Nvidia boosts AMD’s new GPUs | ENBLE

Nvidia boosts AMD's new GPUs | ENBLE

RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT: A Free Win for AMD in the Battle Against Nvidia

The release of AMD’s new GPUs, the RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT, has stirred up some heated discussions. While these GPUs are solid performers, they are not without their flaws. The RX 7700 XT is priced $50 higher than it should be, and the RX 7800 XT sometimes falls short compared to the previous generation’s RX 6800 XT. However, my recommendation of these cards in my review may seem puzzling at first glance. The answer to this lies in the comparison with Nvidia’s GPUs and a phenomenon called “tierflation.”

Let’s start with AMD. At the beginning of this GPU generation, AMD released the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT. Interestingly, there was no RX 6900 XTX, indicating a clear push to elevate a GPU one step higher in AMD’s lineup. This was purely a marketing move. However, the problem arises with the introduction of the RX 7800 XT.

Contrary to what the name suggests, the RX 7800 XT is not a successor to the RX 6800 XT in terms of both price and specifications. The RX 6800 XT was launched with a price tag of $650, while the RX 7800 XT is priced at $500. Additionally, the RX 6800 XT has 72 RDNA 2 compute units, whereas the RX 7800 XT has only 60 RDNA 3 compute units. This significant difference is why some people argue that the RX 7800 XT offers practically no generational improvement, especially when retailers are discounting last-gen stock.

To make matters more confusing, the RX 7800 XT is essentially a successor to the RX 6800, as both GPUs offer 60 compute units and were similarly priced at launch. The RX 6800, being slightly more expensive due to soaring GPU prices during supply shortages, lagged behind the XT model by around 10% to 15%. Therefore, the RX 7800 XT does provide a generational improvement when considering the list price and specs, disregarding the name AMD chose to assign to it.

While AMD claims it does not plan to introduce new GPU dies, the possibility of an RX 7800 XTX, a true successor to the RX 6800 XT, cannot be ruled out. Priced at $500, the RX 7800 XT leaves a significant pricing gap until the next GPU in AMD’s current-gen lineup, the RX 7900 XT.

Moving on to Nvidia, we observe that the naming conventions for their GPUs have undergone significant changes this generation due to the sheer number of releases. For instance, the RTX 4070 Ti was initially announced as the 12GB RTX 4080 priced at $900. Following public backlash, Nvidia adjusted the name to better reflect the card’s performance.

Similarly, Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti was launched with both an 8GB and 16GB model, priced at $400 and $500 respectively. However, the performance of the 8GB variant often fell behind the previous generation’s RTX 3060 Ti. This situation mirrors the confusion surrounding the RX 7800 XT, where the name fails to align with the card’s actual performance. In Nvidia’s case, the price does not match either.

Both AMD and Nvidia have been tinkering with their naming conventions during this generation. AMD has pushed their cards up a step in naming, while Nvidia has generally moved the name down the ladder while charging more. Comparing Nvidia’s list prices for the RTX 40-series with the previous generation, we see a clear upward trend:

  • RTX 3090 ($1,500) — RTX 4090 ($1,600)
  • RTX 3080 ($700) — RTX 4080 ($1,200)
  • RTX 3070 Ti ($600) — RTX 4070 Ti ($800)
  • RTX 3070 ($500) — RTX 4070 ($600)
  • RTX 3060 Ti ($400) — RTX 4060 Ti ($400 or $500)
  • RTX 3060 ($330) — RTX 4060 ($300)

With the exception of the RTX 4060, every single one of Nvidia’s current-gen GPUs has seen a price increase. These price hikes are not insignificant. The RTX 4080 is almost twice as expensive as the RTX 3080, and the RTX 4070 Ti is $200 more expensive than the RTX 3070 Ti. It seems that Nvidia is either misnaming its cards or unreasonably hiking prices, and this has resulted in a lukewarm response to their new releases. Although Nvidia’s GPUs are powerful and feature-rich, they fall short of expectations because they are not appropriately named or priced.

In contrast, AMD has found an opening to strike against Nvidia. While AMD’s naming conventions may also be misleading, they have refrained from raising prices excessively. The RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT are priced lower than their counterparts from the previous generation, even when considering their performance and specifications, not just their names. This poses a challenge for Nvidia’s lineup.

For example, in the previous generation, AMD’s RX 6800 XT competed with Nvidia’s RTX 3080. Nvidia slightly outperformed AMD in terms of sheer performance, but the RX 6800 XT was priced slightly lower at $650 compared to the RTX 3080’s $700. This has been the established dynamic between AMD and Nvidia for the past few generations: AMD offers slightly lower prices, while Nvidia brings more speed and additional features to the table.

In this generation, however, Nvidia has inadvertently handed AMD a victory with the RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT. Due to the high prices of Nvidia’s current-gen GPUs, AMD’s new cards can offer better performance at a lower cost compared to their Nvidia counterparts. Of course, the RX 7700 XT outperforms the RTX 4060 Ti, which suggests that AMD intended to compete with the RTX 4070. The same can be said for the RX 7800 XT, which would be outperformed by any GPU more powerful than the RTX 4070, to which it is appropriately priced.

Analyzing the pricing strategy of AMD, one can speculate about their intentions. If Nvidia had kept the RTX 4070 priced at $500, just like the previous generation, AMD’s RX 7700 XT at $450 would have been slightly slower but also more affordable. This mirrors the dynamics observed between the RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 in the previous generation, slightly favoring Nvidia.

Without Nvidia’s high pricing strategy, the RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT would be considered average at best and potentially inferior. They offer minimal improvements in terms of generational leap, and Nvidia still leads in the ray tracing department. However, if you have $500 to spend on a graphics card, there is simply no other recommendation worth making.

This generation may not be ideal for gamers, which is why reviewers, including myself, often point to last-gen options such as the RX 6700 XT for those looking to upgrade. However, the RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT break this trend as they outperform and undercut the competition from Nvidia when comparing price and performance. This time around, AMD secures a free victory in the GPU battle.