AMD’s GPU lineup started off with the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX models on the high end and later they filled in things with the RX 7800 XT and cards below that. But the gap between the RX 7900 XT and RX 7800 XT is a large one, especially with Nvidia having competition there with cards like the RTX 4070 Ti and the recently introduced RTX 4070 SUPER. Funny enough AMD has had a card between the RX 7800 XT and the RX 7900 XT, they just didn’t have it in most markets but that is changing. Today they are introducing the RX 7900 GRE which is a slightly cut down version of the RX 7900 XT and XTX helping to bridge that gap. This is only available in aftermarket cards so to check it out AMD sent over a PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE so we could put the new GPU to the test. So let’s dive in.

Product Name: PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE

Review Sample Provided by: AMD and PowerColor

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

What is the RX 7900 GRE

Most of you will have heard of the RX 7900 but before getting into what sets the RX 7900 GRE apart, you might be curious what it stands for. Well the GRE started with the RX 6750 GRE which was named that because it was the Golden Rabbit Edition. A Chinese-specific model named GRE because 2023 was the year of the Rabbit. We are in 2024, the year of the Dragon, but the GRE naming has stuck and honestly, it's not as bad/confusing as XTX is when there is an XT model as well but personally I think that just going with RX 7900 would have been simpler and fit with the rest of AMDs naming across the product stack.

All of that said, the RX 7900 GRE shares a LOT with the two other RX 7900 models. Really it is just a step down or cut down of the same Navi 31 GPU. That means it is still an RDNA 3 architecture GPU and made on the same process. The transistor count however does drop down from 57.7 billion to 53.9 billion but the die size is still listed as the same. Where the XT and XTX have 192 ROPs the RX 7900 GRE has 160 and with that, it has 80 compute units and 80 ray accelerators, and 160 AI accelerators. It is 4.7% lower in stream processors compared to the 7900 XT with 5120 in total. For comparison though the 7800 XT sitting below the RX 7900 GRE has just 3840. In addition to the lower processer count AMD has the RX 7900 GRE clocked a little lower as well with the stock game GPU clock speed at 1880 MHz to the 2000 MHz of the 7900 XT and the boost clock is up to 2245 MHz to 2400 MHz on the 7900 XT. That lower clock speed helps put the RX 7900 GRE at 11% lower in simple precision performance. The RX 7900 GRE still has GDDR6 but they have dropped it down to 16GB from 20 GB matching the memory of the RX 7800 XT. It has a 256-bit memory bus as well just like the 7800 XT. Its lower clock speeds help with its power consumption with it sitting at 3 watts lower than the RX 7800 XT at 260 watts total board power. All of that said, with there not being a reference card a lot of the aftermarket cards including the one I will check out today are all overclocked.

Specifications

RX 7800 XT

RX 7900 GRE

RX 7900 XT

RX 7900 XTX

Architecture

RDNA 3

RDNA 3

RDNA 3

RDNA 3

Manufacturing Process

5nm GCD + 6nm MCD

5nm GCD + 6nm MCD

5nm GCD + 6 nm MCD

 

5nm GCD + 6 nm MCD

 

Transistor Count

28.1 Billion

53.9 billion

57.7 billion

57.7 billion

Die Size

200mm² GCD

150mm² MCD

300 mm2 GCD

220 mm2 MCD

300 mm² GCD

220mm² MCD

300 mm² GCD

220mm² MCD

Compute Units

60

80

84

96

Ray Accelerators

60

80

84

96

AI Accelerators

120

160

168

192

Stream Processors

3840

5120

5376

6144

Game GPU Clock

2124 MHz

1880 MHz

2000 MHz

2300 MHz

Boost GPU Clock

Up to 2430 MHz

Up to 2245 MHz

Up to 2400 MHz

Up to 2500 MHz

Peak Single Precision Perf.

Up to 37 TFLOPS

Up to 45.98 TFLOPS

Up to 52 TFLOPS

Up to 61 TFLOPS

Peak Half Precision Perf.

