PowerColor Hellhound AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE Review

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Image source: Joseph Maldonado

The PowerColor Hellhound AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE brings formidable graphics power to the gaming world, built on AMD’s latest RDNA 3 architecture. Designed to take on Nvidia’s competitive lineup, this GPU aims to deliver stellar performance, particularly at 1440p and 4K gaming. However, it faces an uphill battle against Nvidia’s Super series, especially when it comes to ray tracing. This review explores how the RX 7900 GRE stacks up against the competition and whether it’s a worthwhile investment for gamers.

Design and Build Quality

The PowerColor Hellhound series is known for its distinct aesthetic, and the RX 7900 GRE is no exception. Its black and silver design, with LED-illuminated fans and a full-length backplate, provides an aggressive yet sleek look that complements most gaming setups. The card features three fans that keep the system cool under load, while the metal backplate offers extra durability and improved heat dissipation.

Despite being a high-end card, its dual-slot form factor ensures it fits comfortably into most mid-tower cases. The strategic cutouts along the shroud and backplate aid airflow and keep temperatures manageable, even during demanding gaming sessions.

Technical Specifications

Image credit: Joseph Maldonado

Under the hood, the RX 7900 GRE is equipped with 80 Compute Units and a memory interface of 320 bits. The card has a base clock of 1800 MHz and a boost clock that can reach up to 2400 MHz, delivering high performance across the board. Other notable specs include:

  • Memory: 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM
  • Infinity Cache: 64MB
  • Ray Accelerators: 80
  • TBP (Total Board Power): Approximately 300W

The card also supports modern features like FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 2.0, AMD Smart Access Memory, and AV1 encoding for efficient video streaming and recording.

Gaming Performance

The RX 7900 GRE is designed to excel at 1440p and 4K gaming, and it largely delivers on that promise. In traditional rasterization titles like *Shadow of the Tomb Raider* or *Assassin’s Creed Valhalla*, the GPU provides smooth frame rates at ultra settings, often reaching over 100 fps at 1440p and 60 fps at 4K. For competitive games like *Fortnite* and *Call of Duty: Warzone*, the card can push even higher frame rates, benefiting those with high-refresh-rate monitors.

However, the RX 7900 GRE struggles with ray tracing performance. In titles like *Control* and *Cyberpunk 2077*, frame rates drop significantly when ray tracing is enabled, even with AMD’s FSR enabled to compensate. Compared to Nvidia’s Super series, which has optimized ray tracing cores, the RX 7900 GRE lags behind. This performance disparity may be a concern for gamers who prioritize ray-traced graphics.

Cooling and Noise

The cooling system on the PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE is effective and keeps temperatures below 80°C during demanding workloads. The triple-fan design ensures ample airflow, and the heatsink efficiently dissipates heat. While the fans spin up significantly during gaming sessions, the card remains relatively quiet, with only a faint hum audible in quieter environments.

In idle or low-load scenarios, the fans remain off, making the system virtually silent.

Software and Features

The Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition provides users with a suite of tools for optimizing and customizing their gaming experience. Features like Radeon Anti-Lag and Radeon Boost help reduce input latency and increase performance in specific titles.

FSR 2.0 remains a key feature, upscaling games to higher resolutions while maintaining performance. While it’s not as polished as Nvidia’s DLSS, it provides a noticeable boost, particularly in titles that natively support it.

Other features like AMD Link allow users to stream games to mobile devices or other PCs, and the performance monitoring tools help track frame rates, temperature, and power consumption in real time.

Pricing and Competition

One of the RX 7900 GRE’s selling points is its pricing, which is more affordable than comparable Nvidia Super series cards. For gamers seeking high performance in traditional rasterized gaming, this card offers good value. However, if ray tracing is a significant part of your gaming experience, Nvidia’s offerings provide a better balance between price and performance.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

1. Solid 1440p and 4K Performance: Delivers high frame rates in most games with traditional rasterization.

2. Efficient Cooling: Triple-fan design and heatsink provide effective cooling without excessive noise.

3. Competitive Pricing: More affordable than Nvidia’s equivalent offerings, making it suitable for budget-conscious gamers.

4. Feature-Rich Software: Radeon Software offers robust customization and monitoring tools.

Cons:

1. Ray Tracing Performance: Struggles to keep up with Nvidia Super series, especially in demanding titles.

2. Power Consumption: Relatively high TBP compared to other mid-range GPUs.

3. Limited FSR Adoption: Not as widely supported as Nvidia’s DLSS in many popular titles.

Conclusion

The PowerColor Hellhound AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE is a strong contender for gamers who prioritize traditional gaming performance at a reasonable price. It excels at delivering high frame rates at 1440p and 4K in rasterized games, thanks to its powerful RDNA 3 architecture and generous VRAM. The effective cooling system and feature-rich software further solidify its appeal.

However, the card’s lackluster ray tracing performance makes it less appealing for those seeking the latest visual effects in their games. If you’re primarily focused on traditional gaming with occasional ray tracing, the RX 7900 GRE offers a compelling value proposition. Otherwise, consider Nvidia’s Super series for a more balanced ray tracing experience.

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