The big picture: AMD's last wave of RDNA 2 cards has arrived. While they won't blow anyone's socks away, the company claims they excel in terms of performance per watt and cost per frame when compared to Nvidia's Ampere offerings. Given the current market conditions and RDNA 3 cards on the horizon, the arrival of the Radeon RX 6x50 XT series looks like a late and desperate attempt to fix the sour taste left by the paper launches of the past two years.
After several months of rumors, AMD today formally announced three new Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards — the RX 6650 XT, RX 6750 XT, and a new RDNA 2 flagship, the RX 6950 XT. But more importantly, Team Red seems to have adjusted the MSRP of the new models to the current market reality instead of allowing ample room for sticker price shock once they reach store shelves.
The new cards also arrive at a time when AMD's existing RDNA 2 offerings are finally selling for close to MSRP and sometimes even below in the case of lower-end offerings like the RX 6500 XT. The company even highlights price as an advantage over Nvidia's Ampere cards, and right now there are more reasons to believe you'll be able to find these models in stock and close to the suggested price figures.
As expected, the RX 6x50 XT series cards aren't very different when compared to the models they're based on. The only notable changes are higher clocks, bigger total board power (TBP), and the use of faster, 18 Gbps GDDR6 memory. Word on the supply chain is they also have firmware support for both Samsung and Hynix memory, which is one reason to be optimistic about better availability.
The RX 6950 XT is now the most powerful AMD card in the RDNA 2 lineup, and this comes at a $100 premium over the RX 6900 XT. For $1,099, the new card features a game clock of 2,100 MHz and can boost up to 2,310 MHz if thermals and power allow it. The TBP has been increased from 300 to 335 watts on the reference model, and we expect some custom models with beefier cooling solutions will be pushing that limit even higher.
Interestingly, AMD sees the RX 6950 XT as more of a competitor for Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3090 instead of the RTX 3090 Ti. The company claims better cost per frame and performance per watt, but we'll have to wait for Steve's review to see if those claims hold.
According to Team Red's marketing charts, the RX 6950 XT will slot in between the RTX 3090 and the RTX 3090 Ti in terms of gaming performance, at least when all cards are installed in systems with Resizable BAR (Smart Access Memory) enabled.
It's worth noting the testing was done using the Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU on Windows 10 test machines, while the titles tested are all DirectX 12-enabled. Still, AMD claims its latest Adrenalin drivers can squeeze up to 10 percent better performance in DirectX 11 titles using the new cards, so there's that.
Moving on to the RX 6750 XT, we see pretty much the same story of a slightly higher TBP of 250 watts, which affords a game clock of 2,495 MHz and a boost clock of up to 2,600 MHz. It has an AMD-suggested price of $549, and the company positions this as a competitor for the RTX 3070 (non-Ti) which has a slightly lower TBP of 220 watts. Even with the higher price of Team Green's offerings, AMD didn't venture into comparisons with anything but the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3060 Ti.
Arguably the most important of the new cards is the RX 6650 XT, which is positioned as a direct competitor to the RTX 3060 (non-Ti) for 1080p gaming. It's also the only of the three new cards that will replace the model it's based on. In other words, once stocks of the RX 6600 XT run dry, the RX 6650 XT will be the only card to slot in between the RX 6600 and the RX 6700 XT.
AMD has set an MSRP of $399 for the RX 6650 XT, which is a $20 premium over the RX 6600 XT. The company says this model will only be available from AIB partners, while the RX 6750 XT and the RX 6950 XT will also be available on AMD's online store. Better yet, AMD is readying a new "Raise the Game" bundle offer for the new cards.
It's also worth noting AMD has confirmed a list of games that will receive support for its FSR 2.0 upscaling solution in the coming months. It includes Forspoken, EVE Online, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Perfect World Remake, Swordsman Remake, Unkown 9: Awakening, NiShuiHan, Grounded, Delysium, and Asterigos. Deathloop will be the first title to receive support for FSR 2.0 via an update later this week.
Overall, this looks like a bland but honest last push for AMD's RDNA 2 generation of graphics cards, whereas the Ryzen 5800X3D marked a fitting end of the AM4 CPU era. Price is where the new Radeon offerings will shine the brightest, especially in the current GPU market. Be sure to stay tuned as we'll have reviews of the new cards up this week.