Up to 74 TFLOPS

Up to 91.96 TFLOPS

Up to 103 TFLOPS

Up to 123 TFLOPS

Peak Texture Fill-Rate

Up to 583 GT/s

Up to 339.8 GT/s

Up to 810 GT/s

Up to 960 GT/s

ROPs

96

160

192

192

Peak Pixel Fill-Rate

Up to 233 GP/s

Up to 359.2 GP/s

Up to 460 GP/s

Up to 480 GP/s

AMD Infinity Cache™

64 MB (2nd Gen)

64 MB (2nd. Gen.)

80 MB (2nd. Gen.)

96 MB (2nd. Gen.)

Memory

16GB GDDR6

16GB GDDR6

20GB GDDR6

24GB GDDR6

Memory Speed

19.5 Gbps

18 Gbps

20 Gbps

20 Gbps

Effective Memory Bandwidth

w/ AMD Infinity Cache™

 

Up to 2708.4 GB/s

Up to 2265.6 GB/s

Up to 2900 GB/s

Up to 3500 GB/s

Memory Bus Interface

256-bit

256 -bit

320-bit

384-bit

PCIe® Interface

PCIe 4.0 x16

PCIe 4.0 x16

 

PCIe 4.0 x16

PCIe 4.0 x16

Total Board Power

263W

260 W

315W

355W

Launch MSRP

$499

$549

$899

$999

 

Before getting into testing I did also run GPUz to double-check that our clock speeds matched up with the specifications. The PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is an overclocked card and it has a boost clock of 2366, up from the 2245 MHz of AMD’s specifications, and the game clock speed is also overclocked with it at 2013 Mhz up from the 1880 MHz stock clock speed. I tested with the 31.0.24019 driver and GPUz also notes the BIOS version just in case we need that in the future as well.

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Packaging

The packaging for the PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is very similar to what I saw last July when I took a look at the Hellhound RX 7900 XTX. PowerColor used the same black background with a brushed aluminum texture on it. They then have big rip marks in that with a grey background behind it and that rip exposing the Hellhound logo. The Hellhound name is below that along with the PowerColor brand up on top. Then AMD’s red wrap-around takes up a lot of the box, that has the RX 7900 GRE model name on it as well as the VRAM in the bottom left corner. The back of the box has a basic black background. The back has a list of features with lines going from them to a broken down picture of the Hellhound. There are a few other pictures that highlight things like the LED color switch, the fan design, and the direct contact copper heatplate. I do wish though that the front or back had a nice large picture of what the card looks like, the one broken down picture doesn’t really show it all and it is small. AMDs wrap-around also wraps around to the back and highlights AMD-specific features as well.

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Once you pull the outer box off you have a basic black box that provides all of the structure. This has a nearly inch thick foam layer up on top when you open it up. Under that, the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is wrapped in a static protective bag and is sitting in a thick foam tray that has been cut to fit it perfectly. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE doesn’t come with any other accessories, so what you see is what you get here.

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Card Layout and Photos

With a name like Hellhound, in my mind, I would be expecting a crazy flashy card design using all of the “gamer” focused tricks but PowerColor hasn’t done that at all. They haven’t done it in the past as well, I took a look at the Hellhound RX 7900 XTX last year and the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has all of the same styling. Now saying it doesn’t have the flashy styling isn’t saying it isn’t a good looking card. For some, myself included, the simple styling on the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE looks better than when you see the crazy fan shrouds with all kinds of shapes molded into them. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has a flat black plastic fan shroud and a triple fan design. The design does have clear plastic fans for fans that light up in the Hellhound theme colors but the shroud design is flat and as simple as they come other than chrome rings around two of the three fans. This is similar to how a lot of the XFX designs have been and it feels a little more mature, even if the name itself doesn’t indicate that.

