AMD's RX 7900 XTX can match Nvidia's RTX 4090 — but you won't like the cost
Under normal circumstances, the AMD RX 7900 XTX graphics card is no match for Nvidia’s flagship, the GeForce RTX 4090, in terms of pure performance. But there is a way to match the latter in performance — though the price you have to pay might be a little too high for some.
If you remove the RX 7900 XTX’s power limiter, it’s able to match the RTX 4090 in the 3DMark10 benchmarks with a high clock speed of 3.33GHz. According to 3DMark Time Spy Extreme’s scoring, the graphics card was able to reach as high as 18,335 points, which is actually 10% better than the RTX 4090’s 16,654 (which PC Gamer recorded in its own review of the latter).
In order to pull this off, Reddit user Jedi95 used a mod to have the VRM controller report false power consumption figures to the GPU, which bypassed AMD's built-in power limitations. Though it resulted in an impressive performance leap, it costs nearly 700W of power to overclock the graphics card to this level.
Jedi95 detailed the extensive system needed to keep the card from overheating at this insane power level, which included a high-end custom water-cooling setup paired with 10C coolant temperatures and plenty of ventilation.
Considering how expensive 700W is on the average electricity bill combined with the high cost of both the RT 7900 XTX GPU itself and the cooling setup needed to overclock it to this degree, this method is definitely out of reach for most buyers.
Great performance but too risky
Not only are the financial costs a major issue with using this much power in order to maximize performance, but there’s also the danger of overheating the RX 7900 XTX — even with such an extensive cooling solution.
According to Tom’s Hardware, the flagship graphics card has an issue with its vapor chamber, causing it to hit extremely high hotspot temperatures in excess of 110C. Though this isn’t a widespread issue, going by the (very extensive) testing of overclocking expert Der8auer and reports from other users, it’s still something to take extremely seriously.
Running that much power through a component not truly built to handle it is already risky, but coupling that with even the possibility of a vapor chamber malfunction is far too dangerous a chance to take. It’s fascinating that the 7900 XTX is capable of such performance, however, showing us that this card has plenty of potential.
But if you want a graphics card with the performance of an RTX 4090, it’s better to simply purchase that GPU instead as it’s optimized for that level of performance straight out of the box. Sure, the RX 7900 XTX is quite a bit cheaper, but if you want top-notch performance, it’s better to pay more and not potentially set your PC on fire.