impossible to make a final judgement at this stage. But judging from history and recent leaks, it looks like both companies are targeting slightly different audiences. 

The new Ampere specs show that Nvidia is targeting the high-performance crowd once again. If you want to jump into 8K gaming, the RTX 3090 is likely to be the only graphics card option for the foreseeable future. 

However, if you’re happy to stick to 4K, Quad HD and Full HD gaming, then AMD may well launch worthwhile alternatives come October. It’s likely AMD Big Navi won’t be quite as powerful as the Ampere counterparts, but they could be available at a cheaper price. The upcoming AMD GPUs will likely have a lower power draw too, which means you probably won’t be forced into upgrading your PSU.

Again, this is all just speculation for now. For the final breakdown of the two next-gen graphics card families, be sure to return to Trusted Reviews over the course of the next few months for our upcoming reviews. 

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