The Bottom Line
- + Dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors
- + DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity
- + Radeon logo lights up! Unlike the RX 7900 XTX... the fudge, AMD?!
- - $899 price is just a hot mess
- - Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a much better buy for $100 more
- - Sigh
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
AMD launched not one but two Radeon RX 7900 series graphics cards in the last 24 hours, with my review of the new flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX now live... it's time to look at the cut-down Radeon RX 7900 XT. How does it fare? AMD didn't impress me that much with the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, but we're going to dive deep into the Radeon RX 7900 XT right now.
The flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX and Radeon RX 7900 XT graphics cards both share the same Navi 31 GPU, so we have a GCD (Graphics Compute Die) built on the 5nm process node at TSMC, while the MCDs (Memory Compute Dies) is built on the 6nm process node at TSMC. It's the first gaming-focused GPU chiplet, with some knocked-down specs against its bigger brother, and $100 sliced off the price down to $899 from $999 for the Radeon RX 7900 XTX.
AMD has slapped 20GB of GDDR6 memory on the Radeon RX 7900 XT, down from the larger 24GB of GDDR6 memory on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX... not that you're going to be chewing through all of that 20GB framebuffer, my friends. The bigger deal here is the $100 sliced off, but the Radeon RX 7900 XTX offers more performance for $100... leaving the Radeon RX 7900 XT in a really peculiar place.
Such a pricing issue that I recommend NOT buying the Radeon RX 7900 XT, and just spend the additional $100 on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX... thank me later.
AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card features the new RDNA 3 GPU architecture and flagship Navi 31 GPU. We have the world's first gaming chiplet GPU, with 5.3TB/sec of chiplet interconnect and up to 54% performance-per-watt uplifts over the previous-gen RDNA 2-based Navi 21 GPU.
The new flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX has 84 CUs based on the RDNA 3 GPU architecture, which works out to 5376 stream processors that have a Game Clock of up to 2.0GHz and Boost Clock of up to 2.4GHz. There's 80MB of second-generation Infinity Cache, 20GB of GDDR6 -- non-X, where NVIDIA uses the faster GDDR6X standard on its GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080 GPUs.
The 20GB of GDDR6 memory is spread out across a 320-bit memory bus which spits out 799GB/sec of memory bandwidth. AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XT reference graphics card requires just dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors, with a TDP (total board power) of 300W to 315W
I truly adore the retail packaging that AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XT reference graphics card ships in, from the outside, it's kinda plain, but it's very different once you open up the packaging. The packaging design is identical to the Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card, just to add that in.
As you can see, AMD includes a nice message that reads "Welcome to the Red Team" while underneath, the company quips, "The New Standard of High Performance Gaming". We'll have more of that, and AMD's claims of high-performance gaming later on in the review.
AMD has done some rather cool design tweaks to the reference Radeon RX 7900 XT graphics card, with the "Radeon" logo lighting up which is a nice touch against the more expensive Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card, which doesn't have the Radeon logo lighting up... disappointing for the flagship Navi 31-powered GPU. The backplate looks good, with the "Radeon" logo bigger than ever before.
AMD's slightly slower Radeon RX 7900 XT reference GPU is slightly thinner, and shorter than the Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference GPU. Nor will you need the new 16-pin "12VHPWR" power connector, with all of AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 series cards -- the Radeon RX 7900 XTX here we have today, and the cut-down Radeon RX 7900 XT -- both use just dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The regular, normal ones inside of every gaming machine on the planet.
But, we do have something on the I/O that NVIDIA doesn't have -- stupidly doesn't have, I might add -- next-gen DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity. We're talking 4K 480Hz and 8K 120Hz, which is simply crazy. NVIDIA is stuck with DP1.4 on every single GeForce RTX 40 series GPU... not just a pity, it's disappointing as an enthusiast.
Test System Specs
I've recently upgraded my major GPU test bed for 2022, but I will be upgrading again soon, now that Intel has launched its new 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake" CPUs and Z790 motherboards, and AMD with its new Ryzen 7000 series "Zen 4" CPUs and X670E motherboards.
The new upgrades include the shift to the Intel Core i9-12900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, and 8TB of Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD goodness. Intel's flagship Core i9-12900K is a beast, with the Alder Lake CPU packing 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 8 Efficient cores (E-cores) at up to 5.2GHz.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
I've got that installed into the bigger-than-life ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is absolutely loaded to the brim with technologies and features that it houses everything you need. We're talking about one of the best-looking designs on a motherboard yet, PCIe 5.0 support, enthusiast-grade 10GbE networking, and oh-so-much more.
RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800
Sabrent helped out in a huge way by sending over 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory in the form of 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 modules of its new Sabrent Rocket DDR5 memory. The company also helped out in an even bigger way, supplying us with a gigantic and super-fast 8TB model of its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.
SSD: 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2
We're talking about 7.5GB/sec+ (7500MB/sec) from a single M.2 SSD, along with a gigantic 8TB of capacity. The 2TB drives aren't big enough for all of our game installs for GPU testing... the 4TB is much better, but the 8TB gives us room to move into 2023 without worrying about installing multiple games that are 200GB+ in size.
Some glory shots, of course.
Displays: ASUS ROG Strix 43-inch 4K 120Hz
ASUS has been a tight partner of TweakTown for many years, with the fine folks at ASUS Australia sending over their ROG Strix XG438Q and ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors for our GPU test benches. They're both capable of 4K 120Hz+ through their DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity.
I will be upgrading these in the near future, over to some DisplayPort 2.0-capable panels and some new HDMI 2.1-enabled 4K 165Hz panels in OLED form of course...given that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner, there has been no better time to upgrade your display or TV.