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It isn’t anywhere as large as the Strix 4080 Super that I just recently covered but it also isn’t a small card as well. The top of the cooler sits 24mm up over the top of the PCI bracket so PowerColor has taken advantage of most cases these days having more space there. It is 49mm thick which puts it in as a two and a half slot card. This is thinner than the last Hellhound I took a look at and really in thinner than most cards these days. It feels like most designs are a full triple slot or wider anymore. It then comes in at 320 mm long or just past 12 and a half inches long.

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The fan side of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has a triple fan layout but because they went with two large 100 fans on the ends the center fan is smaller with the fan opening at 92 mm and 86 mm tip to tip for the blades. That center fan is also spinning in the opposite direction as the two larger fans. We see this on most cards these days, it means that when you look at where the fans are closest to each other they will both be moving up or down depending on the side. This makes for less turbulence between the fans and doesn’t waste any extra airflow with the fans fighting against each other. All three of the fans have an outer ring around the outside edge, this gives them more strength and also keeps the air blowing down into the heatsink. Speaking of which you can see down through the fans that the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has an aluminum sheet metal heatsink design with the fins oriented vertically which means air pushed in from the fans will blow up or down through them. The fans are all clear plastic, not the normal translucent white that you see with some RGB fans and it looks great next to the chrome trim. The larger fans both have the Hellhound logo in grey and blue and then the center has a PowerColor logo sticker on its center section.

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Up on the top edge, the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has a few things going on. They have the Radeon logo printed on it in silver for one. I would prefer to see Hellhound RX 7900 GRE printed there to show off what GPU model you have and integrate the Hellhound branding. Then on the other end of the card, it has two recessed power plugs which sit even with the PCB. It requires two 8-pin PCIe power connections, not the new 12VHPWR plug. Then right next to it, there is a three way switch for the LED lighting controls. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE fans can run in blue, purple, or off and this is how you can change that. In most cases, this is about as easy as you will get to being accessible. I also took a look at just how far down the power plugs were and they are about 15mm down which will make the power connection mostly tucked into the heatsink. PowerColor did a good job of utilizing the space that the power plug takes up by going taller on their heatsink without going any taller than needed making it hard to fit in some cases. There is a second switch on the top edge all the way at the end by the PCI bracket. This is the BIOS switch that will switch between overclock and silent modes, ours came in the OC mode which is what the card was tested with.

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Looking around at the top, bottom, and edge of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE gives us a little more information on the cooler design as well. I also like that we see the backplate being attached to the heatsink with standoffs along the top where the heatsink extends past the PCB. The heatsink has a copper heatplate sitting over the memory and GPU spreading the heat out along with having the heatpipes in direct contact with the heatplate as well. The heatpipes loop around on that end and also move up and run through the middle of the card on the far end of the card. They also have thermal pads on top of each VRM and the heatsink contacting the pads. The end of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has the metal backplate bend around to the end which gives it more strength as well as a full length metal bracket with threaded mounting holes for attaching an anti-sag support bracket. The fan shroud wraps around and ends right at the edge of the heatsink. The end also lets us see that there are 5 heatpipes in total. The fan shroud doesn’t cover up too much at the top or bottom of the card as well, leaving as much room as possible for airflow in addition to the small blow-through design which you can see starts where the PCB ends.

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The back of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is covered with an aluminum backplate with a flat black finish on it to match the rest of the card. Where the rest of the card didn’t have any Hellhound branding or accents the backplate does have the Hellhound logo printed on it in a white/grey as well as a few hockey stick accents up near the front and top edge. The backplate is cut out around the back of the GPU so that is still exposed which is better for cooling and worse for protection. It also has large notches cut out of it for the BIOS switch at the front and the power connections and LED switch towards the back. Both of those have labels printed on them as well. Then at the end, there is the blow-through area of the card beyond the end of the PCB which has openings cut all over the backplate.

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I’ve said it a lot, most cards should have a black PCI bracket but we rarely see it. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE does have one though. It goes great with the blacked-out styling of the card and when installed in most cases will match the back of the case as well. The PCI bracket for the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has ventilation cut into it with the PowerColor logo in the middle taking up most of the bracket. Then along the bottom edge, the card has four connections in total with three of those being DisplayPort and one HDMI up at the top making it easy to find. This is the “standard” layout these days so there isn’t anything wrong and it fits with the card which would be best paired with a more modern display that would be using DisplayPort.

