AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT Review Featuring SAPPHIRE

Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT Review Featuring SAPPHIRE

Chiplet GPUs Hit the Mainstream

After nearly a year, AMD has filled in the gap (more like a chasm) between the $269 Radeon RX 7600 and the next card in the current gen, the $899 (sometimes $799) Radeon RX 7900 XT. We will finally have a full RDNA3 product stack thanks to the two Navi 32 cards being released today.

Prior to today’s launch, AMD had to rely on previous-gen parts to supplement the Radeon lineup, and while it was odd that the RDNA 3 lineup was so incomplete, there was a silver lining, as cards like the excellent Radeon RX 6950 XT were selling at significantly reduced prices.

Radeon RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT Pricing

With the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT, the Radeon 7000 Series finally has its midrange / midrange+ options, with AMD calling them the “next generation of 1440p gaming GPUs”. Pricing seems very good, as well – though there is only a $50 gap between the two (more on that later).

At $499 USD the Radeon RX 7800 XT should offer a compelling alternative to NVIDIA’s RTX 4060 Ti 16GB. The RX 7700 XT offers more VRAM than the $399 RTX 4060 Ti, but I don’t understand the proximity to the RX 7800 XT.

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT Specs

If we can infer performance from the CU count, the Radeon RX 7800 XT should offer better performance to last generation’s RX 6800 non-XT, which had the same 60 CU count. Can it beat the RX 6800 XT (a 72 CU part)? There will be uplift from the architectural improvements with RDNA 3, but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The previous addition to the RDNA 3 family, the Radeon RX 7600, is based on Navi 33, which is a very small monolithic GPU of some 204 mm² built on TSMC’s 6nm process node. We are well past the RX 7600 with these new cards, which are based on AMD’s chiplet architecture. Navi 32 is built using a mix of TSMC 5N (GPU core) and 6N (memory chiplets), and as AMD has mentioned these target 1440p gaming.

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT chip

The smaller Navi 32 uses four memory chiplets, down from six with Navi 31

One area in which AMD seems to have compromised a bit with RDNA 3 is efficiency, as even these midrange additions to the current-gen lineup require dual 8-pin PCIe connectors. AMD officially lists the total board power of the Radeon RX 7800 XT at a very specific 263 watts, with the Radeon RX 7700 XT just behind it at 245 watts.

AMD has clarified to the media that these board power figures are “up to” numbers, but still, considering NVIDIA’s RTX 4070 is a 200 watt GPU, the power draw numbers from AMD are disappointing. Don’t worry, as power draw is no longer a concern for gamers now that NVIDIA is more efficient. /s

I should also note that AMD verified that both of these new GPUs use a full 16 lanes of PCI Express 4.0, which is important to mention as some find 8-lane GPUs upsetting. (Seriously, just about every enthusiast should be on a platform with PCI Express 4.0 – or higher – by now, and 8 lanes was more than enough for a GPU like the RX 7600.)


While AMD did provide a reference card for our review, which you will see on the charts to follow, this is largely a partner launch – and there is no reference RX 7700 XT. Our friends at SAPPHIRE sent over a pair of cards to test, with the high-end NITRO+ Radeon RX 7800 XT, and the more modest PULSE Radeon RX 7700 XT.

First, let’s take a look at the NITRO+ RX 7800 XT (which looks very much like the RX 7900 XTX design we looked at previously):

SAPPHIRE NITRO Plus Radeon RX 7800 XT Card

A triple-slot design, SAPPHIRE lists the dimensions of this card as 320 mm (L) by 134.85 mm (W) x 61.57 mm (H). I personally love the look of this design, which incorporates RGB lighting bar at the top of the shroud, for a cool glow effect when vertically mounted – my preference – and a much brighter glow in conventional applications (where the top bar faces out).

The PULSE Radeon RX 7700 XT is an RGB-free design, and even incorporates reference-like screw holes for securing the card in prebuilt systems (as per AMD’s guidelines for Advantage desktops).


Performance Testing

Let’s address the elephant in the room: we didn’t test an RTX 4060 Ti 16GB. The reason? We don’t have one. As you probably know, NVIDIA had been content to release cards with just 8GB of VRAM this generation, with the RTX 4060 Ti widely panned (to say the least) for its 8GB capacity. The late addition of a 16GB model went largely untested by the tech press as NVIDIA did not sample it. Some outlets eventually purchased one, and it looks like we will have to do the same for future reviews.

If you check out the TechSpot review, at 1440p the RTX 4060 Ti 16GB is about 20% slower than the RTX 4070 overall. That would not be enough to compete with the identically-priced ($499) Radeon RX 7800 XT, as we will see in the charts to follow.

