AMD Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards revealed, feature double the performance of the...

nanoguy

Posts: 610   +8
Staff member
The big picture: AMD finally has some powerful GPUs to stack against Nvidia's Ampere lineup in both 1440p and 4K gaming. The company says that when combined with its Zen 3 CPUs, these should deliver killer gaming performance at a price that will be hard for Nvidia to beat. And last but not least, AMD's new RX 6900 XT will be as powerful as an Nvidia RTX 3090 while being less power hungry and less costly than the latter option.

After dropping the Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors earlier this month, AMD today revealed the Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs based on the RDNA 2 architecture, which we've all come to know as "Big Navi." This is the same architecture that powers Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5.

AMD CEO Lisa Su said the company has tried to achieve the same generational leap in performance as it did when it went from GCN to RDNA. That means RDNA 2 should be able to deliver two times the performance of the RX 5700 XT (RDNA). In terms of efficiency, Su explained the new generation of GPUs affords a 50 percent improvement in performance per watt.

The company crammed 26.8 billion transistors into Big Navi chips, and employed a number of architectural improvements such as pervasive fine-grain clock gating, aggressive pipeline rebalancing, and redesigned data paths for efficient movement. With the Radeon 6000 series, AMD is also leveraging the same Infinity Cache it uses in Ryzen 5000 CPUs to achieve more than two times the bandwidth of RDNA at 0.9x the power consumption.

First up is the RX 6800, which is a $579 graphics card that AMD is comparing against the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (which also works out as a placeholder for the RTX 3070). The company claims the RX 6800 is able to match or even beat Nvidia's card in a number of games at 1440p and 4K. This is a 250 watt card and comes equipped with 60 compute units that run at a 1,815 MHz base clock and 2,105 MHz boost clock.

The RX 6800 isn't short on RAM like Nvidia's offerings, packing a whopping 16 GB of GDDR6 memory. AMD is not just unleashing enthusiast-level cards to make a point, it's trying to sway people away from Nvidia's RTX 3000 series with great value.

On that note, AMD didn't show any direct comparisons versus the RTX 3070, but the larger memory buffer on the RX 6800 should hold up well in 4K gaming for years to come. Nvidia's could become a disadvantage given the current trend on the other hand.

It's worth noting that while these benchmarks do indicate the RX 6800 will be able to best the RTX 3070, it does so with a feature called Smart Access Memory that will only be activated on systems with a Ryzen 5000 series CPU. Still, the results show AMD taking the crown in pretty much all DirectX 12 games while Nvidia's offering is still better when it comes to DirectX 11 titles.

Next up is the RX 6800 XT, which comes with 72 compute units that run at a base clock of 2,015 MHz and is capable of boost clocks of up to 2,250 MHz. It sports the same 16 GB GDDR6 memory buffer as the RX 6800, but has a higher total board power of 300 watts. It has more memory than Nvidia's RTX 3080, which only comes with 10 GB (of the faster, GDDR6X kind), and has a power rating of 320 watts.

The RX 6800 XT is no slouch against the Nvidia card at 4K in titles like Battlefield V, Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Forza Horizon 4, and (according to AMD's numbers) it matches it in others like Doom Eternal, Gears of War 5, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. But drop the resolution to 1440p and that difference is even clearer, especially in Battlefield V.

For a card that costs $50 less than the RTX 3080, the RX 6800 XT should make an attractive option for people looking to get similar performance to the Nvidia offering, but we'll know for sure when we test the new card against a larger selection of games. Interestingly enough, AMD has only shown test results achieved without the Smart Access Memory feature enabled, which is useful for people wondering how the RX 6800 XT would perform if paired with something other than a Ryzen 5000 series CPU.

AMD's response to Nvidia's RTX 3090 comes in the form of the RX 6900 XT, a $999 card that runs at similar clock speeds as the RX 6800 XT and sports the same 16 GB of GDDR6 memory. The biggest difference is the number of compute units, which is bumped from 72 to 80 while sticking to the same total board power target of 300 watts, which is 50 watts less than the power-hungry RTX 3090.

