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AMD RX 7900 XTX

5

The RX 7900 XTX isn’t a direct competitor to the RTX 4080 in each method, nevertheless it’s notably cheaper and delivers a complete lot greater than the highest RX 6000-series card.

For

  • A lot sooner than an RX 6950 XT at 4K
  • Much less energy hungry too
  • $999 price ticket
  • A lot improved ray tracing capabilities
  • Frickin’ chiplets!

Towards

  • Not a constant RTX 4080 competitor
  • Runs actual sizzling
  • Consumes a number of energy
  • Low common clock pace

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The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX has lots going for it. We’re used to seeing GPU generations that arrive on smaller course of nodes, redesigned architectures, bigger caches, reworked shaders, extra reminiscence—the listing goes on. However all of that, abruptly? That is what RDNA 3 delivers: the whole thing in a single fell swoop. 

The RX 7900 XTX is the most effective instance of the all-encompassing improve to the Radeon DNA, and it is a mighty 4K card for these enhancements. Simply one of many new issues launched with this graphics card could also be some of the important modifications in manufacturing and design that we have seen in a really very long time: a chiplet-based GPU. I really feel I have been ready for years to say that in reference to a gaming card and but this previous week I’ve really been taking part in video games on a chip that is made up of interconnected silicon wafers all working collectively seamlessly as one.

Although the RX 7900 XTX parachutes in as a prohibitively costly card at $999. It is definitely not for everybody at that value. The $899 RX 7900 XT (opens in new tab) sits under this card and provides a pared again quantity for much less, however not by a lot. On the very least you might be getting the most effective of the most effective to your cash with the RX 7900 XTX, and sort-of value parity with the earlier era, which may’t be mentioned for its fiercest competitors from crew inexperienced.

With AMD and Nvidia specializing in the high-end with their first playing cards of a brand new era, it comes right down to the place finest to spend that $1,000 or extra you’ve got mendacity round. Is it AMD’s new chiplet GPU that may win you over, or shall you discover the attract of the extra steady efficiency of Nvidia’s Ada Lovelace to be value the additional money? The reply, as ever, is sophisticated.

AMD RX 7900 XTX structure

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

What’s new within the RDNA 3 structure?

The Navi 31 GPU powering the RX 7900 XTX is fairly particular. Moderately than stuffing ever-growing quantities of circuitry onto a single slab of silicon—the go-to strategy for, nicely, each fashionable gaming GPU so far—the Navi 31 GPU is definitely seven discrete, smaller slabs of silicon.

That is seven particular person chips all working collectively as one to offer a high-end ultra-enthusiast gaming expertise: One Graphics Die (GCD) and 6 Reminiscence Cache Dies (MCDs).

Consider RDNA 3 as a translation of what AMD’s achieved with chiplets within the CPU world with its Ryzen chips—two chiplets related by a high-bandwidth interconnect. The factor is relating to the graphics world you want a good larger interconnect and much more chips chocked-full of transistors to get the job performed.

Let’s begin with the largest chip of the lot, the GCD. The GCD is the most important element contained in the Navi 31 GPU at 300mm2. After I say largest, it’s comparatively tiny in comparison with a monolithic GPU of the same calibre immediately. Take into account the RTX 4090 (opens in new tab)‘s gargantuan GPU at 608mm2 and AMD’s new GCD sounds paltry by comparability.

The GCD is the one 5nm element within the Navi 31 GPU, constructed utilizing TSMC’s N5 course of node.

AMD slide showing all the new features of RDNA 3 via a block diagram of the GPU

(Picture credit score: AMD)

Throughout the GCD lies the foundational computational cores that energy the AMD RDNA 3 gaming expertise, the Compute Items (CUs). Very like in RDNA 2, these are divided up into Twin Compute Items, which suggests they share entry cache and reminiscence, although most of their constituent components are discrete to every CU.

Every CU incorporates 64 Stream Processors (SPs). These are the driving drive behind rasterised gaming efficiency on any AMD GPU. From the AMD Twin CU diagram you’ll be able to see a fundamental define of the upgraded CU in all its glory.

AMD slide showing the new Dual Compute Unit

(Picture credit score: AMD)

With RDNA 3, AMD brags a 2.7x enhance in shader FLOPs (floating level operations per second) versus RDNA 2. That is regardless of becoming the RX 7900 XTX with solely 20% extra cores than the RX 6950 XT (opens in new tab). ‘How’s that achieved?’ I hear you ask. Nicely, it comes right down to higher energy and silicon administration, by way of clock and utilisation enhancements, but in addition a big change to the RDNA 3 shader core.