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With having the Hellhound RX 7900 XTX sitting in the office along with the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE I did of course have to get them next to each other. The styling on the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is similar to the XTX model but it doesn’t have a few of the small accents on the front fan shroud, the GRE is extremely flat and simple. Having them next to each other shows how they do have the same length and height but the thickness is noticeably thicker with the XTX model.

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Before getting into testing I also took a look at the lighting for the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE. All three of the fans are clear and have lighting around them to help them light up completely and it does look great. This is the main styling for the card really. I should point out though that you only can pick between the two Hellhound signature colors the purple and blue. You can also turn the lighting off but this is not RGB. It means the two colors look better than if you tried to set them using RGB lighting but if those two colors don’t match your build, you are out of luck here. In the end, the lighting looks great but even just slipping in a white lighting option as well would be huge to give an option for those builds that the purple or blue wouldn’t match.

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Test Rig and Procedures

 Test System

CPU: Intel Core-i9 13900K – Live Pricing

PL1=PL2: 253, τ: 56 / 307A

Motherboard: Asus Z790 Extreme – Live Pricing

Cooling: Corsair H100i Elite LCD DisplayLive Pricing

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal PasteLive Pricing

  Memory:   Crucial 32GB Kit (2 x 16GB) DDR5-5600 UDIMM– Live Pricing

Storage:   Viper VP4300 Lite 4TB – Live Pricing

Power Supply: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 13 1600WLive Pricing

Case: Primochill WetbenchLive Pricing

OS: Windows 11 Pro 64-bitLive Pricing

Our Testing Procedures

3DMark

All 3DMark-based tests are done using the most recent version. We test using all three versions of Fire Strike, Both Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme, and Speed Way. Tests to look at ray tracing performance are done with Port Royal when supported and for Nvidia cards that support DLSS, the DLSS subtest is also done at 1440p with the performance setting and DLSS 2.0 as well as a look at DLSS 1, 2, and 3 at 4K.

Unigine Superposition

1080p Extreme and 4k Optimized benchmarks along with the VR Future test are done. The VR test is done at the Oculus resolution

VRMark

Only the Blue room test is run

Far Cry 6

Built-in benchmark tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with the Ultra and Medium detail settings

Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Built-in benchmark tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with the Ultra and Medium detail settings. Texture quality always set to high

Watch Dogs: Legion

Built-in benchmark testing at ultra and high details. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k. I also do RTX and DLSS testing on Nvidia cards at 4K using the Ultra detail settings as a base as well.

Borderlands 3

Built-in benchmark testing with the ultra detail setting and medium detail setting, done at full screen with default settings at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k on DX11

Metro Exodus

Using built-in benchmark, testing at ultra and normal details at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k. I also do RTX and DLSS testing at 4K with the ultra-detail base settings for Nvidia cards as well.

World War Z Aftermath

Built-in benchmark in DX11 testing both the Ultra detail and Medium detail levels at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions

The Division 2

Built-in benchmark at Ultra detail with V-Sync turned off at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k resolutions.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

Built-in benchmark using the Battle Benchmark setting. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k at both high and ultra detail settings

OctaneBench 2020.1

OctaneBench is designed to test rendering in OctaneRender. RTX and non-RTX are both ran. This is a CUDA-only test so only Nvidia cards are tested

V-Ray 5

V-Ray 5 benchmark us run with CUDA and RTX settings on cards that support it

Boundary Benchmark

Testing different DLSS detail levels on cards that support it. All testing is done at 4k with RTX on

Bright Memory Infinite RTX Benchmark

Benchmark all of the different RTX detail levels. Resolution at 4k and DLSS on balanced for each test

Passmark Performance Test 10.2

Test using the GPU Compute Score inside of PassMark's Performance Test 10.2

Blender

Using the standard Blender Benchmark I run the test using the Blender 3.4 setting which tests using the Monster, Junkshop, and Classroom tests.

