AMD Big Navi won't beat Nvidia RTX 3080 — here's why

AMD Big Navi won't beat Nvidia RTX 3080 — here's why
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AMD Big Navi has long been championed as an “Nvidia-killer” graphics card. And in leaked benchmarks it looked set to do just that, offering 40 to 50 percent more performance than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Then Nvidia revealed the GeForce RTX 3000-series

According to graphics and chip following YouTube channel Moore’s Law is Dead, Big Navi won’t kill the RTX 2080 Ti’s effective replacement, the RTX 3080. But it will come within "spitting distance” of AMD’s $699 next-generation high-end graphics card.  

That’s in rasterization performance at least, which in layman's terms can be seen as the standard processing of graphics; ray-tracing for example would be a more exotic rendering process. That means Big Navi will flatten the GeForce RTX 3070, a graphics card that’s offering better performance than the RTX 2080 Ti for just $499. That’s also the price of the Xbox Series X.  

Moore’s Law is Dead is making this judgment based on what they expect from Big Navi, also known as Navi 21, and information from insider sources and other AMD tidbits. TweakTown also claimed that its sources have told it that Big Navi will snap at the heels of the RTX 3080 in terms of pure rasterization performance. 

Big Navi will also have hardware-accelerated ray-tracing. But in this case it won’t be able to compete with the new Ampere architecture-based graphics cards, though it will outperform the outgoing Turing-based GeForce GPUs. That bodes well for the PS5 and Xbox Series X's ray-tracing performance, as both consoles will use the same RDNA 2 core graphics architecture as Big Navi. 

Moore’s Law is Dead also predicts Big Navi will be “more efficient at originally intended clocks than Ampere” and that when the Navi 21 GPUs are pushed hard they won’t suck up as much electrical juice as the RTX 3080. And the YouTuber also reckons Big Navi won’t be all that big compared to the larger RTX 3000-series graphics cards. 

As such, if AMD can deliver a powerful yet efficient graphics card that chases the RTX 3080 but undercuts it on price, then it could be onto a winner. And having a powerful yet cheaper GPU to compete with the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3070 could force Nvidia to then lower the prices of its Ampere graphics cards, which is good news for people looking at making a high-end gaming PC on a budget. 

Big Navi is expected to be revealed on October 28, so we’ll find out reasonably soon as to what AMD has been working on and if it can bring heat to Nvidia. 

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.