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Thursday, August 31, 2023

GPU Efficiency and Value Compared

I've done a lot of testing of graphics cards, and I wanted to present some interesting data. I've got nearly all of the latest generation Nvidia RTX 40-series, AMD RX 7000-series, and Intel Arc A-series GPUs tested. One of the cool things about my testing is that I get power data for every benchmark. I've then split all of the results into two separate tables, which are sortable by clicking on the top column: Rasterization Performance and Ray Tracing Performance.

There are 1080p, 1440p, and 4K results for most of the cards, though slower cards aren't tested at 1440p and 4K with ray tracing enabled as it's rather pointless. I'm not sure exactly what this will look like on my blog, but let's give it a shot. We'll start with the rasterization table.

GPU Rasterization Performance and Efficiency Table

GPUPrice1080p FPS1080p Power1080p FPS/$1080p FPS/W1440p FPS1440p Power1440p FPS/$1440p FPS/W4K FPS4K Power4K FPS/$4K FPS/W
GeForce RTX 4090$1,599186.9265.90.1170.703166.8314.60.1040.530116.1385.20.0730.301
GeForce RTX 4080$1,100170.0222.20.1550.765142.7256.40.1300.55787.1286.50.0790.304
GeForce RTX 4070 Ti$774153.0224.20.1980.682121.2242.60.1570.50069.5260.80.0900.267
GeForce RTX 4070$590141.2199.40.2390.708109.2214.30.1850.50962.0226.40.1050.274
GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 16GB$500104.3147.80.2090.70674.7153.10.1490.48840.7157.10.0810.259
GeForce RTX 4060 Ti$374104.4142.60.2790.73274.8148.80.2000.50240.2152.00.1080.264
GeForce RTX 4060$28097.6136.40.3490.71669.8141.30.2490.49437.3143.40.1330.260
Radeon RX 7900 XTX$940166.5324.90.1770.513142.3348.10.1510.40990.1351.80.0960.256
Radeon RX 7900 XT$750160.6310.10.2140.518134.9327.10.1800.41282.6328.90.1100.251
Radeon RX 7600$25881.7153.10.3170.53456.7153.30.2200.37029.2153.20.1130.190
GeForce RTX 3090 Ti$1,456148.0399.30.1020.371119.8433.00.0820.27774.6457.30.0510.163
GeForce RTX 3090$1,177146.1370.40.1240.395118.0392.10.1000.30172.8405.60.0620.180
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti$914134.6344.60.1470.391107.5356.20.1180.30265.2360.00.0710.181
GeForce RTX 3080$690130.3327.90.1890.397102.8337.80.1490.30461.9341.30.0900.181
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti$480109.9270.00.2290.40782.2278.70.1710.29547.4282.40.0990.168
GeForce RTX 3070$380106.8241.10.2810.44379.5246.80.2090.32245.7248.40.1200.184
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti$33592.9200.70.2770.46368.7204.40.2050.33638.8204.40.1160.190
GeForce RTX 3060$28080.6178.50.2880.45259.3183.30.2120.32433.6185.70.1200.181
GeForce RTX 3050$22551.1122.40.2270.41737.0126.30.1640.29320.3127.50.0900.159
Radeon RX 6950 XT$599143.9297.70.2400.483114.2324.90.1910.35265.1326.50.1090.199
Radeon RX 6900 XT$750138.1282.30.1840.489108.3299.10.1440.36261.6300.10.0820.205
Radeon RX 6800 XT$520131.2275.20.2520.477101.2293.00.1950.34657.4298.70.1100.192
Radeon RX 6800$440123.1241.50.2800.51094.0256.70.2140.36653.4266.10.1210.201
Radeon RX 6750 XT$350102.0237.30.2910.43074.6249.00.2130.29940.7256.60.1160.158
Radeon RX 6700 XT$32095.6205.10.2990.46669.8213.60.2180.32738.0219.40.1190.173
Radeon RX 6700 10GB$27084.3181.00.3120.46660.5185.30.2240.32731.8185.50.1180.172
Radeon RX 6650 XT$23578.4171.50.3330.45755.5176.40.2360.31528.3173.40.1200.163
Radeon RX 6600 XT$27076.0152.30.2810.49953.3156.80.1970.34026.7152.70.0990.175
Radeon RX 6600$20070.1143.80.3500.48748.9145.90.2440.33524.6143.60.1230.171
Intel Arc A770 16GB$33077.9204.40.2360.38159.2214.10.1790.27734.6222.30.1050.155
Intel Arc A770 8GB$29073.0216.50.2520.33755.7231.70.1920.24031.5238.80.1090.132
Intel Arc A750$22067.4185.30.3060.36450.0194.00.2270.25827.9201.00.1270.139
Intel Arc A380$12027.470.30.2280.39019.472.10.1620.269

Okay, click away and have fun. Key points, though: AMD has some good value propositions, often from its previous generation RX 6000-series. However, the RTX 4060 is right up near the top for rasterization performance, trading blows with the RX 6600 and RX 6650 XT. Nvidia's GPU costs more but performs better, in other words.