The RX 6900 XT is being marketed as a 4K gaming card. Here AMD chose to go with less (16 GB) to keep the price down, while Nvidia went all in with 24 GB of faster GDDR6X memory. The latter markets the RTX 3090 as an 8K-capable (not really) gaming powerhouse, but it also costs an eye-watering $1,499.

For the purposes of 4K gaming, AMD claims the RX 6900 XT with Smart Access Memory and Rage Mode (overclocking) activated will be able to get more than double the performance of an RX 5700 XT and hold its own against Nvidia's much more expensive flagship thanks to architectural improvements such as the 128 MB Infinity Cache.

The RX 6000 series graphics cards don't feature a dramatic board redesign when compared to their predecessors, as they occupy 2.5 slots and have a length of 267 mm. And unlike Nvidia's newest offerings, they don't come with a redesigned power connector, and instead feature two 8-pin connectors. AMD says they shouldn't put any undue stress on systems equipped with enthusiast-grade, 650 to 750 watt power supplies.

On the software side, the RX 6000 series is based on the RDNA 2 architecture, which means it supports Microsoft's DirectX 12 Ultimate API, with features like ray tracing, tier 2 variable rate shading, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. AMD is also expanding the FidelityFX suite of graphics libraries, and the company has added a one-click overclocking preset called Rage Mode in its Radeon Software. In the meantime, it will be working on adding DirectStorage support for faster game load times and higher quality textures.

AMD also has somewhat of an answer to Nvidia's DLSS technology in the form of Super Resolution. Like DLSS, this should let users upscale game graphics to higher resolutions with a negligible sacrifice in image sharpness and clarity. The best part of Super Resolution is that AMD promises this will be an open-source project that should be easier to implement across a variety of games.

For those of you looking to get your hands on one of the new cards, the Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 will go on sale on November 18, while the 6900 XT will drop on December 8. These will likely be in short supply, and the company says it's taken measures for retailers to prevent Big Navi scalpers from ruining the launch.

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TomSEA

Posts: 3,291   +1,975
No doubt they'll be a significant jump over their last generation of cards. But I'm not interested in seeing stats from AMD promoting their product. I'll make my mind up whether RTX or Radeon is my next purchase based on 3rd party reviews after the cards are released.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 351   +371
I'm not shocked at the performance levels, I was expecting this (after seeing all the leaks in the past month, not before). What I do find surprising is how honest they're being about things. They're showing games in which they DON'T win and, as stated, they didn't show the extra advantage of using a Ryzen 5000-series CPU with the RX 6800 XT. Of course, we have to wait for good ol' Stevie to get his hands on them but I have a feeling that his results will be very close (if not identical) to what we're seeing here.

AMD predicted that ATi would be able to double the performance of the RX 5000 series and people were understandably skeptical (I know I was). Having said that, I gotta hand it to the "Markham Gang" because against all odds, they pulled it off. It really is incredible what they've achieved.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,461   +6,132
Interested in seeing how the software features perform like the new anti-lag, smart access memory, and rage mode.

Having 16GB of VRAM is nice, should be a consideration for those that plan to keep the card long term.

The 6800's pricing appears to be less than ideal. AMD appears to be pricing the 6800 XT to edge out the 3080. I expect the $1,000 6900XT is priced to accommodate for Nvidia price drops. IF it really does match or beat the 3090, it would be a very hard sell to spend $500 - 600 more on a 3090. It would be one thing if the 3090 was actually a titan but it isn't and it doesn't have Titan class performance in professional workloads. It's essentially a 3080 Ti.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 351   +371
No doubt they'll be a significant jump over their last generation of cards. But I'm not interested in seeing stats from AMD promoting their product. I'll make my mind up whether RTX or Radeon is my next purchase based on 3rd party reviews after the cards are released.
Agreed, that's the only way to do it.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 351   +371
Interested in seeing how the software features perform like the new anti-lag, smart access memory, and rage mode.

