AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT review
AMD introduces flagship gaming graphics card GPU — Radeon RX 6800 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT review — Final judgment: It’s been a long time since AMD challenged Nvidia in the upscale segment. Particularly, in the graphics cards market sector. Although it is a decent effort, the performance is not good enough to replace Nvidia. Mainly, in the field of recent DX12 PC games.
- Ray tracing maintenance
- A proper challenge for Nvidia in the high-end segment
- High results in performance on DX11
- Well-working cooling system
- Not able to replace Nvidia in the high-power sector
- Incredibly bad tracing performance
- Video card design of lower-level
An important thing happened with the release of this GPU. The company has come back to the upscale segment of the graphics card market. And among many opponents, AMD decided to compete with Nvidia’s creation, namely, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. It was done by releasing a card with modern features and a 4K gaming capacity. Its performance absolutely matches the RTX 3080. In certain games, it even outperforms the Nvidia product, though it fails in others.
Other than that, the given card comes with an appealing price of $649. It allows users to save money while having a decent option to play in 4K. After all, the company created an interesting alternative to Nvidia’s best warrior.
It has always been fairly easy to choose a good GPU for 4K gaming purposes. Even when this feature first appeared on the scene. However, more thrifty gamers will definitely prefer buying the RX 6800 XT.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT — Price options
The card went on sale on the 18th of November, 2020. The announced price was $649 (which remains the same up to this day). The price tag goes slightly higher on OEM-partner GPUs. This is just a little bit cheaper than $699 for RTX 3080.
Since we’re into the competition in this price category, let’s take the previous RX 6800. This younger model works slightly slower. However, it costs $579. According to that, the price is 12% higher while the card is 5–10% faster.
There’s something wrong with this math, isn’t it?
Therefore, we find it hard to recommend the 6800 XT model from an economic perspective. On the other hand, it could be happening due to the following reason. This new model simply intends to increase the value of the RX 6800. That’s what was going on with the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT in 2019.
Today you can buy AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT gaming graphics card on Amazon for $925
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming Graphics Card Design
The given card is one of the most efficient ones among recent AMD GPUs. So the company needed to improve the cooling system. The fan from RX 5700 XT is not enough for a card of such caliber. That’s why the creators decided to implement a 2.5 slot triple fan.
Thanks to that option the temperature stays acceptable, even at default settings. Meanwhile, using MSI Afterburner provides even better thermal regulation by adjusting the fan settings.
And then we have the RX 6800 with a broad choice of ports. A USB-C, an HDMI 2.1 and two DisplayPorts cover an average modern monitor nowadays. We appreciate AMD didn’t follow the Nvidia example of abandoning USB-C. There are also 8-pin power outputs on the back of the card.
The review item is, without exaggeration, a high-quality gaming card. It has a black and red design on the side with the company’s logo in white. The letters are also highlighted in red. That’s the part you will mostly see once you install it.
A silverish band encompasses the front side. There are three fans around it, each decorated with the “R” logo. The silver line becomes wider on the back panel. At the same time, the backside remains exposed to the view. It definitely looks “premium”, but, ultimately, it’s not essential.
For some people, the card’s design might look a bit archaic. Especially, considering the fact that gaming aesthetics in black-and-red tones were outdated back in 2020. PC panels are usually made of tempered glass these days. In such a manner, this item will inevitably remind you of 2005. It might become an obstacle for those who’d like to show off their gaming attributes. Anyway, everything depends on your preferences. Most people probably won’t even pay attention to such details.
Graphics Card Features — Desktop Specs
The RDNA 2 architecture serves as a base for the review item. This graphics technology applies a 7-nanometer manufacturing process as a platform. Instead of reducing the chip size, the company invested in fresh features and efficiency growth. Altogether, it makes the new device way more productive than its predecessors.
One of the most notable features is Infinity Cache. This plays a key role when you consider that 6800 XT has 16GB of GDDR6. Meanwhile, RTX 3080 and 3090 use GDDR6X.
In fact, Infinity Cache is 128MB of global storage. It’s 3.25 times faster than the result from GDDR6 memory running on 256 bit. This is according to AMD. In such a manner, data is being transferred to the card from this large 16GB memory pool.
Combining GDDR6 memory with a fast cache leads to 2.4 times more bandwidth per watt. Without this approach, AMD would have to deal with a big gap. It could become a result of ignoring GDDR6X technology on the opponent’s flagships.
Beam gas pedals compatible with the DirectX 12 Ultimate are another detail in the architecture. There are 72 processing units here and each of them has a pedal on it. It allows the card to process ray tracing in real-time with satisfying refresh rates. Later we’ll examine the efficiency of ray tracing for the GPUs. However, there are some expectations concerning performance improvement as new AMD drivers come. The situation was similar with 1st-generation RTX graphics units by Nvidia.
Except for these tools, all compute units (CUs) are arranged just as on the original RDNA cards. Each of them has 64 stream processors. In total, it brings us 4608 CUs on the model. Obviously, since the amount of processors doesn’t reduce, we see a larger chip of 519mm2. It contains 26.8 billion transistors.
Fast clock speeds complement this enlarged block. The model allows frequencies of 2015 MHz. It also offers a potential boost of up to 2250 MHz. Now, what’s the difference between gaming frequencies and Boost Clock? The first term means the numbers you see while playing games. The second one boosts frequencies during short-term workloads.
Of course, power consumption grows along with the increasing clock speeds and chip area. The model’s target is 300 watts. However, we haven’t managed to witness more than 294 watts. In addition, during the gaming tests, the MSI Afterburner showed 230–250 watts. By that, you can tell that the GPU has great overclocking potential.
The new VGA BIOS release promises to help upgrade the 6800 XT’s performance. It can definitely show the RTX 3080 who’s the winner. But at the moment of release, it doesn’t look so good.
Well, it means that the thermal balance remains fine. As we tested it, the temperature reached +78 degrees Celsius at max. This is only a bit higher than on the RX 6800.
The highest point was 114 degrees Celsius, indicating the hottest part of the block. It’s just a bit higher than the number claimed by AMD. The company stated 110 degrees in the performance limits. Also, no trotting was noted. But be ready to see really high values while watching the temperature.
There’s one thing about this card we find particularly interesting. Essentially, it’s an upgraded graphics chip version derived from PS5 and Xbox Series X. Theoretically, game optimization will be an easier process when switching from console to PC. The benefits are easy to spot in Far Cry 5 or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. They don’t belong to the next-generation games, mainly equipped to work on AMD hardware. It’s a clear demonstration of how the optimization process can ultimately affect performance.
AMD added two extra features for the RX 6800 series. They are immensely helpful when it comes to performance gains. Rage Mode and SAM (Smart Access Memory) doesn’t just contribute to performance boost. They go beyond any expectations.
In fact, Rage Mode is an overclocking option sanctioned by AMD. For that reason, it doesn’t affect your warranty. However, you might see a warning message coming out when enabling the program. It says that changing settings happens at your own risk. But it’s not a problem. Your warranty will be fine, as long as you deal with the software by AMD.
We had worse results after running Range Mode in the 3DMark tests. Although, it was all within the margin of error.