AMD Radeon VII Review

AMD Radeon VII Preview 


AMD Radeon graphics cards were stuck in the wilderness for a little while between the 7970 and the Vega. They were decent offerings producing fair performance, without ever hitting the blazing heights of the famous 4870 and subsequent models, with the Fury showing the first signs of recovery.

Thankfully for those of you who are fans of the red team the Vega range of cards really put AMD back on the map with the Vega56 a good card for the low stress applications and the Vega64 able to pump out attractive frame rates in even high intensity settings thanks to its High Bandwidth Memory (HBM). This meant a more affordable card as the huge throughput reduced the necessary total VRAM. If you’ve been paying attention to recent game releases you’ll know that 4K gaming is a big deal at the high end thanks to its introduction onto the latest consoles bleeding across into the PC world, and this comes with huge texture and thus greatly increased VRAM requirements. The gap between Battlefield 1 and Battlefield V – a mere two years – has already doubled the recommended video memory. That is without taking into account the prevalence of ultra wide displays, gradually replacing multi-monitor setups.

The latest release in the Radeon range is the Radeon VII. The first card built on the 7nm process with double the HMB2 of the Vega64. After all, if the 7nm process has reduced the core size from 495mm2 to 331mm2 it makes sense to use that freed up space to pile twice the HBM2 of the Vega64 onto the die. Curiously the Radeon VII has slightly reduced Compute Unit count at 60 instead of the Vega64s 64, which has also dropped the Stream Processor count from 4096 down to 3840. The smaller process has enabled a much higher GPU clock speed though, up to 1800 MHz from the 1500 MHz we saw on the better Vega64 cards. AMD expect the Radeon VII to match the RTX 2080 in gaming performance, which would be a massive boost to their range if it does.

Additional areas that the Radeon VII brings improvements to the party are in the Compute tasks. In some of the most heavy hitting applications – DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere and Blender – it promises around 1.3x the performance of the Vega64. A huge improvement in workflow efficiency. As more and more people create videos for their gaming, or Vlogs, or just a top ten nuttiest dictators list, so getting to the end point of finished content faster helps everybody. On the subject of streaming, using OBS there should be no discernible frame loss between gaming at 1080P and not streaming, or broadcasting at 1080P60 whilst doing so. Perfect if you’re the type of person who loves to share your skills with the world. Finally the Radeon VII has a more accurate method of monitoring the die temperature which lets the card boost higher for longer because there is less fuzziness regarding the actual temperature of the core and thus you can push the limits even closer to the edge.

Lastly, before we take a quick look at the card in the flesh, AMD are giving copies of Resident Evil 2, The Division 2, and Devil May Cry 5 away with purchases of the Radeon VII. Hopefully The Division 2 is a big improvement upon its predecessor, but we already know Resident Evil 2 is fantastic and there hasn’t been a bad DMC game yet. Not even the reboot with emo Dante. Fight me.


Compute Units 60
Stream Processors 3840
Base Clock 1400 MHz
Boost Clock 1750 MHz
TFlops 13.8
HBM2 Memory 16GB
Memory Interface 4096-bit
Memory Bandwidth 1 TB/s