AMD Radeon RX 7600 Review Featuring the Sapphire PULSE
A mainstream 1080p graphics card with a more sensible price
It’s been six months, and we finally have another member in the Radeon RX 7000 Series family. But with the RX 6800 and RX 6900 Series cards still in the retail pipeline, it makes sense that AMD is going for a lower-end card here (even if I’d love it if this was an RX 7800 review).
Today we have AMD’s RX 7600, with no “XT”, and it has 8GB of VRAM. That’s it. Review over. 8GB of VRAM in 2023?! If the fallout from the RTX 4060 Ti launch is any indication, that makes a product “DOA”, but this is a much less expensive product, so give it a fair shake.
Maybe 8GB may not make you an enthusiast – AMD’s words, not mine – but it will allow you to play games at 1080p, which is still the most common display resolution even though enthusiasts are predominantly on 1440 and up.
Anyway, the company that said you need 16GB has released an 8GB card, but they are correctly positioning this as a mainstream 1080p option. It is priced pretty competitively by modern standards at $269 USD (we all thought it would be $299, but there was a last-minute change).
Let’s have a look at this very incomplete-looking table of RX 7000 Series GPUs:
|RX 7600||RX 7900 XT||RX 7900 XTX|
|GPU||Navi 33||Navi 31||Navi 31|
|Architecture||RDNA 3||RDNA 3||RDNA 3|
|Game Clock||2250 MHz||2025 MHz||2269 MHz|
|Boost Clock||2625 MHz||2394 MHz||2499 MHz|
|Memory||8GB GDDR6||20GB GDDR6||24GB GDDR6|
|Memory Data Rate||18 Gbps||20 Gbps||20 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||288 GB/s||800 GB/s||960 GB/s|
|Infinity Cache (L3)||32 MB||80 MB||96 MB|
|Transistor Count||13.3 B||58 B||58 B|
|Die Size||204 mm^2||306 mm^2 + 37.5 mm^2 x6||306 mm^2 + 37.5 mm^2 x5|
|Process Tech||TSMC 6nm||TSMC 5nm/6nm||TSMC 5nm/6nm|
|TBP||165 W||315 W||355 W|
The Radeon RX 7600 is being directly compared to the RX 6600 (from 2021) by AMD, which was also an 8GB card. The GDDR6 has an effective data rate of 18 Gbps, up from 14 Gbps with the RX 6600, with both on a 128-bit bus. The RX 7600 offers four additional Compute Units compared to the RX 6600, with a CU count of 32 (up from 28), and Stream Processor count of 2048 (up from 1792).
It’s also an 8-lane card (like the NVIDIA card that just launched), if that upsets you for some reason. The RX 6600 was an 8-lane GPU as well, and we all fondly remember the 4-lane RX 6500 XT. Don’t we?
Some Benchmark Results
Since I knew going into this review that the RX 7600 was targeting 1080p gaming, I chose 1920×1080 / high as the benchmark standard. After looking at the results I could have pushed this up to 1080/Ultra in most cases, and some would easily go up to at least 1440/High. Alas, there are just the 1080/High results below.
|Processor||Intel Core i5-13600K (Stock, Power Limits Enforced)|
|Motherboard||MSI MPG Z790 EDGE WIFI DDR4
BIOS v1.60, Resizable BAR Enabled
|Memory||16GB (8GBx2) PNY XLR8 REV DDR4-3600 CL18|
|Storage||Samsung 980 1TB NVMe SSD|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 13 850W|
|CPU Cooler||be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 280mm AiO|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Pro, 22H2|
|Drivers||GeForce Game Ready Driver 531.79
Adrenalin 23.4.3, 23.10.01.16 (RX 7600 Press Driver)
I’ll pause the charts here for a moment to mention that Far Cry 6 was tested with the HD textures enabled intentionally. I bought the game specifically to test this VRAM problem I keep hearing about, and of course it’s an issue. If the 1% lows are not obvious enough, just try running the benchmark on an 8GB card for yourself. It will almost pause at times. Not exactly “micro” stutter…
There isn’t a lot of variance in the ranking of the GPUs on these four charts, with the PULSE RX 7600 offering performance a bit behind the RTX 3060 Ti unless it’s an AMD-optimized title like Far Cry 6 (again, you probably shouldn’t be using HD textures with an 8GB or lower card), and ahead of the RX 6600 XT. I don’t have a RX 6700 non-XT on hand to test, but I bet it would be close to the RX 7600.
