- Update: our official Radeon 7 benchmarks are in! Check out the Digital Foundry Radeon 7 review, as well as our RTX 2080 vs Radeon 7 benchmark comparison. Original article continues below...
After announcing the Radeon 7 a few days ago, AMD has stealth-released a more comprehensive set of benchmark results that show how the upcoming card performs in 25 recent games compared to the current top Team Red GPU, the RX Vega 64, benched at 4K resolution on maximum settings. The benchmarks were contained in footnotes to AMD's press materials, and first came to light courtesy of HardOCP.
Broadly, the results bear out AMD's claim of around a 25 per cent leap in performance from one generation to the next, although increases as low as 7.5 per cent in Hitman 2 and as high as 68.3 per cent in Fallout 76 are included in the results.
If we compare AMD's provided results to our existing benchmarks, we can see that our Vega 64 scores for Ghost Recon Wildlands and Assassin's Creed Odyssey are practically identical, suggesting that AMD's definition of '4K Max' is the same as ours in these titles. That means we can suggest how the Radeon 7 would compare against a wider range of cards in these titles, particularly as any differences in CPU performance are likely to be negligible when running these games at 4K and max settings (AMD benched using an i7 7700K, while we've moved on to the i7 8700K).
First up is 2017 title Ghost Recon Wildlands, where the Radeon 7 sits ahead of the Vega 64, GTX 1080, RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. However, it falls behind the GTX 1080 Ti, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. The new AMD card is definitely closer to the GTX 1080 Ti than the GTX 1080, but it's disappointing that a new high-end card from AMD can't surpass Nvidia's last-generation flagship given its much more advanced 7nm process. However, on the plus side, the fact that our RX Vega 64 benchmark matches AMD's to within margin of error at least demonstrates that the tests are on the level - something we don't always see with manufacturer-supplied benchmarks.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is another interesting point of comparison, and it's interesting that AMD should include this one as it's a title that is demonstrably weaker on Radeon hardware compared to Nvidia equivalents. with the Radeon 7 once again falling behind the GTX 1080 Ti by nearly eight per cent, as well as the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti by a significant margin. In our tests, Nvidia's £350/€370/$350 GeForce RTX 2060 beats the more expensive Vega 64, and again, AMD's posted benchmark score is the same as ours, within the margin of error.
Our Vega 64 results for Far Cry 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider diverge a little from those provided from AMD, but it's still interesting to see how the RTX 2080 compares to the new Radeon card in these titles. We recorded scores of 45.5fps for the Vega 64 in Far Cry 5, for instance, where AMD's number is a flat 49fps. The Radeon 7's average frame-rate is given as 62fps, which would put it ahead of the 59.5fps result we recorded for the RTX 2080.
Meanwhile, our Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark result provided us with an average frame-rate of 34.7fps for the Vega 64, where AMD got a slightly higher 36.3fps. The Radeon 7 result is shown as 47.5fps, which would again put the new AMD card just ahead of the RTX 2080's 46.1fps. This should be an interesting contest, as Shadow of the Tomb Raider has shown performance advantages on Nvidia RTX cards up against their 10-series GTX equivalents.
I suspect that it'll be in other titles where Radeon 7 may prove to deliver its strongest performance and other data has been released by AMD. In her CES presentation, CEO Lisa Su included one slide that showed how the Radeon 7 compares to its closest Nvidia competitor, the RTX 2080, in three games - Battlefield 5 (DX12), Far Cry 5 (DX11) and Strange Brigade (Vulkan). The new Radeon card was ahead by one frame per second on average in Battlefield 5 and Far Cry 5 (61fps vs 62fps) and significantly ahead in Strange Brigade (73fps vs 87fps).
Here's the full list of results, as provided by AMD, which restricts itself to Vega 64 comparisons, but does prove quite illuminating.
|Vega 64||Radeon 7||Increase|
|Assassin's Creed Odyssey||28.0||36.0||28.6%|
|Battlefield 1 (DX12)||59.2||80.5||36.0%|
|Battlefield 5 (DX12)||46.7||62.2||33.2%|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops 4||68.0||82.3||21.0%|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (DX12)||40.2||53.4||32.8%|
|F1 2018 (DX12)||61.0||78.0||27.9%|
|Far Cry 5||49.0||62.0||26.5%|
|Forza Horizon 4 (DX12)||62.8||72.8||15.9%|
|Grand Theft Auto V||60.1||76.2||26.8%|
|Just Cause 4||42.6||50.8||19.3%|
|Middle-Earth: Shadow of War||41.6||54.3||30.5%|
|Monster Hunter World||29.4||35.4||20.4%|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX12)||46.0||58.3||26.7%|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX12)||36.3||47.5||33.6%|
|Sid Meier's Civilization 6 (DX12)||78.1||97.1||24.3%|
|Star Control: Origins||69.2||88.9||28.5%|
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan)||60.9||86.7||28.5%|
|The Witcher 3||41.4||55.4||33.9%|
|Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands||29.2||36.3||24.3%|
|Total War: Warhammer 2||28.3||34.6||22.3%|
|Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus||74.2||93.4||25.9%|
The Radeon 7 is, at its core, a revised version of the Vega processor, shrunk down from 14nm to a 7nm design, its large 495mm2 processor reduced in area to 331mm2. The RX Vega 64 features 64 compute units, while the Radeon 7 features 60 (presumably to increase yields - the core design has the full complement) but the clocks on the new product increase to 1800MHz. This on its own would not be enough to explain the large percentage increases seen in the table above, but the Radeon 7 also comes with a 2.1x leap in memory bandwidth and 2x ROPs. There's been a theory for a while now that Vega was bandwidth and ROP-bound, and doubling resources there may explain the increases we're seeing here. [UPDATE 14/1/19 4:35pm: AMD has now confirmed, via Anandtech, that Radeon 7 is still operating with 64 ROPs, meaning that the GPU's performance uplift over RX Vega 64 will be via compute and memory bandwidth increases.]
Of course, manufacturer-supplied benchmarks should always be taken with a pinch of salt, so - as always - our advice would be to read a cross-section of reviews before committing to a purchase, especially when Radeon 7 would set you back a costly $700. It's going to be a fascinating contest between this new 7nm Radeon product and Nvidia's established high-end RTX performers. Radeon 7 delivers twice the RAM of the RTX 2080 and while performance looks competitive on some metrics, AMD's own numbers suggest that it may well be slower in others. Meanwhile, there are no next-gen rendering features like ray tracing, DLSS or variable rate shading - it's a leaner, faster Vega 64 with more RAM, but with no key advances in the core Vega technology. That said, AMD returning to the high-end can only be a good thing for the market and we can't wait to put this one through its paces. The Radeon 7 launches on February 7th and we'll report back with a full review as soon as we can.