Announced last month AMD's latest graphics card the 7nm Radeon VII is currently prepping for worldwide launch. With 16GB of fast HBM2 memory, 3840 stream processors, and Freesync 2 HDR support the card is being positioned as a direct NVIDIA RTX 2080 competitor. Which is reflected in the local pricing.
Although not available yet, pre-order pages have gone live for various versions of the card - Gigabyte Radeon VII
($1159.00 AUD), Sapphire Radeon VII
($1149.00 AUD), and MSI Radeon VII
($1149.00). Pricing that puts it in line with the RTX 2080 (although NVIDIA's card ships with 8GB of video memory).
: The Radeon VII also includes AMD’s Raise the Game Fully Loaded bundle, with anyone purchasing a card getting PC versions of Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry 5 and The Division 2.
Of course specs and price only tell one part of the story, and with reviews now online for the new AMD Radeon VII - we've rounded a few up to give you a good idea of just how well it performs. And compares.
- Full Review
Against its primary competition, the GeForce RTX 2080, the Radeon VII ends up 5-6% behind in our benchmark suite. Unfortunately the only games that it takes the lead are in Far Cry 5 and Battlefield 1, so the Radeon VII doesn't get to ‘trade blows’ as much as I'm sure AMD would have liked to see. Meanwhile, not unlike the RTX 2080 it competes with, AMD isn't looking to push the envelope on price-to-performance ratios here, so the Radeon VII isn't undercutting the pricing of the 2080 in any way. This is a perfectly reasonable choice for AMD to make given the state of the current market, but it does mean that when the card underperforms, there's no pricing advantage to help pick it back up.
Where the Radeon VII excels, as per the review, is compared to AMD's previous flagship card the RX Vega 64 - with performance gains of roughly 30% when it comes to 4K output. Based on the price, the general consensus is that like with DLSS and ray-tracing the benefit of the additional video memory of AMD's offering is hard to gauge outside of professional usage. One interesting note is that although power usage is lower than the Vega 64, the overall temperature and power usage is considerably higher than the RTX 2080.
- Full Review
A lack of graphics memory, however, is not something you'll easily run into for the coming years. Battlefield V manages to pull roughly 70 FPS on average in Ultra HD. That's 44 FPS for Shadow of the Tomb Raider and 60 FPS in Far Cry 5. These are good values at such monitor resolutions and remember we always apply the better of not best relevant image quality settings. As mentioned, performance can be all over the place. One moment with certain titles it's just above the RTX 2070, where in others it runs far ahead of the RTX 2080. That is a bit weird to observe but has everything to do with the nature of the beast. Some games will benefit greatly from HBM2 on the extremely wide memory bus for example. It's the intricate little stuff like that that define the differences. We feel the Radeon VII is a very interesting and fascinating product. It will probably need a few driver updates to get fully up-to-snuff. The pricing though is the decisive factor, and only you guys can determine whether or not the 699 USD is worth it. We would happily recommend it though if you'd like to be that 1st next-gen 7nm adopter with the 16GB graphics memory that comes with it.
As per the previous review the Radeon VII out-performs the RTX 2080 in titles like Battlefield V but falls short in others. Specifically The Witcher 3 which sees a sizable disparity and Shadow of the Tomb Raider which sees a minor dip in performance compared to the competition. The main drawback though, according to this review is the overall louder noise and power usage under load. Which, even with 7nm technology means that AMD has used that headroom to clock everything at a higher speed.
- Full Review
Those hoping for a GeForce killer will unfortunately have to keep waiting: the Radeon VII isn't it. There may be a few specific areas where it's the better choice, mostly for content creation, but for gaming at least it routinely falls behind the RTX 2080—and that's without factoring in ray tracing or DLSS. It's better to think of the Radeon VII as an alternative to the GTX 1080 Ti, since it comes with a similar feature set (ie, no hardware DXR support), but that just emphasizes the point that AMD's GPU division is currently about two years behind Nvidia, even with a big process node advantage. What will happen when Nvidia inevitably releases a 7nm GPU?
The PC Gamer review is somewhat negative in that it positions the Radeon VII as a GeForce 1080 Ti equivalent - but far less efficient. The benchmarks are listed as an overall average versus per title, which is a little weird. In doing so though, it reinforces this opinion - putting the RTX 2080 faster at all resolutions on average.
Tech Power Up
- Full Review
When averaged over all our benchmarks at 1440p resolution, the Radeon VII is 25% faster than Radeon Vega 64 despite a 256 shader deficit (or 7%). Compared to Vega 56, the performance increase is around 40%. However, in their initial announcement, AMD marketed Radeon VII as delivering performance similar to RTX 2080, which isn't the case (at least with our suite of benchmarks). RTX 2080 is still 14% faster than Radeon VII; even the aging GTX 1080 Ti is 5% faster. That difference does get considerably smaller at 4K (-10% vs. RTX 2080), but since Radeon VII's performance is targeted at fluid 1440p gaming, we chose to use that resolution for comparison. You are of course free to look at whatever resolution you prefer—the data is in the review. NVIDIA's fastest, the RTX 2080 Ti (which is much more expensive, of course), is around 40% faster. If you look at individual benchmarks, you can see that in some of them, the Radeon VII does very well against RTX 2080, even beating it in a few, but overall, without any cherry picking, it's just not close enough. We would recommend the Radeon VII for full-details gaming at 1440p or 4K if you are willing to substantially reduce quality settings to achieve 60 FPS at that resolution. The closest NVIDIA GPU you can compare it to performance-wise is the GTX 1080 Ti—last generation's flagship.
The review also highlights some cases, or games, where the Radeon VII excels. Citing Strange Brigade which utilises asynchronous-compute leading to performance at 4K that is near RTX 2080 Ti levels. Impressive. But overall, as with most reviews efficiency, price, and overall performance don't make it stand out compared to NVIDIA's offerings.
- Full Review
In the end, then, Radeon VII looks like the right card for the right kind of customer. By arming it with two times the HBM2 as Radeon RX Vega 64 and moving moving up to 1 TB/s, AMD uncorked its Vega 20 processor to serve up significantly more performance. Some workloads reward Radeon VII with a win over GeForce RTX 2080. Others show Nvidia retaining its lead. But AMD is clear that average frame rates don’t tell the whole story. Under certain conditions, 16GB of memory may also be the key to lower frame times and smoother performance. AMD didn’t give us enough time with Radeon VII to dig deep into those claims. We certainly plan to, though.
Interesting to hear that alongside the RTX's new features, time will tell just how much the additional video memory will impact performance going forward. In terms of its best use, the review notes that at 1440p or QHD resolution the card shines - whilst falling slightly short of the RTX 2080. For 4K gaming, at 60 frames-per-second, the results vary and like with NVIDIA's card (not the more expensive RTX 2080 Ti) settings will need to be tweaked to find the right balance.