AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT Rumored To Hold A Key Advantage Over The GeForce RTX 4090

Radeon RX Graphics Card
There's not many negatives to say about the GeForce RTX 4090—pricing gripes aside—but there was one little detail we picked out as soon as NVIDIA put the part's specifications up on the product page: the lack of support for the latest DisplayPort connection standard. If a rumor is accurate, AMD's new Radeon 7000-series GPUs will have that capability.

We'd like to assume that it was down to timing, and the company didn't have time to update the display block on the GPU for DP 2.x. That would be fair enough, but NVIDIA's official line on the issue (as told to Linus Tech Tips) is that DP 1.4a is "good enough" for current displays. That's probably true for the majority of people, but the majority at large are not who is buying the RTX 4090. There are already 4K240 displays out there, and high-refresh 8K monitors are coming, for sure, neither of which are properly supported on DP 1.4a.

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We already heard that AMD's RDNA 3-based Radeon 7000 family would support DisplayPort 2.0, and even that is already an improvement over NVIDIA's parts. Posting on Twitter yesterday, Kyle Bennett (@KyleBennett) said that he has "verification from multiple sources" that AMD's next Radeon GPUs will support the "upcoming DisplayPort 2.1 specification." For those unfamiliar, Kyle is a legend in the tech blogging sphere as the founder of one of the OG hardware blogs, Hard|OCP.

If you don't take Kyle at his word, infamous YouTube leakster Moore's Law is Dead quote-retweeted him remarking that his sources are saying the same thing: RDNA 3 GPUs will support DisplayPort 2.1. DisplayPort 2.0 already provides the upcoming graphics cards with some 80 Gbps of video bandwidth per DisplayPort connection, allowing them to drive displays at 8K240 and even higher, more ludicrous resolutions and refresh rates. The DP 2.1 specification isn't finalized yet, so who knows what wonders it will bring.

mlid tweet

If it were merely an argument about future-proofing, then NVIDIA's behavior would be a little questionable. However, the missing feature is especially galling given how potent the GeForce RTX 4090 actually is. With DLSS 3 Frame Generation, high-frame-rate gameplay in 8K resolution is a real possibility, and ultra-high-frame-rate (240 Hz) in 4K as well. There is an argument to be had about reducing the quality of your pixels to produce more of them, but that's neither here nor there at the moment.

Assuming this is true, that makes for two connection standards that AMD is beating NVIDIA on. Of course, to take advantage of DisplayPort 2.1, you'll need a new monitor. Then again, if you're buying a brand-new, latest-generation GPU, you would probably be best-served by a new monitor regardless. There's no point hooking up one of these monsters to your old 1080p LCD!