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AMD might unveil a new GPU with ray tracing support at CES

(Image credit: AMD)

It's only a matter of time before AMD rolls out a GPU architecture with hardware-based real-time ray tracing support (though not in time for any Black Friday deals), to take on Nvidia's growing army of GeForce RTX graphics cards. But might we see something in that regard at CES in January, 2020? According to the latest rumor mill chatter, the answer is yes.

Take this with a dose of skepticism, but according to Chiphell forum member Wjm47196, AMD will be previewing a second-generation Radeon DNA (RDNA) Navi GPU architecture at the annual convention in Las Vegas, as spotted by WCCFTech.

I can see your eyes rolling in the back of the head, but there are couple of things that make this rumor at least plausible. One is Wjm47196's track record. The same user had posted accurate information about AMD's first generation Navi architecture before it launched. Same goes for some other GPU launches.

Secondly, we know AMD will implement ray tracing support into a future Navi GPU architecture, because both Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's next Xbox (Project Scarlett) will feature one, based on custom silicon.

A CES announcement also doesn't mean the GPU would launch soon after. The past several years, AMD has announced products and disclosed roadmaps in December in January for products that eventually launched in June or July. So an initial preview even in January, six months before availability, would be perfectly in line with AMD's previous GPUs.

Assuming nothing in AMD's roadmap has changed, the next high-end version of Navi (Navi 20) will be built on an enhanced 7nm manufacturing process (7nm+). As these things go, we can assume it will have faster clocks and better power efficiency, probably more GPU cores, and of course ray tracing.

Beyond that, there is not much in the way of official information. There are also plenty of questions to go around, though. For example, will Navi 20 be competitive with Nvidia's top cards, or slot in a peg or two below whatever Nvidia's fastest cards will be at the time? How much will they cost? And will Intel have a discrete GPU for gaming when Navi 20 actually launches?

Strap in, 2020 could be a wild ride.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).