I’ve been hoping that the latest generation of GPUs would really push us firmly into the 1440p era at the $300 to $400 mark, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Nvidia and AMD have both been focused on 1080p with their entry-level $399 RTX 4060 Ti and $269 Radeon RX 7600. Now, the $499 Radeon RX 7800 XT and $449 RX 7700 XT are here to fill the gap in the RDNA 3 lineup and nudge us toward 1440p but at prices that don’t venture under the key $400 mark.
AMD is aiming to beat Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti with its latest $449 RX 7700 XT card and in particular the $499 16GB version, which Nvidia just cut to $449 in a clear response to the RX 7700 XT. AMD’s $499 RX 7800 XT is also aimed squarely at besting the $599 RTX 4070 — which was essentially RTX 3080 levels of performance at $100 less.
AMD’s RX 7700 XT comfortably beats Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti at both 1440p and 4K, which is hardly surprising: some tests of Nvidia’s own previous-generation RTX 3060 Ti beat the company’s latest card. The RX 7800 XT also beats the RTX 4070 at 1440p, losing out more at 4K and in ray-traced games. But generation over generation, the RX 6800 XT still holds strong against AMD’s latest card, making the RX 7800 XT a complicated pick at its $499 price.
AMD’s Radeon RX 7800 XT reference design is 2.5 slots wide in a desktop PC, with a two-fan cooler. It’s very unassuming inside a case, with no LED lights getting in the way. It’s roughly the same length as the RX 6800 XT reference design, despite the two-fan design.
Most of AMD’s partners appear to be opting for three-fan coolers, though. That’s what XFX picked for the 7700 XT I’ve been testing. It’s also 33cm (13in) long, which is longer than Nvidia’s RTX 4090 Founders Edition. It’s a ridiculously large card given it’s nowhere near as powerful as the RTX 4090.
Both the 7700 XT and 7800 XT ship with three DisplayPort 2.1 outputs and a single HDMI 2.1 port. There’s no USB Type-C display output like we saw on both the RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX.
While Nvidia has opted for the latest 12VHPWR power connector on its RTX 40-series cards, AMD is sticking with eight-pin connectors. There are two on the side, so there’s no fussing with adapters. The total board power of the RX 7700 XT is 245 watts, up 15 watts from the 6700 XT. You’ll now need a 700-watt power supply, instead of the 650-watt recommendation for the RX 6700 XT.
Thankfully, the RX 7800 XT heads in the right direction of efficiency. It can use up to 263 watts, down from the 300 watts max on the 6800 XT. That means the RX 7800 XT only needs a 700-watt power supply instead of the 750-watt recommendation for the RX 6800 XT.
Both of AMD’s cards also offer up more in the memory department than their Nvidia equivalents, with AMD keen to point out the RX 7700 XT sports 12GB of VRAM compared to the $399 RTX 4060 Ti or $449 RTX 4060 Ti 16GB model. Even the RX 7800 XT ships with 16GB of memory compared to the 12GB found on the RTX 4070. We’re starting to see modern games already eat up 8GB cards at max settings for 1080p or 1440p gaming, so it’s encouraging to see AMD not skimp on the VRAM.
For 1440p testing, I paired both the RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 7800X3D processor. I put the RX 7700 XT head-to-head with the previous-generation RX 6700 XT, a couple of Nvidia’s RTX 30-series cards, and Nvidia’s latest RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) and the RTX 4070.
AMD test machine:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
- CPU cooler: Corsair H150i Elite LCD
- Motherboard: MSI Meg X670E Ace
- RAM: 32GB G.Skill DDR5 6000
- Case: Corsair Crystal 570X
- PSU: Corsair HX1000W
I tested a variety of AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077, Forza Horizon 5, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. All games were tested at high or ultra settings across all of the GPUs tested, and most managed to comfortably exceed 60fps at 1440p unless ray tracing was involved.
The RX 7700 XT comfortably beats Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti (8GB). Nvidia didn’t offer the 16GB model for review, but as the only changes are on the memory side, it’s unlikely performance would change. The performance gap can be as high as around 20 percent in titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or Returnal.
Where the RX 7700 XT doesn’t compete as well against Nvidia is in ray-traced titles. AMD has always been a step behind here, and even FSR 2 doesn’t help claw back the ray-tracing performance in games like Cyberpunk 2077. If you don’t care about ray tracing, then the rasterization performance here is impressive over the RTX 4060 Ti, and the $449 pricing has already put the pressure on Nvidia’s 16GB model.
