AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and Radeon RX 7900 XTX assessment: rise of the reds

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The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and Radeon RX 7900 XTX hark again to a less complicated time – about three months in the past – when graphics playing cards resembled graphics playing cards and never Coca-Cola lorries. I like getting a bajillion frames per second as a lot as the subsequent PC proprietor, however good gravy, are the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 a pair of outsized, ruinously costly brutes. AMD’s two new high-end GPUs, due to this fact, have a golden probability to be the extra modestly designed, inexpensive options that potential 4K gamers had been ready for.

You do not want a Radeon RX 7900 XT to play Warzone 2, but it surely helps. Probably.

Collectively, they’re additionally the debut displaying of AMD’s RDNA 3 structure. This is constructed round a Ryzen CPU-esque chiplet design, by which the 5nm graphics compute die is break up up from six 6nm reminiscence cache dies, theoretically granting all the largest advantages of a smaller/extra environment friendly 5nm manufacturing course of whereas retaining prices down with some good ol’ 6nm {hardware}. Improved ray tracing efficiency, an area by which Nvidia has repeatedly slapped AMD round for enjoyable, is promised as nicely.

I’m testing the ‘MBA’ (Made By AMD) reference fashions, which you’ll really purchase should you don’t fancy any of the associate variants. The Radeon RX 7900 XT is £900 / $899, and the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is £1000 / $999. Pricey, sure, however contemplating you’d be fortunate to search out an RTX 4080 for £1200 or an RTX 4090 for lower than £1700, the Radeons a minimum of aren’t asking for fuck-you cash.

And what beautiful graphics playing cards these MBA fashions are, too, all solidly constructed and wearing tasteful black. The 24GB RX 7900 XTX is a tad chunkier than the 20GB RX 7900 XT, however each will slot in a PC case much more simply than the universally titanic RTX 40 sequence playing cards we’ve seen to date. I do suppose Nvidia have misplaced their method on fundamental practicality with their newest fashions, however the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX are shorter, narrower, and don’t want a particular PSU cable adapter that will or might not catch fireplace. The RX 7900 XTX’s PSU requirement, 800W, additionally occurs to be decrease than the RTX 4090’s 850W minimal. See? Practicality.

It’s not just like the sanity-reasserting dimensions have spoiled the cooling, both. What seems to be a simple triple-fan air cooler setup retains each MBA playing cards nicely inside secure temps, and it was the truth is the higher-spec Radeon RX 7900 XTX that posted a decrease peak of 69°c. The RX 7900 XT crested at 74°c underneath the identical sorts of gaming hundreds, which continues to be high quality.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and Radeon RX 7900 XTX assessment: 4K efficiency

You can, after all, use one in every of these GPUs to burn via no matter decision your please, however actually these are 4K playing cards for 4K displays. Just because the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 are, although after just a few games benchmarks, it turned clear that the RX 7900 XT and Radeon RX 7900 XTX aren’t strictly 1:1 equivalents to these GeForce GPUs. The RTX 4090, particularly, looks like a tier above all three others, with double-digit leads over the RX 7900 XTX throughout a bunch of games at 4K.

4K benchmark results for the AMD Radeon RX 7900 and RX 7900 XTX versus the Nvidia RTX 4080 and RTX 4090.

4K benchmark results for the AMD Radeon RX 7900 and RX 7900 XTX versus the Nvidia RTX 4080 and RTX 4090.

The RX 7900 XT additionally lacks a sure next-gen freshness, typically equalling or touchdown behind luxurious last-gen GPUs just like the RTX 3090 Ti. Still, let’s remember that each AMD playing cards are a lot, less expensive than the present RTX 40 sequence (and the RTX 3090 Ti, for that matter), with neither of them needing to drop settings for clean, Ultra-quality 4K.

The RX 7900 XTX is the higher of the 2, although. Miles higher. Despite being about 11% costlier than the RX 7900 XT, it tends to be a lot sooner proportionally, with a 16% benefit in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, a 17% benefit in Metro Exodus, and an 18% benefit in Final Fantasy XV. In one or two games, it might even buck the pattern and go toe-to-toe with the RTX 4090, like in Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion, and Hitman 3. The RX 7900 XT ain’t sluggish but it surely ain’t less expensive than the RX 7900 XTX both, and if you’re already committing to the funding of a 4K rig, why not simply drop the additional £100 / $100 for a way more succesful card?

Also of observe is how commonly the RX 7900 XTX can outpace the RTX 4080, a minimum of when ray tracing is turned off. Nvidia’s GPU is, at greatest, 20% more durable in your pockets, but it was solely considerably sooner than the RX 7900 XTX in two of those 4K assessments (Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV). The two GPUs are intensely aggressive in any other case, with the RX 7900 XTX eking out leads in Metro, Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion and Hitman 3. If you don’t care about tracing rays, the RX 7900 XTX delivers a usually extra interesting steadiness of excessive efficiency and not-quite-so-ludicrous pricing.

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics cards stacked on top of an RTX 4080.
RTX 4080 associate playing cards make the RX 7000 reference fashions look positively dainty.

