AMD’s RX 7800 XT is the antidote to GPU bloat

In all other respects, it is unremarkable. Reviewers agree: its performance is largely indistinguishable from the AMD RX 6800 XT, the released card. Almost three years ago. (NVIDIA also recently released GPUs that couldn’t always beat their two-year-old predecessors: what was the industry doing at the time?*)

Here’s the difference: Three years ago, the RX 6800 XT debuted for $649.

When you factor in inflation, that’s $762 in today’s money. The reason today’s reviews of the RX 7800 XT are so favorable, including ours, is because AMD is cutting back against inflation.

Not just sustainable economic inflation, but self-inflicted inflation too! Last November, I argued that GPUs were priced higher than inflation, with Nvidia pricing its new flagship GPU 71.5 percent higher than its previous flagship and AMD pricing its flagship 38.5 percent higher than its predecessor. Over the same period, headline inflation rose to just 16 percent.

I suspect Nvidia and AMD are getting GPU buyers used to price hikes. At the peak of the epidemic, the AMD RX 6800 XT’s street price went north of $1,500. But those days are gone; A year ago GPU prices came back down to earth.

As a result, both companies seemed to be offering buyers less than they deserved. And now, AMD finally comes with less — if not more — performance than it did a generation ago.

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