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Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT evaluation: AMDs cheap stab at 4K gaming

As soon as once more, AMD is able to tackle NVIDIA’s newest video playing cards with highly effective alternate options at a cheaper price. And as soon as once more, AMD nonetheless lags behind in the case of ray tracing. That is just about the story behind the Radeon RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX, two confusingly-named GPUs meant to be the head of AMD’s new RDNA 3 graphics structure. At $899 and $999, respectively, these playing cards are definitely simpler to abdomen than NVIDIA’s $1,199 RTX 4080 and the monstrously costly $1,599 RTX 4090 (each of which truly promote for a lot extra at most shops).


For probably the most half, AMD’s new playing cards ship stable 4K gaming efficiency, particularly with the assistance of the corporate’s FidelityFX Tremendous Decision (FSR) upscaling know-how. It is only a disgrace that you will have to stay with slower ray tracing efficiency than the competitors. (On the brilliant aspect, they provide a serious ray tracing improve over AMD’s final batch of Radeon GPUs.)


So what makes these playing cards so particular? They’re the primary GPU’s constructed on a chiplet-based design, just like AMD’s newest CPUs. That ought to permit AMD to tweak its designs simply down the road, making it less complicated to scale RDNA 3 right down to laptops and lower-end GPUs. The 7900 XTX and XT function a 5nm compute die and a 6nm reminiscence die linked by a 5.3 TB/s interconnect. Collectively, meaning they will attain as much as 61 teraflops of computing energy and make the most of as much as 24GB of GDDR6 RAM.

AMD additionally claims it beefed up ray tracing efficiency by 50 p.c per compute unit, in comparison with its earlier RDNA 2 structure. Its video engine has been upgraded with assist for AV1 encoding and decoding at as much as 8K/60fps. That format is not extensively adopted but, but it surely goals to ship higher video compression for 4K and 8K footage in comparison with present codecs like H.264.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT
Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

True to their names, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT aren’t very totally different. The highest-end XTX sports activities 96 compute items, the identical quantity of ray accelerators and clock speeds between 2.3Ghz and a couple of.5GHz. The XT, in the meantime, presents 84 compute and ray tracing items and clocks between 2GHz and a couple of.4GHz. The upper finish card comes geared up with 24GB of GDDR6 RAM, in comparison with 20GB on the XT. (Notably, they each provide extra reminiscence than the 16GB RTX 4080.)

Given their similarities although, it is unclear why anybody would choose to save lots of $100 for the 7900 XT. In the event you’re prepared to spend near $1,000 on a video card, you may as nicely go full-tilt and seize as a lot reminiscence and energy as you possibly can. It might have been good to see one thing barely cheaper from AMD, even when it meant delivering a card that is a bit slower than the 7900 XT.

The reference GPUs we’re reviewing feel and appear like premium elements, as we have come to count on from AMD’s flagship playing cards. Most significantly, although, they solely take up two slots in your motherboard, whereas the large RTX 4080 and 4090 take up three. The 7900 XT and XTX additionally depend on two 8-pin energy connections, so you will not must string any new PSU cables or cram in a dongle like with NVIDIA’s playing cards. The 7900 XTX requires an 850-watt energy provide, due to its beginning energy draw of 355W, whereas the XT mannequin can work with a 750W PSU. Each playing cards hovered round 66C below load, which was proper between what we noticed on the RTX 4080 and 4090.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT

Whereas I used to be desirous to see how these new GPUs in comparison with NVIDIAs, I needed to undergo a number of rounds of driver and motherboard BIOS updates on my Ryzen 9 7900X earlier than each playing cards had been secure sufficient to really use. That is one thing I often run into when testing cutting-edge {hardware} (NVIDIA’s playing cards additionally required a BIOS replace), however there have been nonetheless points with AMD’s playing cards even after that. Halo Infinite, for instance, refused to launch matches with both card. Typically my PC would fully shut down whereas testing Cyberpunk 2077, which required me to unplug my desktop and reset my BIOS earlier than Home windows would boot once more.

