Radeon RX 7900 XTX reviews are in — and it sounds like bad news for Nvidia

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX on a pastel background
(Image credit: AMD)

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX are out this week, and so far the graphics card reviews suggest they could deliver performance to rival Nvidia's top cards for hundreds of dollars less.

That's exciting because these are the first two cards in AMD's new 7000 series of Radeon GPUs, and the first AMD GPUs to sport a "chiplet" design like the company's Ryzen CPUs. When they show up on store shelves tomorrow (December 13) the Radeon RX 7900 XT and XTX (which cost $899 and $999, respectively) will be the top end of the new AMD Radeon RX 7000 GPU line. Based on hands-on testing by other outlets it sounds like they offer good reasons to buy one over a new $1,200 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080.

We've been combing through the reviews of AMD's new cards, and there's lots of good stories out there to read about these new GPUs. To help you get a better sense of how these cards compare, here are some of the most relevant comments from a smorgasbord of AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX reviews.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT: Great performance for price

The $899 AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is the weaker of the two new cards from Big Red, which means that in addition to being cheaper, it's also slightly smaller than the 7900 XTX and offers less memory, fewer compute units (which means less power) and slower speeds. At $899, it's a bit more expensive than its most direct predecessor the 6900 XT, which has dipped as low as $700 in the past year, but it's still significantly cheaper than the new Nvidia GeForce 4080 and 4090, which sell for $1,199 and $1,599, respectively. 

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Row 0 - Cell 0 AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTAMD Radeon RX 7900 XTXNvidia RTX 4090Nvidia RTX 4080
Compute units8496N/AN/A
Ray accelerators8496N/AN/A
Game frequency2000 MHz2300 MHzN/AN/A
Infinity Cache8096N/AN/A
Max memory size20GB GDDR624GB GDDR624GB GDDR6X16GB GDDR6X

In terms of gaming performance, it sounds like AMD's 7900 XT falls somewhere between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 and 3090 Ti. According to gaming benchmarks conducted by our sibling site Tom's Hardware, AMD's Radeon RX 7900 XT delivers nearly as many frames per second (fps) as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 when running most games at max settings in 4K resolution. 

While Nvidia's cards have the edge in most games, including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza Horizon 5, Tom's Hardware reports the AMD 7900 XT actually delivered more fps than Nvidia's 4080 in Borderlands 3 — again, running at 4K with settings set to Ultra.

However, if you care a great deal about ray tracing, it sounds like AMD doesn't have anything to beat Nvidia in these two cards. Neither the 7900 XT nor its beefier sibling the 7900 XTX could match the performance of Nvidia's 40-series cards in the raytraced game benchmarks conducted by Tom's Hardware using games like Cyberpunk 2077.

AMD Radeon 7000 series pricing info onscreen during AMD live announcement

(Image credit: AMD)

That said, by all reports the RX 7900 XT remains a great card for pure gaming performance, even at 4K. In Gizmodo's testing, the RX 7900 was able to consistently achieve 60 fps running games like Cyberpunk 2077, Far Cry 6 and Forza Horizon 5 at high settings in 4K. When the testers bumped the resolution down to 1440p or 1080p, that performance got even better. 

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX: The 4080 killer

While the Radeon RX 7900 XT sounds like a great card, the first wave of reviews make its beefier sibling the RX 7900 XTX sound like the card to buy. That's because it seems to deliver performance significantly better than the 7900 XT for just $100 more, outclassing Nvidia's $1,200 GeForce RTX 4080 in many areas. 

Specifically, our compatriots at Tom's Hardware discovered that the RX 7900 XTX outperforms the more expensive GeForce RTX 4080 when running many games at maxed-out settings in 4K. In games like A Plague Tale: Requiem, Forza Horizon 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2, AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XTX outperformed Nvidia's 4080 at 4K with everything cranked to Ultra settings. 

AMD is pitching its new 7000-series cards as ideal for gaming at 4K, delivering big year-over-year performance improvements. (Image credit: AMD)

However, when you enable ray tracing in games that support it, AMD's cards can't compete with Nvidia's tech. When the Tom's Hardware team benchmarked these cards in games like Control, Cyberpunk 2077 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales with ray tracing switched to high, Nvidia's 4080 and 4090 outperformed the latest AMD cards by a significant margin. 

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT ray tracing

Ray tracing in action during a tech demo running on an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT. (Image credit: AMD)

The Verge's Radeon RX 7900 XT / XTX review points out that while AMD's new cards offer competitive or better performance than Nvidia's latest GPUs for less money, Nvidia's DLSS 3 upscaling tech still outshines AMD's equivalent FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) tech. However, this is in part because FSR support isn't in common in games as DLSS support, so hopefully that will change if AMD encourages more developers to integrate more effective FSR support.

Outlook: AMD's latest give Nvidia reason to worry

The first round of reviews suggest AMD has some hot cards on its hands. The Radeon RX 7900 XTX appears to outperform Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4080 in many cases despite costing $200 less, and the 7900 XT performs nearly as well if you want to save another $100.

Of course, expert testing reveals the edge Nvidia's cards hold for those who really care about ray tracing. If that sounds like you, it's understandable why you might count your pennies and hold out for a new Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 instead of an AMD card.

But for the rest of us, there's good reason to be more excited about the Radeon RX 7900 XTX than the RTX 4090. AMD's new top-of-the-line card appears to be smaller, more affordable and more efficient than the RTX 40-series' beefiest boy, and that's a huge win for AMD as Nvidia braces for what could be a bruising 2023.

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.