AMD has launched the Radeon RX 7800 XT for $499, and we have our full review of the made-by-AMD video card today. The AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT fills out AMD’s product stack in the Radeon RX 7000 series GPUs based on the RDNA 3 architecture. The Radeon RX 7800 XT is AMD’s answer to the mainstream market and focuses on the 1440p gameplay experience.
The Radeon RX 7800 XT has 60 Compute Units, 3840 Shader Units, 60 RT Accelerators (2nd Gen), 120 AI Accelerators, and 96 ROPs. It uses 64MB of 2nd Gen AMD Infinity Cache. It has a Game Clock of 2124MHz and a Boost Clock of 2430MHz. It has 16GB of GDDR6 on a 256-bit bus at 19.5Gbps which gives it 624GB/s of memory bandwidth, and it uses a PCIe 4.0 x16 interface with a TDP of 263W.
Check out our AIB reviews where we have an even deeper analysis – XFX MERC 319 Radeon RX 7800 XT review, our XFX QICK 319 Radeon RX 7700 XT review, our SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 7800 XT review, and SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 7700 XT reviews.
To put the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT to the test and validate AMD’s claims, we focused on the 1440p gameplay experience with and without Ray Tracing and Upscaling. Starting off in Returnal, the Radeon RX 7800 XT allowed a playable gameplay experience at over 100FPS. It was 2% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, 20% faster than the Radeon RX 6800, and 13% faster than the GeForce RTX 4070 FE. In Forspoken, the Radeon RX 7800 XT continued this trend and offered a playable experience at 89FPS. It was 6% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, 20% faster than the Radeon RX 6800, and 2% faster than the GeForce RTX 4070.
We saw a downturn in The Callisto Protocol where the Radeon RX 7800 XT performed under the Radeon RX 6800 XT by 5% and under the GeForce RTX 4070 by 3%. It was 18% faster than the Radeon RX 6800, but it still offered playable framerates at 88FPS. In Call of Duty Modern Warfare II, the Radeon RX 7800 XT picked up a big win at 15% over the Radeon RX 6800 XT and 29% faster than the GeForce RTX 4070. Again there was a downturn in Chernobylite Enhanced Edition where the Radeon RX 7800 XT was 15% slower than the GeForce RTX 4070 and 2% slower than the Radeon RX 6800 XT but 15% faster than the Radeon RX 6800.
In Dying Light 2 the Radeon RX 7800 XT was faster than the GeForce RTX 4070 by 3% but 5% slower than the Radeon RX 6800 XT. It was 10% faster than the Radeon RX 6800. In Cyberpunk 2077 the Radeon RX 7800 XT was the fastest GPU, offering the best and smoothest gameplay at 93FPS. It was 9% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT and 21% faster than the GeForce RTX 4070.
When we enabled Ray Tracing in each game, the Radeon RX 7800 XT took a consistent lead in every single game over the Radeon RX 6800 XT. Without Ray Tracing, it would fall behind in a few games, but with Ray Tracing enabled we saw the performance advantage now in every game over the Radeon RX 6800 XT. However, the same wasn’t true when it came to the GeForce RTX 4070, the GeForce RTX 4070 still had the lead in performance over the Radeon RX 7800 XT in every game.
In Returnal the Radeon RX 7800 XT was 6% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, but 11% slower than the GeForce RTX 4070. Despite this, the game was still playable at 66FPS on the Radeon RX 7800 XT. In Forspoken the Radeon RX 7800 XT was also playable at 68FPS with Ray Tracing. It was 5% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, but 3% behind the GeForce RTX 4070, they were a lot closer in this game.
In The Callisto Protocol, the Radeon RX 7800 XT was now ahead of the Radeon RX 6800 XT by 7% where previously it was behind. It was behind the GeForce RTX 4070 though, but only by 3%. In Chernobylite Enhanced Edition we saw what Ray Traced Global Illumination does to performance, and how much better the GeForce RTX 4070 is at Ray Tracing. Though the Radeon RX 7800 XT was 24% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT here, which showed a larger improvement, but it was 27% slower than the GeForce RTX 4070.
In Dying Light 2 the Radeon RX 7800 XT was not really playable with Ray Tracing, you’d need to turn on FSR to make it playable at 70FPS. It was 10% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT but 16% slower than the GeForce RTX 4070. Nothing was playable with Ultra Ray Tracing at 1440p in Cyberpunk 2077, except the GeForce RTX 4070 with DLSS. The Radeon RX 7800 XT was 10% faster than the Radeon RX 6800 XT but 27% slower than the GeForce RTX 4070.
In all games, FSR helped performance a lot at 1440p on the Radeon RX 7800 XT. We did not see any performance difference relative to the Radeon RX 7800 XT compared to the Radeon RX 6800 XT, meaning we didn’t see any advantage to greater FSR performance out of the newer architecture compared to the RX 6800/XT. We saw the same relative performance from the natural performance uplift FSR provided between GPUs. FSR’s benefit will scale from the 6800/XT to the 7800 XT as it should based on the generational uplift we tested.
Power and Temp Summary
To put it mildly, the Radeon RX 7800 XT made-by-AMD video card runs hot and demands power. AMD claims a Total Board Power of 263W, and our experience was actually just under that, which was good that it at least did not exceed it. The issue is, that this is practically the same power draw as the Radeon RX 6800 XT, and it performs the same.
There really isn’t any efficiency gain from generation to generation. If you get the same performance, and draw the same power, you are pretty much just staying even, it’s as “side-grade” as you can get as far as power to performance goes. The GeForce RTX 4070 runs much more efficiently, and the Radeon RX 7800 XT consumes 29% more power.
