AMD RX 7800 XT leak has some gamers disappointed – but let’s not get carried away

Radeon RX 770 XT and Radeon RX 7800 XT
(Image credit: AMD)

A leaked benchmark for AMD’s RX 7800 XT graphics card, one of two recently revealed mid-range offerings, has been causing some controversy.

The spilled 3DMark Time Spy score from Kopite7kimi (spotted by Tom’s Hardware) is an addition to a previous leak showing the RX 7700 XT’s score from the same benchmark.

The conclusion on the face of it is that based on existing Time Spy results, the RX 7800 XT scoring around 19,000 is pretty much equivalent to AMD’s RX 6800 XT (with caveats – which we’ll come back to in a moment).

And the cry going up from some PC gamers is essentially along the lines of: wait a minute, the new version of this upper-mid-range graphics card has basically the same performance as its last-gen predecessor GPU? Huh? What gives?

Well, let’s discuss that now…

Analysis: Caveat corner

As ever with rumors, the first thing to make clear is that we don’t know if this benchmark is authentic – and there’s no screenshot or any iota of proof here, either. However, the 3DMark result is provided by a well-known leaker on X (formerly Twitter).

It’s also a synthetic benchmark, and real-world gaming tests are what we really want to see.

On top of this, there’s a fair range of different results for the RX 6800 XT in Time Spy – and as Tom’s points out, some of these are lower than 19,000, in which case, the 7800 XT has the lead on its predecessor. However, because we know nothing about the configuration of the test rig the new RDNA 3 GPU was in, it’s difficult to draw that much of a comparison here.

Furthermore, the 7800 XT offers other advantages compared to the 6800 XT. Its launch price is substantially cheaper, at $500 compared to $650 in the US for the last-gen graphics card. (And yes, the 6800 XT is cheaper now, way down the line, but the 7800 XT will be in time, too).

The 7800 XT also benefits from new AMD tech – such as Anti-lag, that can’t be leveraged by RDNA 2 cards – and it’s also more power-efficient.

In short, there’s a value proposition (price/performance) uplift for sure, and in power consumption too, plus it may yet turn out that the 7800 XT is a better performer than its predecessor anyway.

Based on AMD’s own benchmarking, and the limited peek we got at performance numbers in real-world gaming at the launch of the 7800 XT, it was compared to the RTX 4070 and found to be 10% to 20% faster in some popular games (including Modern Warfare 2 and Cyberpunk 2077). Which is a pretty good result considering the Nvidia GPU – that’s currently top of our best graphics card rankings – has an MSRP which is 20% more expensive.

Whatever clouds of doubt remain over the RX 7800 XT, we’ll find out the truth of the matter soon enough – but don’t let these early leaks make you write off this graphics card as disappointing, by any means.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).