AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT review: Fantastic value

RX 7900 XT vertical moutedDexerto

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is poised to offer high-end performance at a price that comes below $1000, but does it manage to go toe to toe with Nvidia’s RTX 4080?

AMD’s RDNA 3 graphics cards were announced with a warm reception, while boasting cutting-edge specs, the GPU also comes in at a reasonable $899 MSRP. AMD has also addressed a common criticism many have with Nvidia’s RTX 40-series cards with a brand-new display spec. The designs also come with lower TBP, and a much smaller footprint when compared to Team Green. But, is this GPU worth switching sides for? We should add, this is the weaker card between the 7900 XT and 7900 XTX, which we anticipate will be a touch quicker.

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Key specs

GPUAMD Radeon RX 7900 XT
Stream processors5376
Base clock 2000 MHz
Boost clock 2400 MHz
Infinity cache80 MB
Memory20GB GDDR6
Memory SpeedUp to 2900 GB/s
Memory bus width320-bit


RX 7900 XT designDexerto

The AMD RX 7900 XT looks absolutely fantastic. We think that it’s the best-looking AMD reference card the company has ever made. The GPU is enclosed in a 2.5-slot design, with an all-black metal finish. Additionally, the cooler had a militaristic-looking finish on its backplate, where you can see the retention arm’s cutout, too.

Sandwiched in the middle, you can see the heatsink via a cutout, with a neat red stripe next to the two 8-pin power connectors. There’s no melting 12VHWPR connector to be found here, so no adapters are required.

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On the bottom of the card, the GPU handsomely has three fans, and the same militaristic-looking design as the rest of the GPU. There’s also zero RGB to speak of, so this card could go perfectly in any PC build.

In terms of I/O around the back, you have 1x HDMI 2.1 port, 2x DisplayPort 2.1 ports, and a USB-C port to plug into all manner of monitors. This is the first time we have seen the DisplayPort 2.1 format in a commercial GPU, which will allow the GPU to display incredibly high framerates at high resolutions. This is something that even the RTX 4090 failed to do and was our biggest criticism of Team Green.

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What’s going on on the inside?

RX 7900 XT design 2Dexerto

This is the first time that AMD is bringing its chiplet-style design over to a commercial GPU. This form of design is incredibly successful over on their CPU side, and using chiplets, instead of one large monolithic die will allow the card to have greater power efficiency over its rivals.

In addition to that, you get Ray Accelerators, to boost AMD’s Ray Tracing capabilities, in addition to a dual-media engine that supports AV1 encoding. Though not many things support it yet, we hope to see further AV1 adoption in the coming years as more GPUs begin to support it. For those not in the know, AV1 is much higher quality than H264 and could transform the way you watch media online, with much better quality. However, it’s still early enough that software and companies are still racing to adopt it. So, in a few years, this might become incredibly useful.

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RX 7900 XT VS RTX 4080 sizeDexerto
The RX 7900 XT is much smaller than the RTX 4080.

The RX 7900 XT promises to be one of the fastest graphics cards on the market, and we’ll be testing the GPU at both 1440p and 4K in gaming scenarios, in addition to synthetic benchmarks. AMD’s RDNA 3 cards also have boosted Ray Tracing performance, which we will compare directly against the Nvidia RTX 4080.

The GPU looks to provide monstrous rasterization support, in addition to high-framerate workloads, which will also be rigorously tested in multiple titles.

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Test System

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-13600K
  • CPU cooler: Cooler Master PL360 Flux
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Z790 Maximus Extreme
  • RAM: ADATA XPG Lancer RGB 32GB DDR5-6000
  • Storage: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 4TB
  • Case: Hyte Y60
  • PSU: EVGA Supernova GT 1300

We’ll be using the exact same testbench as we used in our fastest esports gaming PC build, and the Nvidia RTX 4080 review. This ensures that we’re giving both cards a fair shake when comparing them against each other. We have also added an additional title, Overwatch 2 to our gaming benchmarks. We were only able to test this alongside an RTX 4080 and RX 7900 XT, with no comparison against the 3080 or 4090.

RX 7900 XT 4K performance

RX 7900 XT backplateDexerto

Equipped with 20GB of GDDR6 RAM, The RX 7900 XT should be a powerful competitor if you are looking to game at 4K. For those looking to get high framerates in AAA titles, esports titles, and more, we’ve taken a look at precisely what you can expect.

