Everything you need to know about AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs

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AMD Radeon RX 6900 XTSource: AMD

AMD has taken the cap off its next-generation Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards (GPU) using RDNA 2 architecture just weeks after unveiling new desktop-class Ryzen 5000 processors (CPU). And just like the CPUs and their huge boost to performance, the new RX 6000 GPUs are going to bring a ton of power compared to the last generation. Enough so that we expect to see them rank high in our list of the overall best graphics card options out there. Here’s what you need to know.

Three new AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs

There are three new drool-worthy GPUs in the Radeon RX 6000 family, including the Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6800. They’re all using the RDNA 2 architecture that is an evolution of RDNA we saw in the RX 5000-series cards. You might have also heard RDNA 2 called Navi 2x or Big Navi, but the facts remain the same; these new cards are absolutely sizzling. This same technology is being used in next-gen Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PlayStation 5 consoles, but these are the first PC-based GPUs with the technology. Here’s a breakdown of the specs for each new Radeon RX 6000 GPU.

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Category Radeon RX 6900 XT Radeon RX 6800 XT Radeon RX 6800
Stream processors 5,120 4,608 3,840
Compute units 80 72 60
Texture units 320 288 240
Ray accelerators 80 72 60
Game clock 2,015MHz 2,015MHz 1,815MHz
Boost clock 2,250MHz 2,250MHz 2,105MHz
Memory 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6
Infinity Cache 128MB 128MB 128MB
TDP 300W 300W 250W
Recommended PSU 850W 750W 650W
Slot size 2.5 2.5 2
Launch Date December 8 November 18 November 18
Price $999 $649 $579

The first version of RDNA was a huge step up over AMD’s previous GCN architecture. AMD aimed for the 7nm RDNA 2 to trounce again the performance-per-watt of RDNA, and it has pulled it off with an actual 54% increase. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the mighty RX 6900 XT boosts the performance-per-watt increase to a whopping 65%.

AMD RDNA 2 performance

Source: AMD

How did AMD do it? Compute unit design has been advanced with 30% more efficiency. The proprietary Infinity Cache, based on the Zen L3 cache and optimized for graphics, reduces bottlenecks and effectively doubles the bandwidth of a 384-bit G6 interface. And thanks to improved silicon design, there’s a 30% frequency increase despite a similar 7nm node. Altogether this contributes to the huge performance-per-watt gain, but it also delivers more than double the performance of RDNA at 4K.

On top of that, RX 6000 GPUs support DirectX 12 Ultimate, which encompasses ray tracing, variable rate shading, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. The addition of ray tracing will no doubt help them compete with the current market-leading NVIDIA RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090 GPUs in compatible games.

Comparing AMD Radeon RX 6000 and NVIDIA RTX 3000 performance

RX 6800 XT vs. RTX 3080

Source: AMD

The main stats most people were awaiting were raw performance in popular PC games compared to NVIDIA’s mighty RTX 30-series GPUs. And for those on Team Red, the numbers look great. The RX 6800 XT is set to compete with the RTX 3080, and at 4K resolution in games like Battlefield V, Borderlands 3, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare the RX 6800 XT pulls ahead in frame rates. That’s with maxed in-game graphics settings, so you can be assured that there is no compromise.

Even dropping down to 1440p, the RX 6800 XT beats the RTX 3080 in almost all games tested. Keep in mind the RX 6800 XT is doing this at a lower 300W TDP compared to the RTX 3080’s 320W.

RX 6800 vs. RTX 2080 Ti

Source: AMD

The RX 6800 compared to the RTX 2080 Ti tells about the same story. With the Smart Access Memory feature (more on that below) enabled, the RX 6800 beats out the RTX 2080 Ti at a 4K framerate in all games tested. The same holds true when dropping down to 1440p. Considering the RX 6800 is expected to retail for about $649, this is a huge amount of performance.

RX 6900 XT vs. RTX 3090

Source: AMD

Stepping up to the RX 6900 XT — which is actually no larger physically than the RX 6800 XT — you’re getting performance to rival the beefy RTX 3090. AMD padded the stats a bit with Rage Mode and Smart Access Memory enabled on its side, but at 4K with maxed setting the RX 6900 XT manages to beat the RTX 3090’s frame rates in 6 out of the 10 games tested. And where it fell short, it wasn’t far behind.

With the RX 6900 XT hitting the 300W TDP mark (compared to 350W) and costing $500 less than the RTX 3090, this seems like a big win for AMD.

More gaming features shown off

AMD RDNA2 performance

Source: AMD

AMD also showed off some extra goodies that are going to help make your gaming experience that much better. Rage Mode delivers the ability to overclock your GPU with one click in Radeon software, and AMD’s Smart Access Memory works with AMD’s new Ryzen 5000 CPUs. When you combine the new CPU, GPU, and a 500-series chipset motherboard, you will see up to a 13% increase in performance. And that’s before games further optimize this feature.

AMD stressed in its “Where Gaming Begins: Episode 2” presentation that FPS is ultra important, but so is latency between your actions and what you see on screen. That’s why its second-gen latency reduction tech is here, combining Radeon Anti-Lag and FreeSync monitors across DX9 and DX11 games. Radeon Boost also works in select games for controller and mouse input, giving you further latency reduction. Altogether, AMD showed off 37% less latency in Fortnite at a 4K resolution with these features enabled through Radeon software.

The RX 6000-series GPUs fully support DirectX 12 Ultimate, but AMD has also improved its FidelityFX collection of features to work better with new ray tracing implementation. AMD FidelityFX is so far supported in 35 games, with more on the way.

When can you buy an AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPU?

The expected release is not too far away, with the RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 hitting shelves first November 18, 2020. The RX 6800 XT is priced at $649, while the RX 6800 is priced at $579.

If you’re holding out for the mighty RX 6900 XT and its awesome 4K performance, you’ll have to wait until December 8. Upon release, it’s expected to go for $999.

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