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Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX7700XT 12GB Graphics Card Review

INTRODUCTION


AMD launched two new GPU models last week, Radeon RX7700XT 12GB and Radeon RX7800XT 16GB. Both these SKU are based on their latest RDNA3 architecture. Radeon RX7900XTX 24GB and Radeon RX7900XT 20GB have been in the market for some time already and couple of months back the Entry level Radeon RX7600 8GB was also launched but the absence of options in between the 7600 and 7900XTX cannot be overlooked. Now that is taken care of by the 7700XT and 7800XT.

AMD sent across a sample unit of their Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX7700XT 12GB for testing and reviewing. Therefore, we are reviewing this card first & the 7800XT will follow soon.

Without wasting much time, let’s get on with it. First off, let’s check the detailed specifications of the new GPU.


Specifications


· Architecture – RDNA3

· Hardware Ray Tracing – YES

· Lithography – 5nm GCD / 6nm MCD

· Typical Board Power – 245W (AMD Reference design, might vary for AIB SKU)

· Stream Processors – 3456

· Compute Units – 54

· Peak Half Precision (FP16) Performance – 70 TFLOPS

· Peak Single Precision Matrix (FP32) Performance – 35 TFLOPS

· Power Connectors – 2 x 8 Pin PCIe

· Memory – 12GB

· Memory Type – GDDR6

· AMD Infinity Cache – 48MB

· Memory Interface – 192 Bit

· Peak memory Bandwidth - ~ 432 GB/s

· PCIe Bust – PCIe Gen4.0

· Form Factor – Dual Slot

· Supported Rendering Formats – 1 x Encode & Decode AV1, 2 x Decode (H265/HEVC, 4K H264), 2 x Encode (H265/HEVC, 4K H264)

· Supported Technologies – AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition, AMD FidelityFX™ Super Resolution, AMD Link, AMD Noise Suppression, AMD Radeon™ FRTC, AMD Radeon™ Super Resolution, AMD Smart Access, Memory, AMD Smart Access Video, AMD Privacy View, AMD Radeon™ Boost, AMD Radeon™ Anti-Lag, AMD Radeon™ Image Sharpening, AMD Enhanced Sync Technology, AMD FreeSync™ Technology, AMD Radeon™ Chill, AMD Virtual Super Resolution


CLOSER LOOK


Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX7700XT 12GB is a dual fan variant and has a 2 Slot thickness profile. This should be compatible with almost all regular PC Cases. The heatsink is large enough to efficiently keep the card cool and the 2 fans do very good job of cooling at lower RPM. This results in quiet operation and there isn’t annoying fan noise while you are immersed in your gaming.

There is metal back plate and there are thermal pads which help in dissipating heat from the back side of the PCB which means the back plate is not just for aesthetics but helps in removing heat and improving the thermal efficiency.

The card sports 2 x HDMI and 2 x Display Port connectors which allows connecting up to 4 monitors.

The card features 2 x 8 Pin PCIe Power connectors and thankfully avoids the delicate 12VHPWR connector seen on NVidia’s RTX 40 Series higher end SKU. With conventional PCIe Power connectors, there is no need for adapters or new gen ATX3.0 spec PSU units. If you have an old 750~1000W unit, it will have 2 x PCIe connectors and same can be used for this card thus saving cost of upgrading the PSU. Good job AMD!

Sapphire & Radeon branding is minimalistic, simple and elegant.

As mentioned earlier, the card features a dual slot design and with dual fan setup, is not excessively huge making it heavy, bulky and cumbersome to install.


TESTING


We have included a mix of synthetic benchmarks & games both since many a times, users tend to have a hybrid workload wherein they use their computers for gaming as well as content creation or other professional workloads. Hopefully the benchmarks will prove useful for gamers, content creators and professional users as well.


TEST BENCH


Intel Core i9 13900KS (24Cores/32Threads)

Asus ROG Maximus Z790 Apex Motherboard

Cooler Master Masterliquid PL360 Flux 360mm CPU Liquid Cooler

16GB x 2 Kingston Fury Renegade RGB 6400MHz DDR5 Memory

Sapphire Pulse AMD Radeon RX7700XT 12GB Graphics Card

Corsair RM1000e 1000W 80+ Gold PSU


SOFTWARE


Windows 11 X64 PRO (Latest updates installed)

Latest Drivers for motherboard, GPU, etc. installed.