 Temperature Testing

Using AIDA64, the GPU stress test is run for 30 minutes or until the result has leveled off. The test is run twice, once with the stock fan profile and a second time with 100% fan speed. During this, I also document the 100% fan speed RPM and document the delta between the fan profile and 100% fan speed as well as get thermal images.

Power Testing

Using a PCat v2 to monitor power between the PCIe slot and the card as well as power through the power cables I test the peak power when running ADIA64, 3DMark Speed Way, 3DMark Time Spy Extreme, FarCry 6 at 4k and Ultra Detail, Watch Dogs Legion at 4K and Ultra detail, and Blender 3.4.0. The results are then averaged as well as the highest result.

Noise Testing

Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 18 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test at 50% and 100% fan speeds as well as a third test while under load using AIDA64's stress test. This is done using a Protmex PT02 Sound Meter that is rated IEC651 type 2 and ANSI S1.4 type 2. Tests are done set weighted to A and set to a slow response using the max function.  The ambient noise level in the testing area is 33.3 decibels.

 


Synthetic Benchmarks

As always I like to start my testing with a few synthetic benchmarks. 3DMark especially is one of my favorites because it is very optimized in both Nvidia and AMD drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about it being favored too much either way and the repeatability of the results makes it a nice chance to compare from card to card, especially when comparing with the same GPU. For the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE, I don’t have any other RX 7900 GRE to compare with but I am curious how it compares to the RX 7800 XT and RX 7900 XT below and above it from AMD as well as the 6800 XT from AMDs last generation of cards as well. Then from Nvidia, I want to keep an eye on how it compares with the RTX 4070, RTX 4070 Ti, and of course both of the new SUPER versions of those cards as well.

The first round of tests were done in the older Fire Strike benchmark which is a DX11 test. There are three detail levels, performance, extreme, and ultra. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE scored a 51746 on the base Fire Strike benchmark which put it sitting below the 7900 XT and 6950 XT but more importantly it was above the RTX 4070 Ti. In Fire Strike Extreme the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE scored a 27670, sitting right under the new 4070 Ti SUPER and above the old RTX 4070 Ti overclocked cards. Then in the Fire Strike Ultra test, the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE was just below the 4070 Ti SUPER again and even ahead of the 3090 Ti as well as the RTX 4070 Ti’s. The gap between it and the 7900 XT widened here because of the bigger memory bus and larger VRAM but that gap is smaller in the base Fire Strike and Extreme tests.

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The next two were both based on the Time Spy benchmark. One is the standard test and then there is the extreme detail level. Time Spy is DX 12 based and in this test, the Nvidia cards jump back up in performance and compete a little more. Where the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE was ahead of the RTX 4070 Ti in Fire Strike it is behind it in Time Spy but sitting ahead of the new RTX 4070 SUPER. In Time Spy Extreme the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE and 4070 SUPER are almost at a dead tie with just 43 points between them.

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For ray tracing performance, I ran both the 3DMark Port Royal test which is ray tracing focused as well as the new 3DMark Speed Way test which tests all future-looking features including ray tracing. In Speed Way, the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE scored a 3965 putting it just ahead of the RX 7800 XT and with the previous generation 6950 XT above it. The RTX 4070 is 505 points out ahead of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE did better in Port Royal at least with a score of 11687 and being nearly tied with the RTX 3080 and sitting between the RTX 4070 and RTX 4070 SUPER.

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While testing in 3DMark I also took a look at the FSR2 performance comparison tool. With this, I tested the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE with FSR2 on and off as well as a range of different detail settings to get a look at how much performance FSR2 can get you in ideal conditions. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE started at just 33.01 FPS without FSR2 and even on the highest detail setting improved on that up to 62.41 FPS. The balanced and performance settings were worth 14 and 18 FPS but look at the ultra performance result with a crazy 142 FPS.

