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AMD's retail Radeon RX XT series of graphics cards bring additional options to the budget and mid-range graphics card market. I looked at the Radeon RX XT 4GB at launch, but there are also the 8GB cards. Just how much does doubling down on VRAM do for performance? As you'd expect, it depends on the games and settings you're running.

If you haven't read the 4GB model review, I suggest you start there. Back? Good. AMD's Navi / RDNA architecture hasn't changed, though Navi 14 does cut the potential number of compute units (CUs) from a maximum of 40 down to a maximum of 24—with the XT enabling 22 of the CUs. The two cards I've reviewed look identical, which is expected as both are Sapphire Pulse models. The only difference is the VRAM and a $30 increase in price.

While the specs might not have changed, other than VRAM, the price increase has some ramifications. The XT 4GB card matches up against the GTX Super, and the two are effectively tied in performance. The 8GB card meanwhile has to take on the GTX , and Nvidia's card has the same number of GPU cores, 1, The problem for AMD is that Nvidia's GPU cores tend to perform a bit better overall, so the GTX comes out ahead in performance. At least the TDP is basically the same—W vs W won't really matter either way.

There's little difference in features to speak of. Technically, Nvidia's GTX can enable ray tracing in games that support it. In practice, the isn't fast enough to make ray tracing worthwhile. There are other facets of performance—AMD GPUs often perform better in DirectX 12 games, Nvidia GPUs can do better in DX11 and other games—but overall the two sides are evenly matched in the mid-range and lower markets.

There's also a jump in generational pricing, especially looking at current street prices. The RX originally launched at $ last year; today, you can get that same card for $ It uses more power, but performance is going to be very similar to the RX XT 8GB. Even AMD's own numbers say as much, where AMD compares the XT to the older RX cards and claims a 30 percent improvement in performance. AMD's not wrong, but the RX / are three years old, so a 30 percent improvement at only slightly lower prices isn't all that impressive.

Which brings me to the real question: How does the RX XT 8GB perform? Let's get to the benchmarks.

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Radeon RX XT 8GB gaming performance

My standard testbed features an overclocked Core iK running at GHz. For budget and midrange cards, the CPU might be overkill, but it shows the highest potential performance for the graphics cards. Anyone considering the RX XT will probably be running a slightly slower CPU, but anything from the past several years should be sufficient. I've tested 11 games for this review, with a reasonable split between games that favor AMD hardware, and games that run better on Nvidia hardware.

Testing is done at p 'medium' and 'ultra' settings (which may go by different names, depending on the game), as well as p and 'ultra' settings. Each game is tested multiple times, using the median result, to ensure consistency of performance. I've included a few more GPUs this time, mostly for reference—if you're thinking about upgrading from a Vega 56, for example, the XT isn't going to be very compelling. It looks better against the old GTX and R9 , however.

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At p medium, there's no real benefit to the 8GB RX XT compared to the 4GB model. A few games even perform slightly faster with the 4GB card, which is a bit odd—it's probably just slight differences in memory latency. The RX XT cards are also tied with the GTX Super in overall performance, but the GTX is about 5 percent faster. Running medium quality at p isn't really the goal if you're going to pay extra for the 8GB card, however.

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Stepping up to p ultra starts to favor the 8GB model over its lesser sibling, though it's only a seven percent improvement on average. Individual games show much larger gains, though—Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance improves by 9 percent, Forza Horizon 4 runs 15 percent faster, Borderlands 3 is 18 percent faster, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey opens up a 33 percent gap. The remaining seven games all show relatively similar performance, but there have been quite a few recent games that I'm not showing here where having more VRAM would also be beneficial (eg, Red Dead Redemption 2).

The difficulty AMD faces is that at p—which is really the resolution you should plan on using with a mid-range or budget GPU—even at maxed out quality there aren't a ton of games that truly need more VRAM. And of the games that benefit from more VRAM, none of them seem to need more than 6GB. That means once again that the GTX costs as much as the XT 8GB but performs about five percent better.

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At p ultra, the XT 8GB shows its largest lead yet relative to the 4GB cards. It's now 12 percent faster, but we're also looking at average performance across the test suite of 45 fps. Every game still stays above 30 fps, which means performance is still generally better than current consoles, but only two of the tested games (Strange Brigade and Forza Horizon 4) average 60 fps or more. Lighter esports games like CS:GO and Overwatch should be viable at p, however.

