Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) recently announced the launch of their newest graphics cards, the Radeon 7900XTX and 7900XT, based on AMDs third generation RDNA graphics processing unit (GPU) architecture, previously codenamed Navi 3 now RDNA 3. Designed and optimized for gamers, these boards boast the first GPU architecture for gamers to use chiplets. The 7900XTX, is specified at 2.3GHZ and delivers up to 61 teraflops. The card supports up to 24GB of GDDR6 memory and DisplayPort 2.1. The 7900XTX has a thermal design power (TDP) of 355W. The 7900XT is similar but specified at 2GHz 20GB of GDDR6 memory, and 300W TDP. Availability for both boards is currently scheduled for December 13, 2022 at $999 and $899, respectively. While those speeds and feeds sound impressive, what does it actually mean for the average (and maybe not so average) gamer?
In the highly dynamic, fast paced, kill-or-be-killed worlds of today’s first person shooter games, frames per second, or fps, is the key metric by which gamers quite literally live or die. All other things being equal, if the only difference between two competing gamers is that one of them has significantly faster fps and therefore faster twitch speed, the one with the faster fps will always win. Currently, in order to optimize fps performance especially in the mid-tier graphics card segment, gamers need to turn off other features such as ray tracing or support for high-resolution graphics. With the 7900 series graphics cards, AMD is attempting to change the game by promising peak performance even with advanced features active and doing so in the sub-$1000 category.
AMD’s stated objectives for this generation of GPU were to optimize performance per watt, support high-resolution graphics while delivering high frame rates, and doing so in the sub-$1000 price tier. To enable this performance optimization within the cost envelope, AMD harnessed chiplet architecture, which allowed them to select process node technologies that optimized process maturity, cost, and performance with the specific functionality ensuring that the functionality is matched with the most advanced node with which it would scale. As such, RDNA3 incorporates two chiplet types: the Graphics Compute Die (GCD) at 5nm and the Memory Cache Die (MCD) at 6nm. In total, the chiplets deliver 58 billion transistors with, according to AMD, a 54% performance per watt increase over their previous generation chip. Additionally, with support for DisplayPort 2.1, AMDs latest cards are slated to provide, greater than 800fps at 1440p resolution, 400fps at 4k and 165fps at 8k for supporting titles.
It is worth noting that evaluation cards are still forthcoming, and as such, TIRIAS Research has not been able to independently validate these performance metrics.
One of the other challenges gamers face when trying to optimize performance is the sheer amount of settings that are available on these cards. Just to name a few, everything from clock rate to refresh rate to resolution and ray tracing can be adjusted and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If the gamer is not careful, they could spend more time setting up the graphics card than actually playing. To help solve this problem for gamers, AMD also announced the latest version of their Adrenaline Edition software, which not only brings all titles that the gamer has purchased into one common portal but also provides for one-click configuration of settings for specific gaming profiles. Not only does this feature get gamers into the game faster, it also helps multiple complementary performance optimization features to be enabled at the same time further maximizing the graphics card’s capabilities.
Whether or not AMD delivers on this promise is yet to be validated as cards become available, but the initial indications are promising. Given the specifications, internal testing data from AMD, announced capabilities, and especially when paired with the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors, AMD has definitely put itself in a position to potentially change the game and according to them, usher in the “Next Generation Gaming Experience“.