In a recent blog post, maybe AMD hinted at the end of the graphics card with 4GB access level as we get closer to the launch of the first RDNA 2-powered Radeon RX graphics card. The blog post, smartly titled ‘Game Beyond 4GB’, compares AMD’s most entry-level Navi-based Radeon RX graphics card, 5500 XT, in both 4GB and 8GB flavors and shows how the increased VRAM size not only gives better performance but has become crucial from a support perspective in next-generation AAA titles.
AMD suggests more than 4 GB ground-level Radeon RX graphics card based on RDNA 2 GPU architecture
Currently, AMD’s starting level Radeon RX graphics card lineup consists of the Radeon RX 5500 XT which has two variants, one with 4 GB GDDR6 memory and a second variant with 8 GB GDDR6 memory. In addition to its Navi-based cards, AMD’s older Polaris-based options continue to sell large volumes and have several options to choose from, with the majority being 8GB variants that we saw become a standard in the latest generation of Polaris offerings.
In its own tests, AMD reports up to 24% performance improvement in AAA titles with an 8 GB Radeon RX 5500 XT versus a 4 GB variant. Modern titles like Borderlands 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Forza Horizon 4, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Doom Eternal and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus were tested, all of which showed significant improvement over the 4 GB option.
In addition to better performance, AMD recognizes that graphics cards with insufficient VRAM can lead to several problems, some of which include:
- Error messages and warning limits
- Lower frame rates
- Gameplay Stutter and Texture Pop-in Problems
What is more important here is that AMD’s smallest VRAM card is also the Radeon RX 5500 XT and this blog post suggests where the company is heading with its next generation of offerings. 8 GB and 6 GB options in the startup market have become the norm, as can be seen with AMD’s 8 GB RX 5500 XT offering and while NVIDIA still offers its GTX 1650 Ti starting level in 4 GB flavors, the GTX 16 series is the mainstream lineup now starts with 6 GB offers, and replaces the 3 GB GTX 1060 offers from the Turing generation.
AMD has always been at the forefront when it comes to offering increased VRAM and new memory technology on its graphics cards. The Radeon 300 series were the first cards to shoot 8 GB of memory by default when NVIDIA offered 4 GB and up to 6 GB on their advanced offerings. AMD was also the first to dive into the HBM standard first with its 4 GB Radeon R9 Fury X and push the boundaries again with 8 GB HBM2 on 1st Gen Vega and up to 16 GB HBM2 memory on its latest ultra-premium option, Radeon VII.
AMD & NVIDIA currently offer similar memory configuration in advanced cards like Radeon RX 5700 XT and GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER but with the launch of AMD’s Big Navi RDNA 2 GPUs approaching we can see a bolt from 8 GB to higher memory configured on the higher end cards while the Radeon RX RDNA 2 card at start level can offer anything from 6 GB to 8 GB which would also set the bar high for the competition.
AMD’s first priority with its next-generation RDNA 2 GPUs will be in the PC market in the form of Big Navi before moving on to the console segment. It is likely that a Navi will be updated at lower prices, but AMD is planning on RDNA 2 to run its entire top-to-bottom lineup, so we will definitely see setting level and mainstream options with higher VRAM after Big Navi enters the GPU market.