Radeon VII review: AMD's cutting-edge return to enthusiast gaming

Built for 4K, in gaming and content creation.

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity ($40 on Humble) was one of the very first DX12 games, and it remains a flagbearer for the technology to this day thanks to the extreme scalability of Oxide Games’ next-gen Nitrous engine. With hundreds of units onscreen simultaneously and some serious graphics effects in play, the Crazy preset can make graphics cards sweat. Ashes runs in both DX11 and DX12, but we only test in DX12, as it delivers the best results for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs.

Editor’s note: The graph below is labeled incorrectly. The blue line indicates 4K performance, the red line is 1440p performance, and green is indeed 1080p.

aots Brad Chacos/IDG

This is another game where the Radeon VII trails Nvidia’s GPUs by 6 or 7 percent at 4K resolution. That shouldn’t be very noticeable to the human eye, and AMD’s card again has no problems hovering around 60 fps, even with all the eye candy cranked.

GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a couple of older games that aren’t really visual barn-burners, but still top the Steam charts day in and day out. These are games that a lot of people play. First up: Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA enabled. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gta v Brad Chacos/IDG

This game tends to vastly prefer Nvidia GPUs, and the Radeon VII trails the older GTX 1080 Ti by a decent amount. But interestingly, thanks to tweaks in the GeForce RTX 2080’s technological configuration, Radeon VII comes out ahead of it at 4K resolution. Nvidia’s modern option takes back the lead if you shift the resolution down to 1440p or 1080p, though. Radeon VII is also 31 percent faster than Vega 64.

Rainbow Six Siege

Finally, let’s take a peek at Rainbow Six Siege ($40 on Humble), a game whose audience just keeps on growing, and one that still feels like the only truly next-gen shooter after all these years. Like Ghost Recon Wildlands, this game runs on Ubisoft’s AnvilNext 2.0 engine, but Rainbow Six Siege responds especially well to graphics cards that lean on async compute features.

rb6 Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia greatly enhanced the async compute capabilities of its graphics architecture in the new RTX 20-series lineup. As a result, the RTX 2080 opens up a huge lead over Radeon VII, even though AMD’s new card performs fairly evenly with the older GTX 1080 Ti. If you’re a Siege fan, you’ll want to opt for RTX over RVII.

Next page: Content creation benchmarks

At a Glance
  • AMD's Radeon VII is a fast, memory-rich graphics card loaded down with the latest technologies. It trades blows with Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 in 4K gaming.

    Pros

    • Excellent 4K/60 gaming
    • Beautiful design
    • 16GB of high-bandwidth memory
    • Greatly improved power efficiency and thermals

    Cons

    • Comparable performance to 2-year-old GTX 1080 Ti
    • No dedicated ray tracing hardware
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