Having 16GB of VRAM is nice, should be a consideration for those that plan to keep the card long term.

The 6800's pricing appears to be less than ideal. AMD appears to be pricing the 6800 XT to edge out the 3080. I expect the $1,000 6900XT is priced to accommodate for Nvidia price drops. IF it really does match or beat the 3090, it would be a very hard sell to spend $500 - 600 more on a 3090. It would be one thing if the 3090 was actually a titan but it isn't and it doesn't have Titan class performance in professional workloads. It's essentially a 3080 Ti.
Let's be honest, if someone is willing to pay more than double the price of an RTX 3080 for that tiny bump in performance, then logic is definitely not their strong suit. I don't think that the RX 6900 XT will affect the RTX 3090 sales much. I DO think that it will give the people with more money than brains something else to blow their money on. :laughing:
 

emmzo

Posts: 256   +216
I was one of the skeptics here and I`m still waiting for the "real" benchmarks, but I must admit AMD is on fire. Competing against companies with much bigger budgets and market shares and turning the tide is no small feat. I don`t care that the little guy made it, mind you, we`re still talking about a multi-billion dollars company, but rather what this could mean for us, the consumers.
 

Shake

Posts: 34   +39
I was one of the skeptics here and I`m still waiting for the "real" benchmarks, but I must admit AMD is on fire. Competing against companies with much bigger budgets and market shares and turning the tide is no small feat. I don`t care that the little guy made it, mind you, we`re still talking about a multi-billion dollars company, but rather what this could mean for us, the consumers.
Consumers win
 

Shake

Posts: 34   +39
Interested in seeing how the software features perform like the new anti-lag, smart access memory, and rage mode.

Having 16GB of VRAM is nice, should be a consideration for those that plan to keep the card long term.

The 6800's pricing appears to be less than ideal. AMD appears to be pricing the 6800 XT to edge out the 3080. I expect the $1,000 6900XT is priced to accommodate for Nvidia price drops. IF it really does match or beat the 3090, it would be a very hard sell to spend $500 - 600 more on a 3090. It would be one thing if the 3090 was actually a titan but it isn't and it doesn't have Titan class performance in professional workloads. It's essentially a 3080 Ti.
6800 offers double the amount of vram for $79 more
 

JimboJoneson

Posts: 290   +465
What I do find surprising is how honest they're being about things. They're showing games in which they DON'T win and, as stated, they didn't show the extra advantage of using a Ryzen 5000-series CPU with the RX 6800 XT.
True but it should be noted that the 6800 comparisons had Rage mode enabled (not sure why they did that though - it was already quite well ahead of the 2080ti (3070), but they stated it on their slide - transparent and honest is always nice.

The 6900xt comparison had both Rage and SAM enabled, and with rage mode only offering 1-2% gains, I would suspect that without Ryzen 5000, the 6900xt will be noticeably slower than 3090 - but at $500 and 50w less, it doesn't matter, its still a win. And again they disclosed these settings on their slide for transparency.

Looks like even if after 35 game spread of benchmarks (to be determined by 3rd party testing) the 6800xt will be the best GPU to get if you have a zen3 processor, as with SAM enabled it should pull well ahead of the 3080 and for $50 less, and still may be be a toss up if one has Intel processor, but again, for $50 less than the 3080.

Not much talk on raytracing though - I suspect Nvidia's RT solution will yield better quality RT. But again we'll have to wait for the reviews.

All in all, I'm a bit surprised it seems to have actually lived up to the hype. I thought the 6800xt would perform less than 3080, and cost the same.

Some speculations in my post, it'll be good to see some reviews.

