AMD's answer to the Nvidia RTX 2080 promises to once again shake up the graphics card industry.
Radeon VII at a glanceHow powerful is the Radeon VII? Comparable to Nvidia's RTX 2080, making it good for high-performance 60fps gaming at up to 4K resolution
When does the Radeon VII come out? 7 February 2019
How much does the Radeon VII cost? US$699, no Australian pricing currently available
What is the Radeon VII?
Following Nvidia's lead, AMD used CES 2019 to unveil its latest entry in the great graphics card wars: the Radeon VII.
After focusing much of its efforts at the budget end of the graphics card market, AMD is once again targeting enthusiast PC gamers with the Radeon VII. In both price and power, AMD is selling the card as a competitor to Nvidia's RTX 2080, claiming that it can deliver similar performance in modern DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games.
The feather in AMD's cap here is the fact the Radeon VII is built on 7nm semiconductor technology as opposed to the 14nm technology used in AMD's previous RX Vega cards. This is the smaller technology's first appearance in consumer graphics cards and AMD claims that it allows the Radeon VII to deliver 25% higher performance than its forebears while requiring no more juice to power it.
Outside of the 7nm architecture, the Radeon VII delivers a few key improvements on AMD's erstwhile flagship RX Vega series. The card features twice the RAM of its predecessors, packing 16GB of the HBM2 memory AMD is so fond of. HBM2 memory uses a vertical stack of memory modules instead of the traditional horizontal arrangement to increase the width of the memory bus, allowing more data to be transferred in and out of memory at the same time. In the Radeon VII's case, this allows for impressive memory bandwidth speeds of 1TB/s.
Which features does the Radeon VII support?
AMD hasn't officially announced the features supported by the Radeon VII, but since the card isn't exactly reinventing the wheel, we expect it will stick with the same core feature set that has made AMD's RX 500 and RX Vega lines so popular. For reference, these include:
- FreeSync2 HDR
- Radeon Chill adaptive power-saving technology
- Radeon WattMan overclocking software
- Eyefinity multi-display technology
- Virtual Super Resolution super-sampling
- Vulkan API support
- Radeon ReLive recording software
- DirectX 12
- HDCP 2.2
- HDMI 2.0b
- DisplayPort 1.4 HDR
- TressFX hair physics
How powerful is the Radeon VII?
AMD is making some bold claims regarding the performance of the Radeon VII. In practical terms, AMD says the 25% performance boost afforded by the 7nm architecture translates to framerate increases of 25%, 35% and 42% over the RX Vega 64 in Fortnite, Battlefield V and Strange Brigade respectively.
|Product Name||MSI Radeon RX VEGA 64 8GB||AMD Radeon VII 16GB|
|Model||RX VEGA 64||Radeon VII|
|Base clock speed||1247MHz||1450MHz|
|Boost clock speed||1546MHz||1750MHz|
Against Nvidia's RTX 2080, AMD claims the Radeon VII maintains comparable performance in the aforementioned titles, hitting 60fps at maximum graphical settings. Assuming this pans out in real-world testing, this should ensure the Radeon VII has the chops to run most modern titles smoothly at everything from 1080p all the way up to 4K. It should also satisfy PC gamers who prefer high-refresh-rate monitors, with sufficient power to take advantage of ultra-responsive 120Hz and 144Hz refresh cycles.
The one caveat to keep in mind when comparing the Radeon VII against Nvidia's RTX cards is the lack of real-time ray-tracing support in AMD's new flagship. While we're yet to see a game truly leverage the benefits of real-time ray-tracing, if the technology does become a staple of video games in the future, that could hurt the Radeon VII's longevity.
Radeon VII availability and price
At its CES 2019 press conference, AMD announced the Radeon VII would be launching on 7 February 2019 for a retail price of US$699. It did not provide local Australian pricing, but going by the USD/AUD conversion of Nvidia's RTX 2080, we can expect the Radeon VII to land somewhere around AUD$1,199.
Radeon VII specs
- Base clock speed
- Boost clock speed
- 16GB HBM2
- Memory speed
- Memory bus
- Card length
- Card width
- Card height
- Power draw
- Recommended system power
- Power connectors
- No. HDMI ports
- No. Display Ports
- No. DVI ports
- DirectX support