AMD Radeon VII Review
Published: 7th February 2019 | Source: AMD | Price: |
Regular readers will know that we're big fans of AMD here at OC3D, having cut our overclocking teeth on many of their Thunderbird and Barton cored processors back when many of you were babes in swaddling. To say the intervening years were a bit of a rollercoaster is putting things mildly, and the problems with the Phenom cores took a long time to be shaken out of the AMD DNA. Thankfully - as is well documented - the release of the Zen architecture and Ryzen processors put AMD back on the map in a big way. They deliver great performance at affordable pricing with plenty to tinker with for the enthusiast. What's that to do with the Radeon VII you ask? Well, the story of their GPU arm is much the same. Early Radeon cards were good to great, probably reaching their zenith with the blisteringly fast 4870X2, a card which dominated the landscape for a long time.
Although the following cards weren't 'wilderness years' for AMD, they contained an awful lot of false dawns and for a while it looked like AMD had given up chasing Nvidia at the top of the performance market and instead contented themselves with the mainstream market, those who wanted good enough performance that didn't require the sale of a child to acquire. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool AMD fan will admit that their cards were fairly middling until the launch of the Vega, and particularly the Vega64. Even these though were quickly out-paced by their Santa Clara competitors, and so AMD have returned to the fray with the Radeon VII, so named because it is the first card built on a 7nm process, something which has allowed AMD to ramp up the amount of High Bandwidth Memory on the card to whopping levels.
Has it been a success?
Yep. Okay see you next week. What? You want more? In the blurb AMD show performance that should match up to the RTX 2080. Normally manufacturer claims are about as accurate as a Daily Express article, but in this case AMD have hit the nail on the head. Throughout our testing the Radeon VII slotted in around the RTX 2080 in every benchmark. Sometimes ahead. Sometimes just behind. But always right next to it. Given that the amount of Compute Units - and thus Stream Processors - is actually below the Vega 64 it shows how incredible the updated architecture is. At 1080P the two cards aren't too far apart, but as you click through the resolutions the extra memory on the Radeon VII really comes to the fore until you reach 4K when the Vega is a dot in the rear view mirror.
It isn't just the HBM2 that enables this beefy performance hike, as three other ingredients that go to make the high performance stew are perfectly catered for too. Firstly it's a joy to see AMD finally dispense with the blower style of cooler and go with a proper three fan job. Our temperature test showed how successful this has been with the most we saw being 73°C, 10 degrees cooler than the Vega 64 that preceded it just remember it does spin the fans up to 3000rpm almost instantly as any real 3D game rendering starts so this is NOT a quiet card. There is more good news from the power draw. The old Vega 64 span your electric meter like top, but the Radeon VII sits in the power graph in the same spot it sat in all our performance tests, right between the RTX 2080 and the overclocked RTX 2080.
The AMD Radeon VII sits alongside the Ryzen CPUs as completing AMDs return to glory, rocking big frame rates in all the latest titles and thoroughly deserving of our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.