“I just wish there were an option between the $300 to $400 marks that offered enough performance to push us firmly into the 1440p era.” That was my colleague Tom Warren’s conclusion reviewing the $399 Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti and $269 AMD Radeon RX 7600.
On September 6th, AMD may come close — that’s when it’s shipping the brand-new $449 RX 7700 XT and $499 7800 XT, with a free copy of Starfield to sweeten the pot.
The company claims both cards can average over 60fps in the latest games at 1440p with maximum settings and no fancy upscaling tricks — including troubled PC ports like The Last of Us Part I and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. Both GPUs average over 100fps in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, the company claims.
Where things get really interesting is in comparisons with Nvidia, where the $450 7700 XT might trounce the $400 GeForce 4060 Ti — and the $500 7800 XT may beat the $600 RTX 4070 in rasterized games (and even a couple of ray-traced ones), while leaving an entire hundred-dollar bill in your pocket.
Now remember, we weren’t particularly impressed with the generation-over-generation upgrades from either of Nvidia’s cards, and we can’t yet say if AMD has offered enough of an improvement to tempt gamers away from previous-gen cards. But as of yesterday, a last-gen 6800 XT still cost $530 at retail. Are GPUs headed in the right direction again?
They are still a little large; even AMD’s Radeon RX 7800 XT reference design takes up 2.5 slots’ worth of width in a desktop computer, compared to Nvidia’s two-slot design for the RTX 4070 Founders Edition and below. They require more power, too, at up to 265W versus the 200W GeForce. Some will appreciate that they are sticking with a pair of eight-pin PCI-E power sockets, though.
But they may have it in the memory department, where some of Nvidia’s lesser GPUs have been unnecessarily hamstrung, with the RX 7700 XT sporting 12GB of GDDR6 and a 192-bit interface for 432GB per second of total bandwidth, while the RX 7800 XT comes with 16GB, 256-bit, and 624GB per second in total.
If AMD’s results and prices hold, these cards could definitely tempt gamers like me away from Nvidia — but keep in mind that GPU pricing tends to bend toward what buyers are willing to pay, and its rival could afford to cut prices to keep its market share. Nvidia just made $6 billion in pure profit from its AI chips, and the company hasn’t forgotten where it came from.
In addition to the cards themselves, AMD will also launch FSR 3 on September 6th. The latest version of its upscaling tech adds frame generation, which uses machine learning to imagine a new frame between existing ones, like a more sophisticated version of motion smoothing on TVs. (Nvidia added this in DLSS 3.0, and AMD is calling it “Fluid Motion Frames.”)
FSR 3 also includes “Native Anti-Aliasing,” an optional new mode that uses FSR techniques to anti-alias and sharpen game graphics instead of upscaling them from a lower resolution.
AMD says FSR 3 is already slated for Cyberpunk 2077, Forspoken, Immortals of Aveum, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine 2, Frostpunk 2, Squad, Starship Troopers: Extermination, Black Myth: Wukong, Crimson Desert, and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
Starfield will not ship with FSR 3 but, rather, FSR 2. By the way, AMD says Bethesda is welcome to add Nvidia’s DLSS to that game, too.
While FSR still works on rivals’ graphics cards, as long as game developers add the tech to their games, AMD will also be adding frame generation to its driver at an unspecified date. That way, you’ll be able to inject extra frames into any DX10 or DX11 game with your AMD graphics card, no developer support required.
On September 6th, the driver will also 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 image-compromising but performance-enhancing features. “Our research tells us 70 percent of customers are willing to compromise on image quality,” says AMD gaming chief Frank Azor. (I definitely have friends and family in that 70 percent.) Fifteen games will be validated for Hypr-RX to start.
AMD will sell its RX 7800 XT reference design directly at AMD.com with the two-fan cooler you see in the render atop this post. It looks like most of AMD’s partners are opting for three-fan coolers, though. Below are a few of the nicest-looking ones, in my opinion.