AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review

In many games, AMD's flagship RDNA 3 GPU defeats the RTX 4080 while costing $200 less. However, Nvidia's ray-tracing performance is significantly inferior.

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I thought AMD’s response to Nvidia’s RTX 3080 two years ago was impressive, but I’m wondering if team red will be able to match Nvidia’s RTX 4080 two years later. The answer is yes, unequivocally yes, and for $200 less than what you were expecting.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

PROS
-Performance that is comparable to or better than the RTX 4080
-Connectors with a standard eight pin layout
-Size compatible with the majority of computer cases
CONS
-Ray-tracing performance that is not up to par
-Some excessive whine from the coils and noise from the fans
-There is yet no conclusive response to DLSS 3.
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT

PROS
-Excellent performance in the rasterization process
-Connectors with a standard eight pin layout
-Size compatible with the majority of computer cases
CONS
-A ray-tracing performance that is not up to par
-A little bit of extra coil wine and fan noise.
-There is yet no conclusive response to DLSS 3.

The Radeon RX 7900 XT ($899) and XTX ($999) cards are designed to give next-generation gaming performance for less than $1,000. At the top end (XTX), AMD manages to surpass Nvidia’s latest RTX 4080 ($1,199) card in a range of titles while running at 4K resolution comfortably.

If I were in the market for a graphics processing unit (GPU) right now, I would have to seriously consider whether or not I wanted to spend the additional $200 on an RTX 4080 for the greater ray-tracing performance it offers. Even though ray tracing and super sampling performance are both a significant letdown again, AMD does an excellent job of delivering native 4K gameplay.

Hardware

The latest RDNA 3 architecture and chiplet technology are responsible for all of the performance advancements that have been incorporated into AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XT and XTX graphics cards. These chiplet gaming GPUs are the first of their kind in the world. To create them, AMD utilized the same numerous dies connected with a quick connection technology that it uses in its Ryzen and EPYC central processing units.

A more accurate description would be to say that AMD uses a 5nm process on the graphics processing die of these new Radeon GPUs and a 6nm process on the GDDR6 memory side. The two groups are then able to communicate with one another through a 5.3 terabits per second link. The end result is a graphics processing unit (GPU) that is more energy efficient and, as a result, delivers increased performance without increasing your energy expenses. It is comparable to what Apple does with its M1 Ultra, which combines two M1 Max CPUs into one device.

The overall board power for the Radeon RX 7900 XTX begins at 355 watts, which is an increase of 20 watts when compared to the Radeon RX 6950 XT. This time around, AMD suggests using a power supply of 800 watts, which is a tiny decrease from the 850 watts the company suggested using with the 6950 XT. The overall board power for the Radeon RX 7900 XT, which costs $899, begins at 315 watts, while the recommended power supply has 750 watts of capacity. Just prior to the launch of the RX 7900 XT, AMD increased the power draw from 300 watts to 315 watts since the company discovered that a relatively minor increase resulted in an increase in overall performance.

Both the Radeon RX 7900 XT and XTX have a fairly identical appearance from the outside, with a triple fan configuration contained within a shell that only has space for 2.5 slots. While AMD only includes the model number in a tiny bit of writing on the connector plate at the end of its cards, Nvidia prominently stamps its RTX model numbers on the front and center of its cards. Both have one HDMI 2.1 output, one DisplayPort 2.1 output, and a USB Type-C display output. DisplayPort 2.1 is the newer of the two standards.

AMD continues to rely on the tried-and-true eight-pin connectors, in contrast to Nvidia’s decision to use the most recent 12VHPWR power connector, which has resulted in some cases of melting. Because there are two on the side, you won’t need to worry about bulky adapters or even the general length of RX 7900 XT/XTX cards. This is because of the fact that there are two on the side. The XTX is a little bit longer than the XT, but as long as third-party makers don’t go too far, I would expect these cards to easily fit inside the majority of cases even with their additional length.

The inclusion of DisplayPort 2.1 on AMD’s most recent graphics processing units (GPUs) implies that you’ll be able to enjoy high frame rates at 4K (up to 480Hz) with HDR enabled if you use a suitable DisplayPort 2.1 monitor when it becomes available in early 2023. It’s nice to see AMD embracing this latest technology, even though it’s likely that there won’t be many monitors that support DisplayPort 2.1 available on the market for quite some time. Nvidia didn’t switch to DisplayPort 2.1 with its RTX 40-series GPUs, but it’s great to see AMD doing so. It is also improbable that these graphics cards would achieve the frame rates necessary to truly benefit from DisplayPort 2.1 without requiring a reduction in the overall visual quality of the games they play.