With RDNA 3, every SP has seen a big overhaul, resulting in a lot enhanced instruction throughput.

Inside a CU there are two necessary blocks for chomping by maths to render a body: Float / INT / Matrix SIMD32 and Float / Matrix SIMD 32. There are different new issues stuffed in there, just like the AI Matrix Accelerator, nevertheless it’s these blocks, basically huddles of Arithmetic Logic Items (ALUs), that make this RDNA 3 graphics card tick. These chomp by two varieties of quantity format: floating level and integer.

One new factor inside the Navi 31 GPU is the inclusion of the second block, the one named Float / Matrix SIMD 32, which permits double the floating level efficiency the place relevant. Fairly necessary as our a lot beloved videogames require shifting a number of these numbers abruptly to manifest a body.

There are literally double the variety of shaders inside an RDNA 3 CU in comparison with RDNA 2.

What meaning is one: there are literally double the variety of shaders inside an RDNA 3 CU in comparison with RDNA 2. AMD has performed one thing related right here to what Nvidia did with its Ampere structure. And two: we won’t examine SP counts as we would prefer to between the RX 7900-series playing cards and the RX 6000-series playing cards as a result of what constitutes an SP not matches up gen-on-gen.

However you would possibly keep in mind that when Nvidia doubled its FP32 capabilities with Ampere it determined to double the listed CUDA cores for all of its Ampere and newer GPUs. Nonetheless, AMD has not performed the equal for RDNA 3. I’ve tried asking AMD why it made the choice to stay with its definition of a core with RDNA 3, however I did not obtain a simple reply. My solely assumption is that AMD needs to stay to its definition of a core being a single SP, fairly than being a depend of particular FP32 items. Truthful sufficient—I’ve simply seen advertising and marketing departments make extra of lots much less.

The important thing factor to notice is that RDNA 3 is definitely able to much more than its core depend lets on. Each by way of FP32 throughput and AI acceleration—bear in mind these additional ALUs are additionally helpful for Matrix operations. 

AMD says all-in, the brand new CU design results in “roughly 17.4% architectural enchancment clock for clock.”

Along with the redesigned CU, the brand new discrete GCD in Navi 31 has acquired elevated cache sizes (240% extra L0, 300% extra L1, and 50% extra L2) and better clock speeds to ship additional enhancements to the RDNA 3 shader pipeline. 

Really, clock speeds are particularly noteworthy. AMD has splintered its inside clocks with RDNA 3. There’s now a shader clock and a front-end clock. In line with AMD, RDNA was extra front-end restricted in gaming workloads, so the change advantages us players by permitting the front-end clock to run just a little sooner at 2.5GHz than the shader clock at 2.3GHz.

AMD RDNA 3 ray tracing diagram

(Picture credit score: AMD)

Now let’s speak about ray tracing. AMD has a bead on what’s required to construct an environment friendly accelerator for this objective with its personal aptly-named Ray Tracing Accelerators launched with RDNA 2. These devoted RT blocks are again and higher than ever with RDNA 3. Included with them is new {hardware} for specialised field sorting, geared toward pushing effectivity up for ray-traced workloads. Together with that, higher utilisation methods to extract extra out of the improved RDNA 3 GCD {hardware}.

It is all for a reasonably critical finessing of the complete RT pipeline in RDNA 3, and I’ve to say it is clearly working for AMD. We’ll get to the efficiency, however AMD’s concentrate on lowering crucial bandwidth necessities, and the strain on ALUs to carry out RT duties, has put it on a greater footing versus the competitors in ray-traced video games.

Proper, that is the GCD, or a few of it, however there are additionally six MCDs within the Navi 31 bundle.

AMD slide showing the benefits to partitioning a GPU into chiplets

(Picture credit score: AMD)

Every MCD is a portion of the reminiscence subsystem of the RDNA 3 GPU. It is really a fairly easy wanting element subsequent to the extra complicated GCD. Every MCD incorporates a 16MB slice of the Infinity Cache (96MB complete), together with a 4 x 16-bit reminiscence interface (384-bit complete) to hook into the 24GB of GDDR6 reminiscence shut by on the PCB.

Contemplating the RX 6950 XT’s slimmer 256-bit broad reminiscence bus, that is an enormous leap in precise reminiscence bandwidth. Efficient reminiscence bandwidth can also be up with Infinity Cache factored in.

