Hardware leaker and Twitter user @Komachi_Ensaka has spotted a very strange AMD Radeon graphics card based on the Navi 21 GPU that's equipped with just 8GB of memory, down from 16GB of memory typically installed on Navi 21-based Radeon RX 6800/6900-series boards. The product was spotted in the UserBenchmark database. Could this be a new contender for the best graphics cards, or perhaps an OEM-only card?
The card in question carries Navi 21's device ID (1002 73BF) and subsystem ID (1002 0E3A), which matches up with an AMD Radeon RX 6800 GPU. Assuming it's not just a faulty reading, or a faked entry, it's also only equipped with 8GB of GDDR6 memory.
Rumors about AMD's intention to build a cheaper Radeon RX 6800 SKU with 8GB of memory have been floating for quite a while, but AMD has never confirmed them, perhaps because the cost of memory is not something that concerns it (and its partners among makers of graphics cards) the most. There's also the fact that AMD made a point of how it provided substantially more memory than Nvidia's competing RTX 30-series parts, and might now be forced to step back to 8GB given the various component shortages.
If AMD is indeed testing and/or mulling a release of a Navi 21-based graphics card with 8GB of memory, there are two ways how AMD could build it:
- Use a cut-down version of the Navi 21 GPU with half of the memory interfaces enabled and equip the card with four 16Gb GDDR6 memory chips. This would allow the company to make use of its Navi 21 processors with faulty memory controllers/PHYs and/or reduce the bill of materials (BOM) cost of its card. Performance of such a product will likely be rather low in high resolutions and in cases that require more than 8GB of memory.
- Use a Navi 21 GPU with all of its memory controllers/interfaces enabled, but install 8Gb GDDR6 chips. This would reduce BOM of the card, but will again lower its performance in games/scenes where 8GB of memory is needed, but memory bandwidth would remain the same.
AMD could sell either of such boards to OEMs or on select markets as a Radeon RX 6800 LE or a Radeon RX 6700 LE, depending on the level of performance. Based on the UserBenchmark results, the card in question performs worse than the RX 6800 and better than the RX 6700 XT, which makes an RX 6800 LE more likely. There's a $100 price gap between those two cards as well, not that suggested etail pricing (SEP) means much these days.
As with all such leaks and rumors, sprinkle liberally with salt. It could be a prototype, a fake, or a future product. Without sufficient supply, just about any GPU with a reasonable price would be welcomed by gamers. We asked AMD for comment, but in general the response on unannounced cards is "no comment."
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.