Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT in review: AMD’s “reasonable” attempt at 4K gaming

While curious to see how these new GPUs compare to NVIDIA’s, I had to go through multiple rounds of driver and motherboard BIOS updates on my Ryzen 9 7900X before both cards were stable enough to actually use. This is something I occasionally run into when testing cutting-edge hardware (NVIDIA’s cards also required a BIOS update), but even after that AMD’s cards still had issues. Halo infinity, for example, refused to start matches with either card. Sometimes my PC shut down completely during testing Cyberpunk 2077which required me to disconnect my desktop and reset my BIOS before Windows would boot again.

I’ve been testing AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards on this PC equipped with a premium Corsair 1000W PSU for the past few months with no stability issues. So it was a surprise to see how much havoc these GPUs could wreak. I haven’t seen any other reviews complaining of similar issues so I’ll attribute my experience to early drivers. AMD just released a new driver that fixes a high power consumption issue during video encoding, so I’m hoping the company tries to fix the bugs I’m seeing as well.

none

3DMark TimeSpy Extreme

Port Royal (ray tracing)

cyberpunk

mixer

AMD Radeon RX7900XTX

12,969

14,696/68 fps

4K FSR RT: 57 fps

2,899

AMD Radeon RX7900 XT

11,688

13,247/61 fps

4K FSRT RT: 50 fps

3,516

NVIDIA RTX 4080

12,879

17,780/82 fps

4K DLSS RT: 74 fps

9,310

NVIDIA RTX 4090

16,464

25,405/117.62 fps

4K DLSS RT: 135 fps

12,335

AMD Radeon RX6800XT

7,713

9104/42.15 fps

N / A

N / A

When running smoothly, the cards proved to be quite competitive with the RTX 4080. The 7900 XTX was on par with the 4080 when it came to 3DMark’s TimeSpy Extreme benchmark and Geekbench 5’s Compute test. The 7900 XT scored 1,000 points lower on TimeSpy Extreme, which was 3,000 points higher than last year’s RTX 3080 Ti, but it was outperformed by this NVIDIA card on Geekbench. hit man 3 also ran blazing fast on both cards in 4K, hitting 165fps and 180fps when I turned on FSR upscaling. Much like NVIDIA’s cards, there’s little reason to run a game in 4K without the help of advanced upscaling technology.

The performance gap between AMD and NVIDIA emerged when I first started looking into ray tracing. The 7900 XTX and XT performed well below the RTX 4080 in the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark (at least they managed to beat the 3080 Ti). I also only saw about 57 fps Cyberpunk 2077 on the Radeon 7900 XTX playing in 4K with full ray tracing and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution technology. Without FSR, that frame rate dropped to an unplayable 25 fps. The slower 7900 XT only managed to hit 50 fps in 4K with FSR and ray tracing enabled.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX (front) and XT (rear)

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Basically if you want a graphics card that can hit well over 60 fps in 4K with Ray tracing, you’ll have to look elsewhere. But if you can live with 1,440p, you’ll like more: the 7900 XTX hit 130 fps in cyberpunk with ray tracing, FSR and maximum graphics settings, while the 7900 XT achieved 114 fps. That’s almost enough to max out a 120Hz gaming monitor! I personally still think 4K gaming is overrated – 1440p still looks great and you may never see the benefits of shifting more pixels. But I’ll admit I was spoiled by NVIDIA’s DLSS3 upscaling technology, which allowed me to hit 74 fps cyberpunk when playing in 4K with ray tracing. That’s as close to gaming heaven as you’ve ever been.

But there’s one thing you’ll find with these AMD GPUs that you won’t find with NVIDIA’s: reasonable street prices. Even after their release, you can still snag the 7900XT and XTX near retail outlets. Many RTX 4080 models are now hovering around $1,500 at online retailers (assuming you can even find them in stock). Spending nearly $1,000 on a graphics card is still hard to stomach, but at least it makes more sense than going as high as $1,500.

The Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT are a solid step forward for AMD, especially when it comes to 4K gaming. But I hope the company can fix their driver situation and maybe get better ray tracing performance in the process. Most gamers are still better off waiting for next-gen mid-range cards from AMD and NVIDIA that are sure to be released soon. But as a self-confessed AMD fan, you finally have the high-end upgrade you’ve been waiting for.

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