Ever since AMD released the Polaris-based RX 480, there have been multiple occasions when the supposedly high-end Radeon RX 490 popped up on both AMD and partner Sapphire’s websites – albeit, without divulging any detail.

RX 490 release date
Representational image (RX-480-NITRO)

Rumor has it that AMD plans to launch the RX 490 by the end of this year. (The rumor is largely based on the fact that the key code promotion given by AMD ends on December 31).

There have been several reports already that suggest the forthcoming card from the chip giant will be a 4k-focused Radeon with basically a pair of Polaris card jammed into the same board.

But adding more to the speculations, there’s also this rumor about AMD’s next top card being based on the next-generation GPU architecture codenamed Vega.

If we are to follow the hints from the company’s GPU roadmap for 2016 – 2018, it seems clear that the Vega architecture could launch sometime during the first half of 2017. If that’s how it is going to be, there’s no way for the RX 490 to hit the store shelves until next year.

With all these into consideration, it is abundantly clear that nobody but only AMD and its key partners know when we should realistically expect the RX 490.

As for our guess, we don’t think AMD can afford to wait till Q1/Q2 2017 (when Vega will mark its debut) for releasing its next high-performance card – especially when there is practically nothing in their inventory now that can compete with GTX 1080 and GTX 1070.

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