Every MCD is constructed utilizing TSMC’s 6nm course of node. A call geared toward lowering prices whereas sustaining efficiency. The cutting-edge 5nm node could be much less energy hungry or can help you stuff extra transistors into any given house nevertheless it’s costly and in excessive demand. Taking non-critical parts off the costly course of node and dividing them between tiny 37mm2 chips makes for a way more scalable and reasonably priced choice. This scalable chiplet-based strategy labored for Ryzen, so I am hopeful that the identical type of success will drive down prices right here, too. Offering that decrease value interprets to extra in my pocket and never simply extra for AMD and its stakeholders, after all.

However you’ll be able to’t simply slice off parts and stick them subsequent to one another and hope they magically talk. Identical to a Ryzen CPU requires Infinity Cloth, a Radeon GPU requires an interconnect. And one with heaps of bandwidth at its disposal.

AMD Infinity Links

(Picture credit score: AMD)

Sticking to its theme, AMD is introducing Infinity Hyperlinks with RDNA 3 (opens in new tab). Infinity Hyperlinks are a technique to switch heaps of information at a fast tempo between chiplets on the Navi 31 GPU.

Infinity Hyperlinks is the a part of RDNA 3 that AMD’s engineers appeared essentially the most excited to speak about throughout our briefings forward of launch. And I get why. The issue was the routes of tiny wires hooking up components of the chip bundle had been, by comparability to every part round them, far too massive to permit for efficient communication throughout chiplets inside the GPU. To resolve this, AMD’s engineers tasked themselves with the job of making a brand new fanout know-how, and that is Infinity Hyperlinks. 

“The bandwidth density that we obtain is sort of 10x,” AMD’s Sam Naffziger tells us in a briefing. “And that is with the bit charges that you may see right here, 9.2 gigabits per second signalling throughout these interfaces. And with the finer pitches of the bumps, and single routes, we get a dramatic enhance in bandwidth density, which is strictly what the GPU wants.”

AMD Infinity Links

(Picture credit score: AMD)

Above: The normal natural fanout is on the left, taken from one in all AMD’s server merchandise. AMD did not specify which, however assumedly an Epyc processor. The brand new Infinity Hyperlink fanout is on the fitting. The pictures are roughly to scale based on AMD.

The ensuing efficiency is 3.5TB/s throughout the brand new interconnect, and to have the ability to supply that for lower than 5% GPU energy consumption.

Infinity Hyperlinks completes the trifecta of components that finally make up the Navi 31 GPU. In fact, I am grossly oversimplifying swathes of parts of the structure, however I listened to one in all AMD’s finest brains, Mike Mantor, speak RDNA 3 for an hour and it felt like we hardly scratched the floor. I by no means actually stood an opportunity of explaining all of it right here. Although what I can do is definitely play video games on this factor, and sooner body charges in-game is finally what it is all main as much as.

AMD RX 7900 XTX specs

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

What’s contained in the RX 7900 XTX?

The RX 7900 XTX is essentially the most highly effective graphics card AMD has ever produced. It is no shock that it brings with it an almighty spec sheet to drive important beneficial properties in gaming over the earlier era. From 24GB of reminiscence squeezed onto its surprisingly slim hull, to the 61 TFLOPs efficiency it is mentioned to ship in uncooked compute, the RX 7900 XTX is a beast by all measures.

Swipe to scroll horizontally

RX 7000-series specs
Header Cell – Column 0 RX 7900 XTX RX 7900 XT
Structure RDNA 3 RDNA 3
GPU Navi 31 Navi 31
Course of node 5nm GCD + 6nm MCD 5nm GCD + 6nm MCD
Transistors 57.7B 57.7B
Die dimension 300mm2 GCD, 220mm2 MCD (mixed) 300mm2 GCD, 220mm2 MCD (mixed)
Compute Items 96 84
Stream Processors 6,144 5,376
Ray Accelerators 96 84
AI Accelerators 192 168
Recreation clock (GHz) 2.3 2
Enhance clock (GHz) 2.5 2.4
Reminiscence 24GB GDDR6 20GB GDDR6
Reminiscence bus 384-bit 320-bit
Infinity Cache 96MB 80MB
Whole Board Energy (watt) 355 315
Value (MSRP) $999 $899

The 24GB of GDDR6 reminiscence hooked up to its PCB is an enormous step up for AMD within the reminiscence division. The corporate bestowed 16GB of the stuff on its high-end RDNA 2 playing cards, which was fantastic on the time, and but it is including one other 8GB right here. Finest be on the protected aspect, I suppose. That type of capability means there isn’t any scarcity for prime decision gaming and fast entry to property, and that it is a graphics card extra appropriate for a high-performance skilled workstation as a gaming PC. 