I have been benching AMD and NVIDIA video playing cards on this PC, geared up with a premium Corsair 1000W PSU, for the previous a number of months with none stability points. So it was a shock to see simply how a lot havoc these GPUs may wreak. I have not seen different evaluations complaining of comparable points, so I will chalk up my expertise to early drivers. AMD just released a new driver that resolves a problem of excessive energy draw throughout video encoding, so I am hoping the corporate can be attempting to deal with the bugs I am seeing.

None 3DMark TimeSpy Excessive Port Royal (Ray Tracing) Cyberpunk Blender
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX 12,969 14,696/68fps 4K FSR RT: 57fps 2,899
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT 11,688 13,247/61fps 4K FSRT RT: 50fps 3,516
NVIDIA RTX 4080 12,879 17,780/82fps 4K DLSS RT: 74fps 9,310
NVIDIA RTX 4090 16,464 25,405/117.62 fps 4K DLSS RT: 135fps 12,335
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT 7,713 9,104/42.15fps N/A N/A

When the playing cards ran easily, they proved to be pretty aggressive with the RTX 4080. The 7900 XTX was on-par with the 4080 when it got here to 3DMark’s TimeSpy Excessive benchmark and Geekbench 5’s Compute take a look at. The 7900 XT scored 1,000 factors decrease on TimeSpy Excessive, which was 3,000 factors greater than final 12 months’s RTX 3080 Ti, but it surely was bested by that NVIDIA card when it got here to Geekbench. Hitman 3 additionally ran blazingly quick on each playing cards in 4K, reaching 165fps and 180fps after I flipped on FSR upscaling. Very similar to NVIDIA’s playing cards, there’s little purpose to run any sport in 4K with out the assistance of superior upscaling tech.

The efficiency gulf between AMD and NVIDIA appeared as soon as I began dabbling with ray tracing. The 7900 XTX and XT scored nicely beneath the RTX 4080 within the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark (no less than they managed to beat the 3080 Ti). I additionally solely noticed round 57fps in Cyberpunk 2077 on the Radeon 7900 XTX whereas enjoying in 4K with full ray tracing and AMD’s FidelityFX Tremendous Decision know-how. With out FSR, that body price dipped to an unplayable 25fps. The slower 7900 XT solely managed to hit 50fps in 4K with FSR and ray tracing enabled.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX (front) and XT (rear)
Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Mainly, if you happen to’re desirous to get a video card that reaches nicely above 60fps in 4K with ray tracing, you will need to look elsewhere. However if you happen to can stay with 1,440p, you will discover extra to love: The 7900 XTX reached 130fps in Cyberpunk with ray tracing, FSR and graphics settings maxed, whereas the 7900 XT hit 114fps. That is virtually sufficient to max out a 120Hz gaming monitor! Personally, I nonetheless discover 4K gaming to be overrated — 1,440p nonetheless seems nice, and chances are you’ll by no means discover the advantages of pushing extra pixels. However I’ll admit that I have been spoiled by NVIDIA’s DLSS3 upscaling know-how, which allowed me to hit 74fps in Cyberpunk whereas enjoying in 4K with ray tracing. That is as near gaming heaven as I’ve ever been.

However there’s one factor you will discover with these AMD GPUs that you simply will not with NVIDIA’s: Affordable avenue costs. Even after their launch, you possibly can nonetheless snag the 7900XT and XTX near retail. Many RTX 4080 fashions, in the meantime, are inching in the direction of $1,500 at on-line retailers (assuming you will discover them in inventory in any respect). Spending near $1,000 on a video card continues to be laborious to abdomen, however no less than it makes extra sense than going all the way in which to $1,500.

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT are a stable step ahead for AMD, particularly in the case of 4K gaming. However I am hoping the corporate can get its driver state of affairs so as, and maybe eke out higher ray tracing efficiency within the course of. Most players are nonetheless higher off ready for AMD and NVIDIA’s next-gen mid-range playing cards, that are positive to be launching quickly. However if you happen to’re an avowed AMD fan, you’ve got lastly acquired the high-end improve you’ve got been ready for.


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