AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT and 7700 XT review entering the 1440p era

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT and 7700 XT review entering the 1440p era

AMD’s Radeon RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT: A Push Towards 1440p Gaming

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the latest generation of GPUs to catapult us firmly into the era of 1440p gaming at an affordable price. Unfortunately, both Nvidia and AMD have been focused on 1080p with their entry-level offerings. However, AMD is looking to change that with its latest additions to the RDNA 3 lineup, the Radeon RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT. These cards aim to fill the gap and bring us closer to 1440p gaming, but without venturing below the $400 mark.

AMD’s RX 7700 XT is specifically designed to outperform Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti, especially the 16GB version, which Nvidia recently lowered its price to $449 in response to the RX 7700 XT. Additionally, AMD’s RX 7800 XT is set to challenge Nvidia’s RTX 4070, offering similar performance at a $100 lower price point.

In terms of performance, the RX 7700 XT comfortably outperforms Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti in both 1440p and 4K gaming. This isn’t surprising, considering that some tests even showed the RX 6700 XT, a previous-generation card from Nvidia, outperforming its latest counterpart. The RX 7800 XT also outperforms the RTX 4070 at 1440p but falls behind slightly in 4K and ray-traced games. However, it’s worth noting that the RX 6800 XT still holds its ground against AMD’s latest offering, making the RX 7800 XT a bit of a complicated choice at its $499 price tag.

AMD Radeon RX 7700 XT: The Good and the Bad

The RX 7700 XT has some noteworthy advantages. It offers solid 1440p performance, boasts 12GB of VRAM, and eliminates the need for clunky power adapters. However, it does suffer from higher power draw compared to the RX 6700 XT, has weaker ray-tracing performance, and is surprisingly massive in size.

Image: RX 7700 XT

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT: The Good and the Bad

The RX 7800 XT also delivers good 1440p performance and comes with 16GB of VRAM. Additionally, it has lower power requirements than the RX 6800 XT. On the downside, its 4K performance is not outstanding, its ray-tracing performance could be better, and it doesn’t offer a significant generational leap.

RX 7800 XT

Hardware Design

AMD’s reference design for the RX 7800 XT features a 2.5-slot width and a two-fan cooler, without any distracting LED lights. However, most of AMD’s partners have opted for a three-fan cooler design. For example, the XFX RX 7700 XT I tested measures 33cm (13in) in length, making it larger than Nvidia’s RTX 4090 Founders Edition, despite offering less power.

Both the RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT come with three DisplayPort 2.1 outputs and a single HDMI 2.1 port. Unlike their predecessors, there is no USB Type-C display output. AMD has stuck with the tried-and-true eight-pin power connectors, providing two connectors on the side for easy installation. The RX 7700 XT has a total board power of 245 watts, while the RX 7800 XT requires up to 263 watts. Both cards require a 700-watt power supply, allowing for a more efficient performance compared to their predecessors.

In terms of memory, AMD’s cards offer more than their Nvidia counterparts. The RX 7700 XT boasts 12GB of VRAM, compared to the 8GB found in the RTX 4060 Ti. Similarly, the RX 7800 XT offers 16GB of memory, surpassing the 12GB found in the RTX 4070. This extra memory is essential, as modern games continue to consume more VRAM, particularly when played at maximum settings for 1080p or 1440p gaming.

Benchmark Results at 1440p

For benchmarking at 1440p, I paired both the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor. I pitted the RX 7700 XT against the previous-generation RX 6700 XT, a few of Nvidia’s RTX 30-series cards, and both the 8GB and 16GB versions of Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti and RTX 4070, respectively.

The RX 7700 XT easily outperforms Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti (8GB), with a performance gap of up to 20% in titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Returnal. However, AMD’s card struggles in ray-traced games, where the company has traditionally fallen behind. Despite the impressive showing of AMD’s FSR 2 in games like Cyberpunk 2077, the RX 7700 XT fails to match Nvidia’s ray-tracing performance. Nevertheless, the $449 price tag of the RX 7700 XT has already put pressure on Nvidia’s 16GB model.

Benchmark RX 6700 XT RX 6800 XT RX 7700 XT RX 7800 XT RTX 3060 Ti RTX 3070 RTX 4060 Ti RTX 4070
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 116 162 143 160 108 118 118 159
Forza Horizon 5 Extreme 90 133 107 135 88 97 98 128
CS:GO 443 484 399 480 486 536 371 487
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 83 111 103 121 79 85 86 111
Cyberpunk 2077 57 83 80 92 59 66 73 80

Benchmark Results at 4K

While neither the RX 7700 XT nor the RX 7800 XT are marketed as 4K cards, I couldn’t resist testing their performance at this resolution. Paired with a 31.5-inch Acer Nitro XV2 monitor, the GPUs performed adequately. The RX 7700 XT easily outperforms Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti, except in games like Watch Dogs: Legion with ultra ray tracing enabled, where the RX 7700 XT struggles to reach even 5fps on average. This issue seems to be related to this particular game and the RX 6700 XT / RX 7700 XT cards, although it wasn’t fully resolved at the time of publication.

Benchmark RX 6700 XT RX 6800 XT RX 7700 XT RX 7800 XT RTX 4060 Ti RTX 4070
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 61 88 72 85 62 83
Forza Horizon 5 Extreme 62 94 81 97 58 89
CS:GO 298 406 173 232 168 219
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 47 64 61 72 42 65
Watch Dogs: Legion 39 57 53 62 34 52
Cyberpunk 2077 26 39 37 43 27 42

Conclusion

All in all, the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT deliver impressive performance at 1440p. Although the pricing is not groundbreaking, it does put pressure on Nvidia. The RX 7700 XT’s $449 price has already forced Nvidia to reduce the price of its RTX 4060 Ti 16GB model. It is disappointing, however, that decent 1440p performance still comes at a price above $400.

The RX 7800 XT, priced at $499, outperforms Nvidia’s $599 RTX 4070 in most tests, suggesting that AMD’s card may continue to put pressure on Nvidia’s pricing strategy. Moreover, the RX 6800 XT, still performing well at 1440p, adds further complexity to the decision-making process.

Ultimately, it seems that we may have to wait for the next generation of cards or price cuts from both Nvidia and AMD to achieve solid 1440p gaming at the $300 to $400 range. In the meantime, the RX 7700 XT is available now, starting at $449, while the RX 7800 XT is also available, starting at $499. As an added bonus, both cards come with a free copy of Starfield.

Photography by Tom Warren / The Verge