Unfortunately for AMD, a few of us do crave the fetching lights and detail-rich reflections of ray traced results, and as comparatively smart as these RDNA 3 playing cards are, Nvidia nonetheless have the sting as soon as these are enabled. Maybe even the whole sword: including Ultra-quality RT results to Metro Exodus noticed the RX 7900 XTX’s 96fps common plummet to 45fps, whereas the RTX 4080 solely fell from 91fps to 62fps. And that’s not only a numbers game, as 62fps will look noticeably smoother than 45fps to even a calmly educated eye.

Hitman 3, the ray tracing settings of that are a fair higher bane on GPUs, lower the RX 7900 XT’s 152fps consequence to only 29fps. That’s an 80% efficiency discount with RT results engaged, and the RX 7900 XT didn’t fare a lot better, dropping from 171fps to 33fps. Again, the RTX 4080 confirmed that Nvidia’s devoted RT cores merely have a greater deal with on the tech than RDNA 3 has managed, even with the latter’s optimisations: the RTX 4080 additionally met a steep FPS drop, from 162fps to 46fps, however the latter will look smoother and play extra comfortably than both of the RX 7000 playing cards’ post-RT outcomes.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and Radeon RX 7900 XTX assessment: 1440p efficiency

Back to rasterised efficiency for a mo, 1440p is the place all 4 of the category of ‘22 get a lot tighter. The RTX 4090, undisputed lord regent of 4K, can solely declare a significant lead in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Forza Horizon 5. Everywhere else, it’s both a surprisingly shut name between the brand new Radeons and their GeForce rivals, or a possibility for the RX 7900 XTX to come back out on prime.

1440p benchmark results for the AMD Radeon RX 7900 and RX 7900 XTX versus the Nvidia RTX 4080 and RTX 4090.

1440p benchmark results for the AMD Radeon RX 7900 and RX 7900 XTX versus the Nvidia RTX 4080 and RTX 4090.

I did discover the RTX 40 sequence will get a bit bizarre about 1440p way back to my RTX 4090 assessment. You’d suppose that such mighty elements would paste this decrease, much less demanding decision, however for no matter purpose they typically barely enhance on their 4K benchmarks. By distinction, the RX 7000 sequence takes full benefit of the decrease pixel density, to the purpose the place even the RX 7900 XT can compete with the RTX 4090 – a GPU almost twice as expensive.

Again, although, ray tracing chucks a fantastically reflective spanner within the works. In Hitman 3, as an example, the RTX 4080 can nonetheless handle a slick 82fps with each most settings and ray tracing switched on. Next to the 52fps of the RX 7900 XT and the 57fps of the RX 7900 XT, it’s no contest. The identical goes for Metro Exodus: with a 1440p decision, Ultra settings and Ultra ray tracing, the RTX 4080’s 100fps consequence had it trounce the RX 7900 XT (67fps) and RX 7900 XT (82fps).

The AMD Radeon RX 7900  XTX graphics card, installed and running inside a gaming PC.
Both GPUs take two normal 8-pin PSU energy cables, a minimum of on the MBA designs.

In some circumstances, you possibly can name upon FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) upscaling to regain some misplaced frames. It doesn’t even must be along with ray tracing, like in Horizon Zero Dawn, the place FSR 1.0 – on its highest ‘Ultimate Quality’ setting – gave the RX 7900 XT a wholesome enhance from 90fps to 120fps at Ultimate-quality 4K. Like all trendy GPUs, the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX may also assist Intel’s XeSS upscaler, the place out there.

Buuuuuut… FSR continues to be no DLSS, the AI-powered Nvidia equal that’s solely out there to RTX GPUs. Although more moderen FSR variations, particularly 2.0, 2.1, and a couple of.2, all symbolize visible constancy enhancements over model 1.0, DLSS upscaling appears the sharpest of the lot. The very newest RTX 40 sequence fashions additionally take pleasure in supporting DLSS 3, which bumps up framerates even larger with some surprisingly efficient interpolation sorcery.

AMD is working by itself model of DLSS 3, FSR 3.0, however they haven’t launched it but. Or, actually, gone into a lot element about it in any respect. At any charge, it’s a disgrace that the RDNA 3 technology doesn’t actually have any compelling new options, outdoors of the power to suit inside my check PC with out me needing to partially disassemble it. Which, sure, was a ache after I examined the RTX 4090 and 4080, however pragmatic proportions must be a fundamental design requirement, not a headline-grabbing bonus.

A close-up of the displayt outputs on an AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card.
The RX 7000 sequence helps DisplayPort 2.1, which could turn out to be useful if 360Hz 4K displays ever catch on.

Then once more, maybe the RX 7900 XTX doesn’t want one. As a lot as I attempt to use DLSS and ray tracing myself, they’re not even supported within the majority of games, so by and huge this GPU will merely produce good 4K efficiency for a lot much less money than the RTX 4080. That’s a fairly first rate proposition all by itself.

This does go away the RX 7900 XT arguably bereft of goal – actually, simply spend the additional hundred – and should you’re not in a rush, you would possibly wish to wait and see if Nvidia actually do re-launch the scrapped 12GB RTX 4080 early subsequent 12 months. For now, nonetheless, the RX 7900 XT is the most effective of the present GPU technology, do you have to need a 4K card at a value that doesn’t fairly really feel like a private insult.

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