AMD’s Radeon VII graphics card recently launched worldwide, although excitement around the launch was soon extinguished by its lack of availability.
Many online retailers in South Africa have listed the card in their stores, but there is currently no stock available – with no arrival date set.
Despite the lack of retail availability, a number of international publications have received the card for review.
The AMD Radeon VII is set to compete with Nvidia’s RTX 20 Series graphics cards, which offer dedicated AI compute cores and ray-tracing capabilities in addition to great performance.
AMD therefore built the Radeon VII using its 7nm microarchitecture and outfitted the card with a staggering 16GB of next-generation HBM2 video memory to take on Nvidia’s flagship GPUs.
To see how they stack up, we compared the AMD Radeon VII with its nearest competitor in terms of price and performance, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080.
Specifications and pricing
Looking at the specifications of the two cards, it is apparent that they have completely different architectures.
The AMD Radeon VII is built on a 7nm process node and includes far more stream processors than its Nvidia competitor, while also boasting a much higher memory bandwidth thanks to its HBM2 VRAM.
Nvidia’s GPU appears to be disadvantaged compared the Radeon VII, but it is important to note that the RTX 2080 includes dedicated AI and ray-tracing cores, which can make a drastic difference in certain applications.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 also features far lower power draw and a higher base clock speed than the Radeon VII.
The full specifications of both graphics cards are below.
|Specifications||GeForce RTX 2080||Radeon VII|
|VRAM||8GB GDDR6||16GB HBM2|
|Dimensions||266 x 115 mm (2-Slot)||280 x 125 mm (2-Slot)|
|Price||From R11,999||From R14,999|
When it comes to local pricing for the cards, the cheapest Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is around R3,000 less than the cheapest Radeon VII.
However, it is important to note that local pricing for the VII is only currently available from Rebel Tech – and the cards are not in stock as yet.
Wootware previously told MyBroadband that the low volume of VII cards could mean higher shipping costs per product and subsequently higher prices.
4K gaming performance
The gaming performance of the two graphics cards will depend heavily on the title in questions, as different games favour either AMD’s open-source GPUOpen middleware suite or Nvidia’s GameWorks tools.
For this reason, we compared the benchmark results from tests done by Tom’s Hardware, which included a good mix of games using DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and Vulkan graphics APIs.
The average FPS scored for each title at a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 is compared below, along with the total average FPS for each GPU across all games.
|Game Benchmark (4K)||GeForce RTX 2080||AMD Radeon VII|
|Far Cry 5||57.0||58.4|
|Grand Theft Auto V||86.7||77.2|
|Metro: Last Light Redux||67.4||61.1|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||65.3||56.6|
|Tom Clancy’s The Division||55.0||57.8|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon||54.1||50.8|
|The Witcher 3||76.5||66.8|
These results show a small difference in performance in favour of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, despite the higher price of AMD’s Radeon VII.
One could argue that the ray-tracing graphics features enabled by the GeForce RTX 2080 give it the edge over the AMD card, but this is not currently a prevalent feature in modern titles.
The case for the AMD Radeon VII could also be made if you have a FreeSync-compatible monitor and do not wish to pay a premium for Nvidia’s G-Sync products.
This is especially important when gaming at high resolutions, as adaptive sync will improve the experience of playing at 4K with the graphics settings turned up to maximum.
Often the biggest factors to consider when comparing graphics cards is price, however, and in this case the GeForce RTX 2080 easily wins.
At around R3,000 cheaper than its competitor, it also has the advantage of actually being available in South Africa – while the Radeon VII remains nowhere to be found.
Additionally, the scarce number of Radeon VII graphics cards allocated to South Africa may serve to inflate the price once they are released.