AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX GPU Review

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Radeon RX 7900 XTX
Editors Choice

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX is the AMD card gamers have been asking for. Releasing December 13th, the new Radeon graphics cards are a new, innovative design that is poised to take NVIDIA head-on. Releasing at $999 and boasting performance similar to NVIDIA’s $1,200 RTX 4080, the new RX 7900 XTX has all the features to make compete in the constantly ruthless GPU market while ushering in RDNA 3, ready to take over from where the outgoing RX 6000-series cards left off.

Unboxing the new card, the first thing we noticed was how much smaller it was than the new 40-series NVIDIA’s GPUs. The NVIDIA RTX 4090 could barely fit in most cases, but the new Radeon RX 7900 XTX fits in all cases we tried without any issue. Beyond that, the new GPU only needs two 8-pin power connections, making it much easier to drop the card in and go. Beyond that, neither the Radeon RX 7900 XT nor the RX 7900 XTX GPU uses a two-slot fan and heatsink, with them opting for a 2.5-slot cooler similar to what the RX 6900 XT utilized for thermals. 

The RDNA 3 Difference

Looking at the specs, the RX 7900 XTX is no joke. It is being marketed as a chiplet design-based gaming GPU that will be the first of its kind in the world. The new flagship RX 7900 XTX has impressive specs, including 61 TFLOPS performance, 3 TB/s chiplets, 24 GB GDDR6 over a 384-bit memory bus, as well as 58 billion transistors. Aside from the graphics compute die, which was manufactured at 5 nanometres, the card also houses the infinity cache memory die, which was manufactured at 6 nanometres and utilizes some of the latest graphics technology AMD has up its sleeve.

According to AMD, the RDNA 3 delivers a 54 percent improvement in performance over the RDNA Compared with the RX 6950 XT; this card does not require a lot of power or space, which is good news for those who prefer compact cards. Compared to the reference card used in the RX 6950 XT, which is 276 mm tall, the new card will only be 287 mm tall. Moreover, it will also consume only 365 watts of power compared to the 330 watts consumed in the last generation flagship. 

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The six memory cache dies on the Radeon 7900 XTX are one impressive characteristic of the card as they offer a combined bandwidth of 3 TB/s, offering a 7x improvement over what we saw with the RDNA 2-based Series GPUs. If buyers opt for the slightly less powerful RX 7900 XT will be limited to a total of five dies, which means the bandwidth will be a bit less than with the other 7900 XTX, although will still be a notable improvement over what you could achieve on the RX 6000 series.

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX also brings noticeable improvements to ray tracing, giving you more ability to push games you love further. RDNA 3 makes many improvements to ray tracing acceleration. An enhanced cache structure allows more rays to be in flight for faster performance. We employ methods to skip parts of the acceleration structure during traversal so that the workload can be executed more efficiently. As with anything, it will depend on the game, but this does mean that by using the right tools, developers can optimize for the hardware and finally see AMD cards compete head-to-head with offerings from NVIDIA. 

The new media engine brings AV1 encoding at up to 8K60 supported by hardware acceleration, which results in higher quality content at the same bitrate or a smaller file size at the same quality as before. The new media engine allows two Simultaneous Encode or Decodestreams for AVC and HEVC up to 8K60. There are also notable improvements for streaming, making the RX 7900 XTX an exciting offering for creators. Support is already available for Adobe Premiere Pro with the Voudoker 12.1, with OBS Studio seeing support with 29.0 Beta 1.

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If that were not all, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX brings with it support for Displayport 2.1, which can offer a display link bandwidth of up to 54 Gbps, 12-bit colour for up to 68 billion colours, and allow for 8K165 and 4K480, making eSports players that demand the most frames possible in their games of choice, very happy.

Additionally, AMD claims that with RDNA 3, you can save up to 25 percent on power consumption while still delivering great gaming and content performance because it introduces decoupled shaders and front-end clocks that AMD claims will deliver up to 25 percent power savings. AMD has achieved 61 TFLOPS of performance compared to 23 TFLOPS with RDNA. This should make gamers happy, especially if they want to push their current gaming rig to the next level.

Radeon RX 7900 XTX Benchmarks

With this being an AMD build, we have adjusted our test bench to give the best conditions and to see the full potential of RDNA 3. We built each of our systems in a Cooler Master H500p case using a 1000 Watt be quiet! power supply, Corsair AIO cooler, 64 GB SK Hynix DDR5, and a PCIe Gen 4 2 TB Kingston Fury M.2 SSD, running an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X CPU. This ensures there will be no CPU bottlenecks holding the card back while giving the best possible look at the new GPU’s potential. 

First on our list of benchmark games is Cyberpunk 2077. Considered one of the most highly-anticipated games of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 is a dystopian, open-world, action-adventure RPG developed by CD Projekt Red. The game supports three Ray Tracing settings and pushes a system even at 1440P. It is one of the most demanding games currently available for PC and one of our favourite games to run all new hardware through. It is demanding, will push any system to its limits, and looks great while it does so.

This is a test I did not expect the Radeon RX 7900 XTX would do so well in every test. The GPU delivered results that were close to or beat the NVIDIA RTX 4080 Founders Edition and even managed to reach a striking distance from the significantly more expensive RTX 4090, a very exciting feat for a card that, in terms of price, is significantly less expensive.

