Bistromath Part 3


It’s been more than a year since I started building a new gaming PC and around 9 months since my last update on it. Well it’s finally finished: I bought a new GPU.

Last time I bought a AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and it was busted. It would show a blank screen for a second or two every minute or so. It got returned and I returned to watching GPU prices slowly fall, waiting for a chance to find something suitable.

Time passed and as I started to see rumors of a mid-range AMD card, I waited even more.

Then AMD (finally) released the RX 7700 XT and RX 7800 XT at $450 and $500, respectively. That 7800 looked very appealing.

Then the reviews came out yesterday and confirmed what I had assumed from the specs: the RX 7800 XT basically matched the RX 6800 XT for performance, but used less power and cost about the same. Sold.

So last week I drove out to MicroCenter and bought a PowerColor Hellhound AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT for $500. I considered the reference model from AMD, but decided against it since the reviews noted that the partner models ran cooler and quieter.

So far, so good!

I re-installed Windows 11, waited through lots of updates and downloads, then fired up F1 23 (which I got on sale a few weeks ago for about $40), and marvelled at being able to turn the graphics settings to Ultra (no RT) and getting over 150 FPS. Some notes:

  • F1 23 has some weird graphical artifacts in some places, most noticeably in the spray off tires in the rain. I’m sure this will get better as the drivers improve, but there were also similar weird artifacts all over the place when it was running on my old GTX 1060. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • There’s also some crashing that seems specific to F1 23. Hopefully a game or driver update will improve that soon. A driver update fixed the crashing!
  • GTA IV still runs like hot garbage. Sure, I can average 80+ FPS, but it regularly dips down to 30-40 depending on what’s happening in the game. Maybe my next computer, the one that I build over 5 years from now, will have a chance to run that game smoothly…
  • I don’t love the colored LEDs. There’s a 3-way toggle to change between blue, purple, and off. Purple looks OK at best. The blue is awful.
  • I don’t love having to use two power cables for one card, especially when the cables have two ends. It looks very messy, but AMD says to always use two separate cables. Maybe I’ll throw some money at CableMod and clean this up later.
  • GPU sag is real. It may not be damaging, but in this small case it’s noticeable. I 3d-printed a little support piece to sit under the front corner of the card to keep it flat. The case has a support bar that can be installed, but there isn’t enough clearance between the bottom of the case and the card to fit it. My little support pillar is only 16mm tall and it does the trick.
  • Speaking of the case, it’s a tight fit. The card is 332 mm long and the case supports up to 335 mm cards. It does fit, but it fills the entire bottom of the case. Fractal designed for that, of course, so the bottom of the case is mesh and the feet provide adequate clearance for cooling. I am a little concerned at the amount of heat being thrown directly at the glass side panel, but I’m sure it’s fine.

Overall I like this card. I think it will last me another 6-7 years before I replace this PC, and I think it will age better than the GTX 1060 that is being retired.