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AMD GPU line powering PS5 and Xbox Series X will launch before the consoles themselves

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The AMD RDNA 2 graphics card line will launch this fall, ahead of the release of PS5 and Xbox Series X, which use cards from the same architecture.

As our sister site PC Gamer reports, AMD CFO Devinder Kumar recently confirmed that the company is "on track to launch our next-generation Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 GPUs in late 2020." Importantly, he also clarified that the first RDNA 2 product on the market will be the Navi 2 GPU, AKA the Big Navi. 

PS5 and Xbox Series X use cards from the same family of GPUs, but they won't use the Big Navi itself. So if Big Navi is going to be the first RDNA 2 product available, we can assume it will launch before next-gen consoles are out this holiday. This suggests AMD's new line of graphics cards will initially launch sometime in September or October. 

So, what does this mean for prospective next-gen buyers? Will the Big Navi tell us anything about the cards powering PS5 and Xbox Series X? Well, yes and no. The Navi 2 will not necessarily be representative of the graphics performance of next-gen consoles, simply because it will likely be way more powerful. 

Whenever AMD or Nvidia bring out a new line of graphics cards, they usually put their best and most expensive foot forward so they have better benchmarks to show. That's what Big Navi is - AMD's answer to top-end Nvidia cards like the RTX 2080 TI, which goes for over $1,000. PS5 and Xbox Series X need to use weaker, customized RDNA 2 cards in order to keep costs lower, so their specs won't match the Navi 2. However, because they use the same fundamental architecture, AMD's launch will at least give us some idea of how RDNA 2 cards are built and how they may fit into next-gen hardware as a whole. 

Here's everything we know about the PS5 specs and the Xbox Series X specs. 

As a staff writer and former freelancer, Austin focuses on day-to-day news happenings which serve as the perfect cover-up for his Destiny 2 column. He majored in journalism, loves to hate headlines, and never takes his Switch out of the dock.