|RX 7900 XTX||RX 7900 XT|
|RDNA 3 cores||6,144||5,376|
|Game clock (GHz)||2.3||2|
|Memory||24GB GDDR6||20GB GDDR6|
|Total Board Power (watt)||355||300|
What a difference an X makes. AMD has announced two graphics cards intent on high frame rates at 4K: the Radeon RX 7900 XT and the Radeon RX 7900 XTX (opens in new tab). In name, only a letter differentiates one from the other, and there’s not much between them when it comes to the price, either—at $899 and $999, respectively. You could then assume we’re looking at merely a clock speed bump and a handful of cores for the extra money between the two, but then you’d be wrong.
Neither graphics card is available to buy yet—both will arrive on December 13. Yet even so it’s clear that the XTX is extremely likely to become the more sought after card.
That’s not only because I imagine most gamers with $899 to spend on a graphics card could spend another $100 if they really wanted (but I won’t make too many assumptions), it’s also down to how much more graphics card that $100 gets you.
You could hardly be blamed for considering these two graphics cards kindred spirits. They are similar in some ways: both are built using the same RDNA 3 architecture, the same Navi 31 GPU (with 5nm and 6nm GCD and MCD chiplets), and both come with tempting extras—such as DisplayPort 2.1, AV1 decode/encode, and 2.5-slot reference card designs.
That’s where the similarities end. Look at the specs list for both cards and it’s the RX 7900 XTX that brings out the best of the Navi 31 GPU.
The RX 7900 XTX offers 14% more Stream Processors than the RX 7900 XT. As these Stream Processors are the fundamental building blocks of AMD’s graphics architecture, this will have an impact on gaming frame rates. With the other improvements included on the XTX model, my guess would be this card is anywhere between 5–15% faster at 4K, but that is a speculative shot in the dark. AMD has not provided any benchmark figures for comparison between the two.
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That sort of core count increase is not to be sniffed at, at least, and it’s certainly not bad for $100 if we look at AMD’s previous generation of GPUs, RDNA 2. There we can note a few points of comparison to try and make heads or tails of RDNA 3’s finest.
Take AMD’s RX 6900 XT, for example. That card offers 11% more Stream Processors than the RX 6800 XT under it. If you would’ve bought one of these cards at launch, you’d have paid $350 more for the privilege.
AMD’s top-tier card today, the RX 6950 XT, is arguably an even worse proposition by comparison. It offers the same core counts as the RX 6900 XT, but with slightly faster clocks and another $100 premium on top of that asking price. Granted, neither card’s MSRP meant much while they were at their most relevant to PC gaming. Price cuts have seen all of these cards become a lot more competitive lately, but they weren’t as readily available at reasonable prices for a great deal of their lifetimes.
Where things look a little different is when you compare AMD’s RX 6800 to the RX 6800 XT: the XT model comes with 20% more stream processors than the cheaper option, yet only $70 separated the two at launch. So it’s not like AMD hasn’t offered a pretty significant increase in specs for a small-ish price bump in the past.
The high-end RDNA 2 cards were also a lot closer by comparison than AMD’s RX 7900-series cards are in some key specifications. The RX 6950 XT, RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6800 all shared the same memory capacities, memory bus widths, and Infinity Cache.
Whereas the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX are separated by core counts, memory capacity, bus width, clock speed, and Infinity Cache. That’s because where the RX 7900 XTX utilises six MCD chiplets surrounding the central GCD die, the RX 7900 XT uses just five.
The RX 7900 XTX is simply an all-round more powerful graphics card, and that does make the $100 price difference between the RX 7900-series appear a little more nominal for what you’re getting in return.
So the RX 7900 XTX is the clear card to buy, right? Of what we know so far, it absolutely seems that way.
I can’t say for sure until I’ve actually had my hands on one to test, but let’s be honest: it’s bigger, badder, and not all that much more money than the RX 7900 XT. Of course PC gamers will choose this card to be the subject of their fascination.
For now, I feel more swayed to recommend anyone looking for a high-end GPU upgrade this year aim for the RX 7900 XTX at launch. Specifically, AMD’s own reference version.
We’ve only seen the reference RX 7900-series designs from AMD so far, and these are the only cards confirmed for a release on December 13, though I would expect to see some partner cards join the fray. A few designs from AMD’s partners at first, and perhaps some close to that all-important MSRP.
Important because both the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX are susceptible to a price creep on high-end OC aftermarket models, especially the lower-end XT model.
If you’re paying over the odds for an RX 7900 XT, you’ll be pinching yourself for not finding an RX 7900 XTX for MSRP at launch. That $100 gap between the two will be gobbled up quickly with fancy coolers and moderately higher clocks. Similarly, while AMD touts the XTX as the best thing under $1,000, it could easily sell for a higher four-digit ticket price. That pushes it into Nvidia’s RTX 4080 (opens in new tab) territory. Perhaps a hair closer to the RTX 4090 (opens in new tab), too, but that card really is in a league (and price bracket) of its own (opens in new tab).
That means the key purchasing advice I can give to anyone right now, whether you’re eyeing up the RX 7900 XT or RX 7900 XTX, is to be there pronto on December 13 when these GPUs drop.