Today, we will be testing the 7900 XTX. Being much faster than its previous counterparts, the 7900 XTX also matches the Nvidia RTX 4080 in rasterisation performance — but can barely hold a candle to the RTX 4090, which is Nvidia's flagship GPU.
Now you might be thinking, sure, it doesn't beat the RTX 4090 because it is priced at US$600 more.
Just be reminded that in the previous generation, the US$999 6900 XT went toe-to-toe with the US$1,499 RTX 3090 in gaming performance (minus ray-tracing titles).
And there-in lies my dilemma with this card, but I will elaborate on that more later after we go through the results.
We will test a few popular games in our benchmarks, mainly Cyberpunk 2077, Modern Warfare II and DOOM Eternal. I also did some quick processing benchmarks with Adobe Premier and DaVinci Resolve Studio, and got some very interesting results.
Intel Core i9-13900K CPU
Asus ROG Z790 Maximus Hero motherboard
32GB Corsair Dominator 6200Mhz DDR5 RAM
Seagate Firecuda 530 2TB SSD
Corsair HX1500i Power Supply
Asus ROG Nvidia RTX 4090 Strix
Asus ROG Nvidia RTX 4080 TUF
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference
Gigabyte Radeon RX 6900 XT Xtreme Waterforce
First look and unboxing
AMD provided Yahoo Singapore with the reference 7900 XTX for testing. It is highly unlikely that any consumer from Singapore or Malaysia will be able to get their hands on this version officially from retailers.
However, I must say, this is one of the sleekest reference cards I have seen from any brand. Being all black and looking extremely stylish, I wish this would be mass-manufactured for the public in this region.
Some partner brands like ASUS and Gigabyte might make these reference style coolers in limited quantities to be sold. So, if you are lucky enough, you may be able to snag one at retail.
The cooler design isn't as beefy as the coolers on the RTX 4090 and 4080, so there isn't too much of a worry that it won't fit in any normal sized case.
The Radeon RX 7000-series GPUs utilise a very different architecture from the past GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.
Using a chiplet design first found in their Ryzen CPUs, AMD is looking to use the same tech to boost the performance of their graphics processing. But enough about that, let's see some numbers.
As you can see from the few games we've tested, the performance matches and is sometimes well above the RTX 4080.
One major outlier of these tests is definitely Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. For some reason, that game loves AMD cards, and we see the 7900 XTX being as strong as the RTX 4090.
The 7900 XTX sees a good improvement over the 6900 XT, and is a worthy successor to its older brother.
This card is way overkill for 1080p gaming. It is constantly bottlenecked by the CPU, and we are already testing it with the fastest CPU in the market, the Intel Core i9-13900K. Hence we will not be showing any results at that resolution.
If you are still gaming at 1080p with these cards in your system, you might wanna move some of your budget to fund your display upgrade instead.
Ray-tracing capabilities are still lacking behind Nvidia, but in our tests, I only have the sample size of one, with Cyberpunk 2077.
I haven't included other games because it is the same case in most titles with ray-tracing — it still isn't performing well.
Heat and power consumption
The cooler on the reference version is sufficient. Despite pulling about 350w on average in games (slightly more than the RTX 4080), the cooler is able to keep the chip cool at an average of 68 deg C in 24 deg C ambient.
Idle power consumption is pretty silly, though. It pulls about 90w while doing nothing, so I don't know what is going on there.
I haven't seen any other GPU in the recent times that pulls that much of power on idle. Hopefully. AMD is working on future drivers to keep this power consumption in check.
This is where it starts to get a little interesting for AMD.
AMD GPUs have always had this reputation of lagging behind heavily in productivity tasks compared to Nvidia GPUs.
Fortunately, the 7900 XTX is a much better performer in transcoding and video editing than its predecessors.
Encoding and processing times on Adobe Premier Pro and DaVinci Resolve are on a par with the RTX 4080, which is amazing.
If you are a video editor, you have no reason to avoid getting an AMD GPU now, unlike previous generations.
Adobe Premier Pro 10-minute 4K footage rendering:
RTX 4090 - 2 minutes (m) 54 seconds (s)
RTX 4080 - 3m 36s
7900 XTX - 3m 41s
6900 XT - 6m 23s
DaVinci Resolve 18 10-minute 4K footage rendering:
RTX 4090 - 3m 22s
RTX 4080 - 3m 56s
7900 XTX - 3m 52s
6900 XT - 7m 11s
I have not tested it in 3D application programs such as Blender, but from the grapevine, I hear that there isn't much of an improvement over the 6900 XT in that regard. So if your work heavily involves 3D, you might have better options.
Conclusion and worries
So, it is all fine and dandy that the Radeon RX 7900 XTX matches and beats the RTX 4080, despite being US$200 cheaper, right?
This is where I start to worry as a consumer.
Despite AMD saying that the RX 7900 XTX is targeted to compete with the RTX 4080, like I mentioned earlier, for the previous generation, the 6900 XT went toe-to-toe with the RTX 3090.
Which means, it is a whole 'step down' for AMD's competitiveness in this generation of AMD GPU's.
The eventual 7800 XT that will be released will potentially only bring the fight to the RTX 4070, instead of the RTX 4080. You can see where I am going with this.
This means Nvidia can price GPUs however they want above the RTX 4080. There will be no competition for the US$1,599 RTX 4090.
To be frank, maybe it's not needed in that space, because anyone with the money to buy an RTX 4090 will go out of their way to pay that much anyway.
But the biggest problem lies in the prices.
The previous generations of the xx80-series cards were always in the range of US$700 to US$800. Nvidia has greedily priced the RTX 4080 at US$1,199, seemingly to entice gamers to buy up the remaining 'cheaply priced' stocks of the RTX 30xx-series.
And as predicted, no one bought the RTX 4080, but instead lapped up all the remaining RTX 30xx-series GPUs that were still floating in the market.
It looked like they were ready to reduce the RTX 4080's price to something much lower, but with the release of 7900 XTX and having it to be on a par with the RTX 4080, this likely means that these caliber of cards will remain at the US$999 price point for the time being.
There is a possibility that we will never see a US$700 Nvidia xx80-series card ever again, unless Nvidia starts being generous, which may not happen anytime soon.
This also would means that if AMD prices the upcoming 7800 XT at US$699, and having it potentially only compete with the RTX 4070, this will also raise the prices of the Nvidia xx70-series GPUs up from the previous price point of US$499.
But beyond this debacle for the consumers, the AMD Radeon RTX 7900 XTX is still a great GPU if you are craving for high refresh rate 1440p gaming, and an alternative to Nvidia's overpriced RTX 4080.
The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX will be locally available in Singapore from December 14 starting at S$1,699 (yikes), and the 7900 XT will start at S$1,439.
Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy watercooling his computer parts, he does some pro wrestling.