Final words and conclusion
I do seem to like the XTX much better than the XT. It's hard to explain why that to a 10~15% performance e differential can make so much of a perceptible difference, though. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX. It positions itself in that RTX 4080 marker of performer better, for 100 USD more than the regular 7900 XT model, of course. The flagship GPU of AMD's rDNA3 is adequately competitive with NVIDIA's 4080 and often even 4090. When looking at raw shader performance, it's plenty fast ... often passing the more expensive GeForce RTX 4080. The Radeon RX 7900 Series has two Achilles' heels. First, AMD relies extensively (possibly excessively) on the extra L3 cache (infinity cache); caching does assist tremendously, but mainly for CPU/fillrate/driver-constrained scenarios and not so much high resolutions like UHD at 3840x2160.Consequently, AMD performs exceptionally well at resolutions up to 2560x1440; however, in Ultra HD, where brute raw horsepower is required, the dynamic can change quickly. The second Achilles heel is Raytyracing performance. Here AMD is still not at the same performance level as NVIDIA, as they are making bigger steps with each generational update, albeit with the XTX; it's not bad, though and certainly much better than the XT. Combining these two facts drags down UHD performance in very specific render workloads; however, it certainly isn't drowning. Now that we have established these points, we need to position the card, and here AMD wins, frame for frame rendered AMD has a cheaper (yeah, I said cheaper, not cheap) solution. AMD's Raytracing performance can be assisted and thus improved using technologies like FSR2. In many scenarios, this card competes with the 4080, which is a very good place to be in for $999. In lower than UHD resolutions, it can even keep up with the 4090 thanks to the excessive L3 cache. This product outperforms the previous 6900 series significantly in terms of raw shader performance. The cost of all this fun is $999, and yeah, that is the starting price for solely the reference model. Graphics cards have entered a pricing zone that most consumers can no longer afford. PC gaming has grown increasingly pricey, prompting players to seek other solutions. However, we are pleased with the performance we observed overall.
You've seen the numbers, and we've already let the cat out of the bag. It all comes down to gaming performance and, of course, rendering quality. The RX 7900 XTX provides more value for the money than seen from the 4080, as we're getting close to raw performance levels that easily enable gaming at 4K resolution. Most enthusiast gamers play at UWHD, QHD, or UHD monitor resolutions. This card is designed for precisely that kind of gamer.
The old rasterizer engine breaks right through the previous limit of extreme performance. Realistically the 7900 XTX often sits at the performance level of a 4080. This chart is based on raw shader engine performance; when NVIDIA flicks on Raytracing and DLSS3 with its frame generator, AMD will be left behind, even with FSR2. However, in general, we're happy with what we're seeing performance-wise for the XTX.
Cooling & noise levels
Initially, we're been very happy with the cooling performance of the reference cooler. We see a 65-70 degrees C for the RX 7900 XTX, and that's fine. Acoustics-wise, the card initially cannot be heard; however, after a while, it heats up under heavy load and breaches a more moderate 41-42 DBa. The design for cooling is excellent, with fantastic dark looks, though. Expect the card to get close to 65-70°C when it's stressed. This value can increase depending on how well air moves through your chassis. FLIR imaging doesn't show anything scary. Also, keep in mind that if you go for a custom card from a board partner, the power consumption levels will likely be higher due to increased TGPs and stuff like RGB and liquid cooling pumps.
Remember that the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a high-end gaming product that still uses much power. Under full load, the reference edition uses about 350 Watts (average). This Wattage is directly related to how much heat the GPU, which sits inside a closed case, gives off. That by the way is a lot, but we do need to acknowledge that the RX 7900XTX is very efficient with that power budget.
Any card will exhibit a notch of coil whine once is reaches a high FPS. Is it annoying? It's at a level you can hear it when you hit extremely high framerates. In a closed chassis, that noise would fade away in the background. However, you can hear the coil whine/squeal with an open chassis. Graphics cards all make this in some sort or form, especially at high framerates this can be perceived. It's as good as it can get, and we have not been bothered by it.
The reference edition costs USD 999, which is a lot of money still for something that can be used to play PC games. It's a more appealing offer compared to the RTX 4080 and 4090 if that MSRP holds ground, and here in, we have a lot of doubt. indications are that only a low volume of these cards will be available at launch. Most likely, AIB cards will cost even more. Now, I can say all kinds of rude things about prices, but these products will still sell no matter what I say. Final EU process would be (depending on country and VAT) RX 7900 XTX / € 1159 and RX 7900 XT / €1049.
The card tweaks well. The power limiter (allowed wattage) at +15% helps out, so that's your first and quickest option to tweak. You get extra perf on the card's default power budget. The boost clock frequency can take a suitable 2800-2850 MHz (frequencies vary per game title as they are dynamic). The memory could be tweaked to 21.2 Gbps, so all these accumulated values brought ~5% additional performance on challenging GPU situations, measured from reference performance.
The XTX is a serious step up in terms of overall performance and features, at UHD it is struggling to compete with NVIDIA's flagship product, the GeForce RTX 4090. Realistically that differential is roughly 20%~25%. So as long as the price is reasonable, that is acceptable and yeah, at $999 it is precisely that, reasonable. Thanks to the infinity cache, it's sometimes even passing that 4090; however, that applies to lower resolutions, fillrate and CPU bound situations. The actual performance for a card of this calibre needs to be sought in the UHD performance domain, and there it's lacking a little at times. It's still highly competitive with the RTX 4080 and, add to that, less expensive than the RTX 4080. The series 7900 XTX products will provide suitable Ultra HD performance at a more affordable price and be an excellent energy-efficient product while at it. Pure Raytracing performance is a notch slower than the competition; however, you can make up a lot of performance if that game supports FSR. But likewise, NVIDIA can apply DLSS3. Price-wise, this card offers good value over the RTX 4080, which starts at $1199. Since there will be so few 7900 XTX units available at the first launch wave, we highly doubt you will be able to buy one at MSRP. Prices in the EU will be well beyond 1250 EUR. To sum up, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX is impressive; weirdly enough, I like it far better than the 7900 XT, while it is the more expensive product. It is an investment that keeps you happy for a few years of PC gaming; however, even if the price is far less than the competition's starting price, it remains a lot of money for a graphics card designed to play PC games. It has outstanding relative performance and pretty excellent energy efficiency. Raytracing performance remains a little so-so but is enough for what it needs to be. We recommend some of the board partner cards as an alternative for the acoustic enthusiast, as the noise levels of the reference design might be bothersome for some. The rest is excellent, so kudos and recommended.
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