Now that NVIDIA has launched the latest wave of video cards with the incredibly powerful RTX 4090, all eyes are on AMD to see how it will react. Today the company announced the Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT, two confusingly named GPUs powered by its new RDNA 3 architecture. Dr. Lisa Su, claimed that the new hardware offers a 54% increase in performance per watt over previous GPUs. She also pointed out that AMD is focused on delivering complex performance with reasonable power consumption, a clear knock against NVIDIA’s power-hungry (and PSU-melting) RTX 4090.
And, as is often the case with AMD, it’s also trying to undercut its main competitor’s prices. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX will retail for $999, while the RX 7900 XT will retail for $899. Both cards will launch on December 13. That’s much more reasonable than the $1,599 RTX 4090 and $1,199 RTX 4080.
These cards aren’t just a spec bump. According to Su, RDNA 3 is the world’s first chip-based GPU, giving it a modular design that can be easily modified down the line. Currently, these chips include a 5nm GPU compute die and a 6nm memory cache die. It is capable of reaching up to 61 teraflops of computing power (compared to a maximum of 23 TFLOPs in RDNA 2), can handle up to 24 GB of GDDR6 RAM and consists of 58 billion transistors.
Naturally, the flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX has 24GB of RAM, while the 7900 XT will ship with 20GB. Both cards resemble AMD’s latest generation hardware, but with larger fans and a design of more elegant heat sink. AMD SVP Sam Naffziger also joked that you won’t need new power cables for these cards – you should be able to plug them into your existing system.
When it comes to ray tracing, historically one of AMD’s weak spots, the company says the new cards feature a next-gen accelerator with 50% more performance per compute unit. They will offer 1.5x more in-flight spokes, new dedicated instructions, and improved spoke box sorting. Hopefully this means we’ll see closer ray tracing parity with NVIDIA cards. The Radeon 7000 GPUs also feature AMD’s new Radiance display engine, with support for 4K gaming at 480Hz and 8K performance at 165Hz. (And yes, the latter seems overkill to us, too.)
So what do these maps look like on paper? Along with its whopping 24GB of GDDR6 RAM, the RX 7900 XTX has 96 compute units running at up to 2.3GHz, all with a power consumption of 355 watts. The 7900 XT, on the other hand, sports 84 CPUs, a clock speed of 2 GHz and a power consumption of 300 watts, along with its 20 GB of GDDR6 memory. AMD has also partnered with companies like Samsung for the DisplayPort 2.1 monitor, which is expected to arrive early next year. Surprisingly, Samsung has offered a juicy treat: its new Odyssey Neo G9 monitor will offer 8K ultrawide resolution. (The better question is if anyone is aiming for 8K gaming.)
As for gaming performance, AMD says the RX 7900 XTX hit up to 295fps while playing Apex Legends at 4K and up to 704fps in Valorant. Given that DisplayPort 1.4’s refresh rate limit is 240Hz, that’s a lot of performance that today’s monitors won’t even register. AMD also claims that its GPUs see up to 96 fps in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR).
Notably missing, of course, is any comparison to NVIDIA’s RTX 4090. Maybe AMD just didn’t have time to benchmark this card, but it will be interesting to see how competitive RDNA 3 GPUs will be.
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