Next-gen AMD RDNA 4 GPUs are set for much better ray tracing

AMD can no longer dismiss ray tracing.

Fake AMD RDNA 4 Logo.

AMD is reportedly developing a brand-new ray tracing engine for its Radeon RX 8000 GPU series. The new RT design has us excited because it’s supposedly completely different from its predecessor, whereas RDNA 3 was an iterative upgrade over RDNA 2.

By now, most, if not all, gamers know that when it comes to ray tracing, Nvidia undoubtedly has the upper hand over AMD. And with Intel’s Arc GPUs coming in hot, Radeon graphics cards need to do something. According to @Kepler_L2, Team Red is tackling exactly that with its upcoming RDNA 4 graphic architecture.

While Radeon RX 8000 series GPUs may not include any high-end models, they may still offer enticing improvements for many gamers. If we believe the latest rumours, it seems that AMD is baking a brand-new RT engine for its RDNA 4-based GPUs. Instead of upgrading the one used by current RDNA 3 GPUs, AMD has apparently opted for a ground-up approach that should deliver a more optimised design tailored to today’s graphics engine needs. This means we can expect fast RT calculations for both normal RT and detail-heavy path tracing. That said, this is purely speculation, as AMD hasn’t confirmed anything yet.

This RT engine will also reportedly feature in Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 Pro consoles. The new design is expected to support BVH8 (8-level bounding volume hierarchy) traversal shaders, which could provide double the performance. At least in theory.

Now, seeing how Nvidia managed to keep an advantage in RT for three generations, one may wonder if AMD will manage to close the gap with a fresh design. We surely hope so for both AMD and Intel, as competition is good. If not cheaper GPUs, we could at least get faster ones.

We likely don’t have long to wait to find out. Computex is right around the corner, and CEO Dr. Lisa Su will give a keynote speech on June 3. While Zen 5 will likely be the main attraction, RDNA 4 probably won’t remain a mystery much longer.