Next we’ll check out the power draw with this Sapphire card:
Total power draw is a bit higher than the listed 165 watts, with 180+ watts of total board power (PCIe and slot power combined) observed during a 3DMark run. Not bad, but AMD does not have the efficiency one might expect given the process tech and the very small size of this GPU. They are obviously pushing frequencies pretty far with these.
As to thermals with this PULSE card, after my usual ten consecutive runs of Metro Exodus (1080/Extreme in this instance) I saw a max of 67 C GPU, and 81 C Hot Spot in a 20 C room, with the fans topping out at 39% (1949 RPM) according to GPU-Z logging. It’s very quiet, too, but I didn’t do noise testing as I’m not controlling CPU cooler noise on this testbed (I run the cooler at 100%; need a passive setup for noise testing).
All in all the Radeon RX 7600 is a meaningful replacement for the RX 6600, and exceeds the performance level of the RX 6600 XT. That doesn’t make it a super exciting product, but it’s better than I expected. Or maybe a certain very recent GPU just makes this look better. I’m not sure.
Cards targeting 1080p are mainstream products, as enthusiasts run higher resolutions for the most part (I think this is a pretty safe assumption). Enthusiasts buy enthusiast products, and your PC gamer who just wants to play the latest titles on a 1080p monitor will be very well served with a mainstream GPU option like this. And maybe even more (I still want to re-test at 1440/High, but I’m worried about VRAM in newer titles).
As to value, the base price of the Radeon RX 7600, which is $269 USD, is not bad. I struggle with pricing these days, and ultimately people vote with their wallets. I know it wasn’t that long ago that the Radeon RX 480 / RX 580 cards were the $200 (and often less) 8GB 1080p juggernauts, but things are different now.
As to this particular Sapphire card, all I need to say is that it’s a PULSE card. Sapphire have set a high bar for quality and performance at the entry level, and I always recommend Sapphire if you are looking at a Radeon GPU (NOT sponsored/affiliated, just speaking from experience).
This is what we consider the responsible disclosure of our review policies and procedures.
How Product Was Obtained
The product was on loan from Sapphire for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The product is being returned to Sapphire.
Sapphire had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
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How exactly does it “far exceed the performance level of the RX 6600 XT in most cases”, when according to the benchmarks in this very review, that performance advantage tops out at….14%?
Also some really odd choices for games to benchmark with this card. Far Cry 6 with HD textures enabled will overflow an 8GB vram budget, which is partly why the 1% lows are so awful. The 4 year-old, non-enhanced version of Metro Exodus? Really?
You don’t get increased power efficiency. The 6600XT can be had for $250 now, so in terms of cost per frame, barely anything has changed in that regard as well.
So, you’re looking at a card that is replacing the card on the market now…by slightly increasing performance, and slightly increasing price. What’s the point of it?
Yes, Nitz, really the non-enhanced version of Metro Exodus. If I only use Enhanced Edition I’m called an NVIDIA shill. It’s still a very good benchmark, so don’t focus too hard on the release date. The use of the word “far” is a stretch, and was removed from the conclusion. It now reads “exceeds the performance level” instead. You won’t be alone in thinking that double-digit improvements are not “far exceeding”, so it’s not worth arguing about.
Far Cry 6 was used specifically to test the VRAM usage, but not enough focus was given to that. The game claims that at 1080/high with HD textures enabled you’re well under 8GB, but it stutters.