Nvidia did AMD a huge favor by releasing the RTX 4070 Ti

When AMD released the RX 7900 XTX and the RX 7900 XT, it was clear which of the two would steal the spotlight. The RX 7900 XTX is a solid GPU, and its weaker sibling is very much overshadowed by it. However, now that Nvidia has launched 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 as it did.

AMD’s RX 7900 XT is a strange 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 it makes little sense to buy it over the RX 7900 XTX.

On Newegg you can find card models ranging from (buying that one is just pure madness). The RX 7900 XTX costs somewhere in between (again, madness), but many of the models are sold out. The cheaper RDNA 3 card does not have the same problem – most cards are in stock, and no wonder.

It’s not that the RX 7900 XT is bad, because it isn’t. It beats the RTX 4070 Ti in most ways. It is about 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 pretty awkward position, one where you wonder why it was released in the first place (and if it was, why it wasn’t sold for less.) The flagship is such an obvious 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.

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The RTX 4080 12GB 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 exceptional GPU or a good deal. In fact, many would argue that it is neither.

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

When Nvidia first launched the RTX 4070 Ti, it was called the RTX 4080 12GB and was announced alongside the existing RTX 4080, which is significantly faster. The 12GB version did not impress – even on paper. With a $900 price tag, it was too expensive to make sense when presented next to the $1,200 RTX 4080 – also expensive, but at least equipped with much better specifications.

Nvidia thought better of it and promptly “unlaunched” the RTX 4080 12GB. Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before it made a comeback during CES 2023, only to land on the shelves two days later, now called the RTX 4070 Ti. It’s strange for a Ti version of the GPU to come before the base RTX 4070, but I digress.

We had a chance to review this GPU and found it to be decent – with one catch. See how it’s priced anywhere from $830 to $1,000 , it’s not quite as good as some of the other GPUs in a similar price range. It doesn’t breeze through ray tracing like the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 do; it also doesn’t outperform AMD in 4K, or even 1440p.

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

Not amazing, but mostly better

Nvidia and AMD CEOs 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’s only up against the RTX 4080. The RTX 4090 blows every other card out of the water, no questions asked.

With the RX 7900 XTX facing off against Nvidia’s RTX 4080, the RX 7900 XT was the odd one out from the moment it launched. If it were cheaper, it probably would have generated a lot of interest. At $900 and up, it was probably doomed to never make much of a splash.

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

While both cards are capable of running games at a smooth 4K, let’s compare their 1440p performance – if only because Nvidia is marketing 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 presented by the RTX 4090.

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 care about ray tracing, you can score better performance for about the same price. Keep in mind, you’re still better off just getting the RX 7900 XTX instead, but if your budget only runs to $850 to $900, the 7900 XT is still a good deal.

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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 unlaunched 4080 12GB.

This works to AMD’s advantage. Suddenly the semi-forgotten RX 7900 XT looks good in comparison. The same can be said about the RTX 4090 and the RTX 4080; both are incredibly expensive, but the pricier card is actually the better deal.

Will this sway more people to try out 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 prices 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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