AMD debuts Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT graphics to deliver 4K and 8K gaming with high frame rates
AMD debuts new RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT graphics to deliver 4K and 8K res gaming with high frame rates
Note: This article was first published on 4 November 2022.
Two years after the debut of RDNA 2 GPU architecture, AMD is now ready to release their next generation RDNA 3 graphics architecture and deliver up to 1.7x more performance than its previous generation graphics cards with their new flagship, the RX 7900 XTX and its sibling, the RX 7900 XT.
Planned to hit retail on 13th December 2022, the new RDNA 3 based graphics cards are designed expressly to meet the US$999 price bracket, the so-called new sweet spot for high-end GPUs. That would mean, it’s debuting at the same price point as the RX 6900 XT, and cheaper than the existing flagship RX 6950 XT.
More importantly, AMD has made upgrading to these next-gen GPUs a really easy path as they are physically very similar in size to their predecessors, use standard dual 8-pin PCIe graphic power connectors, and have a board power draw of 355W on the RX 7900 XTX and only 300W on the RX 7900 XT.
What this implies is that you are unlikely going to have to hunt for a new casing or a power supply to take on the Radeon RX 7900 GPUs if you already have a rig capable of handling existing mid to high-end graphics cards. This could be an important consideration when the GeForce RTX 40 series are specced to use the newer 16-pin high-power GPU power connector.
Key Specs: Radeon RX 7900 XTX and Radeon RX 7900 XT
|RX 7900 XTX
|RX 7900 XT
|RX 6950 XT
|RX 6900 XT
|RX 6800 XT
|Navi 21 XT
|Navi 21 XT
|Navi 21 XT
|Typical Board Power (TBP)
Highlights of the RDNA 3 engine powering the Radeon RX 7900 series
AMD’s RDNA graphics have been advancing significantly gen-on-gen for performance per watt delivered, and RDNA 3 didn’t disappoint with 54% improvement over RDNA 2. This helps it raise the performance bar for high resolution, high framerate gaming, plus deliver new gaming experiences that were previously not possible on the AMD camp. From the performance uplift and new features incorporated, AMD is ready to usher in ultra high refresh rate gaming and high resolution gaming at 4K and even 8K with adequate performance to spare. We'll detail below the key advancements enabling this bold claim.
First off, RDNA 3 is the world’s first chiplet gaming GPU architecture. This follows the design philosophy and flexibility offered on the AMD Ryzen CPUs that also use a chiplet design. On RDNA 3, this allows AMD to deploy a 5nm Graphics Compute Die (GCD) at 300mm2 that packs all the graphics engine advancements and pair it with up to six 6nm Memory Cache Die (MCD) at 37mm2 each to scale processor designs flexibly.
On the GCD, AMD boasts updated Compute Units (CU) for RDNA 3, a new AMD Radiance Display engine, and a dual media engine.
The updated CU now packs 165% more transistors per mm2, no doubt thanks to the new die process technology node used this time around, 64 dual-issue SIMD units (basically the ability to process two instructions per clock) with flexible FP/Integer/AI operations capability (AMD calls this the Unified CU), and has dual AI accelerators per CU that takes in new AI instructions and has improved AI throughput. Not to forget, it has a 2nd generation RT accelerator that’s able to process 1.5x more rays on the fly, supports new dedicated instructions and a new ray box sorting and traversal (not unlike what NVIDIA has as well) that now results in 50% more RT performance per CU. To be clear, the RT processing schema is not much different from that found on RDNA 2 where each CU is equipped with an RT accelerator, just that on RDNA 3, this unit has been advanced further. Let’s hope it finally delivers more credible ray-traced gaming performance.
Another new design change that has allowed AMD to save more power and boost frequencies of its GCD is support for Decoupled Clocks. This advanced clock management now allows the shader clocks to run at a lower 2.3GHz speed as opposed to the front-end that still runs at 2.5GHz, taking the Radeon RX 7900 XTX as an example.
The new AMD Radiance Display Engine’s main highlight is its support for super high resolution gaming and high refresh rates – up to 8K165 or 4K480 – thanks to RDNA 3 being the first GPUs to support the DisplayPort 2.1 specifications and has a display link bandwidth up to 54Gbps. This will allow the GPU to deliver even smoother onscreen gaming as you’ll be able to experience much higher refresh rates in even 4K and 8K resolution gaming with next-generation displays coming your way in 2023. Samsung's next-gen Odyssey Neo G9 is one such screen which will be the industry's first 8K ultrawide screen and you can't drive such resolutions and with adequate refresh rates unless the GPU adopts DP 2.1, just like the Radeon RX 7900 series.
Meanwhile, the new dual media engine now supports AV1 encode and decoding at up to 8K60, or even simultaneous encode and decode when using AVC/HEVC codecs. If you’re pairing the RDNA 3 GPU with a Ryzen 7000 series processor, you’ll be able to tap onto Smart Access Memory, and something new this time is Smart Access Video. Since every Ryzen 7000 CPU is built-in with a graphics engine that has AV1 decode capability, Smart Access Video helps distribute encode and decode workloads accordingly across the CPU and GPU to unleash up to 30% uplift in 4K transcoding performance as it allows the GPU to handle more demanding tasks.
Notable upcoming features
AMD’s Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR) is their answer to NVIDIA’s DLSS and AMD claims that 216 games are now optimized for FSR. However, the vast majority of certified games still support the original FSR standard and not FSR 2.0.
Despite that, AMD today announced that FSR 3.0 which is specced to deliver over two times more FPS over FSR 2.0 and is coming to PC gamers in 2023. The most important new feature that helps it deliver this uptick in performance is Fluid Motion frame technology, which is basically AI-based frame generation tech. If this sounds familiar, yes, NVIDIA has debuted the same in the recently launched DLSS 3.0 on RTX 40 series.
Lastly, to help gamers get the most out of their games in seconds without digging into detailed settings, AMD will debut Hypr-RX, a one-click function to boost frame rates and reduce latency. Coming in the first half of 2023, it will be part of the AMD Adrenalin software.
Watch out for more details when the embargo for the details lifts on 14th November, right here on HardwareZone. Meanwhile, we expect the Radeon RX 7900 series to put up a tough fight against the green camp; so if you do have GPU shopping plans, you would be wise to wait till mid-December when these cards hit retail, and you'll see our reviews, user experiences and more to make a better decision.
It's an exciting time to be a PC gamer!