Mohamed Hefny
Mohamed Hefny (Senior Program Manager, Virtualization, Systems & Infrastructure Solutions, EMEA)
Andrew Buss
Andrew Buss (Senior Research Director, European Enterprise Infrastructure)

In September 2023, two and a half years after the launch of the Radeon RX 6700 XT and Radeon RX 6800 XT, AMD introduced two new GPUs to round out its new RDNA 3-based graphic card portfolio: the midrange Radeon RX 7700 XT and high-end Radeon RX 7800 XT. AMD also published the most recent version of AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition, which introduced AMD HYPR-RX and FidelityFX Super Resolution 3 (FSR 3) with frame generation technologies. In addition, AMD released a technical preview driver that allows all DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games to benefit from Fluid Motion Frames, a frame generation technology.

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT, source: AMD

The 12 GB AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT and 16 GB Radeon RX 7800 XT graphics cards are equipped with second-generation AMD Infinity Cache technology and are based on the groundbreaking AMD RDNA 3 architecture. They offer 1440p high refresh rate gaming experiences with good performance at reasonable prices.

Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT
Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT, source: AMD

The AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT and 7700 XT graphics cards, which have suggested etail prices of $449 and $499, respectively, went on sale from September 6, 2023. For this review, we installed sample AMD cards in two systems, each with a Ryzen 9 7950X CPU, a Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master motherboard, and a G.SKILL Trident Z5 Neo 2x16GB DDR5-6000 EXPO memory kit.

Architecture

Comparison of GPU specifications
Comparison of GPU specifications, source: AMD

RDNA 3

The Radeon RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT respectively have 54 and 60 unified AMD RDNA 3 compute units. These new cards are built on the RDNA 3 architecture, which include new Infinity Cache technology, AI accelerators, and second-generation raytracing accelerators. The AMD Radiance Display Engine, with DisplayPort 2.1 support for high refresh rate displays, is also incorporated into the new cards.

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT chip
AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT chip, source: AMD

2nd Generation AMD Infinity Cache

The new cache hierarchy balance has been optimized for the ideal mix of 2nd Generation Infinity Cache and L2 cache to allow fast data access and act as a significant bandwidth amplifier despite being half the size of the RDNA 2-based GPUs. The new cards thus have better performance and are more power efficient than previous models.

Media Engine

Like the previously announced RDNA 3-based GPUs, the new media engines on the Radeon RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT have hardware-accelerated support for AV1 encoding up to 8K resolution at 60 frames per second (FPS). It is now possible to produce output videos at smaller file sizes while maintaining the same bitrate and quality. The current versions of OBS, DaVinci Resolve, and Adobe Premiere Pro, with the Voudoker plug-in, all have support for AMD RDNA 3 Media Engine AV1 encoding. Support for FFmpeg and Handbrake encoding will be introduced in future.

Game Bundles

AMD continues to offer newly released AAA gaming titles alongside its launch of new products and seasonal promotions. AMD is the exclusive PC partner for Starfield, Bethesda Game Studios’ new open world game in almost 25 years. Starfield was created by the award-winning designers of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. The Radeon RX 7800 XT and Radeon RX 7700 XT, as well as qualifying Radeon + Ryzen PCs offered with these graphics cards, are eligible for the Starfield Premium Edition package, which provides gamers with free access to the game.

Adrenalin Software

The latest AMD Adrenalin Edition driver update adds additional performance and feature upgrades. The new HYPR-RX and AMD Radeon Anti-Lag+ technologies allow for next-generation gaming experiences on AMD Radeon RX 7000 Series GPUs.

To produce a performance-stacking effect, the AMD HYPR-RX technology streamlines and handles the simultaneous interoperation of AMD Radeon Super Resolution, Radeon Anti-Lag, Radeon Anti-Lag+, and Radeon Boost. AMD Radeon Anti-Lag+ allows players to reduce input latency.  However, AMD encountered a problem with Anti-Lag+ along with some anti-cheating technologies used in multiplayer games. This problem prompted the company to release the AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition 23.10.2 driver, which disables Anti-Lag+ technology in all supported games. AMD now advises gamers to use the new driver. AMD also stated that it is actively working with game developers on a solution to re-enable Anti-Lag+ and reinstate gamers who have been affected by anti-cheat restrictions.