As for efficiency... it's not even close. Nvidia RTX 40-series cards claim the top seven spots, with the RX 7600 landing in eighth and followed by the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX. What's sort of funny is that, after the 7000-series GPUs, AMD's 6000-series comes next. So Nvidia really leapfrogged AMD when going from RTX 30-series to RTX 40-series in efficiency.

GPU Ray Tracing Performance and Efficiency Table

GPUPrice1080p FPS1080p Power1080p FPS/$1080p FPS/W1440p FPS1440p Power1440p FPS/$1440p FPS/W4K FPS4K Power4K FPS/$4K FPS/W
GeForce RTX 4090$1,599144.4320.10.0900.451106.7369.00.0670.28957.9408.00.0360.142
GeForce RTX 4080$1,100115.9251.70.1050.46179.3273.10.0720.29041.1287.00.0370.143
GeForce RTX 4070 Ti$77496.1236.00.1240.40763.8252.40.0820.25332.7263.40.0420.124
GeForce RTX 4070$59088.1210.00.1490.41957.5219.60.0970.26228.8223.90.0490.129
GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 16GB$50060.3152.70.1210.39538.6155.70.0770.24818.6157.10.0370.119
GeForce RTX 4060 Ti$37460.4149.70.1620.40438.5152.50.1030.25217.8149.20.0480.119
GeForce RTX 4060$28056.2142.20.2010.39535.3143.60.1260.24616.3140.20.0580.116
Radeon RX 7900 XT$75083.3327.30.1110.25455.7326.40.0740.17127.8329.10.0370.085
Radeon RX 7900 XTX$94088.2350.70.0940.25159.3346.60.0630.17130.0350.50.0320.086
Radeon RX 7600$25830.3150.60.1170.20117.6148.00.0680.119
GeForce RTX 3090 Ti$1,45695.0418.00.0650.22765.2437.70.0450.14934.5449.20.0240.077
GeForce RTX 3090$1,17791.4380.90.0780.24062.5392.40.0530.15932.6395.40.0280.082
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti$91483.5345.00.0910.24257.8351.60.0630.16429.4347.90.0320.085
GeForce RTX 3080$69080.6330.30.1170.24455.2336.30.0800.16427.0328.20.0390.082
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti$48063.9272.40.1330.23440.6271.50.0840.14917.2249.30.0360.069
GeForce RTX 3070$38062.0242.20.1630.25639.4243.00.1040.16216.6224.00.0440.074
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti$33553.5201.20.1600.26634.1201.20.1020.16914.0183.80.0420.076
GeForce RTX 3060$28045.6177.20.1630.25729.0178.10.1040.16313.0171.80.0470.076
GeForce RTX 3050$22527.4119.10.1220.23017.1121.20.0760.141
Radeon RX 6900 XT$75060.3299.50.0800.20140.0301.60.0530.13219.6300.60.0260.065
Radeon RX 6950 XT$59964.4321.90.1080.20042.7323.60.0710.13221.0328.20.0350.064
Radeon RX 6800 XT$52057.6290.20.1110.19937.8296.40.0730.12718.2297.10.0350.061
Radeon RX 6800$44053.3257.10.1210.20734.9265.00.0790.13216.8267.20.0380.063
Radeon RX 6750 XT$35041.4250.00.1180.16526.0256.30.0740.10212.2259.00.0350.047
Radeon RX 6700 XT$32038.0208.40.1190.18224.1214.00.0750.11311.5216.60.0360.053
Radeon RX 6700 10GB$27034.3186.10.1270.18421.0188.20.0780.112
Radeon RX 6650 XT$23529.2163.70.1240.17917.6167.80.0750.105
Radeon RX 6600 XT$27027.8145.60.1030.19116.6145.20.0610.114
Radeon RX 6600$20025.4139.30.1270.18215.0138.60.0750.108
Intel Arc A770 16GB$33042.4209.60.1290.20229.8220.60.0900.135
Intel Arc A770 8GB$29040.8224.90.1410.18124.4226.60.0840.108
Intel Arc A750$22042.6196.90.1940.21625.9210.00.1180.123
Intel Arc A380$12012.168.60.1010.177

Ray tracing as usual greatly favors Nvidia GPUs. In terms of value, the lower tier RTX 40-series and 30-series parts rank near the top, with the Arc A750 also making a name for itself. The best AMD GPU for ray tracing value goes to the RX 6700 10GB, sitting in eleventh place overall and followed closely by the RX 6600. Naturally, the most expensive cards are pretty poor in terms of value.