Memory is the final piece of hardware found in AMD’s brand-new RDNA GPUs. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX comes equipped with 24 gigabytes of GDDR6, a memory type that is normally reserved for Nvidia’s most expensive graphics cards, such as the RTX 3090 (which costs $1,499) and the RTX 4090 (which costs $1,599) Even the 7900 XT has 20GB of memory, which is a significant upgrade from the RTX 4080, which only has 16GB of memory available.

1440p benchmarks

In my testing of 1440p resolution, I used both a Radeon 7900 XT and a Radeon 7900 XTX in conjunction with the most recent Core i9-13900K processor from Intel and a 32-inch Samsung Odyssey G7 monitor. Up to 240 hertz of refresh rate are supported by this display. In the course of my testing, I utilized a number of different triple-A video games, including titles such as Forza Horizon 5, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Cyberpunk 2077.

With the exception of Microsoft Flight Simulator, all of the games were tested on maximum or ultra settings across all of the GPUs that were examined. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX was able to achieve frame rates that were significantly higher than 100 fps in the majority of the games.

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX is far more powerful than the GeForce RTX 4080 when it comes to the rasterization performance of most games. It falls short in Shadow of the Tomb Raider but makes up for it by delivering significant improvements in Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Watch Dogs: Legion respectively. Ray tracing and competing with Nvidia’s DLSS are two areas in which it performs particularly poorly.

The upscaling method known as FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), developed by AMD, is simply not supported by a sufficient number of games. I was only able to find support for FSR in three of the games I tried, and while it did improve performance in Microsoft Flight Simulator, games like Metro Exodus, Control, and Watch Dogs: Legion are negatively impacted by its absence.

Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX (1440p) average fps

BenchmarkRX 7900 XTRX 7900 XTXRTX 4080RX 6800 XTRTX 3080RTX 3080 TiRTX 3090
Microsoft Flight Simulator61676366616261
Microsoft Flight Simulator + DLSS 2 or FSR61675971585858
Shadow of the Tomb Raider216242259165164179187
Shadow of the Tomb Raider + DLSS 2N/AN/A277N/A187202211
Forza Horizon 5141154167130107121125
CS:GO601675590549578612625
Gears 5149169179121121140138
Control168192187124131149153
Control + DLSS 2 + RTN/AN/A194N/A140155165
Control + RT9310812569829499
Metro Exodus Enhanced8810211063697880
Metro Exodus Enhanced + DLSS 2 + RT657611847758386
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla144160149112103113117
Watch Dogs: Legion13314613610091100101
Watch Dogs: Legion + DLSS 2 + RT647110544758686
Cyberpunk 207712313912788859597
Cyberpunk 2077 + DLSS 2 or FSR + RT63709944657375
Cyberpunk 2077 + DLSS 2 or FSR + Psycho RT56639339616870
The Verge

Even while the Radeon RX 7900 XT is able to outperform the RTX 4080 in native Control, it falls behind as soon as ray tracing is enabled. This is the case even if it does not take use of Nvidia’s DLSS advantage. This is actually what you are paying an additional $200 for when you get a graphics card from Nvidia: improved ray tracing and DLSS support in a far wider variety of games.

Although not many games support DLSS 3 just yet, the performance in Cyberpunk 2077 is pushed to a level that is significantly higher than what AMD can provide. Nvidia maintains their position as the leader in ray-tracing performance even with FSR 2.1 enabled. Even while it has made some great performance advances in comparison to the Radeon RX 6800 XT, it is disheartening to see that after two years, AMD is still a long way behind Nvidia when it comes to ray tracing.

4K benchmarks

On the front of 4K, AMD’s performance are virtually identical. For the sake of testing at this resolution, I used a 31.5-inch Acer Nitro XV2 display in conjunction with both the Radeon RX 7900 XT and XTX graphics cards. Although this panel is capable of supporting refresh rates of up to 144Hz, neither of the two cards even came close to offering the performance required to make use of those higher refresh rates.

You are going to want to invest the additional $100 on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX if you plan on gaming at 4K resolution. It easily outperforms the $899 Radeon RX 7900 XT, and despite the demanding nature of some ray-tracing games, it is able to keep 60 frames per second rather than dropping below that threshold.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review

When compared to the RTX 4080, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX proves to be the most impressive piece of hardware once again. Although it does not perform as well as Microsoft Flight Simulator this time, it equals Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 5, and it also delivers some amazing performance boosts in Cyberpunk 2077, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

In ray tracing and upscaling testing, AMD once again performed worse than Nvidia, similar to the results of the 1440p tests. While the Radeon RX 7900 XTX convincingly beats the RTX 4080 at ultra settings, those performance gains are erased as soon as you enable ray tracing and upscaling, making Cyberpunk 2077 feel less playable at less than 40 frames per second. Cyberpunk 2077 is a good test of the 4K performance of modern graphics cards.

Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX (4K) average fps

BenchmarkRX 7900 XTRX 7900 XTXRTX 4080RX 6800 XTRTX 3080RTX 3080 TiRTX 3090
Microsoft Flight Simulator53566238424850
Microsoft Flight Simulator + DLSS 2 or FSR60625857565759
Shadow of the Tomb Raider1171331438992103108
Shadow of the Tomb Raider + DLSS 2N/AN/A187N/A118131136
Forza Horizon 510812112293788991
CS:GO318409315425374419430
Gears 582979766698080
Control84999460687678
Control + DLSS 2 + RTN/AN/A114N/A778591
Control + RT45536032434750
Metro Exodus Enhanced53657040455153
Metro Exodus Enhanced + DLSS 2 + RT36437925505658
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla911049766667276
Watch Dogs: Legion81958457566364
Watch Dogs: Legion + DLSS 2 + RT33397522465557
Cyberpunk 207760715840404548
Cyberpunk 2077 + DLSS 2 or FSR + RT34385423353941
Cyberpunk 2077 + DLSS 2 or FSR + Psycho RT30345020323637
The Verge

When playing Cyberpunk 2077 on extreme settings with ray tracing and DLSS 3, Nvidia is able to deliver 82 frames per second, which is more than twice as fast as what AMD can achieve with the Radeon RX 7900 XTX. When it comes to the performance of ray-tracing, the difference between Nvidia and AMD is like comparing night and day.

On the software front, I am continually amazed by the advancements that AMD makes. When you start a game, a little pop-up will let you know which AMD features are supported and whether or not you’ve enabled them. Additionally, the overlay will allow you to rapidly go into settings to regulate and even overclock these GPUs with ease. This function is available when you start a game. On the other hand, Nvidia continues to compartmentalize its settings by separating them into a control panel and a GeForce experience app. I’d like to see Nvidia follow AMD’s lead and consolidate all of its settings into a single, more user-friendly spot.

When it comes to thermals and noise, AMD has included a unique thermistor on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX that measures the ambient temperature inside of a case. This thermistor is located on the back of the graphics card. AMD says it will eventually reveal this sensor to DIY builders so that they may optimize fan location and an overall case construction. This will cause performance to dynamically adapt dependent on thermals and airflow.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review

The most recent GPUs from AMD, much like those from Nvidia, tend to get quite hot. According to AMD, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX can operate at a junction temperature of up to 110 degrees Celsius during a regular gaming session. However, I was able to record temperatures that reached nearly 100 degrees when playing hard games. Along with it, you can expect some noise. Both the 7900 XT and the 7900 XTX made some coil whine in high frame rate games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The 7900 XT was marginally quieter than the 7900 XTX, but both cards made audible noise from their fans. The cooling method provided by Nvidia is preferable in this regard; nevertheless, the size of the RTX 4080 is significantly larger as a result.

If you are looking at graphics processing units at under $1,000, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is unequivocally the card you should purchase. The RX 7900 XT, which costs $899, is not quite as powerful as the RTX 4080; nevertheless, if you want to save the extra $100, you can certainly consider purchasing it instead.

The performance of ray tracing and upscaling are the two areas in which AMD falls short of expectations, despite the company’s otherwise great performance per dollar. If ray tracing isn’t important to you and all you care about is raw rasterization speed, then the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is probably going to meet your needs. It performs exceptionally well in modern games, and at a price that is $200 lower than that of the RTX 4080, it places significant competitive pressure on Nvidia’s pricing for the most recent generation of GPUs.


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Eirik Larsen, a writer who is passionate about using the power of the written word to create change and make a difference. I believe that writing is not just about expressing oneself, but about using words to inspire others and to make a positive impact on the world. I strive to create stories that are both impactful and meaningful, that inspire readers to take action and to make a difference. I believe that writing has the power to change the world, and I am honored to be a part of that tradition.

Niam Patel, a writer who is always seeking to learn and grow, both as a storyteller and as a person. I believe that writing is not just about expressing oneself, but about constantly challenging oneself and pushing the boundaries of what's possible. I strive to create work that is both original and thought-provoking, that pushes the limits of what's possible with the written word. I believe that writing has the power to change the world, and I am honored to be a part of that tradition.

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