For the first time, I am switching to an AMD graphics card

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Good, AMD. You win. I jump off the boat.

With the launch of the RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT, this Nvidia fan was finally convinced to choose an AMD graphics card as his next upgrade. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but for the very first time, I couldn’t be more excited to join the red team.

I have never been a fan of AMD

Yes, I admit – I’ve never been a big fan of AMD. Since PC hardware has always been my thing, I’ve kept up to date with AMD and its rivals in equal measure, but a bad experience with an AMD CPU years ago discouraged me enough that I’m never really coming back. About 15 years have passed – ancient history, as far as computing goes – and beyond testing and building for others, I’ve never owned an AMD CPU or GPU in my own personal build.

Over time, this reluctance for AMD became a habit, and it was often justified – I chose Intel and Nvidia because I trusted them more and their hardware was simply better. This was years before the GPU shortage, when components were still affordable enough that I was willing to spend a little more if it meant I was putting good stuff into my new builds.

Of course, over time AMD has improved. With the launch of Ryzen processors and RDNA 2 GPUs, I was ready to acknowledge that AMD is solid again, but not quite ready to cut the cord and say goodbye to Nvidia yet.

So there I was, an Nvidia fan planning my next release, until the last few weeks finally broke me. AMD’s launch of the RX 7900 XTX was the final nail in the coffin of my “no AMD” phase.

Tried to stick with Nvidia

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Despite skyrocketing prices during the GPU shortage and the fact that AMD’s lineup was more affordable (although nothing really was at the time), my upgrade plan had for months involved an Nvidia card . I prepared different builds, ranging from an RTX 3070 Ti to an RTX 3090, and kept an eye on the prices – always high in my area – until I could find a deal I considered. worth it.

But my resolve was slowly melting away. There I was, with AMD graphics cards handy; maybe not as good as Nvidia in things like ray tracing, but still more than enough. Still, knowing that both manufacturers would be releasing new ranges this year, I made the common mistake of waiting to find out what we were getting instead of building my PC right away.

Cue the RTX 4090. It’s a real beast of a graphics card, with a pretty high power requirement and a much, much higher price. In our testing, the card turned out to be pretty amazing in terms of performance, but in my mind, that still wasn’t enough to convince me to spend $1,600 on a graphics card. Not that I had the chance to, anyway – despite the price, the GPU sold out in minutes, and I’m not going to give a scalper a few hundred extra bucks just to be able to play Cyberpunk 2077 in smooth 4K.

Of course, I could wait for the RTX 4080 – the 16 GB version, that is because Nvidia quickly “thrown” the overpriced error of a card which was the RTX 4080 12 GB. Unfortunately, the version with more memory did not convince me either. Maybe I’m cheap, or maybe I just want to pay reasonable prices for my hardware; anyway, I didn’t feel up to it.

A steady decline

Nvidia RTX 4090 power cable.

It’s been a rough few weeks for Nvidia, despite the initial success of its next-generation Ada Lovelace GPU. First, the EVGA controversy – no matter how you spin it, it’s just not pretty. Then the controversy surrounding the RTX 40-series GPUs began, and I quickly ran out of ways to defend my own choices.

Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, said it himself: “The idea that the price of the chip will go down is a thing of the past.” The timing of this statement couldn’t have been worse, given that many Nvidia enthusiasts, myself included, were quite unhappy with the way Nvidia chose to price the next generation of graphics cards. Huang basically made it clear that things weren’t going to get better in that regard.

Now it turns out that the RTX 4090, and therefore also the RTX 4080, can have meltdown issues due to the power adapter. A fast PSA: don’t bend your cables if you want to avoid a fire hazard. Don’t get me wrong – despite these issues, the RTX 4090 looks pretty exceptional in many ways, and in all likelihood the RTX 4080 will also be a significant upgrade over the previous generation.

Somehow it doesn’t matter to me anymore. After 15 years, it’s time to give AMD another shot.

AMD couldn’t have picked a better time

AMD RX 7900 XTX standing on red background.

With Nvidia’s disappointment leaving a sour taste in my mouth, I found myself getting more and more excited about the announcement of RDNA 3 GPUs. I’ve toyed with the idea of ​​picking up an AMD CPU for my next PC before, and I was ready to make the same choice in terms of graphics card.

Watching AMD’s announcement, I knew I was on board. It’s sad that we’re in a time where a $1000 GPU is an exciting prospect, but it is, especially if we’re talking about a flagship that’s likely to become one of the best graphics cards of this generation. .

AMD’s two new flagships, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT, sound pretty good. We won’t know their true performance until they land in the hands of rave reviews, but AMD promises a 54% increase in performance per watt over RDNA 2, while being up to 1.7 times faster than the RX 6950 XT at 4K; access to DisplayPort 2.1 (and later, 8K monitors, expected to arrive soon); and second-generation ray-tracing that could help it catch up to Nvidia in this regard. AMD also claims that AI performance will be up to 2.7 times better than the previous generation of GPUs.

AMD is keeping the power requirements more conservative, maximizing the TDP at 355W for the 7900 XTX, and it won’t use Nvidia’s ill-fated 12VHPWR adapter, which so far seems to be the cause of these RTX 4090s. melted.

That’s all good, but the best part is that AMD, unlike Nvidia, hasn’t raised its prices. The flagship will retail for $999 for the reference model, followed by $899 for the 7900 XT.

We don’t all need an RTX 4090

Nvidia and AMD CEOs side by side.

Some readers may jump in here and tell me that there is no way the RX 7900 XTX will keep up with the RTX 4090, and in all likelihood they would be right. However, the truth is that not all of us need an RTX 4090 – in fact, most of us don’t. There still aren’t many games that really need that kind of power, and even if they do, you can still run them on a cheaper GPU if you sacrifice a bit of frame rate or reduce settings up a notch.

Not many people really need an RTX 4090. Some do, but I’m definitely not one of them; at least not at this price.

I think the market needs more of what AMD has to offer, which means semi-affordable hardware that’s more accessible to more users, and fewer ultra-high-end components than most gamers can’t. simply not justify in their construction budgets.

AMD’s flagships sound like the middle ground between the expensive enthusiast-only sector and the mid-range segment where you have to compromise on certain settings in certain games. They’re likely to run most AAA titles at max settings, but they’re still priced at a level I can reach.

I’m ready, AMD. It’ll be nice to see you again.

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