AMD Radeon VII 1440p, 4K & Ultrawide Gaming Performance

AMD Radeon VII 7nm Graphics Card Thumb
Print
by Rob Williams on February 7, 2019 in Graphics & Displays

AMD’s competition has launched four current-gen GPUs since the fall, so its fans have understandably been anxious for a follow up to 2017’s RX Vega. With the new Radeon VII, AMD is responding. It’s the “world’s first 7nm gaming” GPU, and with 16GB of VRAM, it’s one that’s built for high detail at high resolution.

A Look At Radeon VII & Our Test Suite

In the lead-up to last month’s CES, the rumor mill seemed to be on fire with AMD speculation. One rumor was of an RX Vega follow-up, and lo and behold, Lisa Su announced the Vega-based Radeon VII during AMD’s first-ever CES keynote. The card becomes the world’s first gaming GPU built on a 7nm process, and with 16GB of memory under its hood, it’s built for heavy workloads.

The “VII” in Radeon VII represents the fact that the card is built using 7nm, and also that it’s a follow-up to the original Vega, which spawned RX Vega 56 and 64. The new card has a cool name, but it doesn’t exactly open the doors for bigger or smaller models, and that’s likely on purpose.

AMD Radeon VII - Overview

During a briefing with AMD a few weeks ago to discuss the Radeon VII, we were surprised by the fact that the company jumped into a look at creative workloads before gaming ones, despite the card being touted as the “world’s first 7nm gaming” GPU. Highlighting VII’s gaming focus is likely for marketing more than anything else, because “world’s first 7nm jack-of-all-trades card” doesn’t have the same ring to it. With its “do everything” ambition, the Radeon VII is similar to NVIDIA’s TITAN series. It just doesn’t have the Tensor or RT cores that the TITAN RTX does (but its saving grace is that it costs 1/4th as much).

With 16GB of HBM2, Radeon VII feels like a professional-grade card out-of-the-gate, and at launch, we questioned whether or not it should have been called the Radeon Pro VII (or even Frontier Edition 2). We’re talking 1TB/s of available memory bandwidth, after all. Creative users will lust for that long before gamers will.

AMD’s Radeon Gaming GPU Lineup
CoresBase MHzPeak FP32MemoryBandwidthTDPPrice
Radeon VII3840140013.8 TFLOPS16 GB 41 TB/s300W$699
Vega 644096154612.6 TFLOPS8 GB 4484 GB/s295W$499
Vega 563584147110.5 TFLOPS8 GB 4410 GB/s210W$449
RX 590230415767.1 TFLOPS8 GB 3256 GB/s225W$279
RX 580230413406.1 TFLOPS8 GB 3256 GB/s185W$229
RX 570204812445.1 TFLOPS8 GB 3224 GB/s150W$179
RX 56089611752.6 TFLOPS4 GB 3112 GB/s80W$119
RX 55064011831.2 TFLOPS2 GB 3112 GB/s50W$99
Notes1 GDDR6; 2 GDDR5X; 3 GDDR5; 4 HBM2
Architecture: Radeon RX 550~590 = Polaris; Radeon VII, RX Vega 56 & 64 = Vega

The move to 7nm helps AMD develop a GPU that’s more power efficient, but what fun would there be in releasing a product that only delivered the same performance, but at less power? It’s much better when we get far greater performance for the same power – or perhaps 5W more than RX Vega 64, as AMD’s spec sheet shows.

As our power testing will highlight later, AMD’s TDP spec doesn’t align with our real-world testing, but that’s a good thing, since VII draws a good deal less power than the Vega 64, despite its big performance boost, and having twice the amount of HBM2.

AMD Radeon VII GPU Die

On the topic of VRAM, AMD’s marketing push with this card hovers a lot around the importance of future-proofing ourselves with lots of memory. As games with bigger textures get released, and we play our games at higher resolutions, the need for more GPU memory is undoubtedly going to increase.

I admit I do find some of AMD’s assumptions to be a little slanted, though. I don’t personally think 16GB of VRAM is going to do many people much good with gaming now, or in the next few years – and by the time a few years pass, we’ll have new GPUs to use.

In the press deck (slide seen below), AMD highlights 11GB as being “required” for gaming in 2019, which isn’t even close to being the case. Also strange is that the marker is notches higher than the 11GB it references, exaggerating the differences a bit.

AMD Radeon VII - VRAM Discussion Slide Deck

The reviewer’s guide breaks down a few modern games that can use more than 8GB of VRAM, but I consider this flawed based on the fact that current memory tools only detect whether or not memory is allocated, not if all of that allocated data is required. Do you really believe Black Ops 4 needs 12GB of VRAM? Or that Star Control: Origins needs 9GB? I’m not convinced.

AMD Radeon VII - VRAM Discussion Reviewer's Guide

With VII being derived from Instinct, it feels to me like AMD was forced to a 16GB VRAM config, and now has to justify that reality through what I’d consider to be misleading marketing. Ultimately, it feels like AMD didn’t even know where to target this card, so it just decided to target it everywhere. That even includes 1080p resolution. That’s a resolution we haven’t used in our high-end GPU launch reviews since 2014. How many people need 300+ FPS in Siege, really?

