After years of focusing on mid-range video cards, AMD is making another play for high-end hardware with its new Radeon RX 6000 lineup. Last year’s Radeon VII was a significant attempt to stay relevant in the field. High end market, but it never made much sense to the gamer because it was slower than NVIDIA’s RTX 2080. After VII, AMD’s mid-range was the RX 5000 series, which was more competitive, but was on the rise with the $ 400 RX 5700 XT. Now, AMD has the great quality cards you really want: $ 579 RX 6800, $ 649 RX 6800 XT, and $ 999 RX 6900 XT. Clearly, the goal is to replace NVIDIA’s powerful RTX 3000 GPUs with cheaper alternatives.
Even if AMD hadn’t unveiled these new cards, it could be argued that it could have easily won the GPU battle this year. Its RDNA architecture is the basis for the PlayStation 5, as well as the Xbox Series X and S, which will bring powerful graphics to personal computers in more homes than NVIDIA GPUs. However, it is understandable that AMD is finally redefining PC gamers, if only to reduce NVIDIA’s relentless marketing. And after testing the Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT last week, we can confirm that AMD’s new hardware equals the RTX 3070 and 3080.
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The highlight of the RX 6800 and 6800 XT is what’s inside: AMD’s new 7nm RDNA 2 architecture, the first to collaborate for high-speed ray tracing of hardware. The 6800 has 60 computing units and ray tracing accelerators, while the 6800 XT increases both figures to 72. They also have 16 GB of GDDR6 memory, 10 GB for the RTX 3080 and 8 GB for the 3070.
Now that 4K games are the focus, more memory may affect how well the games load and perform, although the RTX 3080 has significantly more memory bandwidth than AMD cards, which games Paves the way for
The 6800 and 6800 XT make a remarkable first impression. They are large cards carved out of a single block of metal, in which three fans cool the traditional set of heat sink wings. While NVIDIA has come up with a completely new PCB and cooling design for its latest cards, AMD is sticking to a fairly standard design. But at least they’ve got an annoying single fan exhaust fan behind them. Both cards are based on two 8-pin connectors, and thankfully they’re on edge so you can easily root the cables.
Now let’s get to what you’re really interested in: benchmarks and performance impressions. As you can see from the table below, the 6800’s consistent score is higher than the 99 499 RTX 3070, but this should be expected as it costs $ 80 more. The 6800 XT, meanwhile, manages to overtake the RTX 3080 in Hitman 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmarks. But as you can see from the Port Royal test, AMD lags behind when it comes to ray tracing.
This benchmark may not have been improved for these new cards, but it does match the poor performance of the ray tracing we saw throughout the test. Controls, for example, can only run between 35 and 40 fps in 4K, with a maximum of ray tracing. On the RTX 3080, it hit about 50 fps. Not surprisingly, these AMD cards were virtually useless in Minecraft’s ray tracing beta, which was created specifically for NVIDIA’s RTX hardware. However, there were some positive aspects: Dirt 5 was able to run between 50 and 60 fps in 4K with Ray Tracing On. It’s a game we’ve tested on the Xbox Series X, but it looked better on the PC because we were able to further enhance the visuals.
Both the RX 6800 and 6800 XT are hovering around 72 degrees Celsius under load, while the latest NVIDIA cards can hit 80 degrees Celsius. But while cooling performance was solid, they are definitely noisy cards. Sometimes the 6800 XT looked like it was trying to take off with a computer. If you hate noise, you may want to consider third party cards with alternative cooling options.
The RX 6800 and 6800 XT are both robust high-end GPUs that in some cases can outperform NVIDIA hardware. But it seems that AMD is just beginning to become familiar with ray tracing support, and developers still need to refine their titles to benefit from its implementation. So your choice between AMD and NVIDIA hardware really comes down to what’s important to you: raw gaming performance for some occasions, or better ray tracing support.
Testing these two cards further convinced us that NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 is an incredible value at $ 499 for the money, as it basically offers all the great capabilities of the 2080 Ti at half price. The 6800 XT, on the other hand, sounds like a solid card if you don’t care much about ray tracing. AMD’s 6800 is in a more interesting position, as it is more expensive than the 3070, and offers poor ray tracing performance. Maybe there’s a gamer that will save the extra $ 70 it takes to get the 6800 XT, but if you’re already shopping within that price range, why not end it all?
The Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT can be considered as AMD’s triumphant comeback. They show that the company can finally provide a better level of gaming experience. And they also clearly demonstrate the advantages of competition, as AMD has struggled to keep up with NVIDIA’s leadership, so it is now clear that no company can afford to slow down.