AMD Big Navi benchmarks revealed — and it's good news for RTX 3080

AMD Big Navi
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD Big Navi performance looks set to challenge the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 at 4K resolution gaming, but only if there's no ray-tracing enabled. 

After revealing the new AMD Ryzen 5000 series yesterday (October 8), AMD ended its event with a quick tease of Big Navi performance. AMD revealed performance metrics for the Ryzen 9 5900X when paired with an RDNA 2 architecture-based graphics card; that’s the same GPU architecture BIg Navi will use. 

Our sibling site Tom’s Hardware reported that the RDNA 2 GPU in question wasn't explicitly labeled, but it’s likely to be the Radeon RX 6900 XT. That card is set to be the top GPU in AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series and thus is the much discussed but still unrevealed Big Navi graphics card. 

The benchmarks that were shown off had the RDNA 2 GPU tackle the likes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Borderlands 3, and Gears 5 running at ultra settings and at 4K.

Having already tested the RTX 3080, Tom’s Hardware knew how well Nvidia’s high-end graphics card performs in Borderlands 3 at 4K and max settings, as well as how it performs in Gears 5. So taking the benchmarks AMD supplied for what appears to be Big Navi, Tom’s Hardware found the AMD GPU would just about beat the RTX 3080 in Borderlands 3 and fall slightly behind it in Gears 4. And Big Navi trounced the older GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. 

There’s a catch here, in that these games may have been run at maximum setting, but ray-tracing wasn’t enabled. One of the major features of the GeForce RTX 3000-series and RTX 2000-series is their dedicated ray-tracing hardware, with the new GeForce cards offering a major boost over their predecessors. 

With that in mind, there’s a good chance that the RTX 3080 would trounce Big Navi if ray-tracing was enabled. We’re expecting Big Navi to come with some ray-tracing abilities, but the murmurs around the graphics card so far would suggest it won’t be able to compete with Nvidia’s most powerful GPUs. 

All this means that Big Navi might not be the “Nvidia-killer” it was expected to be. However, that badge was bandied around at a time when the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti was the most powerful consumer graphics card Nvidia had. And with Big Navi seemingly outpacing it, it’s arguably a killer graphics card, just one that’s a generation too late. 

We’ll get a better idea about Big Navi’s performance on October 28 when AMD is set to reveal the Radeon RX 6000 series. If it can deliver high-performance graphics cards at competitive prices, it could prove to be a compelling alternative to the RTX 3080. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • Avro Arrow
    I really don't think that AMD showed the most potent version of RDNA 2. My guess is that it was an RX 6800 XT that they teased. There would be no point in showing their best card at a CPU reveal, it would spoil the party for later.