The RX 7800 XT also fares well against the RTX 4070 in some tests, beating Nvidia’s $100 more expensive card. It’s head-to-head in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and manages to comfortably beat it in Returnal, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Watch Dogs: Legion. Where it really struggles against Nvidia’s RTX 4070 is once again in ray-traced titles. Nvidia’s DLSS helps boost frame rates in Watch Dogs: Legion with ultra ray tracing enabled, and despite an impressive showing in Cyberpunk 2077 at ultra settings, as soon as you enable ray tracing with FSR 2, AMD’s card just doesn’t keep up here.
But look at the RX 6800 XT results. AMD’s previous-generation card holds its own against the RX 7800 XT in many tests, with the RX 7800 XT beating the previous-generation card by small percentages. This card previously debuted for $649, and I was seriously impressed with it when it beat the RTX 3080. Nearly three years later, it’s still going strong. If you can find any in stock, you can still grab an RX 6800 XT for around $530 at retail, so AMD’s last-gen card will be putting the pressure on this $499 RX 7800 XT while stock lasts.
Either way, if you don’t care about ray-tracing performance, then the RX 7800 XT is an easy pick over the RTX 4070 at $100 less for 1440p gaming.
AMD isn’t marketing the RX 7700 XT or RX 7800 XT at 4K gaming, but that hasn’t stopped me from wanting to know how these cards perform at this level. I paired these GPUs with a 31.5-inch Acer Nitro XV2 monitor. This monitor supports refresh rates up to 144Hz, but both the RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT didn’t come remotely close to making use of that refresh rate.
Nvidia marketed the RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) as a 1080p card, and it’s easy to see why at 4K. It crumbles up against the RX 7700 XT, where the 16GB model of Nvidia’s card may fare better. Either way, the RX 7700 XT beats the RTX 4060 Ti in nearly every test at 4K.
A big exception is Watch Dogs: Legion with ultra ray tracing enabled. The RTX 4060 Ti manages just 15fps even with the help of DLSS, but the RX 7700 XT barely runs at just a 5fps average. This appears to be an issue related to Watch Dogs: Legion and the RX 6700 XT / RX 7700 XT cards, but I wasn’t able to successfully troubleshoot with AMD in time for publication.
Either way, given the RX 7700 XT struggles to clear the 60fps threshold at 4K in a lot of tests, you’re going to have to drop the settings or just avoid 4K in favor of 1440p.
The RX 7800 XT fares better at 4K, but I still think 1440p is the better option for this card. The RX 7800 XT does beat the RTX 4070 in most tests here, apart from where ray tracing is involved. The RTX 4070 also has the advantage of DLSS 3 at 4K resolutions, which makes a big difference in games like Cyberpunk 2077.
Still, the RX 7800 XT manages to hit 60fps or above in most titles where ray tracing isn’t enabled but just barely in the case of Gears 5 and Watch Dogs: Legion, and it narrowly misses the 60fps mark in Returnal. I’d like to see more 4K performance here to recommend the RX 7800 XT for 4K in modern games, but at $499, I wasn’t expecting much given the $599 RTX 4070 isn’t great for 4K either.
AMD continues to impress me with its software, though. AMD’s control panel is full of options and useful tools to overclock these GPUs. It’s far superior to Nvidia’s weird combination of its aging control panel and modern GeForce Experience app.
AMD’s latest drivers now include Hypr-RX, a single toggle that can automatically turn on FSR (or the more limited RSR when FSR is not supported), Radeon Anti-Lag, Radeon Boost, and other performance-boosting features.
FSR 3 is also on the way, which, much like Nvidia’s DLSS 3, also adds frame generation. It essentially uses machine learning to dream up a new frame between existing ones, boosting frame rates. I haven’t been able to test FSR 3 yet, as we’re waiting on games to support this new upscaling technique.
Overall, I’m impressed with both the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT at 1440p. They both offer strong performance, even if the pricing isn’t quite radical enough. There’s a chance AMD’s pricing will put the pressure on Nvidia, though. At $449, the RX 7700 XT has already pushed Nvidia to discount the RTX 4060 Ti 16GB model.
But AMD should have matched or undercut the RTX 4060 Ti 8GB pricing. It’s disappointing to see that decent 1440p performance is still above the $400 price point.
With the $499 RX 7800 XT beating the $599 RTX 4070, we could also see further pressure on Nvidia’s pricing — particularly as RTX 4070 cards can still regularly be found at well above $600. The pricing gets complicated when you factor in the excellent RX 6800 XT, which is still performing well at 1440p even against Nvidia’s latest RTX 4070 and the RX 7800 XT.
Either way, it looks like I’ll be waiting on Nvidia’s and AMD’s next-gen cards or price cuts to get us to solid 1440p gaming at between $300 and $400.
AMD’s RX 7700 XT is available now, starting at $449. The RX 7800 XT also launches today with prices starting at $499. Both cards come with a free copy of Starfield to sweeten the deal.
Photography by Tom Warren / The Verge
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