Considering the price and performance on tap, it's best we start with our 4K testing at (nearly) maxed out settings. Ray tracing without any form of upscaling may prove a bit much for the 7900 cards, and time constraints mean we haven't fully tested with things like FSR or RSR — though we mostly want FSR2 anyway — but we'll see about doing additional testing in games that support FSR2 in the next few days.
We've highlighted the RX 7900 cards in the charts, with the Ryzen 9 7950X results using flipped colors. We haven't had time to fully update all the charts, tables, and results in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy yet, but we'll be doing that later today. (FYI, it's 5am and I haven't slept yet.)
Kicking things off with our rasterization benchmark suite, AMD's new GPUs look quite good overall. Against the more expensive RTX 4080, the RX 7900 XTX trades blows, winning in five of the nine games tested and taking the overall lead. It's not a huge lead — just 3.7% — and it's good to check the individual results and focus on the games and game types that you actually play.
A 4% lead over the RTX 4080 naturally means the RTX 4090 still walks away with the performance crown for those that can afford to spend 60% more money. Meanwhile, the RX 7900 XTX delivers a 39% generational improvement over the RX 6950 XT, with a spread ranging from 22% (Forza Horizon 5) to as much as 52% (Flight Simulator and Total War: Warhammer 3). It's also 22% faster than the RTX 3090 Ti — which fell in the overall standings at 4K due to the significant drop in Forza performance.
As good as AMD's new RX 7900 cards look in rasterization games, ray tracing adoption rates continue to improve, and ray tracing is without doubt the domain of Nvidia's latest RTX 40-series cards. The 7900 cards aren't really cut out for 4K ray tracing without upscaling, as even the faster XTX barely averaged 30 fps across our test suite.
The 7900 XTX falls behind the RTX 4080 by 27%, and the 7900 XT is even further behind with a 37% deficit. Let's not even mention the RTX 4090… or maybe we should? It's nearly twice as fast as the 7900 XTX in our 4K standings, and 125% faster than the 7900 XT. And that's without DLSS (or any other form of upscaling like FSR2).
These are some of the most demanding ray tracing games, but at the same time, demanding games is where RT makes the most sense. Games like Dirt 5, Godfall, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and quite a few others that only make a token effort in the RT department often end up with visuals that look nearly the same as good rasterization effects. Reflections in particular, as well as indirect lighting, is where ray tracing makes the greatest difference.
Gen on gen, AMD's RX 7900 XT is just over 30% faster than the 6950 XT, while the 7900 XTX extends that lead to more than 50%. Unlike in the rasterization suite, however, even the RX 7900 XTX still can't surpass the RTX 3090 Ti, and it would probably just about tie the RTX 3090 in overall ray tracing performance.