Efficiency meanwhile hugely favors Nvidia's RTX 40-series, with a relatively huge gap between the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 4060. The latter does 0.395 FPS/W at 1080p while the former is only 0.266 FPS/W. AMD's top option ends up as the RX 7900 XT, with just 0.254 FPS/W at 1080p, though the 7900 cards do slightly better at 1440p and 4K. Intel's Arc might offer up some decent performance, but it also uses more power and generally ends up near the bottom of the efficiency charts.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

GPU Performance Hierarchy and the Best Graphics Cards, November 2022

With graphics cards finally back in stock, I've put together this comprehensive GPU performance hierarchy of the past two (now starting on three) generations of graphics cards. These are the best graphics cards around, but it's also important to know what you're getting. I've benchmarked all of these cards, at multiple resolutions and settings. Here's how they stack up across a test suite of 15 games.

I've also listed current GPU prices, which have improved substantially over the past few months. Most AMD graphics cards are now selling at or below their official MSRPs, and Nvidia's fastest GPUs (RTX 3080 Ti, RTX 3090, and RTX 3090 Ti) are also well below their MSRPs. The RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 have also launched, alongside the various Intel Arc GPUs. Here's the current list, updated regularly as new GPUs arrive.

GPU Benchmarks and Performance Hierarchy

Note: Click the column headings to sort the table!

