AMD RX 7000 GPUs may boost at speeds that will cause Nvidia to dizzy

If a recent leak is to be believed, AMD’s next-gen RDNA 3 graphics cards will be capable of extremely high boost speeds.

The tweet claims that an unnamed RX 7000 GPU (likely the top dog model) can almost hit 4GHz when boosting, and it comes from regular hardware leaker HXL, as noted by Notebookcheck.net.

The specific RDNA 3 graphics card is not specified, and the context in which this purported performance boost is achieved is not provided. The lack of qualification leads one to believe that this is what one might expect from a next-gen GPU out of the box; however, it is prudent to be sceptical of any rumours or hearsay.

To put this near-4GHz possibility into context, rumours around Nvidia’s next-gen Lovelace GPUs suggest that the RTX 4090 reaches close to 3GHz or thereabouts, possibly around 2.8GHz, though other guesstimates have been slightly lower. That’s a significant improvement over the current generation, no doubt about it. To the contrary, if AMD is considering 4GHz, that’s huge news for Team Red in terms of raw speed and the promotion of next-gen graphics cards.

It’s a stretch to say the least…

It’s important to establish up front that comparing clock speeds is only one factor in determining GPU performance. Many factors, including core counts, memory loadout, and speeds, as well as underlying architectural improvements with next-gen graphics cards, all have an impact on how quickly those frames will fly.

Reaching these kinds of speeds would be a truly remarkable generational leap in and of itself, but there’s no denying the possibility of AMD getting so much higher with boost for RDNA 3 compared to RTX 4000 would be a victory. But there are many causes for pause in this situation.

The lack of context in that tweet is off-putting. The timing is also suspiciously close to the RTX 4000 launch (for more information, see our Nvidia RTX 4090 launch live blog). As always, we need to approach rumours with a healthy dose of scepticism, especially when they’re unclear.

Is it realistic to expect these clock speeds from AMD’s RX 7000 series? This 4GHz leak may be more about overclocking than base performance, as we have seen increases of the order of 2.7GHz with AMD’s current GPUs and even faster with overclocking.

Assuming this to be true, the tweet’s wording, as we discussed above, makes it sound like the expected behaviour. Achieving 4GHz seems unlikely, but perhaps 3.5GHz or higher could be reached with some careful overclocking. It’s not out of the question, especially with liquid cooling, but until we hear more from the leaker about what this rumoured speed entails, we’ll just have to sit tight and wait for more information to trickle out (which won’t take long). Interesting how HXL doesn’t elaborate on that initial tweet in response to further inquiries from other Twitter users.

It would appear that, at the very least, in terms of clocks, AMD has the next-gen product advantage over Nvidia. However, as with CPUs, it is best not to get too fixated on that headline figure, as the whole story is more than mere clocks. It’s true that AMD’s efficiency and performance per watt is the ace it’s been dealt so far in the battle of the next-gen GPU hype buildup, which could be a huge boon in the face of soaring energy costs.

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