With the launch of the new Radeon RX 6800 XT, AMD has made a phenomenal comeback in the high-end GPU market. Since 2013, Nvidia has had a stronghold in the GPU market for graphics cards priced at $500, forcing AMD to compete in the high-end or mid-range, and budget GPU market. But this is not the case anymore.
Do you remember how the RX 480 was an outstanding success for AMD in the GPU industry? For years the card served its purpose, providing us all with one of the best value propositions. But, for some time now AMD was not able to create the hype in the market as they did before. Fortunately, they were able to change that when the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT was introduced.
We believe that RDNA 2 rather than being the second iteration for the game-oriented market is more than just an evolutionary step, it’s more of a massive jump towards the high-end performance of course.
It is safe to say that the RDNA architecture has now entered the Ivy league of graphics cards along with the top-tier companies like Nvidia GTX 3080 and RTX 3090 and this is a big deal for AMD.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is giving decent competition to its rivals, mainly the Nvidia GeForce series. Why? Well, it’s because the Radeon RX 6800 XT comes with features that support 4K gaming and ray tracing. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 has somewhat the same features and hence, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is giving its Nvidia counterpart a good run for the money.
What is hitting the Nvidia’s GeForce series is the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT’s price tag. If you are looking to buy a high-end graphics card that will provide you with the ultimate 4K gaming experience, AMD offers you Radeon RX 6800 XT with a price tag of $649 only.
So, those of you who are more budget-conscious can surely go for AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT while others can opt for Nvidia GeForce GTX 3080.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Price & Availability
Coming over to the price tag, do you all remember what happened when the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700 were launched in the summer of 2019? History repeats itself somehow, we believe. The new AMD Radeon was launched on November 18 with two variants; Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT comes with a price tag of $649. Whereas, the second variant AMD Radeon RX 6800 was introduced with a price tag of $579.
Be advised that the second variant, Radeon RX 6800, is a little bit slower than the Radeon RX 6800 XT. To be exact, it is known to be at least 5-10% slower but then again, the price is 12% lower too.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT: Product Attributes and Chipset
As far as product attributes and features are concerned, this graphics card comes with some exciting features that gaming freaks love. AMD has introduced some new features for their graphics cards which in turn boosted the overall efficiency of the product. But there are some attributes that just never change. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is still based on the graphical architecture of the team Red’s RDNA 2, produced from a 7-nanometer manufacturing process.
The newest feature that AMD added was the new infinity cache. To be specific, instead of the GDDR6X memory, the Radeon RX 6800 XT comes equipped with 16GB of GDDR6 memory.
For those who don’t know, the GDDR6 helped AMD to fill the speed gap. How? Well, the infinity cache boosts the memory by 2.4x more bandwidth per watt than the VRAM initially achieves by asserting 128MB of global cache on a 256-bit bus with the help of GDDR6 VRAM.
Moreover, another feature included in the Radeon RX 6800 XT is the DirectX 12 ultimate compatible ray accelerators. You must be wondering how the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT can handle real-time ray tracing at a playable frame rate? It can do so because the ray accelerators are attached to each of the 72 compute units. For now, we can keep our hopes high for AMD drivers.
In addition to the ray accelerators and the infinity cache, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT comes packed with a total of 26.8 billion transistors spread all across a 519mm² die. We know what you all are thinking; did AMD shrink their processor? The answer is no and, that is the reason that this graphic card comes with a much larger die.
But why didn’t AMD make their die smaller? It is simple. Big die means higher clock speeds. This brings us to the 3rd new feature. The Radeon RX 6800 XT is loaded with a 2,015MHz game clock and up to a 2,250MHz boost clock. This feature tremendously helps me provide a smooth gaming experience and reduces the sustained loads too.
Another feature is power consumption. With great die space and clock speeds, comes a great consumption of power. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT is known to consume 300W. But, upon testing the product, it was found out that the all in all power consumption of the card never went above 250W. This means that the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT has a lot of room to get modified further. Moreover, lower power consumption means lower temperatures. The die of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT can reach up to a melting temperature of 114 degrees Celsius but, the overall temperature of the card that was recorded turned out to be 78 degrees Celsius.
That’s not all folks! One more important feature that the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT comes equipped with is that the GPU itself is an improved version of the one that comes with the Xbox series X and PS5. The benefit of this is that the new-gen games that have been or will be released would be automatically optimized for this GPU card. AMD has presented the Radeon RX 6800 series with two optional features. The first one is the smart access memory (SAM) and the other one is the Rage mode. Both of these optional features boost the performance of the card.
Rage mode in actuality is an AMD-sanctioned overclock. Luckily, enabling the rage mode won’t affect the product warranty. However, when you access the Radeon software to turn the rage mode on, the software will prompt you that you are about to mess with the arcane settings at your own risk. But, as long as you’re using the default settings, you are safe, so no need to worry.
AMD suggests that if anyone wants to use the SAM feature, they should keep in mind that enabling this feature would give the user a 10 percent boost in the performance but, the user will have to tamper with the BIOS along with the AMD motherboard and processor. Some users may have to install their Windows 10 from scratch because they will have to shut off the CSM. Moreover, the users will have to access the advanced settings and turn on the 4G Decoding along with re-sizing BAR support.