Graphics CardOverall Performance4K Ultra1440p Ultra1080p Ultra1080p MediumOnline Price (MSRP)Specifications
GeForce RTX 4090182.5128.7167.2179.8225.6$2,177 ($1,599)AD102, 16384 shaders, 2520 MHz, 82.6 TFLOPS, 24GB GDDR6X@21Gbps, 1008GB/s, 450W
GeForce RTX 4080162.9100.7148.2167.9217.0$1,249 ($1,199)AD103, 9728 shaders, 2505 MHz, 48.7 TFLOPS, 16GB GDDR6X@22.4Gbps, 617GB/s, 320W
GeForce RTX 3090 Ti144.783.0128.2153.5209.7$1,449 ($1,999)GA102, 10752 shaders, 1860 MHz, 40.0 TFLOPS, 24GB GDDR6X@21Gbps, 1008GB/s, 450W
Radeon RX 6950 XT137.774.6124.4151.3210.9$799 ($1,099)Navi 21, 5120 shaders, 2310 MHz, 23.7 TFLOPS, 16GB GDDR6@18Gbps, 576GB/s, 335W
GeForce RTX 3090136.075.1119.2145.5205.2$1,298 ($1,499)GA102, 10496 shaders, 1695 MHz, 35.6 TFLOPS, 24GB GDDR6X@19.5Gbps, 936GB/s, 350W
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti132.472.6115.7141.9201.3$1,149 ($1,199)GA102, 10240 shaders, 1665 MHz, 34.1 TFLOPS, 12GB GDDR6X@19Gbps, 912GB/s, 350W
GeForce RTX 3080 12GB129.070.1112.5138.4198.3$899 (N/A)GA102, 8960 shaders, 1845 MHz, 33.1 TFLOPS, 12GB GDDR6X@19Gbps, 912GB/s, 350W
Radeon RX 6900 XT127.666.9113.4142.2203.2$669 ($999)Navi 21, 5120 shaders, 2250 MHz, 23.0 TFLOPS, 16GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 512GB/s, 300W
GeForce RTX 3080123.965.9106.5132.8197.5$732 ($699)GA102, 8704 shaders, 1710 MHz, 29.8 TFLOPS, 10GB GDDR6X@19Gbps, 760GB/s, 320W
Radeon RX 6800 XT120.862.1107.2135.1196.5$597 ($649)Navi 21, 4608 shaders, 2250 MHz, 20.7 TFLOPS, 16GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 512GB/s, 300W
Radeon RX 6800108.053.593.8120.6187.6$499 ($579)Navi 21, 3840 shaders, 2105 MHz, 16.2 TFLOPS, 16GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 512GB/s, 250W
GeForce RTX 3070 Ti106.050.691.0117.4182.0$549 ($599)GA104, 6144 shaders, 1770 MHz, 21.7 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6X@19Gbps, 608GB/s, 290W
GeForce RTX 3070100.246.685.3112.2176.0$529 ($499)GA104, 5888 shaders, 1725 MHz, 20.3 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 220W
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti97.947.982.7107.6169.2$997 ($999)TU102, 4352 shaders, 1545 MHz, 13.4 TFLOPS, 11GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 616GB/s, 250W
Radeon RX 6750 XT95.744.380.5109.4180.3$420 ($549)Navi 22, 2560 shaders, 2600 MHz, 13.3 TFLOPS, 12GB GDDR6@18Gbps, 432GB/s, 250W
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti91.041.176.5102.3166.0$389 ($399)GA104, 4864 shaders, 1665 MHz, 16.2 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 200W
Radeon RX 6700 XT90.241.675.5103.4171.3$379 ($489)Navi 22, 2560 shaders, 2581 MHz, 13.2 TFLOPS, 12GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 384GB/s, 230W
GeForce RTX 2080 Super83.437.270.994.4152.5$599 ($699)TU104, 3072 shaders, 1815 MHz, 11.2 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@15.5Gbps, 496GB/s, 250W
Radeon RX 6700 10GB81.335.168.095.2158.0$329 (N/A)Navi 22, 2304 shaders, 2450 MHz, 11.3 TFLOPS, 10GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 320GB/s, 175W
Intel Arc A770 16GB80.939.468.489.6139.0$349 ($349)ACM-G10, 4096 shaders, 2100 MHz, 17.2 TFLOPS, 16GB GDDR5@17.5Gbps, 560GB/s, 225W
GeForce RTX 208079.935.068.091.2147.2$699 ($699)TU104, 2944 shaders, 1710 MHz, 10.1 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 215W
Radeon RX 6650 XT73.732.260.486.0147.7$299 ($399)Navi 23, 2048 shaders, 2635 MHz, 10.8 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@18Gbps, 280GB/s, 180W
GeForce RTX 2070 Super73.731.862.584.7137.0$499 ($499)TU104, 2560 shaders, 1770 MHz, 9.1 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 215W
Radeon RX 6600 XT72.031.458.484.0145.6$279 ($399)Navi 23, 2048 shaders, 2589 MHz, 10.6 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 256GB/s, 160W
Intel Arc A75071.433.859.979.0128.6$289 ($289)ACM-G10, 3584 shaders, 2050 MHz, 14.7 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR5@16Gbps, 512GB/s, 225W
GeForce RTX 306069.831.657.678.3131.0$299 ($329)GA106, 3584 shaders, 1777 MHz, 12.7 TFLOPS, 12GB GDDR6@15Gbps, 360GB/s, 170W
GeForce RTX 207065.528.255.675.3122.1$499 ($399)TU106, 2304 shaders, 1620 MHz, 7.5 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 175W
GeForce RTX 2060 Super62.226.452.572.0116.8$331 ($399)TU106, 2176 shaders, 1650 MHz, 7.2 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 175W
Radeon RX 5700 XT61.729.353.373.7125.8$298 ($399)Navi 10, 2560 shaders, 1905 MHz, 9.8 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 225W
Radeon RX 660060.825.949.071.6125.4$209 ($329)Navi 23, 1792 shaders, 2491 MHz, 8.9 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 224GB/s, 132W
Radeon RX 570054.425.747.264.8111.3$298 ($349)Navi 10, 2304 shaders, 1725 MHz, 7.9 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 448GB/s, 180W
GeForce RTX 206051.920.642.160.8106.2$229 ($299)TU106, 1920 shaders, 1680 MHz, 6.5 TFLOPS, 6GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 336GB/s, 160W
GeForce RTX 305050.622.341.157.198.1$249 ($249)GA106, 2560 shaders, 1777 MHz, 9.1 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 224GB/s, 130W
Radeon RX 5600 XT48.522.542.058.1100.6$279 ($279)Navi 10, 2304 shaders, 1750 MHz, 8.1 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 336GB/s, 160W
GeForce GTX 1660 Super36.515.431.544.482.8$195 ($229)TU116, 1408 shaders, 1785 MHz, 5.0 TFLOPS, 6GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 336GB/s, 125W
Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB33.315.028.539.872.6$229 ($199)Navi 14, 1408 shaders, 1845 MHz, 5.2 TFLOPS, 8GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 224GB/s, 130W
GeForce GTX 166032.913.728.539.975.1$199 ($219)TU116, 1408 shaders, 1785 MHz, 5.0 TFLOPS, 6GB GDDR5@8Gbps, 192GB/s, 120W
Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB27.911.523.333.566.9$149 ($179)Navi 14, 1408 shaders, 1845 MHz, 5.2 TFLOPS, 4GB GDDR6@14Gbps, 224GB/s, 130W
GeForce GTX 1650 Super26.510.521.033.267.9$209 ($169)TU116, 1280 shaders, 1725 MHz, 4.4 TFLOPS, 4GB GDDR6@12Gbps, 192GB/s, 100W
Radeon RX 6500 XT25.99.318.831.968.5$159 ($199)Navi 24, 1024 shaders, 2815 MHz, 5.8 TFLOPS, 4GB GDDR6@18Gbps, 144GB/s, 107W
Intel Arc A38025.89.421.231.058.7$139 ($139)ACM-G11, 1024 shaders, 2000 MHz, 4.1 TFLOPS, 6GB GDDR5@15.5Gbps, 186GB/s, 75W
GeForce GTX 165020.07.415.826.651.1$156 ($159)TU117, 896 shaders, 1665 MHz, 3.0 TFLOPS, 4GB GDDR5@8Gbps, 128GB/s, 75W
Radeon RX 640020.07.214.524.552.7$139 ($159)Navi 24, 768 shaders, 2321 MHz, 3.6 TFLOPS, 4GB GDDR6@16Gbps, 128GB/s, 53W

