AMD drops new Radeon RX 5700 details and a 16-core Ryzen 9 at E3


AMD just wrapped up its Next Horizon Gaming event at E3, and as the company promised at Computex, it served up some details on the company's upcoming Radeon products. That's not all we got, though—in the presentation's final moments, AMD dropped a sixteen-core bomb on us in the form of the Ryzen 9 3950X. I'll get to that in a moment; first, let's talk about these new Radeons for a moment.

AMD's Next
Horizon Gaming
Core
config
Base
clock
Game
clock
Boost
clock
Memory
config
Memory
speed
Architecture
& process
Price
(USD)
Radeon RX 5700XT
Anniversary
2560 SP
(40 CU)
1680
MHz
1830
MHz
1980
MHz
256-bit
GDDR6
14 GT/s RDNA
7nm TSMC
$499
Radeon RX 5700XT 2560 SP
(40 CU)
1605
MHz
1755
MHz
1905
MHz
256-bit
GDDR6
14 GT/s RDNA
7nm TSMC
$449
Radeon RX 5700 2304 SP
(36 CU)
1465
MHz
1625
MHz
1725
MHz
256-bit
GDDR6
14 GT/s RDNA
7nm TSMC
$379
Radeon RX Vega 64 4096 SP
(64 CU)
1247
MHz
N/A 1546
MHz
2048-bit
HBM2
1.89 GT/s GCN 5
14nm GloFo
$499
Radeon RX Vega 56 3584 SP
(56 CU)
1156
MHz
N/A 1471
MHz
2048-bit
HBM2
1.6 GT/s GCN 5
14nm GloFo
$399
Radeon RX 590 2304 SP
(36 CU)
1469
MHz
N/A 1545
MHz
256-bit
GDDR5
8 GT/s GCN 4
12nm GloFo
$279

So right away, the above chart will probably give gerbils pause. "What is 'Game clock'?" you wonder. Simply put, AMD's old "Boost clock" was the maximum clock rate that the card would hit. Since that was more of a theoretical measure, the card wouldn't always hit that speed during gameplay, so for added transparency, AMD is now offering this "Game clock" metric to help gamers get a better idea of the card's typical clock rate during gameplay.

With that curiosity resolved, AMD is launching two new video cards in July: the Radeon RX 5700XT, and a slightly de-tuned version that drops the "XT" suffix. The return to the "XT" branding for the top model is nostalgic, even more than the use of the familiar "5700 series" moniker. As the company said at Computex, the new cards are based on the RDNA architecture, which is derived from but not identical to the GCN architecture that has powered the company's cards since 2011.


AMD CEO Lisa Su holds a Radeon RX 5700XT Anniversary Edition card bearing her signature on the shroud.

There's also a factory-overclocked model of the faster card on the way to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. That move reminds us of competitor Nvidia's "Founders Edition" cards, as well as AMD's own "RX Vega Frontier Edition" card. The grey-and-gold heatsink shroud comes with Lisa Su's signature, and AMD says the Anniversary Edition will only be available direct from the company's website.


AMD compared itself to the competition in World War Z.

On stage, AMD once again compared the Radeon RX 5700XT to Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2070 as it did at Computex, and this time claimed victory in a brief World War Z benchmark. We'll quickly note that World War Z is a Vulkan title that performs very well on AMD hardware, so take these results with a bit of salt (as you should any vendor-provided benchmark.)

The company then compared the Radeon RX 5700 against the GeForce RTX 2060 in an odd impromptu "benchmark" in Apex Legends, where one character spammed incendiary grenades at another. The RX 5700 held a more stable frame rate than the GeForce card, but we can't say how representative this test is.

AMD went on to talk about some of the new software coming to Radeon cards, including FidelityFX, Radeon Image Sharpening, and Radeon Anti-Lag. The company demoed each feature very briefly. FidelityFX appears to be a red-team version of Nvidia's Gameworks library that offers AMD-authored visual effects for developers to use in their games, although AMD's version is open-source. It's not clear at all what Radeon Image Sharpening is. We'll have to try and get more details from AMD about what this feature actually does.

Meanwhile, AMD claims Radeon Anti-Lag actually reduces input lag, or "motion to photon latency." The "demo" of this feature was little more than an on-screen number decreasing, and honestly was a little underwhelming. However, if it works as described, it could be pretty great for reaction-heavy games.

AMD didn't offer many new details about the RDNA architecture on the stream, and unfortunately, we're not there at E3 to talk to the company about the new chips. However, the boys from Anandtech are on the scene, and Ryan Smith over there already has a pretty solid preliminary write-up posted. Check out his article for some info about RDNA.

On the CPU side of things, AMD covered the new Ryzen CPUs that it announced at Computex pretty thoroughly in the beginning of its E3 show, and we—like most viewers, we imagine—tuned out afterward, feeling a bit let-down by the lack of a 16-core CPU announcement. As it turns out, Lisa Su saved the best for last, and introduced the Ryzen 9 3950X to close out the show.

Yes, indeed: it has 16 cores, 32 threads, runs 3.5 GHz at base and boosts to 4.7 GHz. It has 64 MB of L3 cache, and it still fits in Socket AM4 at a 105W TDP. It's impressive stuff, and while the $749 price tag seems high, consider that AMD probably can't afford to build that many of these chips. We reckon those big 64-core EPYC CPUs get dibs on the best fully enabled Zen 2 chiplets.

AMD also announced release dates for all the new stuff. Release "date," anyway—aside from the Ryzen 9 3950X (which is coming some time in September), everything else is launching world-wide on July 7.

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