Bit of a hassle, right? That is why we don’t recommend it, AMD however does. But, it’s optional and of course, depends upon the user preference.
Something particularly useful for people playing professional shooter games is the software support that AMD provides by reducing the picture quality in the background when moving quickly, this, in turn, increases the frame rate. All this is possible through the contrast adaptive sharpening and Radeon Boost.
As far as the DLSS technology is concerned, AMD has not yet integrated it into their Radeon RX 6800 XT series. We don’t know the reason behind it but we do know that it’s pretty much important in this decade, particularly until developers understand what PS5 and Xbox Series X SSDs are capable of doing.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Design
Since this is AMD’s most outstanding graphics card in years, the cooler had to be reconsidered. The blower-style cooler on the Radeon RX 5700 XT just wasn’t going to make it on a graphics card of this standard, so AMD went for a 2.5-space triple fan option. This is why temperatures remain reasonable under default conditions, and if you need to use anything like MSI Afterburner, you can increase temperatures by adjusting the fan bend.
The design of the hardware that AMD opted for Radeon RX 6800 XT, is different from its predecessors. According to AMD, this is the most outstanding graphics card in terms of power so, obviously, they reconsidered the design of the cooler. AMD went for a new caliber 2.5 slots triple fan option instead of the old blower-style cooler that came equipped in the Radeon RX 5700 XT. You must be thinking about how the new AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT will sustain the temperature right? Well, the new cooler style greatly helps in keeping the temperature manageable enough for the graphics card to keep doing its magic.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 series comes equipped with two 8-pin power connectors at the back. The best thing in terms of design is that AMD opted for the USB-C port. This is where the Nvidia had a drawback though. Moreover, you will find one HDMI 2.1 and two display ports. All of these options will support any modern display available in the market.
Moreover, Radeon RX 6800 XT’s primary color of the body case is all black and upon mounting the graphics card on your system, you will get to see the side of the card which has a red trim along with the Radeon logo, and of course, the logo lights up with the red colored lights too.
Also, if you flip the body case, on the back of it you will find a not-so-premium wide silver strip, not that it matters much but from the backplate, the GPU is somewhat exposed. On the front three fans are surrounded by a silver strip, each of the 3 fans has an ‘R’ logo on them. ‘R’, which stands for Radeon.
Ultimately, after looking at every aspect of the design of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, we know that some people might find it somewhat outdated. Well, it’s not their fault, the design does give a 2005 feel with a typical black and red color scheme.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Performance Review
The design, features, and the chipset is one side of the story, performance is, however, another, and, trust us it’s a complicated one. In some situations, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT has a really good competitive edge over its rival, Nvidia. Let us clear this up for you.
Firstly, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT supports 4K resolution. To test the 4K capability of the card a test called 3DMark Fire strike ultra-test is held. Upon finding out the results, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT scored 12,209 points whereas the RTX 3080 scored 11,034 points.
The difference can be seen while playing games like the Assassins Creed: Odyssey and GTA 5 at 4K. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT was found to be 9% faster than the RTX 3080 while playing the Assassins Creed: Odyssey and about 8% faster while playing GTA 5.
Let’s now discuss the ray-tracing feature. When it comes to the RT, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 3080 was easily able to beat AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT. Without even turning on the ray-tracing feature, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 at 4K gave a performance that was 12% more than the AMD Radeon. This percentage surges to 34% when the ray tracing gets turned on.
Well, to keep things simple, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is ahead of the AMD RX 6800 XT in terms of ray tracing. Upon testing both graphics cards through a synthetic 3DMark Port Royal test, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 scored 11,344 points while the AMD Radeon RX 3800 XT scored 8,541 points. This depicts a good 33% difference in the performance.
Moreover, it’s been years since AMD has launched a high-quality GPU, and we’re delighted to see it return to the market. It’s also worth noting that Nvidia didn’t kill Intel with a single generation of Zen, of course, it took some time. Having said that, AMD’s potential to succeed in this segment of the market is remarkable.
With the launch of this graphics card, AMD has managed to convey a sound message that it means business. With optimal GPUs, we are certainly looking forward to what RDNA becomes in the next decade. For now, we have to wait and see to find out what the future holds.
Lastly, the question arises: should you buy the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT or not? Well, we think it depends upon what your preference is.
If you want to play a lot of DX11 games Like the Assassins Creed Odyssey and GTA 5, you will get exceptional performance with AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT because this GPU is the best for the games that come under the umbrella of DirectX 11. You are likely to get higher performance than the RTX 3080 if you have the aforementioned preference. Also, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT comes with a smart access memory option, you can unlock it for an addition of a 10% boost, but here is the catch. You will have to tweak your BIOS a bit. If you know how to do it, go for it.
In contrast, if you want the ray tracing feature support at 4K resolution and you play a lot of DirectX 12 games, plus you like playing next-gen games, you should probably go for the Nvidia graphics cards instead.