Portal ComputerBase detailed comparison Overclocking potential of AMD RDNA 3 and NVIDIA Ada Lovelace graphics architectures, partially confirming AMD’s earlier statement that its architecture was designed to operate at 3 GHz. The results of an independent analysis show that the new generation of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards are capable of operating at frequencies above 3 GHz, but not with gaming workloads.
The graphics cards Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ and ASUS GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC took part in the comparison. Both cards are non-reference and have a factory overclocked GPU. However, ComputerBase performed additional manual overclocking of graphics cards, trying to get the maximum GPU frequency from them, taking into account the use of the factory cooling system and without resorting to extreme cooling, for example, using liquid nitrogen.
Both cards were tested in the rendering application Blender. Here, both accelerators demonstrated the possibility of stable operation at frequencies above 3 GHz. The “maximum overclocked” graphics processor of the ASUS GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC model worked stably with a frequency of 3045 MHz in this test. After additional manual overclocking, the GPU of the Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ graphics card ran at a frequency of 3455 MHz. ComputerBase was even able to elicit a frequency of 3548 MHz from the specified test, but the behavior of the card proved to be unstable in this case.
Oddly enough, as another team’s experiment showed, it was possible to overclock the Ada Lovelance GPU to a frequency of 3450 MHz using only extreme cooling in the form of liquid nitrogen. However, instability was already observed in this mode, so GPU frequencies were reduced to pass synthetic tests.
The Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ graphics card required an average of 374W of power to run the GPU at 3455MHz, with the 500W limit stated for gaming workloads. Compared to the overclocking of the Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference version, the maximum GPU frequency was 13%, the power consumption increased by 21%. Furthermore, this GPU frequency was on average 24% higher and power consumption 35% higher than the maximum overclock of the previous generation flagship model Radeon RX 6900 XT. The peak consumption of the GeForce RTX 4080 in Blender, on the other hand, was 236 W with a limit of 320 W, which can be manually increased to 352 W.
The average gaming frequency of the Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ and ASUS GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC GPUs was below 3 GHz. The reference version of the Radeon RX 7900 XTX ran games with an average GPU frequency of 2554 MHz. However, the graphics chip of the overclocked Sapphire Nitro+ model ran at 2832 MHz, and its maximum frequency in games was 3047 MHz. However, this only happened in a few rare game scenes and over a very short period of time.
At the same time, it should be noted that in gaming tests, the additionally overclocked model Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX Nitro+ “eaten” more than 500 W of the power consumption limit declared by AMD for this card model for gaming loads – up to 544 W, for example, in Metro Exodus at maximum quality settings and 4K resolution.
The GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition reference model had an average gaming GPU frequency of 2725 MHz. However, the additional overclocking of the ASUS GeForce RTX 4080 TUF OC, as well as an increase in the maximum power consumption, made it possible to achieve an average GPU frequency in games of up to 2944 MHz. At the same time, the maximum power consumption of the accelerator in gaming tests was 348 watts.