The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT GPUs have the potential to change how consumers look at new graphics cards. For the past few years, NVIDIA has stood at the head of the graphics card industry. They deliver incredible performance, and arguably have some of the most powerful cards consumers can buy. With the new GeForce RTX 40 series, the performance and pure horsepower that could be used for everything from gaming to content creation is even more on display.
With the RTX 4090 being a 4K gamers dream, it delivers performance once thought impossible. It felt like the go-to card for anyone looking for the 4K performance in a new gaming PC, at least until AMD threw down the gauntlet with the new RX 7900 series GPUs.
The new Radeon RX 7900 range is a new beast in the graphics card landscape. AMD is looking beyond pure performance, and finding ways to deliver cards for gamers and content creators that can perform in the latest games and software. Not only that, but they do so without needing to completely overhaul the PC in the process. From early numbers, the RDNA 3 cards will not beat the RTX 4090 in head-to-head tests, but they honestly don’t need to.
“This is where the RTX 4090 rests: it is an amazing card that is built for a very select group of people. “
There have always been GPUs that are built for the extreme gamer and tech lover. These are the cards that deliver the pinnacle of performance, pushing a system as far as it can go to deliver every last frame possible from a given task. There are people that have no problem upgrading their power supply, or their case just to experience the latest and greatest money can buy. This is where the RTX 4090 rests: it is an amazing card that is built for a very select group of people.
AMD has taken a different approach with the new RX 7900 range. The new GPUs aim to deliver excellent performance, but PC builders will not need to completely overhaul their system due to the size, form factor or power required. Buyers won’t need to break the bank investing in the new hardware.
Costing $899 for the RX 7900 XT and $999 for the RX 7900 XTX, the new cards cost significantly less than NVIDIA’s top of the line cards. For these prices, AMD is promising a card that can take on 4K games with ease, delivering solid results across the board. But even beyond this, the RX 7900 series is built to be an easy path for people wanting a major upgrade for their games.
The new cards are built to fit into most cases, and will only use 300W or 355W respectively, significantly less than the 450W for the power hungry RTX 4090. It will also not need a special adapter to work, only needing a dual 8-pin power connection to function.
AMD is promising a lot with RDNA 3, boasting that the new GPUs are 54 percent more efficient than RDNA 2. RDNA 2 used a more traditional GPU design, while RDNA 3 is said to be capable of producing up to 61 TFLOPs of performance. The new RX 7900 cards will also be using GDDR6 memory instead of the GDDR6X found in NVIDIA’s newest range. These are smart choices that all come down to the fact AMD is launching a range that does not try and push power over everything. They are taking a different approach to how graphics cards are used by the general gaming public.
While NVIDIA has stuck with DisplayPort 1.4a for the 40 series, AMD has opted for DisplayPort 2.1 support on both the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900. That means higher refresh rate support at 4K and 8K compared to the old DisplayPort 1.4 port that NVIDIA is using on its latest RTX 40-series cards. And just like NVIDIA, AMD has simultaneous encode or decode for AV1, something that content creators will be interested in for their streams. This means the RX 7900 series cards are ready for the latest displays and software right from when you install the card, giving you a world of new options with a simple upgrade.
Part of why AMD feels so far ahead in price and features with the new card has to do with how it is built. AMD’s RDNA 3 is the first gaming GPU to use a chiplet architecture, where the multiple parts of a chip are broken up, and they talk each other through an ultrafast interface. While we have only had limited time to test this in person, AMD claims this allows the new 5 nm tech to be used for graphics, while the more mature 6 nm chips will be used for memory caching, cutting costs without cutting potential performance.
“AMD, with the RX 7900 series, may have just flipped the script this generation, and changed the way gamers look at buying a new GPU.”
AMD isn’t only taking this approach with the Radeon series of cards, but also the software that goes along with them. They are pushing out new tech that is looking to not only push the possibilities of the new RX 7900 series, but deliver amazing results even moving up to 4K and beyond. Technologies like FSR 2 and the newly teased FSR 3 aim to deliver amazing results even in the latest titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.
AMD took time to stress that software performance and features are a part of what makes the RX 7900 series so exciting. They are looking to optimize the experience, making it easier than ever for someone to install a new Radeon GPU and get the best experience possible.
AMD is introducing a new one-click feature called “Hypr-RX” in early 2023. It’s meant to help you automatically have the best settings for various AMD technology like FSR or anti-lag without having to play around with them yourself to see what offers the best frame rates and responsiveness. For people that simply don’t have the experience or the time to play around with settings, this is a game changer. It will mean more people are able to enjoy the best gaming experience possible from the hardware they have.
AMD is letting owners of its 7000-series processors do more with their existing hardware. The company is launching its “Smart Access” technology, which leverages the integrated graphics processor in the latest Ryzen 7000-series CPUs, and combines it with the power of the new RX 7900 series GPUs. This allows users to encode and decode videos simultaneously, which improves the overall speed at which it is done. The feature will be supported by popular software like OBS, Adobe Premiere, and more, starting in December.
It is still too early to tell how these moves will change what people expect from a new graphics card, but on paper AMD is doing everything right. Despite the need for some people to push as many polygons as possible, most people just want to have their games run and look as good as the screenshots on the store page.
If a game runs at 170FPS vs 160FPS, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor difference, especially if you need to spend 60 per-cent more to achieve that slight advantage. Building a card that hits an astonishing price point, while still delivering improved performance over last generation, and being able to take advantage of the latest technologies in the process is all most people need.
From what we are seeing from initial benchmarks, the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX GPUs will be very powerful offerings, and ones that should stack up well next to the NVIDIA 4080, but we will have to wait and see for testing.
One thing is for sure, this is a consumer-first approach that won’t need you to completely change your system, or spend well over $1500. It is a smart move from AMD, and one that new PC buyers should take advantage of. If the benchmarks are true, and this card is as exciting as it looks, AMD, with the RX 7900 series, may have just flipped the script this generation, and changed the way gamers look at buying a new GPU.