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The last test was using the Unigine-based Superposition benchmark and I tested at 1080p with the extreme detail setting as well as the 4K optimized setting. In the 1080p extreme detail setting the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is sitting below the RTX 4070 Ti and ahead of the 6950 XT and RTX 4070 SUPER. In the higher 4K resolution test however, you can see where the slightly smaller 256-bit memory bus comes into play with the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE still sitting ahead of the 4070 SUPER but behind the 6950 XT it was in front of at 1080p.

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VR Benchmarks

As for Virtual Reality, I love it but it is more demanding than traditional gaming. This is partially because of the resolutions needed to render for two eyes and because they render more than what is immediately visible. But also because of post effects to get the proper “fisheye” effect for it to look proper in your eyes with the HMD. You also have to have much higher expectations for frame rates in VR, skipping frames or lower FPS can cause motion sickness in VR. Because of that, I ran a few tests.

  My first test was again in Superposition. This time I tested the VR Future test using the Oculus resolution. I have also included the average frame rate as well which is important for the cards at the top of the chart because for some reason Superposition is capped at 10,000 for its scores and that doesn’t show the performance gap in those cards at the top. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE did really well here and is sitting with a nice gap between it and the RTX 4070 Ti SUPER here.

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My second round of VR testing was in VRMark which has three tests that are similar to the VR tests in Superposition. I only focused on just the most demanding test called Blue Room which is looking more at future VR performance. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE sits out in front of the RTX 4070 SUPER and behind the 6950 XT as well as the RTX 4070 Ti.

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In-Game Benchmarks

Now we finally get into the in game performance and that is the main reason people pick up a new video card. To test things out I ran through our new benchmark suite that tests 8 games at three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4k). Most of the games tested have been run at the highest detail setting and a mid-range detail setting to get a look at how turning things up hurts performance and to give an idea of whether turning detail down from max will be beneficial for frame rates. In total, each video card is tested 42 times and that makes for a huge mess of results when you put them all together. To help with that I like to start with these overall playability graphs that take all of the results and give an easier-to-read result. I have one for each of the three resolutions and each is broken up into four FPS ranges. Under 30 FPS is considered unplayable, over 30 is playable but not ideal, over 60 is the sweet spot, and then over 120 FPS is for high refresh rate monitors.

So how did the PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE do? Well at 1080p there weren’t any big surprises more often than not it was CPU limited but ended up with all of the results up over 120 FPS and for of them were up over 240 FPS. At 1440p we start to get in where the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE shines and at that resolution, all of the results were over 60 FPS but a majority of the results were in the 120 to 239 FPS range. Then there were 2 results up over 240 FPS at that resolution. Then at 4k the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE still did well and ran everything smoothly. 9 of the 14 results were in the over 60 FPS range with the other 5 up over 120 FPS as well.

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Of course, I have all of the actual in game results as well for anyone who wants to sort through the wall of graphs below. I also put together a list of most of the cards running all around the RX 7900 GRE and have averaged all of their results at all three resolutions to see where things land. When looking at 1440p and 4k results which is what it is designed for the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is sitting ahead of the RTX 4070 SUPER but just barely behind the original RTX 4070 Ti. At 1080p however the RTX 4070 SUPER was just slightly faster. The  Hellhound RX 7900 GRE does have a significant overclock which might be pushing it up a little closer to the 4070 Ti but overall AMD hit the nail on the head when trying to put together a card that runs right in the middle of the 4070/4070 Ti range.

1080p

1440p

4K

Nvidia RTX 4070 FE

190.62

147.64

83.48

AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT

190.74

156.30

89.33

XFX MERC 319 RX 6800 XT

197.08

162.45

92.37

Nvidia RTX 4070 SUPER FE

202.65

163.65

96.05

Hellhound RX 7900 GRE

201.40

173.47

101.59

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4070 Ti

210.69

174.07

103.61

ASRock OC Formula RX 6950 XT

205.27

176.52

105.86

AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT

211.14

186.56

114.81

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4070 Ti SUPER

213.44

183.76

114.07

 

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Compute Benchmarks

Now some people don’t need a video card for gaming, they need the processing power for rendering or 2D/3D production, or in some cases people who game also do work on the side. So it is also important to check out the compute performance on all of the video cards that come in. That includes doing a few different tests. My first test was a simple GPU Compute benchmark using PassMark's Performance Test 10 and the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is basically tied with all of the RTX 4070’s.