I'm not showing 4K charts, because framerates are about half what you get at p, but if you're wondering: the 8GB card ends up with a 25 percent average performance lead over the 4GB model. It also comes out tied with the at 4K ultra, though both sit at 25 fps. Long-term, the 6GB and 8GB cards are a safer choice than a 4GB card, and I wouldn't touch a 2GB model at this point, but if you want more performance, you'll still be better off getting a faster GPU rather than doubling VRAM.

AMD Radeon XT XT 8GB: more and less

As a general rule, I advise people not to skimp on VRAM. I've been saying that since the GTX 3GB/6GB and RX / 4GB/8GB launches several years back. Yes, it costs more for the higher VRAM models, and performance doesn't always improve a lot with the extra memory. Except when it does, and then you could end up very sad that you cheaped out on your graphics card and now have to turn down some settings. The RX XT 8GB is a continuation of that recommendation. You can save $30 by purchasing the 4GB model, but long-term I don't think that's the best plan.

That's the "more" part of the equation, but it's not a clear win and there's a reason I've scored this card slightly lower than the 4GB model. First, even across 11 games, the improvement in performance at p ultra is mostly minor (with a few exceptions). In an AMD-only world, I still recommend buying the 8GB model, but AMD isn't alone, there are multiple other options. Nvidia's GTX costs the same as the XT 8GB, or you can spend another $30 to get a GTX Super.

Alternatively, look at more than just the price of the graphics card and its performance. Spending 15 percent more ($) for a 20 percent increase in framerates (ie, GTX Super) is reasonable. However, if you're putting that card into a gaming PC that costs $ for the other components, it's really $ vs. $—a mere 4 percent increase in total cost, for the same 20 percent improvement in performance. That's basically what the GTX Super offers. Or you could upgrade to an RTX and it would be $ vs $, a 14 percent increase in PC costs for a 45 percent jump in performance. Spending a bit more money for each higher tier of graphics performance is a slippery slope, but even if you stop at the $ mark, the RX XT 8GB doesn't come out as the champion.

Ultimately, AMD's Radeon RX XT series is a reasonable offering in the budget to midrange graphics card market. It's not clearly superior to other options but it's also not clearly worse. 

If you're looking to buy a new graphics card, whether as an upgrade to an existing PC or as part of a new gaming PC build, it's worth a look. Performance of the XT 8GB is basically equal to the outgoing RX , while using about W less power. You wouldn't want to "upgrade" from a to a XT, but if you're trying to choose between those two AMD options, I'd grab the newer model. If you're not set on AMD, however, I'd look to the GTX or Super.

Radeon RX XT 8GB

The upgraded Radeon RX XT 8GB gives you more memory, but the jump in pricing pits it against the GTX , and it typically loses that matchup.

Jarred doesn't play games, he runs benchmarks. If you want to know about the inner workings of CPUs, GPUs, or SSDs, he's your man. He subsists off a steady diet of crunchy silicon chips and may actually be a robot.
Sours: https://www.pcgamer.com/amd-radeon-rxxt-8gb-review/
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Back when AMD Navi first launched in July , it kind of felt like a return to form for AMD's graphics. Not only was it able to compete with Nvidia at the same price point, but it legitimately won, even without Nvidia's fancy RTX technology.

But down at this price point, the competition is really stiff. Over the last few months Nvidia has been working hard, stuffing the market with a ton of different graphics cards, making it incredibly difficult for any p card to truly stand out. 

Essentially, that's what happens with the AMD Radeon RX XT - it performs just about as well at the GeForce GTX at a bit of a lower price. It's not exciting, but it does provide a little bit of extra value over Nvidia's option. 

Price and availability

There are two versions of the AMD Radeon RX XT available for purchase, a 4GB and an 8GB version, with a price of $ and $, respectively. To put it into context, these graphics cards compete directly with the Nvidia GeForce GTX , which cost $/£/AU$ 

However, the more interesting comparison to us is against the Nvidia GeForce GTX While Team Green has diluted that graphics card a bit since the release of the GTX Super, the Radeon RX XT provides equivalent performance for $10 (about £10, AU$14) less. That doesn't seem like a massive price cut at first glance, but in this segment, every dollar counts.

