Nvidia did AMD a favor by releasing the RTX 4070 Ti

Nvidia did AMD a favor by releasing the RTX 4070 Ti

When AMD released the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT, it became clear which of the two would take center stage. The RX 7900 XTX is a solid GPU and its weaker sibling is greatly outshone by it. However, now that Nvidia has released its RTX 4070 Ti, there is still hope for AMD.

It may sound strange, but Nvidia may have done AMD a huge favor by releasing the RTX 4070 Ti the way it did.

AMD’s RX 7900 XT is an odd GPU

RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT on a pink background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The RX 7900 XT is pretty weird, and that’s because there’s not much point in buying it over the RX 7900 XTX.

At Newegg, you’ll find card models ranging from (buying that one is pure madness). The RX 7900 XTX costs between (again, madness), but many of the models are out of stock. The cheaper RDNA 3 card doesn’t have the same problem: most cards are in stock, and no wonder.

It’s not that the RX 7900 XT is bad, because it’s not. It outperforms the RTX 4070 Ti in most aspects. It is around 15% slower than the RTX 4080, but the latter is much more expensive. However, that doesn’t change the fact that, at the recommended list price, the RX 7900 XTX is a much, much better deal.

This leaves the RX 7900 XT in a rather awkward position, one where it makes you wonder why it was released (and, since it was, why it didn’t undersell). The flagship is such a clear choice here that it’s hard to imagine the RX 7900 XT ever going out of stock, at least not unless we experience another GPU shortage.

The 12GB RTX 4080 strikes back, with moderate success

The RTX 4070 Ti graphics card on a pink background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Nvidia’s recently released RTX 4070 Ti is one of the best graphics cards on the market today, but that doesn’t make it an outstanding GPU or a great deal. In fact, many would say that it is not.

The same could be said for the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT. Behind the flagship RX 7900 XTX, the card seems to be just as out of place as the RTX 4070 Ti.

When Nvidia first released the RTX 4070 Ti, it was called the RTX 4080 12GB and was announced alongside the existing RTX 4080, which is considerably faster. The 12GB version didn’t impress, even on paper. At $900, it was too expensive to make sense when presented alongside the $1,200 RTX 4080, also pricey, but at least equipped with much better specs.

Nvidia thought better of it and quickly “released” the 12 GB RTX 4080. Still, it wasn’t long before it made a reappearance during CES 2023, only to land on shelves two days later, now dubbed the RTX 4070 Ti. It’s strange that a Ti version of the GPU would arrive before the base RTX 4070, but I digress.

We had a chance to review this GPU and found it to be decent, with a catch. Since it is priced from $830 to $1,000 in It’s not as great a deal as some of the other GPUs in a similar price range. It doesn’t easily go through ray tracing like the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 do; it also doesn’t beat AMD at 4K, even at 1440p.

This brings me to my point: AMD should almost be thanking Nvidia for releasing the RTX 4070 Ti with such specs and at that price.

Not amazing, but mostly better.

The CEOs of Nvidia and AMD are shown side by side in a split screen view.

The RX 7900 XTX is Team Red’s strongest competitor right now, but even then, it only competes against the RTX 4080. The RTX 4090 beats every other card in the water, no questions asked.

With the RX 7900 XTX going up against Nvidia’s RTX 4080, the RX 7900 XT was the outsider from the moment of its release. If it was cheaper, it probably would have generated a lot of interest. At $900 and up, it was probably doomed to never make much noise.

However, Nvidia’s RTX 4070 Ti suddenly makes AMD look quite desirable.

While both cards are capable of running games at smooth 4K, let’s compare their 1440p performance, if only because Nvidia markets the 4070 Ti as a 1440p GPU. At that resolution, the Nvidia card is 8% slower than the RX 7900 XT and 14% slower than the RX 7900 XTX. The same trend continues throughout our tests. It wins in ray tracing, but not by the same massive margin that the RTX 4090 features.

Average 1440p performance for the RTX 4070 Ti.

This means that Nvidia has a direct competitor in AMD. The RX 7900 XT can outperform the RTX 4070 Ti, and if you don’t mind ray tracing, you can get better performance for almost the same price. Mind you, you’re better off getting the RX 7900 XTX instead, but if your budget only stretches to $850 to $900, the 7900 XT is still a good deal.

If Nvidia made the RTX 4070 Ti even cheaper, it would have easily destroyed AMD. Unfortunately, with an $800 MSRP and no Founders Edition cards, Nvidia’s partners are pricing it higher, so the final cost is still close to that of the unreleased 12GB 4080.

This works to the benefit of AMD. Suddenly the semi-forgotten RX 7900 XT looks good by comparison. The same can be said for the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080; both are outrageously expensive, but the more expensive card is actually the better deal.

Will this influence more people to try Team Red and leave Nvidia behind? Not very likely; Nvidia controls the vast majority of the market. Still, it’s an interesting summary of GPU pricing in this generation of cards: it just doesn’t always make a lot of sense, and that’s a real shame for those looking to build a new PC.

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