AMD’s Big Navi launch and it’s very ambitious claims is proof that the company has moved forward from the perennial underdog to the would-be dominator of the gaming PC market. Their Zen 3 line up is poised to destroy Intel’s 10th gen in gaming performance, and their Big Navi Radeon 6000 series is looking to take the fight to Nvidia’s Ampere as well. It’s going to be a tough decision when looking to upgrade, but that’s always interesting since gamers will always win with more choices.
Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 – Tale of the Tape
The $999 flagship AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT comes with the Navi 21 XTX GPU die that features 80 compute units or 5120 stream processors. It has 16 GB of GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit memory bus and a 512 GB/s bandwidth. This card is clocked at 2015 MHz and 2250 MHz boost with a 300W power draw which goes up to 350 for the AIB models. The card also includes 80 Ray accelerators for ray-tracing to enable it to compete with the RTX card’s RT cores.
It is followed by the $649 AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT with the same 16 GB of GDDR6, but its Navi 21 XT die has a slightly lower 72 count of compute units and 4609 stream processors. The memory bandwidth and clock speeds are the same with the 6900 XT, but it also has a slightly lower Ray accelerator count of 72. This card also consumes 300W and goes up to 350W for AIBs, so the performance difference will narrow out.
The most affordable $579 AMD Radeon RX 5800 is the least-powerful card in the bunch with a trimmed down Navi 21 XL GPU with 60 compute units and 3840 stream processors. The clocks are also lower at 1815 MHz and 2105 MHz, but it also has 16GB of GDDR6 memory. The card’s consumption is set at 250 watts, but AIBs will of course go higher.
AMD Big Navi Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 Benchmarks – Faster than Ampere?
AMD already released a slew of benchmarks last week complete with the system build they used, driver versions, and of course, the most powerful GPUs from Nvidia. The results are truly surprising considering how AMD is priced and if you look at their last two or three generational releases. Some are even speculating that the testers undervolted the Nvidia cards to slow them down a bit, but we think that’s moot since it would make the comparison pointless.
The benchmarks for the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 were tested in both 4K and 1440p across 10 games. The system specs used involved an X570 reference board, an unreleased Ryzen 9 5900X 12 core 24-thread processor, and 16 GB of DDR4-3200 MHz. That’s a typical specification list except for the Zen 3 processor, so we’re shown a more or less real-world result that will closely translate what you can expect from the new cards when they drop.
There’s also the thing called Smart Access memory mentioned on the official benchmark images from AMD. It’s a proprietary feature that allows the CPU to fully utilize the graphics memory on the RX 6000 cards and give as much as 11% more performance even if the cards are using slower memory. Some of the Nvidia cards have GDDR6X which is considerably faster than the GDDR6 in the Radeon contestants, but AMD says Smart Access Memory will more than just bridge the gap with this claim.
Another new feature called the Infinity Cache on the RX 6000 cards is another window to boost their performance against the competition. The cards will have 128MB of cache memory on the die itself to boost the bandwidth the standard memory bandwidth by 3.25 times. This puts the standard 512 GB/s to a whopping 1.664 TB/s which will indeed boost the performance of the three GPUs.
The ten titles used for the test run include Battlefield V, Borderlands 3, Modern Warfare, Doom Eternal, Division 2, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Resident Evil 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Wolfenstein Youngblood at their highest available settings. AMD used a mix of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan APIs depending on which worked best for the specific title.
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 Benchmarks – 2560 x 1440 WQHD
The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 wins in almost every game when it comes to framerate except in some specific instances. We see as much as 50 FPS leads on Battlefield V between the venerable RTX 2080 Ti and the RX 6800, and as little as 4 FPS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider between the RTX 3090 and the RX 6900 XT. This shows that game optimization is still a big factor in determining the fastest card, and you can see that on the Wolfenstein results since it is an Nvidia posterchild since release.
However, the takeaway here is that the Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 will impress at 1440p if these benchmarks are accurate. 1440p is a very popular segment right now since it’s right in the middle of affordability and the high end. Not a lot of cards can guarantee a stable 144Hz in many modern titles, and it looks like AMD is about to shift the market drastically in the following months.
Here are the 1440p result screenshots from the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 product page:
Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 – 3840 x 2160 4K UHD
4K is a bit trickier with different results compared to the 1440p test run since AMD only takes the crown in five titles. The higher amount of memory and the natural speed advantage of GDDR6X over GDDR6 is evident here, but that’s not the most surprising part. The 6500 XT which is the middle card of the trio, takes the crown from the $1499 RTX 3090 in five or six titles at less than half the price.
The top-tier RX 6900 XT of course, extends that lead, but it’s still more affordable at $999, making smooth and stable 4K gaming closer to the masses. But what’s heart-breaking at this point is how the RX 6800, which is a $579 GPU, destroys the $1199 RTX 2080 Ti in all titles. It’s a 2-year old card, but you have to consider that it was the most powerful gaming SKU not too long ago.
Here are the 4K result screenshots from the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 product page:
Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 Availability and Pricing
The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 will drop separately, starting with the latter two on November 18 with $649 and $579 SRPs respectively. The flagship RX 6900 XT won’t be available until December 8 where it will launch with a $999 against the RTX 3090. AIB models won’t be available until after the release dates, but we’re hoping some of the best will arrive before the holiday season is over.
Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 – Our Take
AMD’s Big Navi and RDNA2 technology which produced the Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 is quite impressive. They’ve put Nvidia in a tight spot when it comes to price and performance once again, but the flagship category is now included in the fray. Both brands have proprietary technologies that you should take into consideration as well, but on paper, the RX 6000 cards might be the better pick if you are building a Zen 3 system as well.
We’re sincerely hoping that the sizable lead AMD is about to create with their Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6800 XT, and 6800 won’t be botched by poor driver releases like the previous generations. We know it’s a case-to-case basis, but it is what’s holding back the favor of many enthusiasts that are out for a new GPU. Let us know in the comments what you are planning to get for the holidays or what you think about these amazing new cards.
About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.