AMD is taking a different route for the cooling solution on its upcoming Radeon graphics cards. The new Radeon graphics cards based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture will ditch the blower-style cooling systems utilized by current-gen cards in favor of an axial-fan alternative. Furthermore, this is the cooling solution that Nvidia is currently utilizing for its RTX and newest Turing GTX cards. This change translates, at least in theory, to more silent operation and a better thermal solution.
This change was first spotted at AMD’s Financial Analyst Day presentation, which took place on Wednesday. As is common during these presentations, they presented a considerable number of slides as visual aids. And one of those slides had a thumbnail of an AMD Radeon RDNA card with an axial-fan cooler.
It’s worth noting that even though they presented the slide, AMD didn’t immediately confirm the cooling solution swap. Later on, however, the image made its way to Reddit. There, Scott Herkelmann, AMD’s vice president and general manager of the Radeon Business Unit, confirmed the swap. As Herkelman stated, “There will be no blower reference fans for gamers on next-gen. So you are correct.”
Is this an improvement?
To discuss if this really matters, let’s first dive into the differences between blower-style cooling solutions and an axial-fan one. For starters, blowers exhaust hot air out of the case. On the other hand, axial-fan solutions exhaust hot air through the exposed heatsinks right into the case. Taking that into account, and depending on the setup, blower fans are generally less efficient than axial-fan solutions at dissipating heat. As well, they are considerably louder than their counterparts.
S0, on paper at least, this is a step forward for the red team. You should also understand that a good internal flow of air is needed to take full advantage of an axial-fan solution. Generally speaking, one should aim for a good intake of cool air and proper flow to extract hor air from the components.
Moreover, this won’t be AMD’s first rodeo when it comes to axial-fan cooling for its Radeon lineup. Namely, in its current portfolio, the Radeon VII sported this improved alternative. Specifically, the Radeon VII takes advantage of a triple axial-fan cooler. Based on AMD’s slide, the upcoming Radeons will benefit from a two-fan cooling system. This can vary widely, though, as it is common with the variants offered by each manufacturer.