AMD Radeon VII Video Card Review

Author:Brent Justice

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , February 14, 2019

The AMD Radeon VII has been launched and we take it through its paces in eight games compared to an MSI GeForce RTX 2080 VENTUS video card dollar-to-dollar at $699.99, and throw in the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition as well for a complete comparison. Only real gameplay tested as usual.

Making the Right GPU Comparison

Making the right comparison is very important, you have to consider price and performance. You will notice our evaluation is being published well after the launch of the Radeon VII. We wanted to take our time and make sure we evaluated this video card properly, making the right comparisons and providing a thorough and in-depth evaluation that should answer all your performance questions. After reading our evaluation, you will know how this video card performs at both 1440p and 4K in the latest games as well as how it performs dollar-for-dollar and with a higher clocked RTX 2080.

We could have just evaluated performance with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition, and left it at that. Instead, we wanted to give you the best proper comparison possible, so we are comparing this video card dollar-for-dollar at $699.99. For an equally priced video card we will be using the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 VENTUS video card which is $699.99 currently. The benefit of comparing with the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 VENTUS is that it is clocked at the GeForce RTX 2080’s reference frequency for the GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, whereas the Founders Edition direct from NVIDIA has an overclock.

Just to recap, the GeForce RTX 2080 GPU has two different reference clock speeds. The first is a boost clock of 1710MHz for non-Founders Edition video cards. Second, the NVIDIA Founders Edition has a boost clock of 1800MHz. You could even consider a third frequency possible if you consider highly factory overclocked cards like the ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 OC with a boost clock of 1860MHz (and ~$170 more in cost). Thanks to NVIDIA GPU Boost the real-time in-game frequency is even a lot higher than that with good custom cooling. All three of these "clock tiers" will perform differently naturally. The issue is, pricing. The MSRP for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition is $799, while the non-Founders Edition reference clock speed pricing is $699. You can see where this is a problem, the Founders Edition is $100 more expensive than the Radeon VII. Then, if you try to compare a video card like the ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 OC (which is a very fast RTX 2080) it will set you back $869.99 a whole $170 more expensive than the Radeon VII, not a very fair comparison.

Therefore, we did the sensible thing and compared to both an MSI GeForce RTX 2080 VENTUS that is $699.99 (and has the lowest reference clock) as well as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition at $799.99.

In our testing the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 VENTUS reached a GPU Boost speed while gaming that averaged around 1820MHz. This video card does have a custom cooler and that helps it maintain a solid consistent frequency. We found that our Founders Edition was around 1875-1890MHz average frequency. The Founders Edition did hit a higher maximum frequency than our VENTUS did. For comparison, the highly overclocked ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 can average about 1950MHz, which would be a lot faster. That gives you an idea of what range of performance we are testing.