Finally, a day that's cause for celebration for AMD at the top-end. Nvidia's been having things a little too easy lately but along comes AMD's Radeon VII 16GB HBM2, a premium graphics card with a premium price.
The Radeon VII will set you back around $700, and in terms of performance, AMD is claiming it's roughly in line with Nvidia's $800 GeForce RTX 2080. But is it really?
The reviews have been dropping; opinions are divided on AMD's first 7nm GPU. The Radeon VII utilises a Vega II chipset and is in some ways potentially a stop-gap until Navi drops, possibly even later this very year. What you do get for your money though is video card with a whopping 16GB of second-gen HBM2 memory. It's gluttonous, it's excessive, but you can be sure you won't be bottlenecked by VRAM for some time to come.
But what about the all-important performance of the Radeon VII?
With our graphics card benchmark database here on GD you can compare the 1080p and 4K frame rates of just about any modern graphics cards out there. We’ve got a massive range of Radeon VII benchmark results available, covering just about all the major AAA game releases of recent years at both 1080p and 4K resolutions.
You can see the full game FPS benchmark results for each graphics card over on the GPU pages here on GD, as well as directly compare how multiple cards stack up against one another using our hardware comparison tool.
So, is the $699 AMD Radeon VII a worthwhile competitor to Nvidia's ray-tracing capable GeForce RTX 2080?
AMD Radeon VII 16GB vs Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 8GB 1080p Game FPS Benchmarks
If you're gaming at 1080p, there's little argument that both of these graphics cards are bewilderingly unnecessary unless you absolutely need to get your money's worth out of your 144Hz monitor. It just isn't the target resolution of these GPUs. Even with every graphics setting maxed out in all of these games, these graphics cards are often pulling in frame rates in the hundreds.
Getting down the specifics, the GeForce RTX 2080 has a slight performance advantage over the Radeon VII at 1080p. The HBM2 memory won't even get a chance to stretch its legs here and so the RTX 2080 pulls ahead by a handful of frames in almost every test. There's really not a lot in it though, so aside from the ray-tracing capabilities of the RTX 2080, the Radeon VII offers comparative performance for a hundred bucks less.
In general, the GeForce RTX 2080 runs 5-10% faster than the AMD Radeon VII at 1080p.
AMD Radeon VII 16GB vs Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 8GB 4K Game FPS Benchmarks
Once you're paying $700 or more for a graphics card, 4K performance is probably a top priority. Neither the Radeon VII nor the RTX 2080 are capable of consistently hitting 60 frames per second on Ultra at 4K though, and will need a handful of graphics settings dialed down to achieve this. There's a much better 4K card out there in the shape of the RTX 2080.
However, in terms of what they can do, we see they trade blows in a number of these tests. In games which use DirectX 12, the Radeon VII often comes out on top of the more expensive RTX 2080, while in other titles we see the 2080 pull ahead. Nvidia's lead here is actually much smaller, and there are quite a few 4K tests where the Radeon VII pulls well ahead. Typical 4K frame rates favour the RTX 2080 by just 2 or 3%.
Rather than being a graphics card right at the top of the pack then, it would appear the Radeon VII is probably best suited to 1440p displays. Which is all quite odd and makes the 16GB HBM2 seem even more excessive than it is. Considering how prohibitively expensive HBM2 is compared to GDDR6, the memory seems an unnecessary added cost forced by AMD railroading its chip design into HBM. If it would've been a simpler process for AMD to swap out the memory for GDDR6 we're sure they would have, and in doing so dropped the price and ensured a genuine competitor to Nvidia's GeForce RTX range.
A reminder as well that you can see these FPS game benchmark results for just about every major graphics card here on GD. You can compare any two AMD or Nvidia GPUs at both 1080p and 4K and get an instant readout on performance. Just head to any graphics card page to get the ball rolling, or use our Graphics Card Performance Head to Head page.