PC Perspective GPU Test Platform
Processor AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (Stock)
Motherboard MSI MEG X670E ACE
Resizable BAR Enabled
Memory 32GB (16GBx2) G.Skill Trident Z NEO DDR5-6000 CL30
Storage SK Hynix Platinum P41 2TB NVMe SSD
Power Supply be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500W
Operating System Windows 11 Pro, 21H2
Drivers Adrenalin – (press driver)
GeForce Game Ready Driver 526.72 – 531.42
RX 7800 7700 XT 3DM Time Spy Extreme Chart

3DMark tests are often very accurate in ranking cards, and the position of some of these will be unchanged throughout our testing. Thus, a quick over-simplification of these new GPUs from AMD could be made after one chart: the Radeon RX 7700 XT is faster than the RX 6800 non-XT, and the reference Radeon RX 7800 XT is a little slower than the RX 6800 XT.

However, when we look at the SAPPHIRE NITRO+, things change. Suddenly the RX 7800 XT is faster than the previous-gen RX 6800 XT, and nearly catches up to our factory-overclocked RX 6950 XT. This will be a common refrain by the end of this review, but the NITRO+ is the card that this GPU deserves, as AMD’s reference model clearly leaves performance on the table (at least in our pre-launch testing).

RX 7800 7700 XT 3DM Speed Way Chart

In the more demanding Speed Way test, which is a showcase of DirectX 12 Ultimate features, the story changes a bit. This time the reference Radeon RX 7800 XT is faster than the RX 6800 XT, showcasing the improvements AMD made with ray tracing performance in RDNA 3. The NITRO+ provides additional gains, as expected.

The Radeon RX 7700 XT, the results of which are courtesy of the PULSE card SAPPHIRE loaned us, is a very interesting option considering that it improves on the performance of the RX 6800, and is launching at $449. I think AMD could have hit a home run with a $399 price tag, as there is just too much additional performance for $50 more when you look at the RX 7800 XT.

Next, we’ll look at some game benchmarks.

Ultrawide Testing

All gaming benchmarks were conducted at 3440×1440, which is the resolution of the ultrawide display on my desk. Why? Because ultrawide is something that differentiates PC gaming from consoles more than anything else these days, as most of the actual games are just console ports and those living room gamers are stuck at 16:9. Suckers!

RX 7800 7700 XT Metro Exodus EE Chart

Things definitely tighten up in this Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition test, performed at the “extreme” preset. The position of each card is identical to the 3DMark Speed Way result above, though the difference between the NITRO+ and the reference card is relatively small here. Clearly this is a very challenging test at this resolution (4K is obviously more extreme), and I doubt that anyone is gaming at these settings on these cards. It’s academic, but certainly prevents any doubt of CPU bottlenecks, eh?

Now for a more realistic (i.e. over 60 FPS) test? Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a far less demanding workload, even at its highest settings:

RX 7800 7700 XT SotTR Chart

The Radeon RX 6950 XT widens its lead over the new Navi 32 GPUs here, with the NITRO+ and reference RX 7800 XT cards sandwiching the RX 6800 XT in the middle of the chart. I’ll point out (not for the last time) that the RTX 4070 and RTX 3080 are essentially the same card in raster workloads, and I kind of regret spending the time to re-test the RTX 3080 this week.

100+ FPS results from both the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT was a nice change of pace, but how will they fare in Cyberpunk?

RX 7800 7700 XT Cyberpunk Chart

First of all, what the heck is going on with the 1% lows from the RX 7900 XT and RX 6800 XT? I must have tested those two cards with the same driver, and clearly those need to be re-visited with an updated one. Aside from that, here the NITRO+ Radeon RX 7800 XT is effectively tied with the TUF Gaming OC RX 6950 XT, which is an outstanding result.

The reference card is a few FPS behind, but still manages to best the RTX 4070. For its part the the RX 7700 XT has an excellent showing, with close to the same frame rate as the RX 6800 XT (and a much more consistent result on the newer driver).

Next up, and this really is in not particular order, we have Far Cry 6. This was selected due to its need for greater than 8GB of VRAM when HD textures are enabled, as they were in these tests:

RX 7800 7700 XT Far Cry 6 Chart

This an AMD-optimized title, so it’s not surprising to see cards like the Radeon RX 7900 XT and RX 6950 XT doing so well, and less than 2 FPS behind that 6950 XT sits the NITRO+ RX 7800 XT, which enjoys about a 5% advantage over the reference design.

The PULSE Radeon RX 7700 XT is once again faster than the RX 6800, and can we talk about the gen-on-gen increase over the RX 6700 XT? It’s been big in every test. This is what a next-gen card should be.

How about another AMD-optimized title? Here is the first of a pair of racing game results:

RX 7800 7700 XT DiRT 5 Chart

The RTX 4070 Ti is doing better here, and this time the NITRO+ RX 7800 XT drops a behind the RX 6950 XT. The congestion in the middle of the chart is real, with no practical difference between the reference RX 7800 XT, RX 6800 XT, and the RTX 4070/3080.

