The Radeon VII fails to beat the GeForce RTX 2080

As welcome as some healthy competition on the gpu market would be, sadly the newly launched Radeon VII is not the card to challenge Nvidia at the high end. It is a loud and expensive 300W card with 16GB very fast HBM2 VRAM that still gets beaten by the RTX 2080:


Please check the comparison page to see exactly which benchmarks were used for this rating.

There is a silver lining: AMD almost reaching the GeForce RTX 2080 is a good thing. AMD’s fastest card so far was the Vega 64, which was also loud and energy hungry but only at the performance level of a GeForce GTX 1080. The Radeon VII delivers at least a respectable performance improvement compared to that predecessor card, even if it is not enough to win in the FPS arena. That means AMD has the potential to release good consumer gpus at the high end, which could lower graphics card prices for all of us.


But missing gaming performance is not even what hampers the Radeon VII the most. It is just a bit slower than the RTX 2080, a price correction could make up for the FPS difference. The real issue is that it is loud and energy hungry. Computerbase reports that the gpu runs on a much higher voltage than needed, undervolting it costs no performance, the card still runs stable, it just reduces energy usage by a lot and makes the card much quieter. That’s not a first for AMD: Both Vega cards run on voltage outside the peak efficiency of their chip, also Polaris can profit from being undervolted.

AMD needs to step up its game: It is not enough to just come close performance wise. If it wants to grab market share the company needs to beat Nvidia with cards that run faster than Nvidia’s products in the same price bracket; at the very least it needs to stop releasing cards that are obviously not ready for release, that miss the crucial fine tuning with regards to default voltage and cooler quality.