It was not long ago when Nvidia planned an RTX 4080 with 12 gigabytes of memory but soon “unlaunched” it only to come with the same GPU under a different name.
It was the RTX 4070 Ti which got a $100 price reduction but it was clear from the specs that it is indeed the unlaunched RTX 4080 as it was identical in almost everything.
Even though the 4070 Ti became one of the best GPUs in the Ada family, this was because of its performance that was unmatched at the time, and to this date, enthusiast gamers prefer the 4070 Ti over the RX 7900 XT.
This time, however, it is AMD which seems to be repeating Nvidia’s mistake of renaming its GPU but unlike Nvidia, this will hardly benefit AMD due to several reasons.
If you remember from the past leaks, AMD was supposed to be working on the RX 7800 XT to go against the RTX 4070 but the problem AMD was facing was making it as good as the Nvidia card without pricing it insanely high.
One of the most crucial problems here was the choice of die to be used for the 7800 XT. If you remember the RX 6800 XT, it used the Navi 21 die but the 7800 XT was rumored to use the smaller Navi 32 die which was reducing the performance of this card significantly.
The only way to save it was to use the bigger Navi 31 die which is also used on the 7900 XT and XTX GPUs but the problem for AMD was to determine its correct pricing. If AMD priced it above $600 which is the official MSRP of the 4070, we all know there was no reason for why anyone would consider a GPU that is beating the 4070 with a small margin for a higher price. Not to mention the significant uplift with the Ada card in Ray Tracing.
Therefore, AMD decided to rename the 7800 XT and launched the RX 7900 GRE(Golden Rabbit Edition). Even though AMD might have launched the 7900 instead of the 7800 XT, this does not mean that the latter has been canceled but from what we can see from the 7900’s PCB is that it is not using a full Navi 31 die.
As of now the RX 7900 is not going to be available for purchase separately but will be only available through OEMs. Still, it needs a detailed scrutiny of what you can expect with the card as its board shows a drastic change to what we were assuming before.
It can be speculated that AMD originally wanted it to launch as the 7800 XT but decided to change its name to include it in the enthusiast’s category for a price of $649, which on paper doesn’t look too bad if we go by its naming scheme but when we check out its specs and performance, it is pretty clear that it didn’t deserve to be included in the 7900 series.
AMD’s own chart shows the comparison between the 6800 XT and the 7900 which indicates that the 7900 is the successor to the former. It comes with 8 more Compute units, 11% more Stream Processors, and 0.5X Infinity cache but except for these, every other specification is pretty close to the 6800 XT.
The base clock is below 2000Mhz, the VRAM is 16GB on a 256-bit bus clocked at just 18GB/s which is a significant downgrade compared to the 7900 XT and XTX. The 7900 XT and XTX not only bring 2Gbps higher memory speed but also higher memory bus width that results in a bandwidth of 800GB/s and 960GB/s respectively which is around 38 and 66% higher than the memory bandwidth you will get with the 7900.
This is pretty close to the 6800 XT which is why I think that it is probably the 7800 XT disguised as a higher-end product.
If we move on to the benchmarks, we have some official numbers by AMD itself. Here AMD compares the 7900 directly to the 6800 XT which once again is a clear indication that it considers it an 800 class card.
At 1440p resolution, the 7900 GRE is just 13% faster than the 6800 XT which if you think about it for a moment, you will realize that even if this was the 7800 XT, it does not yield an impressive uplift and now when it is named as RX 7900, it makes it even less appealing.
The 7900 GRE has been priced at $649 but the 6800 XT can be found for as low as $519. So, by AMD’s own benchmarks, the 7900 is 25% more expensive while delivering less than 15% of performance uplift.
Well, some might say that the 7900 comes with AV1 encoding or better ray-tracing support but that is just additional perks that other RX 7000 cards have too. If a card cannot even make more than 30% of the uplift in rasterization, it isn’t worth considering.
Moving on to the 4K resolution, the performance difference shrinks even further, and now the RX 7900 GRE is just 8% faster on average.
As per the third-party review by Expreview, the RX 7900 GRE is barely outperforming the RTX 4070 at 2K. The performance difference is hardly 5% but when switched to 4K, the 7900 does come out to be better due to having more VRAM and a bigger memory bus.
Still, it is unlikely that gamers who are going for either of these cards are going to play at 4K resolution because these are more suitable for 1440p. What’s worse is that the RX 7900 is pretty far behind the 7900 XT which is currently sitting at around $750.
Now as you have already seen its performance against the 6800 XT, it can be said that the 6950 XT is quite faster than the RX 7900 GRE and is already available for as low as $629 on Amazon and Newegg which makes the RX 7900 GRE a tasteless GPU in the RDNA 3 lineup.