Buying a video card over the last few years has been an exercise in frustration, but in 2022, your cup runneth over with choices. Nvidia launched its new and very expensive RTX 40 Series this fall, and now we have AMD’s answer in the form of the Radeon RX 7000 Series. There are two video cards in the lineup right now, the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT. The reviews are in — these GPUs don’t quite match the latest Nvidia options, but the starting price is just $900, which is several hundred cheaper than the RTX 40 Series.
The new AMD cards run on the new RDNA 3 architecture, which uses a chiplet design akin to the Ryzen CPUs. AMD uses a 5nm process for the compute die and a 6nm process for the GDDR6 memory, using a 5.3TB/s interconnect to link the two. AMD says this approach boasts a more than 50% improvement in performance-per-watt, putting them in the same ballpark as Nvidia’s RTX 4090 and 4080.
The Radeon RX 7900 XT costs $899 and features 20GB of RAM, 84 compute units, and a base clock speed of 1,500MHz. The $999 RX 7900 XTX has virtually the same 2.5-slot design, but it sports 24GB of RAM, 96 compute units, and a 1,900MHz base clock. The XTX also has one nice hardware bonus — a USB-C port on the card for high-speed data and VR connectivity. Nvidia dropped its USB-C port starting with the RTX 30 Series. The XT has a 300W TDP, and the XTX is 355W. Thankfully, the RX 7000 cards use a pair of 8-pin power connectors rather than the 16-pin connector adopted by Nvidia which is causing a spate of melting cables.
In real-world testing, the RX 7000 cards perform within about 10 percent of the latest Nvidia GPUs. While AMD does support ray tracing on the RX 7000, the RTX 40 Series handles this graphical option much better. DLSS is also more beneficial on Nvidia, but the RX 7000 shows excellent native 4K rendering performance. If you’re playing below 4K and without heavy reliance on ray tracing or DLSS, you might not even notice any performance gap between AMD’s and Nvidia’s latest.
Nvidia is asking a minimum of $1,200 for the RTX 4080 and $1,600 for the RTX 4090. AMD’s new cards don’t take the crown, but anyone looking to spend a thousand dollars on a video card should take a long, hard look at the RX 7000 family. The RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT will go on sale tomorrow, December 13th.