AMD has entered this new GPU generation with two new graphics cards: the RX 7900 XTX and the XT 7900 XT. I’ve got a separate review focusing on the XTX, whereas here we’re looking at the lesser of the pair, the $899 Radeon RX 7900 XT. The two cards have a lot in common, but some key differences as well. And while they lose out to Nvidia’s more-expensive cards on pure performance, they both offer a respectable value that makes them worth considering for your next gaming rig.
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT – Photos
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT – Design and Features
Like its bigger sibling, the RX 7900 XT has a gunmetal gray frame with a bit of a gundam-like aesthetic, accented with bits of red and silver. It’s a bit thinner and shorter than the XTX, measuring 276 x 113 mm, compared to the larger card’s 287 x 123mm frame. If the XTX was already a nice step down in size from Nvidia’s behemoth 40-series cards, the 7900 XT is a welcome return to the norms of the 2010s.
Inside are 84 RDNA 3 compute units, with a game/boost clock of 2.0/2.4 GHz and 20GB of GDDR6 memory. That amounts to approximately 52 shader teraflops of compute power, compared to 61 for the RX 7900 XTX.
Like the XTX, it has a triple-fan cooling solution, though its cooling fins are a bit shorter, making it just a tad slimmer than the bigger card. I mentioned in the XTX review that noise was significantly more noticeable on that card than on Nvidia’s latest cards, but things are a bit quieter here. I still think Nvidia wins the quietness crown, but the XT definitely has more points in its Sneak stat than the XTX.
That likely has to do with the overall lower board power, which has a TDP of 300 to 315W, compared to 355W on the XTX. That said, temperatures were a tad bit higher on the XT, holding steady at 59-60C during sustained benchmarking, compared to 55C on the XTX.
AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT – Performance
The Radeon RX 7900 XT does quite well in the first of our synthetic benchmarks, 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, keeping pace with the $300-more-expensive GeForce RTX 4080. Unigine Heaven, however, proves more of a challenge: the XT falls below Nvidia’s last-gen 3080 Ti at 1440p and 4K, though it does have a leg up at 1080p. It’s also considerably lower than even AMD’s own last-gen RX 6950 XT.
Moving on to our ray racing synthetic tests, again we see that AMD cards simply can’t keep up with Nvidia’s in ray tracing workloads. Both of AMD’s latest come up at the bottom of the charts, with the more powerful card roughly matching last generation’s RTX 3080, and the RX 7900 XT falling a bit behind that. As you’ll see later in our gaming tests, ray tracing is still the realm of Nvidia, so if that’s something you care about significantly, then Team Green is the obvious choice.
In our gameplay benchmarks, the RX 7900 XT does fairly well in traditional rasterization scenarios. It essentially matches or beats the RTX 3090 Ti, which launched earlier this year at $2,000 (though since then has dropped to around $1,100). Taken alone, that would be an impressive claim for an $899 GPU, but in comparison to the other cards that have launched in the interim – namely the RTX 4090 and 4080, as well as AMD’s on RX 7900 XTX – the margin over the RTX 3090 Ti is less impressive.
This holds true in our expanded 4K testing, where you can see that the RX 7900 XT is within a few points on either side of the RTX 3090 Ti, with less distance between those two cards than the XT and AMD’s $100-more-expensive 7900 XTX.
Of course, I’m making these comparisons leaving out Metro Exodus, which really sees the AMD cards suffer due to its implementation of ray tracing, as well as its benefit from Nvidia’s DLSS. Here, the RX 7900 XT barely managed to stay above 30fps, which is certainly playable, but nothing to write home about when Nvidia’s last-gen cards nearly doubled those scores and the new 40 series holds an even larger lead.
As with the RX 7900 XTX review, I also made sure to do some testing in Cyberpunk 2077, which has the benefit of both Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FSR. Here, FSR allowed the RX 7900 XT to eke out 33fps on FSR Quality mode, and 50.8 on FSR performance. Those are okay numbers considering how demanding Cyberpunk is to run, but the scores from Nvidia’s cards tower over them, making it clear that AMD still has a lot of ground to cover if it wants to catch up to Team Green in the most demanding, visually stunning games.
Finally, let's talk about performance per dollar. AMD has often been known for losing to Nvidia in raw performance, but making up for it with less expensive options that get you more for your money. If we chart how many frames per second you can expect to get per dollar spent on various cards, it looks like this:
The thesis proved to be true with the RX 7900 XTX, but the XT isn’t quite as good a deal. It does still get you more bang for your buck compared to the RTX 4090 – but of course, top-end cards like that typically charge a premium for being the very fastest you can buy. Compared to the RTX 4080, however, the RX 7900 XT’s performance per dollar mostly comes out as a wash. More importantly, compared to the RX 7900 XTX, the more expensive card wins across the board. In other words, if you’re opting for AMD this generation, saving $100 for dropping that third X really isn’t worth it.
AMD’s first two RDNA 3 GPUs offer a respectable showing compared to Nvidia’s 40-series – at least if you don’t care about ray tracing. The Radeon RX 7900 XT is the cheapest graphics card we’ve seen of this generation so far, but at $899 it’s still quite pricey for mainstream gamers. If you’re set on Team Red and in the market for a $1,000-ish graphics card, though, the extra $100 for the more powerful RX 7900 XTX will get you considerably more for your money.