Although we’ll stick with gaming, thanks. 

The reminiscence chips on the RX 7900 XTX are slower in comparison with Nvidia’s high-end RTX 40-series so far, at simply 20Gbps. The RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 (opens in new tab) use GDDR6X chips rated to 22.4Gbps and 21Gbps, respectively. That is the one actual draw back of the reminiscence configuration on the XTX, because it’s in any other case very beneficiant for a card at this value.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

Often the way you’d examine reminiscence on two graphics playing cards is by wanting on the ensuing reminiscence bandwidth on supply. You are taking the reminiscence interface width, multiply it by the clock, divide that by eight and you may work out simply what number of gigabytes can go by a given card’s reminiscence subsystem each second. You may completely do this right here, after all. The RX 7900 XTX, with a 384-bit bus and 20Gbps reminiscence pace, delivers as much as 960GB/s bandwidth. Evaluate that to the RTX 4080’s 716.8GB/s and also you’re onto a winner with crew crimson. 

AMD likes to brag about a good larger quantity, nevertheless.

AMD’s “efficient reminiscence bandwidth” for the RX 7900 XTX is 3.5TB/s, considerably greater than even the RTX 4090 at 1,008GB/s. However how does it make such a declare with lesser {hardware}? That is right down to a reasonably good implementation of a big cache unfold throughout every of the Navi 31’s MCD chiplets referred to as Infinity Cache, which you would possibly recognise from its RDNA 2 GPUs.

That huge 3.5TB/s is little doubt an ideal state of affairs determine. It is based mostly on a calculation to work out loosely what kind of theoretical bandwidth the cardboard would want to web the identical profit because the Infinity Cache. The cache itself isn’t an ideal retailer of all the fitting knowledge for the job both, there’s some extent of guesswork concerned. The cache itself depends on profitable hits to really retrieve pertinent knowledge when required with out heading additional afield to the off-package reminiscence. Generally it’s going to additionally miss.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

The hit fee is reportedly related between RDNA 3 and RDNA 2, which ought to put it round 58% based mostly on earlier estimates from AMD. That is really just a little shocking because the RX 7900 XTX comes with 96MB of Infinity Cache, lower than the RX 6950 XT’s 128MB retailer. AMD tells us that is merely an optimisation for the second era of Infinity Cache with RDNA 3—the remainder wasn’t providing as a lot bang to your buck by way of silicon house used to efficiency gained.

The opposite truth that may shock you in regards to the RX 7900 XTX is that its core depend is simply 6,144. Alright, that is a number of cores, however contemplating the cardboard’s claimed 2.7x single precision TFLOPs efficiency enhance over the RX 6950 XT, a card with 5,120 cores, or 17% fewer than the RX 7900 XT, it would not add up.

As I’ve already talked about within the structure part, we won’t examine cores in the identical method as we would prefer to normally with the RX 7900-series playing cards. There is a “larger enhance in teraflops than there may be in what we name Compute Items,” as AMD’s Scott Olschewsky, director of product administration, tells us.

The factor to remove is: extra directions per clock equals higher gaming efficiency. And that is what the RX 7900 XTX is ready to convey to the desk.

The RX 7900 XTX is essentially the most highly effective graphics card AMD has ever produced.

When you can drag your eyes away from the uncooked gaming silicon for only a second, you will discover a shiny new function referred to as the Radiance Show Engine.

The Radiance Show Engine is our ticket to DisplayPort 2.1 and HDMI 2.1a assist, mentioning the power for as much as 900Hz refresh charges at 1440p or 480Hz at 4K. It might additionally handle 165Hz at 8K. Although, let’s be trustworthy, that is all a bit over the pinnacle of any graphics card immediately, even one corresponding to this.

One other notable enchancment is to the Twin Media Engine in RDNA 3. This brings with it assist for AV1 encode and simultaneous HEVC encode and decode of streams as much as 8K60. AV1 assist will probably come in useful down the road, because the video format is starting to select up tempo within the real-world. Nonetheless, it is the combination of know-how from AMD’s acquisition of Xilinx that goals to enhance textual content high quality at decrease resolutions and low bitrates which feels the extra sensible improve for content material creators.