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Blender is always my favorite compute benchmark because the open-source 3D rendering software is very popular and it isn’t a synthetic benchmark. With the latest version of Blender, they redid the benchmark so we now have a new test that runs three different renderings and gives each a score. I have all three stacked together so we can see the overall performance. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE didn’t perform that hot here with it running more in line with last generation's RTX 3060.

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Cooling Noise and Power

For my last few tests, rather than focusing on in game performance, I like to check out other aspects of video card performance. These are also the most important ways to differentiate the performance between cards that have the same GPU. To start things off I took a look at power usage.

For this, our new test setup utilizes the Nvidia-designed PCat v2 along with cables to handle both traditional 6 or 8-pin connections as well as the new 12VHPWR. The PCat also utilizes a PCIe adapter to measure any power going to the card through the PCIe slot so we can measure the video card wattage exclusively, not the entire system as we have done in the past. I test with a mix of applications to get both in game, synthetic benchmarks, and other workloads like Blender and AIDA64. Then everything is averaged together for our result. I also have the individual results for this specific card and I document the peak wattage result as well which is almost always Time Spy Extreme but was Speed Way this time around. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE pulled 353 watts at peak and averaged 326 across all of our power tests. That average is just 2 watts higher than the RTX 4080 SUPER to put things into perspective. It was 18 watts higher than the overclocked RX 7800 XT and 29 watts lower than the stock-clocked 7900 XT. Compared to Nvidia’s 4000 Series cards AMD is still pulling more wattage and the overclock on the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE seems to have lost any power savings that the 7900 GRE had when compared to the 7800 XT.

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With having exact peak wattage numbers when running Time Spy Extreme I was also able to put together a graph showing the total score for each watt that a card draws which gives us an interesting look at overall power efficiency in the popular and demanding benchmark. The AMD cards have been a step behind Nvidia’s current generation in this test but that is even more noticeable here with the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE having a significant overclock. It scored a 28.44 and is sitting just ahead of the overclocked 7800 XT and behind the overclocked RTX 4060.

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My next round of tests were looking at noise levels. These are especially important to me because I can’t stand to listen to my PC whirling. Especially when I’m not in game and other applications are using the GPU. For my testing, though I first tested with the fan cranked up to 100% to get an idea of how loud it can get, then again at 50% to get an idea of its range. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE came in at 37.8 decibels at 50% fan speed which put it in the bottom section of our charts.  It was higher up in the middle of the pack at 100% fan speed with its 59.9 dB result but that is in line with where the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE sits in the fan RPM chart.

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I also take a look at noise performance while under load. For that when running AIDA64’s stress test I wait until the temperature of the card has leveled off and then measure how loud things are when the card is at its worst-case scenario with the stock fan profile. Here the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE did extremely well at just 34.8 dB and down at the bottom of our chart. When under load it was running at 41% fan speed which helped things but the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE did really well noise wise when running at 50% and lower fan speeds.

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To finish up my testing I of course had to check out the cooling performance. To do this I ran two different tests. I used AIDA64’s Stress Test run for a half-hour each to warm things up. Then I documented what temperature the GPU leveled out at with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans cranked up to 100%. With the stock profile, the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE ran surprisingly cool, especially considering that it has a big overclock. It leveled off at just 51c which put it down in the bottom few cards on our chart. Its GPU Hotspot temps were a little high at 84c however.     

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Then with the fans cranked up, the GPU Hotspot temperatures dropped down to 70c. As for the overall temperatures, where could the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE go from being one of the coolest running cards on our chart? Well down to the coolest running card of course. I would have guessed that there wouldn’t be too much headroom left, especially with the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE being similar but thinner than the Hellhound RX 7900 XTX design but it did have a 13 degree delta between the stock fan and 100% fan speed results.