Moving on from the neon-lit streets of Night City, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a great game to see just how powerful a card the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the newest game in the hugely popular Lara Croft Tomb Raider franchise. Developed by Eidos Montreal, Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses NVIDIA RTX to deliver amazing ray-traced results in-game and is one of the first to include NVIDIA DLSS support.

This was another win for the RDNA 3-based Radeon RX 7900 XTX. In most of our benchmarks, the 7900 XTX managed to outpace the more expensive RTX 4080, delivering fantastic visuals and the lighting and shadow the game is known for, all while showing fantastic scores across the board. The 7900 XTX is proving itself to be a very powerful card indeed. 

No new benchmark slate would be complete without giving the latest in the Call of Duty franchise a look. Developed by Activision and published by Infinity Ward, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II follows the 2019 reboot as a first-person shooter. Because it is one of the most recent games on our list, it offers a good test for the latest graphics cards and scales well with older systems. In addition to the single-player section of the game, there is also a multiplayer section, so we had no choice but to include the new graphics card in the mix, as it is one of the most obvious uses for a new graphics card.

As we saw in the previous tests, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II looked incredibly good and ran smoothly on the RX 7900 XTX. It managed well above what the RX 6900 XT could manage and was neck in neck with the RTX 4080 on almost every resolution. Considering the card costs close to $300 less, AMD and gamers have plenty to celebrate with this card. 

It would not be complete if we did not include something from the Assassin’s Creed franchise on our list of benchmarks, which is why we included Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is not just visually stunning, but it also scales extremely well based on the system configuration. This game uses some of the latest visual features to make it an excellent game for testing a new CPU or GPU. Also, it is a great game that can be played at a high setting just to see what a new video card can accomplish.

Once again, the RX 7900 XTX delivers fantastic results, making it an increasingly hard prospect to recommend an RTX 4080 over what AMD has on offer. While still not taking down the much more expensive RTX 4090, the RX 7900 XTX manages to be a solid contender, one that is as impressive at 4K as it is at 1440P. 

While getting older, Hitman 3 is still one of our go-to benchmarks and gives a good sense of how a GPU can fair against other GPUs currently out there. Despite the janky animations that occur (facial expressions, body movements), Hitman 3 is a very graphically impressive game in terms of graphic design. Due to the excellent lighting and the quality of the reflections in the richly detailed environments, the richly detailed environments seem extremely atmospheric.

As we have seen in our previous tests, Hitman 3 also showed great results with the new RDNA 3 graphics card. It is starting to sound like I am beating a dead horse here, but AMD has managed to bring a fantastic showing in all games up to this point. 

A new entry to our slate of tests, Fortnite is a fantastic game that is not only scalable but is one of the many games gamers will, without a doubt, at least try while using the RX 7900 XTX. If you are not aware, a showcase for Unreal Engine, Fortnite, is a popular video game that was developed by Epic Games. It is a battle royale-style game in which players are dropped onto an island and must fight to be the last person or team standing. The game is known for its colourful, cartoonish graphics and various gameplay modes, including a creative mode allowing players to build structures and create their own worlds. 

I was honestly surprised at how well the RX 7900 XTX, with these benchmarks with the GPU, far exceeded my expectations. Even after a few more runs than usual, the RX 7900 XTX delivered a staggering 136 FPS at 4k and even managed to hit 202 FPS while at 1440P. For a card that costs under $1000, that was something I did not think possible. AMD has outdone itself with this card, and I am excited to see what gamers think when they actually get their hands on them. 

Is the Radeon RX 7900 XTX Worth Your Money?

As I do with all our reviews, I walked in skeptical but willing to be convinced. It is easy to show a GPU performing well in very controlled conditions, but something different entirely when you actually uses it in the wild with a range of games. After all our benchmarks have been run, I am amazed at how well the RX 7900 XTX did on every test we could throw at it. 

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Even our synthetic benchmarks are fantastic, seeing scores of 29225 in 3D Mark Time Spy GPU and 20021 in Fire Strike Ultra. Also, it has seen great results in Adobe Premiere Pro, OBS Studio, and Davinci, making it not only great for gaming but also a fantastic card for creators and streamers.

There is a lot to like about the RX 7900 XTX, from its elegant yet impressive design and the use of a standard 8-pin power connector to the size and ability to use it in a wide range of cases. But even beyond the look and design decisions, it is the performance and price AMD has managed with this card. Using the Infinity Cache and the chiplet design, AMD has offered up a powerhouse of a GPU, able to compete with the incredibly powerful RTX 4080, all at close to $300 less. As AMD refines the drivers, I expect these numbers may change, but even with that in mind, the RX 7900 XTX delivered a fantastic showing across all tests.

The RX 7900 XTX is an impressive offering from AMD that should excite PC builders looking for an alternative to NVIDIA. There are concerns with the drivers currently, with some of our older game tests showing inconsistent results. While not major, it is a point of note, especially for people looking to play at 1080P at a high framerate. Hopefully, AMD will address these issues in future driver updates to give a more consistent and fluid experience across all games.

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NVIDIA came out of the gate swinging with their Ada Lovelace-based 40-series GPUs, and AMD hit back in the best way possible with the RX 7900 XTX. This is the definition of an enthusiast GPU, delivering performance and design, all while coming in strong with a sub-$1000 price tag. For gamers or content creators looking for the best card for their money, the RX 7900 XTX is the new GPU to best in 2022.  

Final Thoughts

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