What’s particular in regards to the RX 7900 XTX reference design?

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

In a world of GPUs the dimensions of cinder blocks, the RX 7900 XTX is surprisingly lean. It is not as enormously massive because the RTX 4090 or RTX 4080 in its reference garb, in any case. At simply 2.5-slots and requiring solely 287mm of house inside your case, it is hardly a heffalump.

The RX 7900 XTX is a reasonably graphics card. I do not say that usually for GPUs, in all honesty, as all of them can look a bit no matter in individual. That mentioned, the RX 7900 XTX is extra instantly drool-worthy, and the XT would not look so dangerous both.

The reference design is functionally match for objective, with a single HDMI 2.1a port, two DisplayPort 2.1 ports, and a USB Sort-C port throughout the rear IO plate. That is AMD single handedly preserving the USB Sort-C show connection alive as soon as once more, as Nvidia has shunned the connector on its GPUs because the 20-series.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

There are two 8-pin energy adapters on the reference card—although it is as much as third-party producers to observe go well with or go for the 12VHPWR connector in the event that they so want on their very own designs. AMD’s determination to stay with the older-style energy adapter by itself card has nothing to do with Nvidia’s poor fortune with melting 12VHPWR connectors—that call was right down to there being “no want for a brand new energy adapter”, as AMD tells me. It’ll have been made lengthy earlier than Nvidia’s sorry saga started, even.

As for energy supply on the board, the RX 7900 XTX comes with a 20-stage VRM to place it up there with some top-of-the-line third-party boards. AMD could not skimp on these parts, nevertheless, as whereas the XTX isn’t as thirsty because the RTX 4090 on common, it does gobble up a ton of energy. It is technically rated to a 355W TBP—20W larger than the RX 6950 XT and 35W larger than the RTX 4080.

The RX 7900 XTX is correct within the combine for energy consumption and that is largely indicative of its efficiency, too.

AMD RX 7900 XTX efficiency

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

How does the RX 7900 XTX carry out?

The RX 7900 XTX makes fast work of 4K gaming. It is that type of speedy card that allow’s you boot up any outdated recreation in 4K and anticipate completely playable efficiency. The type of graphics energy that permits you to be extraordinarily lazy and ‘optimise’ your recreation settings by turning every part as much as extremely and by no means diving into the settings menu ever once more. I like that type of brute energy—if solely as a result of I do not prefer to mess with my recreation settings except there’s an issue.

You might be pretty liberal with ray tracing choices on this AMD graphics card, too, which is the text-based equal of thunderous applause for AMD’s second era RT acceleration. Whereas Nvidia tends to nonetheless pull a lead in ray-traced video games, there isn’t any have to be any extra thoughtful about which ray tracing results you allow and the way excessive you crank them with AMD’s newest quantity.

When you’re lifeless set on firing a Star Destroyer’s value of rays throughout the display, with each ray-traced impact turned to the utmost, you’ll expertise a notable drop in efficiency, nevertheless. For instance, Cyberpunk 2077 is hard going for the RX 7900 XTX, although it isn’t a lot simpler for the RTX 4090 both. The RX 7900 XTX does, extremely, outperform the RTX 4080 on this attempting benchmark, too.

4K efficiency

AMD RX 7900 XTX and XT benchmark graphs versus Nvidia's RTX 40-series.

(Picture credit score: Future)

Check rig

CPU – Intel Core i9 12900K


Motherboard – Asus ROG Strix Z690-F Gaming WiFi


RAM – Trident Z 5 RGB 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR5 @5,600MHz (efficient)


CPU cooler – Asus ROG Ryujin II 360mm liquid cooler


PSU – Gigabyte Aorus P1200W


Monitor – Gigabyte M32UC

For essentially the most half when testing with ray tracing enabled on a handful of video games the RX 7900 XTX was nonetheless in a position to push an honest body fee. That is necessary, too, as a result of whereas ray tracing may not be vital function, if I am spending $1,000 or extra on a graphics card I actually need to have the ability to activate all the newest options. You do not spend this type of cash for mediocre.

Although it’s troublesome to make different sweeping statements in regards to the RX 7900 XTX’s efficiency. In my expertise, it isn’t an RTX 4080 demolisher, neither is it fully worn out by Nvidia’s Ada card. It is tremendous game-dependent.

For starters, in two DirectX 11 video games I examined, Warhammer III and Tiny Tina’s Wonderland, the RX 7900 XTX couldn’t sustain with the RTX 4080. AMD’s card fell behind by some 8–15%.

