In the immediate wake of the Nvidia RTX 2060 launch, Sapphire has slashed the price on both its Nitro+ and Pulse versions of the AMD RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 cards respectively. The Nitro+ RX Vega 64 is now destined to sit at a $379 MSRP, and the Pulse RX Vega 56 is now going to have a base price of $329.
That means the top two AMD RX Vega cards are now sandwiching the latest Nvidia Turing GPU in terms of pricing, with the actual gaming performance of the RTX 2060 almost level-pegging with the RX Vega 64. On the whole, however, the Nvidia card still produces the higher gaming frame rates across the board, and has more to offer in the future too.
We don’t know whether this is something that we’re going to see across other vendors’ versions of the best AMD has to offer on the graphics side, but we’ve reached out to Radeon representatives to see if this is something that has come down from its side.
So far, the AMD folk we’ve spoken to haven’t heard anything about it, but did say that AMD “can’t comment on behalf of our partners. It’s something you would need to ask them about.” We’ll update if and when we hear more.
Read more: Check out the best graphics cards around today
But still, the reaction to the release of the RTX 2060 does kinda tell us something: AMD isn’t likely to be launching a ~$300 graphics card around its own CES press conference on Wednesday.
There was some speculation from eager Radeon fans that Dr. Lisa Su would take to the stage at AMD’s first ever CES keynote and unveil the 7nm next generation of its gaming graphics cards: the Navi GPUs.
From the people we’ve spoken to in the industry – from AMD itself to its graphics card partners – that seemed unlikely. And now that Sapphire, it’s primary GPU partner, has slashed prices to try and give the RX Vega cards a chance against the latest Nvidia GPUs, it would suggest that no new AMD gaming silicon will be announced at CES to rival them.
Unless, of course, AMD has a high-end Navi card up its sleeve that can deliver RTX 2080 levels of gaming performance for the price of an RTX 2070. Or a fiver. Or whatever made up rumour has been circling the YouTube drains lately.
If Navi was arriving this early, with cards able to put the RTX 2060, RTX 2070, and RTX 2080 to shame, then I’m not convinced its lead partner, Sapphire, would be trying to make a quick buck on existing Vega cards just two days before any new GPU announcement. As it is, it looks like Sapphire is just trying to make the highest-performing AMD gaming cards as relevant as possible in light of the latest Nvidia release.
In terms of the relative performance of the RTX 2060 and the twin AMD RX Vega graphics cards, for the most part the Nvidia card has the edge. There are a couple of titles – namely Far Cry 5 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – where the Vega silicon is capable of delivering higher frame rates than the Turing GPU, but Nvidia can point to the cheaper sticker price and the fact that more often than not the RTX 2060 is either level or faster.
That still makes it difficult to recommend the RX Vega cards over the new Turing option, but with the latest price cuts it is at least closer. And it will be interesting to see if other vendors follow suit and drop the price of their Vega GPUs to match Sapphire.