AMD Could Have Developed an RTX 4090 Competitor, But Opted Not to do so Due to Power Constraints

AMD states that it was very much possible for them to develop a flagship GPU to rival the RTX 4090. However, the company did not take this route for various reasons. One of them is the higher development cost (More expensive GPUs) and absurdly high power requirements. In a way, we kind of missed out on an RTX 4090 competitor.

The Possible RTX 4090 Killer

Team red’s EVP, Rick Bergman, and the SVP, David Wang, sometime in December visited Japan and had a discussion with ITMedia. The interview revolved around various points of interest, but the topic of today’s debate is, ‘Why didn’t AMD reply with an RTX 4090 Killer?’.

Well, firstly, RDNA3 is a new architecture built on an industry-first chiplet-based design. It came with its own set of flaws and did fall short of expectations. The clock speeds are a perfect resemblance to what we mean by ‘fall short of expectations’. Nonetheless, the RX 7900 series still managed to outpace its Ada Lovelace competitors, in the price-to-performance segment.

Going into the specifics, AMD states that it is quite obvious that the Radeon RX 7900 series strikes a perfect balance between price and performance. One could go ahead and spend $1600 on an RTX 4090 and call it a day. But, you’ll get better value with the RX 7900 XTX.

From the raw figures, we see that the RTX 4090 is 60% more expensive, but only 22% faster than the RDNA3 flagship. Maybe, the 7900 XTX is the RTX 4090’s true competitor, probably as that’s the only thing even comparable to the RTX 4090.

AMD Does Have the Ability to make one

We have seen AMD take this approach many times. Apart from RDNA2, AMD did not aim for highest performance and simply went for more market share. Rick Bergman clarifies;

Mr. Bergman Technically, it is possible to develop a GPU with specs that compete with theirs (NVIDIA) . However, the GPU developed in this way was introduced to the market as a “graphics card with a TDP (thermal design power) of 600W and a reference price of $1,600 (about 219,000 yen)”, and was accepted by general PC gaming fans . After thinking about it, we chose not to adopt such a strategy .

AMD saw what NVIDIA unveiled and simply thought it best to avoid the performance crown this time around. Matter of fact is, RDNA3 always takes a significant power penalty as the data has to physically move between the GCD and the MCD. This introduces higher power consumption, which explains why the RTX 4080 consumes lesser power than the RX 7900 XTX.

The RX 7900 XTX launched for $999, making it both affordable for high-end enthusiasts and also capable. The Radeon RX 6900 XT and the 6800 XT were priced at $999 and $699 respectively, but the target prices change for every generation, AMD states.

So the entire argument is based on the fact that AMD is aiming to provide something that is fast but will not cost an arm and a leg. The general consensus is that there should be a high-end GPU that is supported by most power supplies, does not require a new case, etc. And that is exactly what AMD delivered.


Abdullah Faisal

With a love for computers since the age of five, Abdullah has always sought to delve into the depths of information, and uses it as his guiding light. He believes success is of utmost importance as history is written by the victor.