AMD’s flagship RX 7900 XTX GPUs have been discovered to incorporate A0 silicon revision affected by serious hardware issues.

New evidence has emerged that AMD’s flagship 7900XTX GPUs may be suffering from hardware problems. Looking at the independent reviews that tested the reference cards, one might wonder if AMD turned on some wrong advertising strategies back in November when the first performance graphs were released. AMD said granted reach to Performance increased by 70% compared to the 6950 XT, and that probably set expectations too high, with most reviews showing performance gains of 40% on average. More recent results indicate that AMD has launched flagship Navi 31 GPUs in the A0 step, which appears to have some hardware issues affecting performance. These issues have been exhaustively explained by Twitter user davidbepo in a very long series of posts.

First, @davidbepo states that while GPU-Z shows a C8 revision for some AIB versions, the actual revision is A0 as listed in the VBIOS. Apparently, the A0 was a problematic move that forced AMD to delay the launch of Navi 31 by almost a year, yet AMD launched the flagship models with this move anyway.

The first A0 problem presented is the high variance in the GPU clock. Some games like Cyberpunk 2077 run at 2.2GHz, while others run anywhere between 2.2 and 2.9GHz. Then there’s the odd issue with the high-powered pull that I’ve noticed in every review. Even though the voltage is lower than expected (barely touching 1 volt), the cards somehow draw more than 400 amps. In the end, by @devidbepo’s calculations, even though Navi 31 gets twice as many shaders over the previous generic flagship, each new computational unit is only 12% faster in the same hours, which is even lower considering the jump to 5nm .

Another issue that may affect Navi 31 performance was suggested by Twitter user @Kepler_L2, who discovered on the Messa3D github that “some A0 chips” come with non-working pre-shaders. In RDNA 2, non-working pre-shaders result in a 5% penalty. However, the RDNA 3 architecture delivered with the Navi 31 chipset has different parameters and the effect may also vary. This issue seems to have been fixed on the mid-range Navi 32 chipset that is expected to be released in the first months of 2023.

It’s unclear why AMD chose to stick with the A0 step. The most plausible explanation would be that Team Red wasn’t able to fix things in time for the release window, as it needed to speed up a competing model against Nvidia’s new RTX 4000 series. Hopefully AMD will eventually release a stable major revision, possibly with the 7950 XTX model, but likely not before mid-2023.

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