RX 7800 7700 XT F1 22 UW Chart

At “ultra” settings (which includes some DXR eye candy) the average FPS come back down to earth for these cards. In the middle of the pack sits the NITRO+ Radeon RX 7800 XT, which is just a couple of FPS behind the TUF Gaming OC Radeon RX 6950 XT. The PULSE RX 7700 XT manages to top the RX 6800 XT this time, further illustrating the advantage of RDNA 3 over RDNA 2 when ray tracing is involved.

Power Draw
RX 7800 XT 6800 XT Power Chart

Apologies for the extremely messy line chart. If you can discern anything, it may be apparent that the RX 6800 XT frequently consumes well over 325 watts, which makes these RX 7800 XT cards a bit better in comparison.

However, both the NITRO+ and reference RX 7800 XT pull quite a bit more than AMD’s stated “up to” 263W number, though it is understandable from the SAPPHIRE card as it is extracting the full potential of this GPU – and has a higher 288W TBP.

Maybe our reference sample just draws more than average power, but we have seen this from RDNA 3 from the start. It’s just not a very efficient architecture compared to what NVIDIA currently offers. I was expecting much lower draw from the smaller Navi 32 GPU. Perhaps RDNA 4 will be the efficiency breakthrough for a chiplet design.

Final Thoughts

We could discuss the challenges of GPU chiplets vs. a monolithic die architecture, harp on power draw some more, or apologize again for the lack of a 16GB RTX 4060 Ti on our charts, but all of that is immaterial next to the great driving forces of all GPU discussion in [current year]: VRAM and price.

With VRAM AMD is repeating the formula from the RX 6000 Series, with the RX 7800 XT offering the same 16 GB of GDDR6 we saw with the RX 6800 XT, and the RX 7700 XT mirroring the 12 GB found in the RX 6700 XT. Based on internet opinions, 12GB is the new minimum (along with 64GB of system memory, I guess), so AMD has an advantage over a lot of midrange cards out there.

As to pricing, we will begin with the Radeon RX 7800 XT, which carries a $499 USD launch MSRP. This feels like an excellent value, considering how competitive it is with rasterization compared to the RTX 4070 ($599). I don’t think you can seriously question the launch pricing. And then we have the Radeon RX 7700 XT…

At $449 USD, which is just $50 less than $499 in case you didn’t notice or refuse to do math, it is so close to the RX 7800 XT that it just doesn’t make sense. Doubtless there will be partner cards that eclipse the price difference, making them instantly irrelevant compared to the cheapest RX 7800 XT. This launch price isn’t fair to partners, and needs to drop quickly. Seriously, I would only buy an RX 7700 XT at $449 if every RX 7800 XT was sold out, and I was desperate.

Do you think I’m making too big of a deal about the $449 price? It seems pretty safe to say that no enthusiast worth their salt is going to let $50 keep them from the better card. Plus the RX 7800 XT has 4GB of additional VRAM! See?! It’s price and VRAM, combined!

If I had to stop blathering on about price and VRAM and craft a quotable summary to end this review, it would be this: AMD has hit a home run with the Radeon RX 7800 XT, offering better raw performance than the GeForce RTX 4070 at a price that is currently $100 less than NVIDIA’s. If you don’t care about DLSS and frame generation (and power draw), the RX 7800 XT is a no-brainer at this price point.

As to the RX 7700 XT, it’s a big gen-on-gen upgrade over the RX 6700 XT, but the puzzling $449 USD price tag punishes what is otherwise a fantastic product. Seriously, spend the additional $50 and get an RX 7800 XT.

NITRO RX 7800 XT Cooler Design
A Word About our SAPPHIRE Samples

I can’t end the review without mentioning our SAPPHIRE review units, which are on loan (sigh) only until this review is finished. What is left to say about these SAPPHIRE Radeon cards? They are the standard by which I judge all other AMD partner models. The PULSE continues to be a well-built, cool and quiet option, offering excellent performance (and zero RGB) without a price premium.

The NITRO+ is such an impressively built card, and if you have room for the massive cooler in your case you won’t regret it. It is a very, very cool running card that barely makes any noise, and it extracts the full potential of this Navi 32 GPU, with noticeably higher performance than the reference design. It’s what AMD’s card should have been.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.


  1. Peter

    Thanks Sebastian for the great review. Decided to upgrade my EVGA GTX1080 to the Sapphire Pulse 7800 XT for better power efficiency. Got it for £479 here in the UK.

  2. Kyle

    What is “protentional”? 😀

    • Sebastian Peak

      Possibly a typo. Or maybe I just added a new word to the English lexicon!


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