But in Far Cry 6 and Cyberpunk 2077, two DirectX 12 video games with a mixture of mild/heavy use of ray tracing, the RX 7900 XTX pulls away by 4–6%. In different DX12 video games, Nvidia’s nonetheless champ, typically by a bigger margin.

1440p efficiency

AMD RX 7900 XTX and XT benchmark graphs versus Nvidia's RTX 40-series.

(Picture credit score: Future)

When you’re spending this a lot on a graphics card, I am assuming you might be already a 4K monitor. Although there’s one thing to be mentioned for 1440p at excessive refresh charges for an excellent mix of efficiency and fairly graphics, even perhaps an ultrawide. For that crowd, the RX 7900 XTX already comes near matching a 144Hz panel frame-for-frame at 1440p. 

In additional aggressive titles, corresponding to Rainbow Six: Siege, the RX 7900 XTX is especially overkill. Extra overkill than others? Probably not, Nvidia’s playing cards appear to be essentially the most overkill, however overkill nonetheless.

1080p efficiency

AMD RX 7900 XTX and XT benchmark graphs versus Nvidia's RTX 40-series.

(Picture credit score: Future)

The identical goes for 1080p efficiency on the RX 7900 XTX and any of its high-end cohorts. Any ultra-enthusiast card is overkill at 1080p and we see a way more degree taking part in discipline when the decision drops. That is largely when different elements in our check bench play a bigger function in efficiency, corresponding to our selection of Intel Core i9 12900K, DDR5 reminiscence, and extra.

However let’s simply say the RX 7900 XTX’s aggressive efficiency versus the RTX 4080 isn’t precisely what I had anticipated. Issues get weirder whenever you have a look at its clock speeds, temperatures, and energy calls for.

Energy consumption

AMD RX 7900 XTX and XT benchmark graphs versus Nvidia's RTX 40-series.

(Picture credit score: Future)

You could be stunned to know that the RX 7900 XTX will draw larger peak wattage than the RTX 4080, what with AMD being very vocal about effectivity for RDNA 3. Common energy draw between the 2 playing cards is roughly related, however typically the RTX 4080 is making extra of the facility it is sucking from the socket with larger efficiency.

That mentioned, AMD is correct to speak up its effectivity over RDNA 2. It is made a much more performant graphics card within the RX 7900 XTX than the RX 6950 XT and managed to make it much less of an influence hog.

Clock pace comparability

AMD RX 7900 XTX clock speed comparison from three runs of Metro Exodus.

(Picture credit score: Future)

The RX 7900 XTX is surprisingly sluggish relating to common clock speeds collected throughout three runs of Metro Exodus Enhanced Version. Its 1.8GHz reported common frequency is a far cry from the clock speeds we have come to anticipate from RDNA 2. And from this metric alone you would not assume a lot of AMD’s declare to a card ‘architected to exceed 3GHz’.

However AMD wasn’t mendacity when it mentioned this card is able to 3GHz, and that is with out pushing the bounds of overclocking, too. For transient intervals of time, blips actually, the RX 7900 XTX reaches clock speeds in extra of 3GHz. I noticed this card hit 3,138MHz repeatedly throughout Metro Exodus, although primarily in the course of the starting of the run. After that, the clock pace tends to regularly decline to a comparatively pedestrian 1.5–2GHz.

Clearly, there is a wildly aggressive frequency curve on this card. To bounce from a 1.2GHz clock to a 3.2GHz clock throughout a single Metro Exodus benchmark run is immense. That is counting solely the frames the place the GPU is at over a 60% utilisation fee, too, excluding loading screens and downtime that may in any other case mess with the determine.

I believed initially maybe AMD is leaving itself some headroom on the clocks for an RX 7950 XTX or related, however then you definately have a look at the thermal efficiency and this card and surprise if AMD might really pump it with any extra voltage.

Thermal efficiency

AMD RX 7900 XTX and XT benchmark graphs versus Nvidia's RTX 40-series.

(Picture credit score: Future)

The type of 4K efficiency we’re seeing immediately has clearly not come simply to any high-end graphics card. AMD and Nvidia have needed to actually juice up their newest GPUs to hit new heights for efficiency despite extra environment friendly course of nodes getting used to fabricate these chips. Energy draw of over 300W, on common, is turning into the norm, and although AMD’s RDNA 3 structure could also be environment friendly clock-for-clock there’s lots stuffed into the RX 7900 XTX.