If you're looking at those numbers and wondering where they come from, they're a composite score generated by using the geometric mean of testing conducted at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Ray tracing hardware factors into the scores as well, which explains why Nvidia's RTX GPUs often outclass their AMD counterparts, and the same mostly goes for Intel Arc GPUs.

Prices are not a factor in the above rankings, but I've linked to Amazon in the first column — not all GPUs are available there, or in stock. Obviously, previous generation parts tend to be far less desirable, as prices have not dropped nearly enough relative to the performance on tap. Note that I do get Amazon affiliate compensation if you use my links.

With the overall performance rankings out of the way, I've also selected my top four picks for the enthusiast, high-end, mid-range, and budget markets. Here's where price becomes a much bigger consideration.

The Best Enthusiast Graphics Card

GeForce RTX 4090 24GB ($1,599)

Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 is the new ruler of the graphics card world, particularly for 4K gaming and especially if you want to play games with ray tracing effects. It's expensive and also sold out right now, but if you can nab one... damn, is it fast! You also get 24GB of memory, DLSS support — including the new DLSS 3 Frame Generation technology to further boost performance, especially in CPU limited scenarios — and improved efficiency. This is without question the top enthusiast graphics card right now.

The Best High-End Graphics Card

Radeon RX 6750 XT 12GB ($420)

Picking the best high-end GPU is a bit more difficult. The RTX 3080, 3070, and 3060 Ti are all worth a thought, but overall I give the edge to the Radeon RX 6750 XT. It has more memory, it performs nearly as well as the Nvidia cards — better if you're not worried about ray tracing effects — and it's reasonably priced starting at $449. You can also opt for the RX 6700 XT, which is only a few percent slower and costs about $50 less (for however long it remains in stock).

The Best Mainstream Graphics Card

Radeon RX 6600 8GB ($229)

There's little question about this one, as the RX 6600 delivers excellent performance and only costs $229 (sometimes less). Such prices were practically unheard of during the past two years for a GPU of this quality, but with the massive drop off in GPU mining profitability, there appears to be a growing surplus of AMD's Navi 23 parts. Our overall performance ranking puts it behind the RTX 3060, but that card costs about $100 more. Online prices are lower than even the RTX 3050, a card that's easily eclipsed by the RX 6600. This is arguably the best graphics card value right now. As a wild card alternative, you could also try to pick up an Intel Arc A750, which delivers superior performance and features... as long as the drivers don't bite you in the ass. Which they probably will.

The Best Budget Graphics Card

Radeon RX 6500 XT 4GB ($159)

This is a tough one, as the Radeon RX 6500 XT has a lot of limitations. It doesn't have much memory, it's limited to a 4-lane PCIe interface, it only has two display outputs, and it doesn't even have video encoding hardware. The problem is that the next step up basically puts us right back at the $250 midrange price point. Given you can find the RX 6500 XT for just $159, and it competes with the GTX 1650 Super that costs $60 more, there just aren't many other worthwhile options for under $200. Intel's Arc A380 would be an option, but it's continually sold out — which probably has more to do with a lack of supply than high demand.

