AMD RX 7900 XTX leak hints at a GPU that threatens Nvidia’s RTX 4080

AMD’s inbound RX 7900 XTX graphics card has been spotted in leaked benchmarks which put the performance of the RDNA 3 flagship in the same ballpark as the RTX 4080 – and as Team Red’s GPU is a fair chunk cheaper, that could have Nvidia worried.

As Tom’s Hardware spotted, Benchleaks – which is a regular source of benchmark spillage on Twitter – picked up on Geekbench results for the RX 7900 XTX (add your own seasoning, as with all leakage).

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As you can see above, in the Vulkan performance test for Geekbench 5, the 7900 XTX achieved a result of 179,579. That’s just a smidge faster than the RTX 4080, which as Tom’s points out, hits 178,105 as averaged across a number of user scores our sister site uncovered.

The other result shared is for the OpenCL test, where the 7900 XTX hits 228,647, but in this case the RTX 4080 outstrips that by some way with an average result of 264,482.

Analysis: Nvidia counterattack is in the cards?

Looking at these results, then, certainly the Vulkan score appears to back up the assertion that AMD has made in its prelaunch marketing – namely that the 7900 XTX is the equal of the RTX 4080. In fact, it’s absolutely neck-and-neck going by that benchmark (technically, the RDNA 3 flagship is just under a percentage point faster, but that’s hardly going to make any difference).

On the other hand, the OpenCL benchmark sees Nvidia’s RTX 4080 open up a 15% lead, which is more noticeable for sure. Not that we should get carried away with any pre-release benchmarking, of course – whichever way it leans – and speaking of pre-release, AMD’s drivers aren’t finished yet, either. And Geekbench is far from the strongest of benchmark players on the gaming front, so we should bear that in mind, on top of everything else.

Still, this is a clear suggestion that the RX 7900 XTX is going to be able to successfully square up to the RTX 4080 and take on Nvidia’s more expensive second-tier Lovelace GPU.

This is where it gets really interesting, diving elsewhere into rumor-ville, where we’ve heard reports that Nvidia could cut the price of the RTX 4080 in mid-December, when the 7900 XTX (and 7900 XT) are going on sale. As we recently discussed, that very much looks like a counterattack on AMD’s RDNA 3 launch, as the 7900 XTX is pitched a good deal cheaper than the RTX 4080 (the MSRP is $999 in the US, compared to $1,199).

The sources of the RTX 4080 price cut rumor contend that Nvidia isn’t reacting to AMD, but purely wants to adjust the overall value proposition – that crucial price/performance ratio of the 4080 – to stoke lackluster sales, and there’s doubtless truth in that. Certainly, the RTX 4080 has very much underperformed sales-wise from the leaked figures we’ve seen (the RTX 4090 has sold far more units), and the 4080 has suffered an unpopular reception to put it mildly.

So, Nvidia does need to act, but the timing of the price cutting coinciding pretty much directly with when AMD is pushing out its new RDNA 3 GPUs is surely not a coincidence. It’s not a big leap to make to theorize that maybe Nvidia is taking AMD’s next-gen flagship seriously as a full-on rival to the RTX 4080 in the light of all this.

Whatever the case, we can but hope for a more competitively priced RTX 4080 fighting it out with the 7900 XTX, as that’d obviously be good news for enthusiast consumers looking at dropping a grand or so on a graphics card.

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