Nearly a year ago, Nvidia kicked off this GPU generation with its GeForce RTX 4090. The 4090 offers unparalleled performance but at an unparalleled price of $1,600 (prices have not fallen). It’s not for everybody, but it’s a nice halo card that shows what the Ada Lovelace architecture is capable of. Fine, I guess.
The RTX 4080 soon followed, along with AMD’s Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT. These cards also generally offered better performance than anything you could get from a previous-generation GPU, but at still-too-high-for-most-people prices that ranged from between $900 and $1,200 (though all of those prices have fallen by a bit). Fine, I guess.
By the time we got the 4070 Ti launch in May, we were getting down to the level of performance that had been available from previous-generation cards. These GPUs offered a decent generational jump over their predecessors (the 4070 Ti performs kind of like a 3090, and the 4070 performs kind of like a 3080). But those cards also got big price bumps that took them closer to the pricing levels of the last-gen cards they performed like. Fine, I guess.
And then we get to the true midrange cards that most people can actually afford. In this price range, AMD and Nvidia offer minor updates for around the same money as the last generation’s products, in the form of the 8GB 4060 Ti, the regular 4060, and the RX 7600. It was nice to have affordable-ish midrange GPUs again after years of inflated prices and shortages, but the generation-over-generation improvements were a lot less than people had come to expect from previous refreshes. Fine, I guess!
(Let’s also lump Intel’s Arc GPUs in with this group for the sake of completeness; they’re competitive, but they had buggy drivers at launch and enduring performance issues in some older games. Fine, I guess.)
And now we get to the Radeon RX 7700 XT and 7800 XT, likely the last major launches of this GPU generation. Both take an approach we’ve seen from these other cards; the 7800 XT offers roughly the performance of the last-gen 6800 XT at roughly the same price, and the 7700 XT delivers a nice generational performance bump while bumping the price up to roughly what you would have paid for a last-gen card with the same performance. Fine! I guess!
That’s not to say either is a bad GPU. The new Radeons outperform comparable Nvidia cards while either matching or undercutting their prices. And though they’re marketed primarily as 1440p GPUs, both can stretch to 4K with the right graphics settings. But the continued presence of older, often-competitive Radeon cards on the market makes it tougher to recommend them in the short term, and features like ray tracing and DLSS remain unique to Nvidia cards. The two AMD GPUs are also priced too close together, with just a $50 gap between the 7700 XT and the substantially more performant 7800 XT.