AMD had its big graphics card showcase today. During the showcase, the hardware manufacturer showed off a bunch of its next-gen Big NAVI graphics cards. AMD also showed off some benchmarks and games running on its latest line of RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards.
The Radeon RX 6000 series cards show some good potential to take on the behemoth that is NVIDIA. Until now, the AMD Radeon cards had been good only for the budget and mid-range options. However, despite making massive strides over the past few years, the company struggled to compete against top-of-the-line NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards. And, with the release of the RTX 30 series, it looked like that gap was about to grow even further.
However, AMD has done an incredible job of catching up with NVIDIA with its latest RX 6000 cards. The graphics cards provide some great value for money while also targeting the upper echelons of the market. And, despite missing some key features like NVIDIA’s magical DLSS tech, they are still a compelling alternative to NVIDIA’s RTX series.
Xbox Series S|X are the only next-gen consoles with full RDNA 2
Arguably the most exciting thing about the new AMD tech is the fact that it is being used in the next-gen consoles. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S use AMD hardware at their core with Zen 2-based CPUs and RDNA 2-based GPUs. However, a bombshell announcement was made today that may change the course of next-gen and put an end to the entire power debate.
According to an official blog post by Xbox, the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X are the only two next-gen consoles that are fully integrated with AMD’s next-gen RDNA 2 architecture. This means that those two are the only consoles that have exclusive access to next-gen AMD tech. Things like Variable Rate Shading, Sampler Feedback, and Mesh Shader could very well be exclusive to the Xbox consoles.
The PlayStation 5, on the other hand, despite being based on RDNA 2 tech, won’t support many of the next-gen features from AMD. For the past few months, many people have been questioning PS5’s capabilities and its integration with RDNA 2. And, while Mark Cerny did state that it was based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, we never got confirmation of the PS5 fully supporting all the features. However, today’s announcement confirms that the PS5 indeed isn’t on equal footing with the Xbox Series S and X when it comes to the GPU feature set.
How does it affect the PS5 vs Xbox Series X and S battle?
While it is easy to fuel the console wars, the actual nuances of this announcement run much deeper. AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous-gen hardware. It has some incredible features that really bring significant performance and efficiency enhancements to the table.
Things like VRS and sampler feedback will have a pretty big impact on the overall performance of the machines. So, the PS5 missing these features will definitely make a real-life difference when it comes to games.
However, apart from these extra features, the raw power difference between the two consoles is actually not that significant. The PS5 overcomes its lower CU count with higher clock speeds and the end result would be more or less the same, especially in third-party titles.
Having said that, we have yet to see how much of a difference these new RDNA 2 features actually make in real-life. If they are as good as Xbox claims them to be, then we are in for some real shock and performance disparity between the Series X and PS5. A more realistic assumption though would be that it will make a minor difference.
Not only that, but Sony has also done a good job at keeping its first-party lineup stacked for the console launch and beyond. Xbox, on the other hand, is lacking first-party launch titles. However, that could soon change as Microsoft now has over 30 teams actively developing games and all that work will surely bear fruit sooner rather than later.
In any case, this new announcement does end a lot of debates between console fanboys. At the same time, it also throws another spanner in the works as now, people would be comparing the performance disparity between the two consoles even more so than before.
Why is the PS5 not fully integrated with RDNA 2?
It is rather strange though that the PS5 does not come with full RDNA 2 integration. Earlier reports suggested that the Xbox Series X and S were actually slated for release in 2019 while the PS5 was supposed to come out this year. However, the delay could be caused by last-minute hardware changes and the inclusion of additional RDNA 2 features.
Another reason for the PS5 not being full RDNA 2 could be that Sony just didn’t think that features like VRR were important enough to be included. After all, despite missing some features, it is still based on the latest AMD tech and does support other features like hardware-based raytracing which are arguably more exciting and important at face value.
Nevertheless, the Xbox Series X and S definitely have the upper hand now when it comes to raw power and it would be interesting to see how they compare to the PS5. We won’t have to wait much longer though as we’re only a couple of weeks away from launch.
Do you think that the full RDNA 2 integration will give the Xbox Series S and X an upper hand in next-gen games as compared to the PS5? Let us know down in the comments below!