The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT are AMD's first RDNA 3 GPUs

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT are AMD’s first RDNA 3 GPUs

After NVIDIA launched the newest video card wave with the immensely powerful RTX 4090, all eyes are on AMD to see how it responds. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT GPUs, powered by the company’s new RDNA 3 architectures, were revealed today. AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su said on stage during the company’s Las Vegas launch event that the new hardware provides a 54 per cent boost in performance per watt over prior GPUs. She also underlined that AMD is committed to offering complicated performance while consuming little power, a direct challenge to NVIDIA’s power-hungry (and PSU cable-melting) RTX 4090.

In addition, as is customary for AMD, it is attempting to undercut its primary competition in price. The RX 7900 XTX will cost $999, while the RX 7900 XT will cost $899. Both cards will be available on December 13th. This is much less expensive than the $1,599 RTX 4090 and $1,199 RTX 4080.

These cards aren’t merely specced upgrades. Su claims that RDNA 3 is the world’s first chipset-based GPU, with a modular architecture that can be readily modified in the future. These chiplets currently feature a 5nm GPU compute die and a 6nm memory cache die. It has a computational capability of up to 61 teraflops (up from a maximum of 23 TFLOPs in RDNA 2), can handle up to 24GB of GDDR6 RAM, and has 58 billion transistors.

Naturally, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX receives the entire 24GB of RAM, while the 7900 XT gets 20GB. Both cards resemble AMD’s previous-generation technology, but with larger fans and a sleeker heatsink design. AMD SVP Sam Naffziger also joked that these cards won’t need any additional power cords and should fit into your old system.

In terms of ray tracing, which has traditionally been one of AMD’s weak spots, the firm claims that the new cards contain a next-generation accelerator with 50% greater performance per computing unit. They will provide 1.5 times the number of rays in flight, new specialised instruction, and improved ray box sorting. That should imply closer ray tracing parity with NVIDIA’s GPUs. AMD’s new Radiance Display Engine, which supports 480Hz 4K gaming and 165Hz 8K performance, is also included in the Radeon 7000 GPUs. (And, sure, we think the latter is a stretch as well.)

So, how do these cards appear on paper? In addition to its enormous 24GB of GDDR6 RAM, the RX 7900 XTX has 96 compute units that operate at up to 2.3GHz and use 355 watts of electricity. Meanwhile, the 7900 XT has 84 CUs, a 2GHz clock speed, and a 300-watt power consumption, in addition to 20GB of GDDR6 memory. AMD has also collaborated with firms such as Samsung on a DisplayPort 2.1 display, which is expected to be available early next year. Surprisingly, Samsung revealed that its new Odyssey Neo G9 display would have an 8K ultrawide resolution. (The bigger issue is whether anybody should aspire for 8K gaming at all.)

In terms of gaming performance, AMD claims the RX 7900 XTX achieved up to 295fps in 4K Apex Legends and 704fps in Valiant. Given that the DisplayPort 1.4 refresh rate maximum is 240Hz, it’s a lot of performance that today’s displays won’t even notice. AMD also says that their GPUs can achieve up to 96 frames per second in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla with Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR).

Of course, there is no comparison to NVIDIA’s RTX 4090. Perhaps AMD just did not have time to test that card, but it will be fascinating to see how competitive the RDNA 3 GPUs are.