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While running the stock fan profile testing I also took the time to get a few thermal images so we could see what is going on. On the fan side the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is running nice and cool with the first fan having some heat behind it but even then sitting at just 36.2c, all the way on the far end though with the blow-through section it is running down at room temperature. The top edge which is where the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is pushing air up and out is a lot hotter than what we saw on the fan side. The exposed PCB visible from the top is running up at 51.7c but the rest of the top is running cooler at 40.3c and on the far end cooler at 39.1c. On the back, much like the top, the exposed PCB just behind the GPU is of course the hottest at 64c. The rest of the metal backplate is radiating out some heat with it being mostly consistent in temperature across the entire back with the rest at 47.3c and 47.6c.

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Overall and Final Verdict

The Hellhound cards from PowerColor have been popular and I completely get it. The whole over the top “gamer” designs get old and something that bridges the gap between that and a basic card design is always nice. In the case of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE they have gone even simpler than with the Hellhound RX 7900 XTX, it has a completely flat fan shroud with just a touch of chrome around the three fans for styling. All of the flash is tied in with the clear fans that have lighting but I do have to point out that you are locked in with the two Hellhound lighting colors just like with the XTX. That is a purple and a blue and both do look great but I would love to have a white option for times those don’t fit with your build and I know some people will be disappointed there isn’t RGB to match the lighting perfectly with the rest of your build. The craziest thing for me with the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is the crazy name compared to how clean and simple the design is, this feels a lot more like a card like Asus’s ArtPro lineup.

For performance the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE performed great at 1440p and 4k, none of our tests had any trouble and while the GRE has dropped the memory performance off slightly with the smaller memory bus compared to the RX 7900 XT and having 16GB of VRAM vs 20 GB or 24 GB it still did handle 4k well and bridge the gap between the higher end 1440p and mid-range 4k performance. This put the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE in ahead of the new RTX 4070 SUPER and just barely behind the RTX 4070 Ti and fills the big void in AMDs lineup between the 7800 XT and 7900 XT. The Hellhound RX 7900 GRE specifically did well in its cooler testing with it being a lot quieter than I expected anytime it was at 50% fan speed or below, it wasn’t loud at 100% fan speed but it did move up into the middle of our charts at those speeds. But the most impressive part was its cooling performance, especially considering this card is a lot thinner than the Hellhound RX 7900 XTX that I previously took a look at. It not only ran at the bottom of our charts with the stock fan profile, but it improved on that at 100% fan speed as well showing there was still room left even with the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE having a big overclock on it. The GPU Hotspot temps with the stock fan speeds were a touch high, but that is being overly critical given how good the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE performed otherwise. That big overclock didn’t help when it came to power efficiency testing however, AMD has been a little behind there but I thought the GRE might improve on that slightly with a lower TBP than the 7800 XT but the overclock took that off of the table. It doesn’t show up in the performance numbers, but I also have to note just how well the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE worked in our testing. It’s not unusual to run into quirks or issues with drivers when running prelaunch drivers but because this is a card that is already in the market, I didn’t have any issues at all.

So performance-wise wise the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is out in front of the RTX 4070 SUPER and just behind the recently replaced RTX 4070 Ti. How does that look once we take pricing into account? Well, to start things off the RX 7900 GRE has a base MSRP of $549 but I don’t know the actual MSRP of the overclocked Hellhound RX 7900 GRE that I have tested today. I have to assume it is a little higher than that though. The RTX 4070 SUPER is running at $599 and higher and the RTX 4070 Ti and the new RTX 4070 Ti SUPER are both in the $799 and higher range. Even with a buffer for the overclocked Hellhound model, AMD is sitting pretty in pricing when we are looking at pure gaming performance. Nvidia does a little better with ray tracing performance currently but that isn’t making up the difference here. This is a good value for those looking for 1440p or 4k performance.

fv6recommended

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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