Performance

Scale-Up

Because it employs DirectX 12 Ultimate Raytracing tier 1.1 for real-time global illumination and raytraced reflections as well as new performance enhancements such as Mesh Shaders, 3Dmark Speed Way is an ideal synthetic benchmark for comparing the performance of the latest AMD graphics cards with their predecessors.

Source: IDC
Source: IDC

The Radeon RX 7700 XT represents a great generational jump over the RX 6700 XT. However, the RX 7800 XT did not scale up against the RX 6800 XT, as the additional 12 compute units of the RX 6800XT compensate for the new architecture with quicker memory.

Ultra-Wide 1440p Gaming with Radeon RX 7700 XT

Games were tested on a 34-inch ultra-wide quad-HD 1440p monitor with a 144Hz frame rate, FreeSync, and 10-bit colors. We utilized the games’ maximum graphics settings, with ultra raytracing, FSR, and HYPR-RX enabled.

Forspoken gameplay
Forspoken gameplay, source: IDC

Gaming in 4K with Radeon RX 7800 XT

The Radeon RX 7800 XT was tested at 4K resolution and maximum graphical settings, with ultra raytracing enabled were possible. In a demanding game like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, with the FlyByWire A32NX and the Terrain LoD set to 400, the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT had an average FPS of 41 and a one percentile low frame rate of 35 FPS for a smooth and predictable experience in the cockpit.

Flight Simulator 2020 is an ideal game for the technical preview driver with AMD Fluid Motion Frames, as the simulator is quite CPU bound when to playing on ultra settings. Limiting the FPS to 30 with RivaTuner Statistics Server and enabling Fluid Motion Frames resulted in a smooth 60 FPS experience, even over highly detailed areas such as New York or London.

With the typical slow and smooth scenery movements from the cockpit view, Fluid Motion Frames technology consistently generated additional in-between frames for a great flight sim experience.

Starfield achieved an average 42 FPS at 4K ultra settings on the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT without resolution scaling. However, the FPS dropped significantly in built-up areas within the game. Game performance improved when the settings were lowered, with an average 50 FPS recorded at high settings. AMD Fluid Motion Frames can be enabled for Starfield with the technical preview driver. While Fluid Motion Frames help smooth some areas of the game, processing can temporarily stop when there are rapid direction changes during gameplay. This effect results in an FPS drop and stuttering, just when a gamer needs additional frames to smooth out motion. Improving this capability of Fluid Motion Frames in the driver will really improve the overall experience and make RDNA 3 and RDNA 2-based cards much more usable over time, especially as more demanding games come to market.

IDC Opinion and Conclusion

The RX 7700 XT, which is $30 less than the RX 6700 XT at launch (at $449), nonetheless has a noticeable increase in performance. The RX 7700 XT outperforms the previous generation in raytracing games, with up to 40% better performance. With the Radeon RX 6700 XT, playing demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 at maximum visual settings was impractical. An average 27 FPS was recorded with ultra raytracing enabled on an ultrawide 1440p monitor. In contrast, the RX 7700 XT’s 12GB of VRAM did not pose any restrictions at 1440p. The card is a worthwhile improvement and will become more popular should a price decrease be effected in future.

The AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT is a bit more of a complex proposition for a consumer. The AMD RX 6800 XT’s suggested retail price at launch was $649, while the RX 7800 XT costs $499. With fewer but higher performing compute units, the Radeon RX 7800 XT performs broadly at par with the Radeon RX 6800 XT, but costs 25% less compared to the latter’s original launch price. The card thus represents much better value, especially as the stock of end-of-life RDNA 2-based GPUs dries up.

AMD has definitely read the market and is taking competition in the midrange gaming market seriously, as evidenced by the lower launch prices of its new cards. Due to market demand, AMD will likely reduce the suggested price of the RX 7700 XT even more in the near term, given the small $50 (10%) price difference between it and the RX 7800 XT and the much greater overall performance of the RX 7800 XT.

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