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GameRX 7900 XTRTX 4080RTX 4090RTX 3080
Forza Horizon 5 (Ultra)107 FPS125 FPS153 FPS69 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, FSR / DLSS off) 16 FPS29 FPS37 GPS13 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, FSR 2.1 Performance / DLSS Performance) 44 FPS74 FPS90 FPS45 FPS
CS:GO (High, Dust 2)340 FPS399 FPS416 FPS258 FPS
Overwatch 2 (Ultra)308 FPS296 FPSN/AN/A

Compared to the RTX 4080, we found that the RX 7900 XT was around 13% on average slower than Nvidia’s flagship. However, this performance differential does vary between games. In particular, we can see that AMD is still trailing behind in terms of pure Ray Tracing performance. Though this is a 4K card, you will still be leaning on FSR, especially when playing games that heavily use Ray Tracing. While this is somewhat of a shame, the real power of the RX 7900 lies in its pure rasterization performance compared to its price.

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RX 7900 XT 1440p performance

GameRX 7900 XTRTX 4080RTX 4090RTX 3080
Forza Horizon 5 (Ultra)121 FPS132 FPS172 FPS104 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, FSR / DLSS off) 31 FPS63 FPS74 GPS34 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (Ultra, RT Ultra, FSR 2.1 Performance / DLSS Performance) 60 FPS116 FPS113 FPS59 FPS
CS:GO (High, Dust 2)399 FPS399 FPS432 FPS370 FPS
Overwatch 2 (Ultra)406 FPS432 FPSN/AN/A

At 1440p, the RX 7900 continues to be an incredibly steady contender, though it still lags behind Nvidia’s efforts in Ray Tracing. Here, the gap between the RX 7900 XT and the RTX 4080 gets pretty narrow, with just a 10% difference in performance. At several hundred dollars cheaper, if you’re just looking to play titles and AAAs that do not heavily rely on ray-traced performance, you could be on to a winner with this GPU.

RX 7900 XT synthetic benchmarks

BenchmarkRX 7900 XTRTX 4080RTX 4090
Speed Way4697717910310
Port Royal130741782922598
Time Spy Extreme (Graphics score)129791402818578

In synthetic benchmarks, the RX 7900 XT was on average 21% slower than the RTX 4080. However, since we have much more narrow results in gaming workloads, we can chalk this up to the RX 7900 XT’s relatively lackluster Ray Tracing performance. In Time Spy Extreme, we see a difference of just 7% between the two cards. This just showcases the sheer value on offer when it comes to the RX 7900 XT. Sure, other areas might be lacking, such as Ray Tracing. However, it is very difficult to refute the value on offer with this GPU.

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RX 7900 XT thermal performance

RX 7900 XT size vs RTX 4080Dexerto

The RX 7900 XT comes with a now-revised 315W TDP, that’s just 5W shy of the RTX 4080’s while coming in a significantly smaller package. Since this is a 2.5-slot GPU, there are certainly third-party designs that could dissipate the heat even further. We tested in a vertical-mount Hyte Y60 case, which is a less-than-ideal solution due to the GPU’s proximity to the glass panel.

Under 100% load, we found that our RX 7900 XT reached a maximum of 75 degrees. This was achieved via a stress test in Furmark. In gaming loads, we found that the GPU topped out at around 72 degrees Celsius. This is incredibly impressive, given the RX 7900 XT’s power, and maybe we’re starting to see the benefits of that chiplet-style design over in the thermals, in addition to performance. The card is able to dissipate heat efficiently, without being a huge card, unlike Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition giants.

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RX 7900 XT fan noise & coil whine

The fan noise and coil whine exhibited by the RX 7900 XT under certain workloads are relatively limited. We did hear the odd hum in gaming titles at high framerates, while the fans work hard to only spin up aggressively when the GPU gets hotter than around 70 degrees.

At 100% loads in synthetic benchmarks, we did find that the fans got pretty audibly loud, though we could not replicate the fan’s aggression while in general gaming workloads.

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Those sensitive to coil whine might want to choose a different card, as while we’re not particularly irritated by it, the card does exhibit it being noticeably audible. So, those averse to this sonic annoyance may wish to pick up an alternative card.

Should you buy it?

RX 7900 XT size vs RTX 4080 verticalDexerto
The RX 7900 XT is almost guaranteed to fit in your case, unlike the 4080.

The RX 7900 XT is an incredibly well-performing card in pure rasterization workloads. However, the GPU fails to deliver good ray tracing performance. As more games adopt the new technology, we could see AMD continue to stay behind. It is by far the GPU’s greatest weakness. While AMD’s FSR software still doesn’t match up to Nvidia, it’s usable in a pinch to drive up framerates in certain titles.

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The Verdict: 4/5

But, for those just looking for excellent rasterization performance in gaming, you could do much worse than this, at $899, it’s a great competitor to the RTX 4080, while also coming in much cheaper than the competition. AMD’s software is also easily usable, and very intuitive. Team Red has clearly done a lot of work to become a huge competitor to Nvidia, especially as GPU prices rise. This pricing could stand to be slightly lower, but compared to the competition, it feels like a bargain.

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