March 22, 2023
AMD Unveils First RDNA 3-Based Radeon RX 7000 Series Graphics Cards

AMD Unveils First RDNA 3-Based Radeon RX 7000 Series Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT arrive December 13

AMD officially announced its new AMD RDNA 3 architecture along with its first Radeon RX 7000 series graphics cards at the event in Las Vegas. Offering numerous performance and feature enhancements, the new RX 7900 series graphics cards bring the first chip GPU design, DisplayPort 2.1 support, and will be available on December 13th at relatively reasonable prices.

The announcement was of course opened by Dr. Lisa Su, CEO and President of AMD, revealing a few more details about the RNDA 3 architecture and chiplet GPU design.

The GPU actually uses TSMC’s 5nm GCD (Graphics Compute Die) and 5nm MCDs (Memory Cache Die), allowing AMD to pack 58 billion transistors on a 300mm2 GDC and 6×37 MCDs. mm2, for a computing performance of 61 TFLOPs.

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The GDC basically contains all the core functions of the GPU, such as the compute units, as well as the display and media engines, while the MCDs contain 64-bit GDDR6 memory controllers, as well as the AMD Infinity cache (up to ‘to 96 MB).

AMD makes several improvements to its compute units, giving them the ability to execute up to two instructions per cycle, calling them dual problem stream processors. This move has its pros as well as cons and it remains to be seen how it will affect performance in certain scenarios. There is also a 50% increased VGPR (Vector General Purpose Register), compared to RDNA 2, as well as dedicated AI accelerators (for up to 2.7x performance), and added the RT accelerator 2nd Generation, delivering up to 50% more performance per CPU.

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As detailed by AMD, this will give the Radeon RX 7900 series a decent improvement in ray tracing performance over the Radeon RX 6950 XT.

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Another thing that caught everyone’s attention is “decoupled clocks”, which means the shaders and the front-end run at different clock speeds. In the case of the 7900 XTX, the shaders run at 2.3 GHz while the front end is clocked at 2.5 GHz. While AMD didn’t go into specifics, it said it brings a 15% boost in frequency over the previous generation and offers up to 25% power savings, so it will be interesting to see what sort of performance per watt improvements this will actually bring.

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The AMD Radiance Display Engine which supports DisplayPort 2.1 is definitely one of the stars of the show, delivering up to 54 Gbps display link bandwidth, 12 bits per channel and gaming support. 8K at 165Hz and 4K at 480Hz. While there are only a handful of monitors capable of pushing this, AMD has previewed the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 which will be showcased at CES 2023.

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The new dual-media engine brings 8K60 AV1 encoding/decoding, simultaneous encoding/decoding for AVC/HEVC, AI-enhanced video encoding, and a 1.8x increase in engine frequency, driving up to 7x faster 8K transcoding with AV1 encoding.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and Radeon 7900 XT

AMD’s first RDNA 3 architecture-based cards will be the Radeon RX 7900 XTX and Radeon RX 7900 XT, both launching on December 13 with prices set at $999 and $899, respectively.

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The flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX appears to be a fully activated part, packing 96 CPUs and 96MB of AMD Infinity cache. The game clock is set to 2.3 GHz and comes with 24 GB of GDDR6 memory on a 384-bit memory interface. The TBP (Total Board Power) is pegged at 355W and requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.

AMD was keen to note that the reference design is much the same as on the RX 6950 XT, and the card has 2.5 slots and only 1cm longer at 28.7cm.

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The Radeon RX 7900 XT packs 84 CPUs and operates with a 2.0 GHz gaming clock. It also comes with 20GB of GDDR6 memory on a slightly narrower 320-bit memory interface. Its TBP is set at 300W.

The biggest surprise is the $100 price difference, suggesting there isn’t much of a difference between the RX 7900 XTX and the RX 7900 XT in terms of performance but, of course, we have to wait to see some references, as AMD’s presentation was oddly without those numbers (other than a few RT performance numbers).

Either way, we’ll be waiting to see how Nvidia reacts with its RTX 4080 16GB, the canceled RX 4080 12GB, and where the Radeon RX 7900 series stands in terms of performance per watt at these prices.

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