Temperatures are also running a little warm, with the Hot Spot reaching 94c. We noticed while touching the video card while it was gaming that the backside plate was extremely hot to the touch, and could not hold our finger on it for long. It seemed hotter than we would have expected. The entire body of the video card absorbs the heat well, but this translates to a very hot card by touch all around.
When compared to the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition, the Founders Edition is much cooler. You will have to look to AIB cards for cooler running video cards, and we have a couple of those reviews published today for you to look at.
A Card By Any Other Name
The AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT can be summarized in one statement, it is named wrong. Now this is almost a copout response because what really matters is where performance lines up by price. AMD could name it a pink elephant, and it wouldn’t really matter. What matters is price and performance. The Radeon RX 7800 XT is a $499 video card, which is $150 less than the Radeon RX 6800 XT was at MSRP ($649), so you have to put it into perspective by comparing it by launch MSRP price and the performance you are getting at this price point.
That said, AMD is still matching it up (by name) to the Radeon RX 6800 XT, and people are going to look at that and say that it doesn’t offer a performance advantage compared to the last generation, even though it is doing so at this price point of $499. This is more of a marketing, or optics picture, for AMD really. All that had to be done was name it the Radeon RX 7800 and it would be seen as a “win” on all fronts, with no room for misunderstanding.
When you look at its performance compared to the $579 Radeon RX 6800 it is a big win in performance upgrade. It actually looks impressive, if you compare it to that GPU. If AMD had called it a Radeon RX 7800, then in people’s minds it would be compared to the Radeon RX 6800, and people would make that distinction on that price comparison.
As it is now, gamers are really going to have to look closely at how it compares by launch price from the previous generation, and not the current street pricing, which changes over the lifetime of a video card. Keep pricing in mind as the primary and only factor when comparing to the last generation or prior, so be careful in how you compare it. Street pricing changes and video card pricing changes over time, of course, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is going to be cheaper today, it’s been three years since it launched. It isn’t necessarily fair to compare it with current street pricing on a video card that is three years old.
Logically, comparing it to the same price point at launch to the previous generation shows you the performance upgrade you are getting, at the same price you would have paid back then. In three years, the Radeon RX 7800 XT will also be lower in street price, just like the Radeon RX 6800 XT is now. The fact is, the Radeon RX 6800 XT supply will dry out, and then the Radeon RX 7800 XT will be the new replacement.
In our review today, we took a look at AMD’s Radeon RX 7800 XT made-by-AMD video card. The Radeon RX 7800 XT has an MSRP of $499, and that does look good when you compare it to the previous generation Radeon RX 6800 XT’s MSRP at launch of $649. However, you have to put this card into perspective based on its price point, and that really lines up with the Radeon RX 6800 at its $579 launch MSRP from the last generation.
In other words, if you spent around $500-$600 in the previous RDNA 2 generation, then what would now get in 2023 from AMD at this same price point? What you would get is the Radeon RX 7800 XT, which is a big step up from the Radeon RX 6800. In our testing, the Radeon RX 7800 XT offered raster performance that was around 20-30% faster than the Radeon RX 6800, and 30% faster in Ray Tracing performance.
RTX 4070 Comparison
Compared to the more expensive GeForce RTX 4070 at $599 MSRP, the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT at $499 seems to be the clear winner for value. For $100 less, you get more VRAM (16GB) which is only going to be increasingly important as we move forward with new game launches from now, for years to come. If you want your video card to last for years to come, you should be looking at VRAM capacities and get the most for your money.
In our performance evaluation, we found that the GeForce RTX 4070 and Radeon RX 7800 XT trade blows in raster performance, depending on the game they could be very similar in performance, or one faster than the other. Sometimes they were very close, with small margins separating them, but in other games, some had a clear win, and that will just be game-dependent.
The GeForce RTX 4070 is generally faster in Ray Tracing performance, but there were a handful of games that do have a small difference between them, where performance is rather close and practically the same, and yet there are others where the RTX 4070 dominates. The GeForce RTX 4070 will also have the advantage of DLSS, Ray Reconstruction, and Frame Generation.
In comparison to the GeForce RTX 4070, the Radeon RX 7800 XT offers more VRAM, and competitive performance, for $100 less, but will consume more energy as the tradeoff.
RX 7800 XT and 6800 XT Comments
The AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT can be summarized as Radeon RX 6800 XT performance (give or take) at $150 less MSRP in 2023. The Radeon RX 7800 XT has improved Ray Tracing performance, AV1 decode/encode, and DisplayPort 2.1. Depending on the game, you may see more performance than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, but only by small percentages, in other games, it may equal performance, or even slightly fall in performance.
The Radeon RX 7800 XT is not a generational upgrade over the Radeon RX 6800 XT, even though it has the same generational name, but rather an upgrade compared to the Radeon RX 6800 since they have similar MSRPs at launch. This is why the Radeon RX 7800 XT should have been named, Radeon RX 7800.
Keep in mind that Radeon RX 6800 XT supplies will dry up over time, and the Radeon RX 6800 XT will no longer be available at the lower prices that we see today. Therefore, looking forward the Radeon RX 7800 XT will replace the Radeon RX 6800 XT’s current place in the market. The Radeon RX 7800 XT will be the only $499 option moving forward but will offer slightly better Ray Tracing, slightly better raster performance, and AV1 encoding. With the upcoming Hypr-RX features, the Radeon RX 7800 XT could also offer an advantage over the previous generation.
Summing It Up
Overall, the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT is a solid video card that many will confuse by comparing it to the Radeon RX 6800 XT when in reality it should be compared to the Radeon RX 6800 since it falls closer to that pricing structure. When looking at its performance at this price point, it offers a substantial performance upgrade compared to the similarly priced GPU from the previous generation. If you spent $500 in the last generation or generation before last, you will be getting a big performance upgrade for $500 once again.