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Rumor mill: While there were rumors that AMD could reveal some refreshed versions of its Radeon RX 6000 series during CES, the only desktop graphics card we saw was the underwhelming Radeon RX 6500 XT. However, rumors suggest that an RDNA 2 refresh is still on the cards.
Rumors of the Radeon RX 6000 desktop refresh come from prolific leaker Greymon55. They don’t have any details beyond speculation that the cards will feature 18 Gbps memory dies, as opposed to the 16 Gbps GDDR6 chips used in all but the upcoming RX 6500 XT and RX 6900 XT LC—a theory that sounds possible.
The less likely claim made by some is that AMD will utilize the same 6nm process used in the Radeon RX 6500 XT for the refreshed RX 6000 line. What we can expect, however, is the cards’ TGPs to increase due to the faster memory.
AMD seems to be preparing a new version of the RX 6000 series, I don't know the details, maybe an upgrade to 18Gbps?— Greymon55 (@greymon55) January 17, 2022
Chiphell leaker wjm47196 also believes an RDNA 2 refresh is on the way. They suspect the new cards will replace the existing Radeon RX 6000 series and arrive between April and June this year.
Assuming the rumors are true, the refreshed cards could potentially act as a stop-gap before AMD’s next-gen RDNA 3-powered GPUs arrive, which many expect will happen late this year. That’s similar to what Nvidia has done by releasing the RTX 3080 12GB, which is selling well (unsurprisingly) despite not offering a huge performance bump over the 10GB original, arriving with no pre-release reviews, and costing a fortune.
In addition to whether this refresh proves genuine or not, you have to wonder how badly the current chip shortage/scalping/mining issues will impact their prices and availability. There has been cautious talk of the first signs of a recovery recently, with card shipments predicted to increase, easing shortages, and promises of improving supply.
There’s also the question of how many people will buy these cards instead of opting to wait for RDNA 3 or Nvidia’s Lovelace, but given the huge levels of demand, AMD's unlikely to be worried.