The timing of the Radeon RX XT is interesting, too. Launching on December 12, , it's almost completely separate of competing cards from Nvidia. Ever since AMD Navi first launched in mid, it seemed like Nvidia had an answer to every card in AMD's lineup, this is the first time it kind of stands on its own, even if the GTX Super came out a couple of weeks prior. 

Features and software

The AMD Radeon RX XT is, of course, based on the same rDNA architecture as the AMD Radeon RX and RX XT. However, because this is definitely targeting a more budget-oriented audience, you shouldn't expect the same level of hardware inside. 

Specifically, this graphics card features 1, Stream Processors over 22 compute units, and can hit up to teraflops (TFLOPS) of raw compute performance. Now, that's quite the cut from the 2, Stream Processors featured in the Radeon RX , so it shouldn't be too surprising that the XT isn't intended to play games at the same resolution as the higher-specced card. 

There are two configurations of this new graphics card, one with 4GB of RAM and one with 8GB. Now we're not exactly huge fans of graphics cards with the same name having different memory configurations, but it at least seems more reasonable than what Nvidia pulled with the Nvidia GeForce GTX back in the day. 

That card had a 3GB and a 6GB model, but the 6GB model had an additional CUDA cores, so one GTX was way more powerful than the other. We were only provided with the AMD Radeon RX XT 8GB model but just looking at the raw specs, the only difference seems to be memory capacity – we just don't know how much of an impact it'll have on performance. 

There is something new when it comes to AMD's software, too. Team Red has freshened up its Radeon Software making it genuinely useful. We won't go too crazy in depth on this refreshed software, but through it you can overclock your graphics card, manage installed games and even livestream your gameplay. The best part is that it's all laid out in a very easy to read way, and even if you don't have the constitution to dig through abstract software, you'll be able to get the absolute most out of the Radeon software. 

Some of the software features genuinely do help with gameplay, too. AMD Radeon Image Sharpening is back, of course, but what's really cool is the new AMD Chill feature. This will intelligently let your graphics card rest when it can, so it can push harder when more throughput is necessary. This should help control temps and reduce fan noise. 

We tested the PowerColor Red Dragon version of the Radeon RX XT, and really, fan noise was non-existent outside of our benchmark tests. The graphics card all but shut down when we weren't pushing it, with power consumption dropping all the way down to 3W of power.

Fans do stop spinning when it drops to this low-power state, but temperatures weren't really a problem. Idle temperatures were around 44 degrees Celsius, which seems high until you remember there is no active cooling when idle. The highest temperature we saw was 77 degrees Celsius. That's high, but definitely not enough to actually be a problem. If you go in and change the fan curve through software like MSI Afterburner, you should easily be able to get much better temperatures. 

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Performance

Test System Specs

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 X (core, up to GHz)
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62
RAM: 32GB HyperX Predator RGB @ 3,MHz
Motherboard: X Aorus Master
SSD: Samsung QVO 1TB
Power Supply: Phanteks Revolt X
Case: Praxis Wetbench

The AMD Radeon RX XT is % a p graphics card, and it probably won't be pushing any resolution higher than that, beyond some older PC games. 

We did see some playable framerates in Middle Earth: Shadow of War at p, settling in at 42 fps, but when you can get 63 fps at p, we'd definitely go with the latter. 

Metro Exodus, however, was another story. This is one of the most demanding PC games on the market today, and the numbers back that up. Even at p, the AMD Radeon RX XT only managed to get an average of 37 fps at ultra settings. If you want to play this game with the RX XT, or similar ultra-high-end AAA PC games, you may need to turn settings down to high. 

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The really interesting story here is how the XT compares to the Nvidia GeForce GTX Nvidia's entry-level p card got nearly identical frame rates in Metro Exodus and was just 8% faster in Middle Earth: Shadow of War. This difference probably falls down to the faster and more capacious VRAM in the AMD Radeon RX XT, as Metro is hungry for memory. 

Things get weird when we take a look at synthetic benchmarks, though. In 3DMark Time Spy, the Nvidia GeForce GTX manages to score 6, points to the XT's , handily beating it. But when we look at other 3DMark scores, AMD pulls ahead. In Fire Strike, AMD's card scores 12, to Nvidia's 12, It's a narrow gap, but it just proves that the Radeon RX XT and GeForce GTX trade blows. And, because the RX XT is $10 cheaper than the GTX , it would probably get our recommendation in this price category.  

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Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/amd-radeon-rxxt
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