Performance Charts

If you want a slightly different view of the performance rankings, here are the four charts — this time without trying to smush everything into a single composite score. So instead of looking at average and 1% lows "combined," you're getting the pure, unadulterated performance data.

Looking Forward to More Ada and RDNA 3

Nvidia's next generation Ada Lovelace architecture (RTX 40-series) and AMD's next generation RDNA 3 architecture (RX 7000-series) are slated to arrive before the end of the year, with the RTX 4080 and 4090 now launched and the AMD 7900 series coming December 13. While I could argue that you should just wait for the new parts to arrive, there's little reason to expect great prices — the RTX 4090 and now RTX 4080 sold out within hours at most and are now mostly sitting at scalper prices. Again. But I don't expect the high prices to remain the norm for very long, as there's no longer profitable GPU mining to support outrageous prices.

If you already have a decent graphics card, there's no rush to upgrade today. Also keep in mind that the wafer costs on the upcoming architectures are going to be significantly higher, and prices were paid in advance, many months ago — when GPU prices were still far higher. 4nm/5nm class GPUs will simply be inherently more expensive to make, and AMD and Nvidia will want to try and keep higher profit margins.

Beyond the rest of 2022, I do expect to see RTX 4070 Ti and lower tier Ada Lovelace GPUs start showing up in early 2023. AMD will also follow up the RX 7900 series with various other 7000-series parts, with probably at least two 7800-class cards in early 2023. The mainstream and budget cards won't come for a while, though.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Crossy Road Medieval Character Unlocks

I'm going to interrupt my normally scheduled GPU talk to go off on a tangent: Crossy Road. It's a stupid game. I've played it waaaaaay too much! Recently, the Medieval update came out with a new map, plus 14 new characters. I've already unlocked every other character, except for the Piggy Bank that requires you to pay $2.99 — I'm cheap, and also addicted. LOL

So, here are the 14 medieval characters, brief notes on each, and what you need to do to unlock them.

  1. Gorgeous Prince: Prize Machine. Laughs knowingly and appears quite full of himself.
  2. Princess: Prize Machine. Sometimes giggles, sometimes sniffs arrogantly, she's apparently the female counterpart to the Gorgeous Prince.
  3. Blacksmith: Prize Machine. Anvils, anvils, everywhere! Lots of the regular objects on the medieval level are replaced with anvils, which the blacksmith can whack. It doesn't do anything other than make a sound.
  4. Peasant: Prize Machine. Laughs like Beavis and Butthead, or some evildoer. If you stand still, he'll throw rotten fruit in whatever direction he's facing.
  5. Falconer: Prize Machine. Not much to say, except the bird squawks and when you die it flies away.
  6. Monk: Prize Machine. Carries a bible, which he lifts into the air when you stand still. He's the only character that can find Robin Hood.
  7. Healer: Prize Machine. Carries around a book and a backpack, but otherwise nothing special that I could see.
  8. Noblewoman: Prize Machine. Hums to herself and people bow to her when she passes.
  9. Nobleman: Prize Machine. Mumbles importantly to himself and people bow to him when he passes.

  10. The Wart: Prize Machine. A nod to Disney's A Sword in the Stone, The Wart is the only character that can draw Excalibur and unlock Merlin. Otherwise, he's pretty nondescript.
  11. Black Knight: Requires 100 tokens, obtained by playing the Pecking Order daily challenge. He's an homage to Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. If you stand still for a bit, he loses his arms first and then his legs. Keep moving, or get to a log or a lily pad and he can rest.
  12. Lady of the Lake: Jump in the sparkling river. There's an audio cue when you see the river that's different looking than the others. When playing as the Lady, all rivers are now sparkling. She carries a sword (presumably Excalibur), and will raise it in the air if you stand still for a bit.
  13. Merlin: Play as The Wart and find an open field with the sword in the stone. Approach it and it shakes and rises up, and you unlock Merlin. Note that you can find the sword in the stone with other characters but the sword remains stuck. Merlin carries a wizard's staff, and if you stand still he'll raise it up and cause nearby objects to float.
  14. Robin Hood: Play as the Monk (Friar Tuck?) and you can sometimes find him standing to the side. I found him near a river, but I don't know if that's always the case. Robin Hood will often encounter his Merry Men near jousting areas, and they will dance a jig with him.

Congratulations! Assume you have enough time and patience to spin the stupid Prize Machine a bunch of times (I was at 83,000 coins when the Medieval Update arrived), you can now unlock all of the new characters.

