If you're not a fan of blower-style GPU coolers, AMD has good news—it's getting rid of them for its next-generation Radeon graphics cards based on its RDNA 2 architecture. In its place, AMD will switch to an axial-fan cooling solution, just as Nvidia did when it launched its GeForce RTX series, and later its GeForce GTX cards based on Turing.
When it comes to GPU coolers, blowers have the advantage of expelling hot air directly outside the case, since the exhaust vent is positioned in the expansion slot. Generally speaking, however, they do not cool as well as axial-fan solutions, and are often louder—sometimes a lot louder.
Up to this point, AMD has mostly resisted making the switch to the same style of cooler that its hardware partners use on their own custom designs (though there have been exceptions). That's going to change.
AMD teased a photo of updated cooler design in one of the slides it showed at its Financial Analyst Day presentation on Wednesday.
There were a lot of slides during the 3.5-hour presentation, and it would have been easy to miss the thumbnail shot of the GPU cooler, especially since AMD didn't say anything about it. However, the image was posted to Reddit, where AMD's vice president and general manager of the Radeon Business Unit, Scott Herkelman, confirmed the change.
"There will be no blower reference fans for gamers on next-gen. So you are correct," Herkelman wrote, with a winky-face for good measure.
This isn't entirely new territory for AMD. The Radeon VII (Vega) is outfitted with a triple axial fan cooler, though other than that, you would have to go back several generations to find another one. The Radeon RX 5000 series (Navi) and 500/400 series (Polaris) exclusively used blower-style coolers for reference models.
If the teaser image in the presentation slide is accurate, next-gen Radeon cards will go with a two-fan cooling solution. The overall style looks similar to Nvidia's modern GeForce line, though I suppose there's only so many tweaks you can make before going with something completely different in the vein of, say, Gigabyte's Windforce designs.