I am stunned to see the XTX near topping the charts in energy consumption and sitting as the most popular of any card examined by a reasonably large margin. The XT is not wherever close to as sizzling, although remains to be fairly hungry. Maybe it is the shortage of behemoth cooler on the RX 7900 XTX to match the RTX 4080 or RTX 4090, however this all suggests AMD has actually pushed the XTX to the ragged edge to compete with the RTX 4080.

However has AMD performed sufficient to make the RX 7900 XTX value shopping for as a substitute of spending the additional money on the RTX 4080?

AMD RX 7900 XTX evaluation

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

How does the RX 7900 XTX stack up?

The RX 7900 XTX is a high-end graphics card that pushes to new heights for Radeon GPUs. At 4K, this card is able to dominating the last-gen. The RX 7900 XTX comes into its personal, simply dispatching the RX 6950 XT and the RTX 3080 Ti (opens in new tab)—two lots succesful 4K playing cards in their very own proper.

This can be a real 4K graphics card, and with the fitting recreation and the fitting optimisations, you’ll be able to anticipate to really make nice use of a high-refresh fee 4K monitor. Fortunately now we have a number of these these days they usually’re even beginning to grow to be pretty reasonably priced.

I may see a use for one in all these playing cards on a beautiful ultrawide. At 1440p, this card is buttery easy to recreation on. It’ll principally max out a 144Hz panel on max settings or with some parsimonious tweaks.

With the fitting recreation and the fitting optimisations, you’ll be able to anticipate to really make nice use of a high-refresh fee 4K monitor.

For aggressive gaming, this card is genuinely hitting the bounds of 1080p efficiency. That is true of each AMD and Nvidia’s newest—it isn’t these playing cards’ shaders which can be holding them again, it is every part else in your PC and typically even the sport engine itself limiting body charges. Little question you will need the most effective CPUs for gaming to go together with this chip to get essentially the most out of it at decrease resolutions, which makes for a holistically expensive construct, nevertheless it’s true that even an older, cheaper GPU can typically get you near the identical efficiency at 1080p because the XTX. It is simply not value investing within the newest and biggest if that is your plan.

The straightforward conclusion to attract is if you need a 4K gaming expertise, the RX 7900 XTX is a superb card to try this with. However examine the cardboard with Nvidia’s lot and it is necessary to nonetheless take into account your choices.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

For these kinds of PC builds, there’s nothing fairly in a position to supply what the XTX can on a $999 price range. In spite of everything, Nvidia has priced itself out of this $1,000 market, and AMD’s solely different choice is the RX 7900 XT. The cheaper card isn’t a nasty shout for many, however its price ticket is just a little too near the XTX to go away a lot wiggle room on launch day. 

When you’re overpaying for an XT, you will be upset you could not get a reference XTX for $999. 

On that be aware, I am holding out for swathes of playing cards obtainable to buy instantly after launch, however I am not eager for overflowing availability—it is at all times a race to checkout and the extra reasonably priced MSRP playing cards, corresponding to this card in reference garb, are sometimes the primary to go. On the provision entrance, AMD has mentioned that it ought to have higher yields because of the smaller chip sizes used within the Navi 31 GPU, although traditionally its launch day provide is slim. We are able to solely hope for higher provide and a keep from excessive value tags as soon as the mud has settled post-launch.

I believe the problem for the RX 7900 XTX will are available in third-party fashions and launch day inflation that pushes the worth far in extra of the $999 MSRP. Within the RX 7900 XTX’s case, the RTX 4080 is not that distant to not be a bit threatening if costs began to trundle off nicely in extra of the MSRP.

Finally, the RTX 4080 is the goal that AMD has been aiming for with the XTX, and in my testing it simply would not attain it persistently sufficient to make {that a} beneficial comparability. Not typically sufficient, in any case. It is that age-old factor: the XTX, in the fitting circumstances, will make swift work of the RTX 4080, however in video games few and much between. The RTX 4080 is mostly the sooner card from my testing.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

And the RTX 4080 is extra threatening for the discharge of DLSS 3. Whereas restricted in its scope attributable to an absence of assist in all too many video games immediately, the body era tech inherent to the newer upscaling know-how is extremely spectacular. It provides heaps of efficiency that AMD simply cannot fairly match proper now with out its personal body era tech. Don’t be concerned, that is coming, nevertheless it could be some time. AMD solely very not too long ago introduced it is engaged on it.

