We started out November with a bang when AMD launched a new line of graphics cards, the Radeon 7900 XTX and XT, that anticipate a coming wave of 8K monitors from companies like Samsung. 8K monitors are so scarce even I rarely see one. The visual experience is more like looking through a window than at a monitor. The level of detail and the quality of the textures are amazing, just as the load on the system is significant. But the move to upscaling images coupled with the performance increase in these cards should provide both the resolution you want, and the frame rates you need, so you don’t have to dial down the experience in order to increase game performance. And, unlike some competing products, you should be able to run this card on an existing gaming rig without replacing the power supply.
Let’s talk about what this means for the industry going forward.
Scary Games Are Going to Get Scarier
One of the most anticipated horror games is The Callisto Protocol. When it was demonstrated on stage, the level of realism was closer to what you would expect in a movie than in a video game, and that realism really enhances the scare factor of the game. I immediately realized that playing it in the dark would probably be too scary even for me. Granted, to see this level of realism you’ll need at least a 4K monitor, but oh, at 8K, the scary stuff starts to look like it could jump through the screen. If you like games that scare the crap out of you, hang on. At 8K with one of these new AMD cards, The Callisto Protocol should do exactly that.
Cinema-Class Animated Films
The director of the coming short film Beckoning, Sava Zivkovic, pointed out that with this card, smaller teams could create cinema-quality movies. I’m a huge fan of Dust movies on YouTube, and the quality of the related films is amazing. Stories that would never get funded for TV or movies show up under their banner. Turning imagination into content and bringing that capability down to younger generations so they can showcase their imaginations and advance their creativity while potentially providing them with an income stream is an incredible benefit.
I’m thinking it’s time for me to pick up some of these skills as there are stories I’d like to tell and, up until now, the ability to tell them with video has been beyond my resources. I think this is potentially a game-changer. Much like writing books has massively expanded thanks to publishing services like Amazon, my expectation is that these same services will eventually embrace individual movie makers. Your Prime or Netflix account, along with YouTube, will have a lot more interesting content than they currently do by supporting and publishing the coming wave of video creators.
Ryzen + Radeon
Frank Azor got up on stage and spoke to the improvements in AMD’s software, laptops, and user experience. For instance, the ability to link remotely to your gaming rig and play high-end games on your portable laptop or smartphone has improved. But what I found most interesting is that the new Ryzen 7000 processors and Radeon 7000 GPUs will load balance between them and provide a far higher level of performance if both technologies are in place. They don’t cripple the experience with Intel, you just won’t get this extra performance uplift.
This “better together” strategy provides an interesting advantage to the company because NVIDIA isn’t structured to do this, and Intel doesn’t yet have a high-end graphics card to take full advantage of similar potential.
Pricing and Availability
The cards are due out in early December (the current target is the 13th of December which should be solid, but this is a weird year for logistics) and have prices of $999 for the XTX and $899 for the XT with less memory. I wonder why people buy the lower-end card when prices are this close. Usually, availability drives the decision, but a 10% delta between these two products just showcases what a huge value the more expensive XTX card is.
Wrapping Up: Redefining the Power of Graphics
This year AMD came to play hard with new Ryzen and Radeon products that are impressively powerful individually, and even more powerful together. I now have an 8K monitor on my Christmas wish list, something I wouldn’t have even considered before, and I’m looking forward to the videos and games that will be created to make use of this incredible power. Granted, at these prices and with this performance, availability is likely going to be an issue suggesting you may want to pre-order if you want any chance of getting this card before next year. They are such a huge value; I expect stores will run out of these cards quickly.
I came to Las Vegas expecting to be impressed, but AMD kind of blew my socks off. I’m really looking forward to testing these cards on my new Ryzen 7000 gaming rig.