I've been working on this system for a while now, but now we're stretching its legs with the newly-released PC port of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered. Not just in 1080p or 1440p, not even in just 4K... but at 8K with a native resolution of 7680 x 4320. I've run through some of the very fastest GPU silicon on the planet.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: CORSAIR iCUE H150i ELITE LCD Display (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Sabrent Rocket 64GB DDR5-4800 (4 x 16GB) (F4-3600C18Q-32GTZN) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A1000G Gaming Power Supply 1000W (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame 2.0
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro x64 (buy from Amazon)
- Display: ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ (4K 120Hz) (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - Synthetic
Benchmarks - 1080p
Benchmarks - 1440p
Benchmarks - 4K
Temps & Power Consumption
AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XT reference graphics card runs at around 61C in terms of GPU temperatures, while we're looking at GPU hotspot temperatures of around 74C. Power numbers are pretty high, at 300W+ during benchmarking and gaming loads.
What's Hot, What's Not
- RDNA 3 GPU architecture: The next-gen RDNA 3 GPU architecture is finally here, featuring some rather technology spooling inside of it. We have the first gaming chiplet GPU design, 5.3TB/sec of chiplet interconnect, RDNA 3 CUs and RT + AI accelerators, and a huge up to 54% performance per watt uplift over the previous-gen RDNA 2 GPU architecture.
- First consumer GPU chiplet tech: Yeah, the first consumer chiplet GPU is pretty awesome to see from AMD.
- Dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors: This might not seem like much, but there's no troublesome 12VHPWR power connector, and the dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors means the new Navi 31-based Radeon RX 7900 XTX can be installed into MANY more gaming machines. My little Razer ITX gaming PC can't handle the GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs, but man... the Radeon RX 7900 XTX fits in there perfectly, and has no power requirements that get blown out of proportion.
- Great performance: The performance that AMD spits out of the Radeon RX 7900 XT is pretty good, keeping up with the GeForce RTX 4080 for the most part. There's more performance than the GeForce RTX 3090 and GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, which is nothing to sneeze at.
- 20GB GDDR6 memory: AMD provides 20GB of GDDR6 memory on the Radeon RX 7900 XT, which is down from the 24GB of GDDR6 on the higher-end Radeon RX 7900 XTX, but more than the 16GB of GDDR6X on the GeForce RTX 4080. Not bad, but just get the Radeon RX 7900 XTX.
- DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity: NVIDIA really missed the boat with NOT including DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity on its new Ada Lovelace GPU architecture, but AMD has it here with RDNA 3 and it will truly come into play in 2023 and beyond as next-gen gaming displays hit the market.
- $899 price point: Yeah, that's a hard pass... just get the Radeon RX 7900 XTX for $100 more at $999.
- 300W+ power consumption: In a world where everyone lost their minds at the -- actually in the end, conservative power numbers -- of the GeForce RTX 4090, the 300W+ power consumption on the Radeon RX 7900 XT is too high for my liking.
AMD can't compete with anything that NVIDIA has in its flagship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, which is too fast for the Radeon RX 7900 XTX let alone the cut-down Radeon RX 7900 XT. Sure, we have 20GB of GDDR6 memory and the new fandangled chiplet GPU technology, but it's simply not enough.
So then it comes down to price... $899 isn't bad when you consider the GeForce RTX 4080 -- which has 16GB of GDDR6X memory -- starting at $1199. AMD has that market wrapped up nicely with the Radeon RX 7900 series GPUs at $899 and $999, providing levels of performance that sticks close to the GeForce RTX 4080 for the most part.
But when the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is just $100 more, the Radeon RX 7900 XT is a hella confusing graphics card for AMD to release. Sigh.
But who is the Radeon RX 7900 XT for? 1080p gamers? Only if you're gaming on high refresh rates far past 120Hz, while 1440p gamers with 120Hz+ refresh rates will feel right at home. If you're gaming on an ultrawide at a resolution like 3440 x 1440 and want to enjoy 120Hz+ then the new AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT at $899 is pretty damn good.
AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XT offers more performance than NVIDIA's previous-gen GeForce RTX 3090 and GeForce RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards at these resolutions, and with its 20GB GDDR6 memory you're not going to run into any issues with framebuffers running low.
I wasn't that impressed with the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, and those same feelings come across to the Radeon RX 7900 XT; although the $100 cheaper price tag is nice, the drop in performance... not so much. We still have performance that bests the GeForce RTX 3090 and GeForce RTX 3090 Ti for less power, but is it enough?
As I said in my review of the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, if you want true next-gen brute GPU performance... then NVIDIA's flagship AD102-based GeForce RTX 4090 is your only option. People can whine about price all day, but enthusiasts don't care. They want the best, and the best isn't AMD.
However, there's the hope that AMD's drivers will mature... but this isn't Intel and their one-trick pony with Arc. AMD's entire Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) has been disbanded and not many people are working within the Radeon team anymore, not the original peeps from the RTG days at least. Does it show? It feels like it.
This doesn't make the Radeon RX 7900 XT a bad product, it just means it finds itself in the stack at $899 for gamers who want Team Red and don't have the coin for the more expensive GeForce RTX 4080, let alone the GeForce RTX 4090. AMD... let's hope that some new drivers and time can mature things.
At the $899 price point, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is a hard sell against the Radeon RX 7900 XTX for the additional $100... damn.
AMD's second-best Navi 31-based Radeon RX 7900 XT is a good card, trying to be better... but cut down at the knees because the Radeon RX 7900 XTX costs just $100 more. Disappointing.