However AMD does have its personal software program stack, and a succesful one at that. The Radeon software program bundle has come on leaps and bounds and now provides comparable options to Nvidia’s, and the GPUOpen initiative is repeatedly making AMD’s open-source applied sciences that a lot better. AMD’s personal upscaling know-how, FidelityFX Tremendous Decision, is turning into extra ubiquitous with each passing recreation launch, which suggests even AMD players do not miss out on the near free efficiency uplift of AI upscaling.

But for lacking the gusto to cleanly kill off Nvidia’s expensive RTX 4080, the factor that basically impresses me with the RX 7900 XTX is that it is a first-generation chiplet-based GPU that truly works. I really feel like I have been writing in regards to the chance, the smallest glimmer of hope, {that a} chiplet-based GPU could be potential, and AMD’s gone and performed it. It is created a graphics card with a intelligent chiplet design that fortunately would not require an entire rework of the complete programming base for modern-day gaming. Phew.

I believe there’s a number of ingenuity nonetheless left to be uncovered in chiplet-based graphics. Consider the primary Zen 2 chips to the place we’re at now with Zen 4. As a primary step in the direction of all of that and extra in graphics, I am left critically impressed with the trouble-free expertise I’ve had with the first-of-its-kind RX 7900 XTX.

AMD RX 7900 XTX verdict

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX photographed with box on a white background.

(Picture credit score: Future)

Must you purchase an RX 7900 XTX?

When you’re solely taking part in Far Cry 6 then you definately’re laughing with an XTX, however let’s be trustworthy, you are not.

With out realizing how provide and costs will fluctuate over the approaching months, the RX 7900 XTX is an excellent 4K GPU at its unique $999 price ticket. It is ruling its personal section of the market, and it provides a big efficiency increase over what RDNA 2’s might muster within the ~$1,100 RX 6950 XT or $999 RX 6900 XT (opens in new tab). It is costly, however not any dearer than the cardboard it replaces.

Admittedly the RX 6950 XT is nowhere close to its full value immediately, extra like $800 or much less. Although the RX 7900 XTX has sufficient tempo to justify its price ticket. You are paying round 20% greater than an RX 6950 XT because it stands immediately for a card that typically outperforms it by 20% or, on a couple of events in my benchmarking, a complete lot extra. 

The rise in reminiscence capability from 16GB to 24GB with the RX 7900 XTX is a bonus, and the ray tracing efficiency on RDNA 3 is rather more convincing to make me half with my cash.

But as an RTX 4080 competitor the RX 7900 XTX is much less convincing. It is hardly ever in a position to match the RTX 4080. The RTX 4080 is as much as 28% sooner in my testing, although it is extra like 15% on common. For an RTX card that asks at the least 20% more money than the RX 7900 XTX, that stat isn’t a dealbreaker, nevertheless it does make the XTX’s beneficial properties extra average by comparability. What helps the XTX’s worth proposition is that it has extra reminiscence and, on uncommon events, really beats the RTX 4080. When you’re solely taking part in Far Cry 6 then you definately’re laughing with an XTX, however let’s be trustworthy, you are not.

This leaves Nvidia with rule of the ultra-high-end section. However AMD has performed the hand dealt to it by Navi 31’s efficiency right here. It has a card that is not repeatedly outperforming the RTX 4080, nevertheless it’s notably cheaper. That completely brings the XTX again into consideration on the $1,000 mark. 

If the $999 price ticket on the RX 7900 XTX can meaningfully stick round for some time, and by that I imply you’ve got to have the ability to purchase this card for that price ticket or related, the RX 7900 XTX will exist as an excellent 4K graphics card for an extremely high-end PC construct in 2023. Sure, there are higher, and the RTX 4090 is now undeniably the highest canine for gaming, however It is all about weighing up what you really want and what you’ll be able to afford—i.e. most likely not an RTX 4090. 

Mixed with a high-end CPU and a 4K (or ultrawide) monitor, you will web very good body charges with the RX 7900 XTX in your construct for probably half the worth.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

The RX 7900 XTX isn’t a direct competitor to the RTX 4080 in each method, nevertheless it’s notably cheaper and delivers a complete lot greater than the highest RX 6000-series card.

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his personal tech weblog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking issues as {hardware} author at PCGamesN, the place he would later win command of the package cabinet as {hardware} editor. These days, as senior {hardware} editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the newest developments within the know-how and gaming business. When he isn’t writing about GPUs and CPUs, nevertheless, you will discover him attempting to get as distant from the fashionable world as potential by wild tenting.

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