Latest Motherboard BIOS installed.


BENCHMARKS


· Geekbench 6 GPU Compute – OpenCL

· Geekbench 6 GPU Compute – Vulkan

· 3DMark Time Spy

· 3DMark Time Spy Extreme

· 3DMark Port Royal

· 3DMark Speedway

· Superposition 4K Optimized

· Superposition 8K Optimized

· AIDA64 GPGPU Benchmark

· PCMARK10

· Cyberpunk 2077

· Farcry 6

· Shadow of the Tomb Raider

· Forza Horizon 5

· Assassin’s Creed Valhalla


SYNTHETIC BENCHMARKS



GPU Compute Benchmark


Tests the system's potential for gaming, image processing, or video editing with the Compute Benchmark. This benchmarks also tests the GPU's power with support for the OpenCL, Metal, and Vulkan APIs along with GPU API abstraction layer and new Machine Learning workloads.

In OpenCL GPU Computer benchmarks the RX7700XT is almost identical to the RTX 4060Ti.

In Vulkan GPU compute benchmark, we see the RX7700XT surge ahead of the 4060Ti with a solid margin and sits almost in between the 4060Ti and 4070 in terms of performance.


3DMark


Time Spy


3DMark Time Spy is a DirectX 12 benchmark test. Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built the right way from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers.

With its pure DirectX 12 engine, which supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is the ideal test for benchmarking the latest graphics cards.


Time Spy Extreme


Time Spy Extreme is a new 4K DirectX 12 benchmark test. With its 4K Ultra HD rendering resolution, Time Spy Extreme is an ideal benchmark test for the latest high-end graphics cards. The CPU test has been redesigned to let processors with 8 or more cores perform to their full potential.

Port Royal


3DMark Port Royal is the world’s first dedicated real-time ray tracing benchmark. Port Royal can be used to test and compare the real-time ray tracing performance of any graphics card that supports Microsoft DirectX Raytracing. As well as benchmarking performance, 3DMark Port Royal provides a realistic and practical example of what to expect from ray tracing in upcoming games.

Speed Way


3DMark Speed Way is a DirectX 12 Ultimate benchmark. Speed Way’s engine is assembled to demonstrate the new features DirectX 12 Ultimate brings to raytraced gaming. Speed Way uses DirectX Raytracing tier 1.1 for real-time global illumination and real-time raytraced reflections, coupled with new DirectX 12 Ultimate performance optimizations like Mesh Shaders.


SUPERPOSITION


AIDA64 GPGPU Benchmark


PCMark 10 Extended


PCMark 10 Extended is a longer test that provides complete assessment of system performance beyond typical office work tasks.

PCMark 10 Extended expands the main PCMark 10 benchmark with demanding graphics and physics tests that focus on GPU and CPU performance.

Essentials

The Essentials group covers the common, everyday ways that people use a PC. The workloads include Web Browsing, Video Conferencing, and App Start-up time.

Productivity

The Productivity test group measures system performance with everyday office applications. This test group includes the Spreadsheets and Writing workloads.

Digital Content Creation

This test group's workload reflects the demands of working with digital content and media. The tests include Photo Editing, Video Editing, and Rendering and Visualization.

Gaming

The Gaming test group focuses on real-time graphics and physics. It includes two Graphics tests for GPU performance, a Physics test for CPU performance, and a Combined test.


GAMING BENCHMARKS


CYBERPUNK 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 was launched recently after much anticipation and is a demanding title. With support for AMD FSR, it was interesting to see how much performance uplift was in store across different level of detail and resolutions. The graph above showcases performance with and without FSR. To say the least, FSR offers some massive performance boost across the board.


FAR CRY 6

Far Cry 6 is another title which supports AMD FSR and hence becomes an automatic option since this too is a demanding title which is a good way to test the potential of new GPUs.


SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an old game now but a demanding game nonetheless. Hence it’s inclusion. From the above graph it is evident that RX7700XT can handle 1080p easily and is comfortable even at 1440p but 4K might be a bit stressful.


FORZA HORIZON 5

Forza Horizon 5 requires no introduction. One of the most popular racing games with spectacular graphics and effects. This automatically means, it won’t be a title that will be easy for GPUs to handle. Strangely FSR did not showcase any substantial performance gains as we have seen in a few titles above. Performance of the RX7700XT is very good for 1080p and 1440p. 4K is expecting a bit too much we think. AMD anyways is not claiming this card to be built for 4K gaming. It yet again proves that it is a very solid 1440P gaming GPU.


ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA

Assassin’s Creed series again needs no introduction. We have tested performance with Valhalla, known for being unforgiving for many mainstream GPUs. This title also supports AMD FSR and we tested performance with and without FSR. The results are clearly visible in the above graph. Once again, huge performance bump. FSR is evolving and maturing very well day by day.


THERMAL PERFORMANCE


· We stress tested the GPU for 2 Hours of 8K rendering to monitor the thermal performance.

· GPU core temperature maxed out at 62c

· GPU Memory Junction temperature maxed out at 78c

· GPU hotspot Temperature maxed out at 87c

· The average cooler fan speed was 1400~rpm

· GPU Total Power Draw hovered around ~242W

· GPU Core Clock speed was around 2,602MHz

· The Dual Fan cooler design works very well. Keeping the GPU temps under 65c is very good and that too with fans not crossing 1500 rpm.

· As per Sapphire’s official website, this model has a rated boost clock of 2544MHz but from our testing, we saw the card scale upto 2600MHz, almost 40MHz above the rated boost clock. This can be attributed to the efficient cooling resulting in the card boosting very well. More clock speed means more performance, perfect!

· With power draw around 250w, the card isn’t power hungry and can be paired with 650~750W PSU systems easily without causing too much issues.



OBSERVATION,CONCLUSION & FINAL WORDS


· The latest RDNA3 architecture showed promise when we first saw it in action with 7900XT and 7900XTX. Both these cards were priced competitively but they still were High end SKU. Although RX6000 Series cards are still available in market, they will soon vanish and there has to be new SKUs to replace them especially in the mid-range segment. The RX7700XT 12GB is just that along with the RX7800XT 16GB which we are already testing.

· It is evident from the performance numbers above that the RX7700XT 12GB sits in between the RTX 4060Ti and RTX 4070. The RX7700XT features 12GB VRAM which is similar to the RTX 4070. The 4060Ti has 2 variants, 8GB & 16GB. It should be noted that apart from the VRAM size, the GPU itself remains same for both the variants. Price point wise the 4070 is costlier than the 7700XT and so is the 4060Ti 16GB variant. 4060Ti 8GB variant is cheaper but also slower. We feel, AMD has got the price: performance ratio bang on target with the RX7700XT. It would be interesting to see if NVidia counters with price cuts or newer SKU. Competition has increased in the mid-range that much is for sure.

· Ray Tracing performance is where AMD is yet to catch up with Nvidia but that is understandable since Nvidia has an early mover advantage. A lot of Pro Apps and Games are adopting Ray Tracing but it is still a niche. Even Nvidia’s own mid-range RTX 40 series SKUs struggle to handle RT in certain games. We don’t feel RT performance would be a make or break factor but hopefully the future architecture will have much stronger RT performance.

· The card ran cool and quiet and didn’t consume too much power. One doesn’t need high end PSUs and massive air flow to keep things under control as far as thermals & power requirements are concerned. This should help users save some valuable budget to invest in faster SSD or Liquid Cooler and higher CPU model or more RAM. Making the build even more VFM.

· From what were told, the prices for RX7700XT 12Gb variants should be anywhere between 48,000/- to 52,000/- depending on make, model, etc.

· Overall to sum up, AMD has got a solid offering with good balance of price & performance. We are curious to see how Nvidia responds. Will this lead to a price war between AMD and Nvidia which will make such products even more tempting? We hope so!


Thank You





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