 

Puiu

Posts: 4,136   +2,743
TechSpot Elite
True but it should be noted that the 6800 comparisons had Rage mode enabled (not sure why they did that though - it was already quite well ahead of the 2080ti (3070), but they stated it on their slide - transparent and honest is always nice.

The 6900xt comparison had both Rage and SAM enabled, and with rage mode only offering 1-2% gains, I would suspect that without Ryzen 5000, the 6900xt will be noticeably slower than 3090 - but at $500 and 50w less, it doesn't matter, its still a win. And again they disclosed these settings on their slide for transparency.

Looks like even if after 35 game spread of benchmarks (to be determined by 3rd party testing) the 6800xt will be the best GPU to get if you have a zen3 processor, as with SAM enabled it should pull well ahead of the 3080 and for $50 less, and still may be be a toss up if one has Intel processor, but again, for $50 less than the 3080.

Not much talk on raytracing though - I suspect Nvidia's RT solution will yield better quality RT. But again we'll have to wait for the reviews.

All in all, I'm a bit surprised it seems to have actually lived up to the hype. I thought the 6800xt would perform less than 3080, and cost the same.

Some speculations in my post, it'll be good to see some reviews.
Rage mode was off for the 6800, but it did have the memory stuff enabled. From what AMD said, it should be from their tests about 18% faster than the 2080ti which explains the price (this also means that it's about 10-12% faster without the memory optimization enabled).

They might also have issues pricing it lower because it has 16GB of VRAM which isn't cheap.

I was pleasantly surprised by what they showed even though I have some doubts about the overall performance in general.

But there is one thing I'm sure about now, something I suspected ever since I saw the 3000 series pricing: NVIDIA had some insider information about the general performance of these GPUs so they proactively lowered the prices. This is why I love proper competition :)
 

nnguy2

Posts: 159   +294
Rage mode was off for the 6800, but it did have the memory stuff enabled. From what AMD said, it should be from their tests about 18% faster than the 2080ti which explains the price (this also means that it's about 10-12% faster without the memory optimization enabled).

They might also have issues pricing it lower because it has 16GB of VRAM which isn't cheap.

I was pleasantly surprised by what they showed even though I have some doubts about the overall performance in general.

But there is one thing I'm sure about now, something I suspected ever since I saw the 3000 series pricing: NVIDIA had some insider information about the general performance of these GPUs so they proactively lowered the prices. This is why I love proper competition :)
LOL 3090=$1500, 6900XT=$1000 JEBAITED!
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 351   +371
I went hunting with AMD yesterday. They had just nabbed and mounted the Intel they had been seeking. And now have their sights on an Nvidia.

"Nvidia tried to bury this… Radeon 6000 (RIP RTX 3090)"


(For those who don't know, this is Princess Invidia from Space Battleship Yamato, a huge anime franchise)
 
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meric

Posts: 285   +243
I want to add some points. If the benchmark numbers are right,
- Nvidia may have some trouble in the higher end because there's not much performance space between RTX 3080 and 3090 to justify a new offering, without hurting 3090 sales. RTX 3070 may still be their best selling card, we will wait and see the comparison vs RX 5800.
- Nvidia still has the DLSS and dedicated RT cores. We will wait and see how AMD's equivalent tech will work out.
 
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JimboJoneson

Posts: 290   +465
Rage mode was off for the 6800, but it did have the memory stuff enabled.
...
Ah, yes I got that backward. Thanks for the correction.

So if one has Intel processor or older Ryzen it will be closer to the 3070, as the SAM seems to have a much higher impact than "Rage mode" - which is basically a fan curve tweak.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,461   +6,132
6800 offers double the amount of vram for $79 more
While this is true I'm not sure that how much a benefit that would be. I'm sure it would help if you intend to keep the card long term but I'm not sure about the immediate 1-2 years. I'm not saying the AMD card is worse but I feel like more people would rather just take the savings and upgrade more frequently.