To add to this, the night prior to this article’s embargo lift, AMD told us that it decided to increase the double-precision (FP64) performance on this card to twice what was previously announced – which was already twice what we were told after CES. AMD’s RX Vega 64 offered about 0.8 TFLOPS of FP64, whereas Radeon VII, after AMD’s whim, becomes 3.52 TFLOPS. That means the card doesn’t just target gaming and creative, but now also science and finance. For comparison’s sake, the 2080 Ti offers 0.42 TFLOPS of FP64 performance.

The upside to any confusion surrounding Radeon VII is that the card is a good jack-of-all-trades. It’s going to be a solid option for most workloads, and now with increased FP64, it becomes a relative steal at $700 to those who need it. Two of these GPUs would give us the same spec’d FP64 performance as one TITAN V.

With gaming, which happens to be the focus of this article (I know, it’s hard to tell), we have many benchmarks that will help us turn our gaming assumptions into answers. Another article takes a look at the card’s workstation performance, so feel free to open that one in a new tab!

A Look At Testing Methodology

Techgage Gaming GPU Test PC
ProcessorIntel Core i9-9900K (3.6GHz Base, 5.0GHz Turbo, 8C/16T)
MotherboardASUS ROG STRIX Z390-E GAMING
CPU tested with BIOS 0602 (October 19, 2018)
MemoryG.SKILL TridentZ (F4-3400C16-8GSXW) 8GB x 2
Operates at DDR4-3400 16-16-16 (1.35V)
AMD GraphicsAMD Radeon VII (16GB; Jan 22 Press Driver)
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (8GB; Jan 22 Press Driver)
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (8GB; Radeon 18.12.3) *
AMD Radeon RX 590 (8GB; Radeon 18.12.3) *
AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB; Radeon 18.12.3) *
AMD Radeon RX 570 (4GB; Radeon 18.12.3) *
AMD Radeon RX 550 (2GB; Radeon 18.12.3) *
NVIDIA GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (11GB; GeForce 417.71)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (8GB; GeForce 417.71)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (8GB; GeForce 417.71)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA TITAN Xp (12GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB; GeForce 417.71)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti (8GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB; GeForce 417.35) *
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB; GeForce 417.35) *
StorageKingston SSDNow V310 960GB (SATA 6Gbps)
Power SupplyCorsair RM650x (650W)
ChassisNZXT S340 Elite Mid-tower
CoolingCorsair Hydro H100i V2 AIO Liquid Cooler (240mm)
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (64-bit; build 17763)
Notes* Synthetic tests only.

Games Tested & Vendor Neutrality

A total of eight games are included in our current test suite. Recent additions include Battlefield V, Forza Horizon 4, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Beyond these eight titles, UL’s 3DMark and VRMark, as well as Unigine’s Superposition, are used for some quick and dirty tests that you may be able to run at home.

Here’s the full list of tested synthetic benchmarks, games, and developer allegiances:

  • Battlefield V
  • Deus Ex: Mankind DividedAMD partner
  • F1 2018
  • Far Cry 5AMD partner
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Monster Hunter World
  • Shadow of the Tomb RaiderNVIDIA partner
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsNVIDIA partner
  • UL 3DMark & VRMark
  • Unigine Superposition

Battlefield 1 - Techgage Tested Settings (1) Battlefield 1 - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Battlefield V as-tested settings
Battlefield 1 - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Battlefield 1 - Techgage Tested Settings (2) Battlefield 1 - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Battlefield V as-tested settings
Battlefield 1 - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (1) Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided as-tested settings
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (2) Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided as-tested settings
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (3) Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (3)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided as-tested settings
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Techgage Tested Settings (3)
F1 2018 - Techgage Tested Settings (1) F1 2018 - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
F1 2018 as-tested settings
F1 2018 - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
F1 2018 - Techgage Tested Settings (2) F1 2018 - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
F1 2018 as-tested settings
F1 2018 - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (1) Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Far Cry 5 as-tested settings
Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (2) Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Far Cry 5 as-tested settings
Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (3) Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (3)
Far Cry 5 as-tested settings
Far Cry 5 - Techgage Tested Settings (3)
Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings
Forza Horizon 4 as-tested settings
Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings
Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings
Forza Horizon 4 as-tested settings
Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings
Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings
Forza Horizon 4 as-tested settings
Fortnite - Techgage Tested Settings
Monster Hunter World - Techgage Tested Settings (1) Monster Hunter World - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Monster Hunter World as-tested settings
Monster Hunter World - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Monster Hunter World - Techgage Tested Settings (2) Monster Hunter World - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Monster Hunter World as-tested settings
Monster Hunter World - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Rise of the Tomb Raider - Techgage Tested Settings (1) Rise of the Tomb Raider - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider as-tested settings
Rise of the Tomb Raider - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Rise of the Tomb Raider - Techgage Tested Settings (2) Rise of the Tomb Raider - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider as-tested settings
Rise of the Tomb Raider - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Techgage Tested Settings (1) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands as-tested settings
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Techgage Tested Settings (1)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Techgage Tested Settings (2) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Techgage Tested Settings (2)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands as-tested settings
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - Techgage Tested Settings (2)

For our apples-to-apples testing, the graphics settings seen above apply to every one of our tested resolutions so as to deliver easily comparable results. In most cases, each configuration is tested twice, with more runs added if the initial results make the extra testing necessary (which isn’t required too often).

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

twitter icon facebook icon googleplus icon instagram icon