Team red’s answer to Nvidia’s RTX 2080? This is what we’ve been waiting for!

It’s safe to say that Nvidia runs the show in the graphics segment but if you don’t have deep pockets, then things can get a little messy. With a host of options from both AMD and Nvidia, we’ve got AMD’s latest and greatest pixel gusher to level the playground.

How well does it decimate the competition? Let’s find out.

Triple threat

Unlike its Vega 64 brethren blower-style cooling, the Radeon VII has open-air cooling style with three fans. So you can expect the stock GPU to hold up the temperature under load. In fact, in our test bench, the GPU was holding up around 70℃ even under 4K gaming load which is quite remarkable. In comparison, even the RTX 2080Ti’s double fan design peaks at about 75℃ and sometimes 85℃ when the going gets hard.

The rectangular aluminium frame is sharp around the edges and has a very solid feel to it. It looks and feels like a slab of metal and weighs rightly so.

In the ports department, there’s only one HDMI and three Displayport. The lack of USB Type-C port may disappoint some because it’s easier to connect to the latest VR headsets. Although that’s not a deal breaker.

Unstable horse

Our test benchmark is 4K at 60fps on the highest settings but anything below that in resolution is justified too because for the price the Radeon VII comes at. Still, if this is AMD’s answer to Nvidia RTX 2080 then we’ll treat it like the beast it should be and if you take a look at the spec sheet, it’s got a gargantuan 16GB VRAM and a jaw-dropping 1TB/s of Memory Bandwidth! For perspective, the ₹1lac Nvidia RTX 2080Ti has 11GB of VRAM and only 616GB/s of Memory Bandwidth. Which means that the Radeon VII is not only bolstering 2K gaming at its best but could (in theory) dish out faster frames for 4K gaming too. So does this beast have claws or just toe beans?

Capcom’s RE Engine is seriously demanding and the Resident Evil 2 game held up a sweet average of 60FPS at 4K with maxed out settings. Although it wasn’t consistent, we experienced some framerate dips every now and then.

Another beautiful looking game under Capcom’s belt is Devil May Cry 5 which gave us mixed results. There were instances where the game would run smoothly at 60FPS at 4K on the highest settings and then have crippling frame drops. Not to mention the game is supported by AMD so we were expecting smoother results. It was better to dial down the resolution to 2K and maintain a consistent 60 frames. Also, the occasional crashes is a known AMD Radeon VII problem and even after a month into the release, it’s still not fixed.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider was better left on 2K. Its performance was satisfactory but nothing impressive. We barely managed 60FPS at 2K on the highest settings and on 4K it averaged around 40FPS.

From the in-game benchmark of Forza Horizon 4 we got 60FPS at 4K with the highest settings the game has to offer. However, while playing it would stick around 50FPS which is very impressive for a GPU of this price so we were thoroughly impressed here. It’s definitely a worthy GPU for 2K gaming.

On Battlefield V, the game was looking stunning at 4K with highest settings again and it managed to maintain a good 60FPS but the game crashed on several occasions.

Even Metro Exodus crashed on us twice before we finally got to play it at 4K with 55FPS on the highest settings. If you set the whole crashing fiasco aside for a second, for ₹54,990 the Radeon VII manages an impressive feat of bang for the buck like no other. Sadly, you cannot play a game when it has crashed, right?

The Radeon doesn’t pack any Ray Tracing or DLSS smarts like Nvidia’s RTX series which is still not a deal breaker but the amount of times the games have crashed is certainly very disturbing.

The Division 2 which we’re testing currently has AMD Radeon support but that too crashed and we were playing it on 2K! The GPU was dishing out around 55-60FPS at 2K and 40FPS at 4K. Again, it’s very impressive but the constant crashes will make your eyes roll back into their socket.

At your fingertips

We only swapped out the Nvidia RTX 2080Ti from our existing gaming PC test bench. It consisted of Asus PRIME X399-A motherboard with AMD’s own Ryzen Threadripper 2920X water-cooled by the Corsair H115i RGB Platinum and 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB RAM. It’s worth noting that the Radeon VII is notoriously power hungry so we jammed in a Corsair AX850 to satiate that hungry appetite.  

One of the most impressive things about the AMD software is the seamless connection with its AMD Link app. The app’s UI is better than most smartphone apps we’ve seen and it gives a lot of control too. You could monitor frame rates, temperatures and even overclocking features from the palm of your hand.

Even the Radeon Adrenalin software is quite useful and more informative than Nvidia’s GeForce Experience. It somehow manages to tread the fine line of giving you more information about your PC but doesn’t feel overburdening and forceful at the same time.

Although, it still cannot answer the burning question of when will these random crashes be fixed? We have a few complaints about the RTX 2080 mainly because of the ‘Nvidia’ premium price tag and its crippling Ray Tracing performance but that extra dosh does guarantee a crash-free experience over the Radeon VII’s problems.

Verdict

It’s clear that the Radeon VII does a crash course in gaming. It’s a very capable graphics card for playing games on the highest settings at 2K. Meanwhile, Full HD is an easy breeze.

Although it’s still in the shadow of the more capable RTX 2080 and AMD doesn’t bring any exclusive features like Nvidia’s real-time Ray Tracing and DLSS. It costs ₹54,990 +GST which would be roughly around ₹10,000 to ₹15,000 less than the RTX 2080 (₹69,900). But as much as we loved the colossal performance of the Radeon VII for the price, it’s still a very buggy experience.

It’s like buying a sports car to drive over speed breakers. Not fun till AMD fixes the issue even if your wallet is on a tight leash.

 

Stuff says... 

AMD Radeon VII review

You could call this the most pocket-friendly and powerful graphics card for 2K gaming, if not for constant crashes
₹54990
Good Stuff 
Price is better than the competition
Fans do their job well
Build quality is solid
AMD Link app is amazing
Performance at 2K resolution is top notch
Bad Stuff 
Constant crashes
Power hungry
No exclusive features to rival RTX