What's the Medieval level like? The trains are replaced by jousters, there are roads with carriages and people riding horses, and you get the usual rivers and such. All told, it's a fun little updates for people who, like me, spend too much time playing stupid games while running benchmarks.

Friday, November 11, 2022

AMD Radeon RX 6700 10GB (Non-XT) Review and Specifications, Featuring Sapphire

We've got something new for today: My first graphics card review for the site. It's mostly because this is a card that hasn't been reviewed much, the AMD Radeon RX 6700 non-XT 10GB model. This GPU came later in the life cycle, and it sits roughly between the RX 6650 XT and RX 6700 XT — in price as well as performance. It's sort of a last gasp for RDNA 2, right as RDNA 3 cards are about to launch, though the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT will be priced in an entirely different category. You can already find the FPS results in our GPU performance hierarchy, but let's dig into things a bit deeper for this review.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 10GB Specifications
ArchitectureNavi 22
Process TechnologyTSMC N7
Transistors (Billion)17.2
Die size (mm^2)336
Compute Units36
GPU Cores (Shaders)2304
Ray Accelerators36
Boost Clock (MHz)2450
VRAM Speed (Gbps)16
VRAM Bus Width160
Infinity Cache80
Render Outputs64
Texture Mapping Units144
FP32 TFLOPS (Single-Precision)11.3
FP16 TFLOPS (Half-Precision)22.6
Bandwidth (GB/s)320
Total Board Power (Watts)175
Launch DateMarch 18, 2021
Launch Price$369 (unofficial)

For quite some time, the Radeon RX 6700 XT was the only desktop card to use AMD's Navi 22 GPU. Later, the RX 6750 XT joined the fun, and both are fully enabled variants of the chip. Given there are always defective die from a wafer, and most of those can be harvested by disabling the affected functional units (CUs, SMs, memory controllers, etc.), we long expected there would be an RX 6700 non-XT card. But it didn't come, and it didn't come, and then it suddenly stealth-launched from a couple of AMD's AIC (add-in card) partners: Sapphire and XFX. Maybe there are others making the 6700 10GB, but in the US at least these are the only ones available.

There's no official pricing on the RX 6700 10GB, sort of like there's no official price for the RTX 3080 12GB or some of the other custom GPUs. It's been a few months since they first appeared, and our recollection is they cost over $400 at launch, but pricing has dropped in the ensuing months. Now, the Sapphire Pulse card we're reviewing goes for $349 while the XFX Speedster model costs $329.

That's probably fair, as Sapphire tends to build a better product — quieter fans, same or better performance. Still, the Pulse is a baseline model with no frills like RGB lighting to get in the way. Also note that it has just a single 8-pin power connector, a tried and true option that shouldn't melt and will provide more than enough electricity for the 175W part. The card has three DisplayPort 1.4a outputs and a single HDMI 2.1 port, typical of most modern graphics cards.

Compared to the RX 6700 XT, you get four fewer CUs (Compute Units) and a 160-bit memory interface. Along with one of the memory channels, you also lose 16MB of Infinity Cache. Memory bandwidth is still reasonable at 320 GB/s, and the extra 2GB might help performance in some games. Speaking of which...

There's not much point in spending a lot of time analyzing the performance. As expected, it lands about midway between the RX 6650 XT and the RX 6700 XT. That makes sense considering it has 11–25  percent more memory bandwidth than the RX 6600/6650 XT and about 5–7 percent more compute available. It also has more Infinity Cache, which means it might make better use of the compute, and the real-world clocks tend to be higher than the official specs.

It's interesting to see how this latecomer fares against other similarly priced graphics cards as well. Overall, it trades blows with the Intel Arc A770 16GB, winning at 1080p medium, tying at 1080p ultra, and then falling behind at 1440p and 4K. It also wins against the RTX 3060, sometimes by a lot, and at times it looks more like an RTX 3060 Ti competitor.

But raytracing proves to be the usual Achilles' Heel for AMD's RDNA 2 architecture, and in our more demanding DirectX Raytracing tests the RX 6700 10GB often falls behind the 3060, and in Minecraft it even trails the lackluster RTX 3050. Buy it for the rasterization performance, in other words, and not for its raytracing prowess.

Also, given the $20 savings, if you're looking at the RX 6700 10GB you might want to opt for the XFX variant. Sapphire's card is fine, but every penny counts in these trying times. If you can afford the extra $20, you could probably also afford another $50 and start getting into cards that are overall more capable, like the RX 6750 XT.

Keep an eye out for sales this holiday season, as we're expecting a lot of GPUs to get cleared out to make way for the incoming RX 7000-series and RTX 40-series graphics cards. Those will start at the extreme and high-end pricing segments, but come spring 2023, we'll probably see something closer to the mainstream market — RX 7700 maybe, as a trimmed down take on the RX 7700 XT? Make it so, AMD, make it so, and this time skip the one year delay between those card launches.

Holy Nerdvana Verdict: 81/100

A capable GPU that would have been a lot more attractive had it arrived shortly after the RX 6700 XT. Pricing and performance are still decent, raytracing proves a weak spot for AMD as usual, but we can't help but look longingly toward the near future when we'll see next-generation mainstream graphics cards deliver significantly more performance for a hopefully similar price.

Friday, November 4, 2022

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT Specifications

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is the slightly smaller sibling of the just-announced Radeon RX 7900 XTX. Using the same RDNA 3 architecture and GPU chiplets, but with one fewer MCD (Memory Cache Die), it will presumably land just a bit lower down on our GPU performance hierarchy when it arrives on December 13.

We have to admit that the naming certainly represents a bit of an annoyance. The only difference between the RX 7900 XTX and the 7900 XT is one letter, and yet the latter will definitely have less performance. For all the people that were up in arms over the RTX 4080 16GB and RTX 4080 12GB shenanigans, this doesn't really feel any better. Regardless, these are the names AMD has chosen and we'll have to see how they match up. Here's the rundown of the RX 7900 XT specs.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT Specifications
ArchitectureNavi 31
Process TechnologyTSMC N5 + N6
Transistors (Billion)58
Die size (mm^2)300 + 185
Compute Units84
GPU Cores (Shaders)10752
Ray Accelerators84
Boost Clock (MHz)2400
VRAM Speed (Gbps)20
VRAM Bus Width320
Infinity Cache80
Render Outputs192
Texture Mapping Units336
FP32 TFLOPS (Single-Precision)51.6
FP16 TFLOPS (Half-Precision)103.2
Bandwidth (GB/s)800
Total Board Power (Watts)300
Launch DateDecember 13, 2022
Launch Price$899

The core design looks to be the same, but there's one fewer active MCD and thus only 20GB of GDDR6 with a 320-bit memory interface, cutting bandwidth by 17%. The GCD is also likely a harvested die with only 84 of the potential 96 Compute Units (CUs) active, a 12.5% reduction. AMD gave a Game Clock figure of just 2000 MHz (compared to 2300 MHz on the 7900 XTX), but we're going to assume the actual boost clocks are much closer and put in 2400 MHz for now.

To be 100% clear, AMD hasn't given an exact number on the teraflops for the 7900 XT, but we're basing this on past experience with the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT. Those cards had Game Clocks of 1815 MHz and 2015 MHz, with official boost clocks of 2105 MHz and 2250 MHz. In our actual testing, however, the reference RX 6800 averages around 2250 MHz while gaming compared to the RX 6800 XT at 2340 MHz. Time will tell precisely where the 7900 XT and XTX land, but we think actual clocks will be far closer than the revealed Game Clocks suggest.

Which brings us to the competition. The RX 7900 XT will start at $899, just $100 less than the RX 7900 XTX. That seems... far too close. On paper, the XTX has 19% more theoretical compute (using our numbers) and 20% more bandwidth, yet it only costs 11% more. If you're willing to spend $900 on the 7900 XT, we can't see any reason why you'd want to "save" $100 and not get the faster XTX.

Elsewhere, the 7900 XT has the same base price as the "unlaunched" RTX 4080 12GB. We wouldn't be surprised if Nvidia got word of the AMD card and realized just how badly the 4080 12GB would look in comparison and so it decided to go back to the drawing board. There's a good chance the RX 7900 XT will still be reasonably competitive with the upcoming RTX 4080, which based on Nvidia's own testing was about 25–30 percent faster than the 4080 12GB that's no longer a thing. (News flash if you didn't catch the sarcasm: The AD104 12GB GPU is absolutely a thing still, but it will probably end up as a slightly tweaked RTX 4070 card or maybe even an RTX 4070 Ti.)

Right now, the RX 7900 XT offers more VRAM and more theoretical compute performance than the RTX 4080, but of course it doesn't have Tensor cores and DLSS support, and it probably still has slower DXR performance, despite AMD's 50% improvement in ray tracing performance with RDNA 3. How will it stack up? We'll find out next month.