AMD finally unveiled its RDNA 2 powered Radeon RX 6000 series, competing toe-to-toe against NVIDIA’s top-end RTX 30 series offerings. First up, we have the Radeon RX 6800 XT which comes with 72 CUs and 16GB of GDDR6 memory paired with a 256-bit and (wait for it) a whopping 128MB of Infinity Cache. Never expected to see 128 MB of cache in a GPU. Looks like RedGamingTech was right after all.
It has a game clock just north of 2GHz and a max boost clock of 2.25GHz. Furthermore, it has a total board power (TBP) of just 300W, 20W less than the competing GeForce RTX 3080 which it trades blows with. Looking at the benchmarks provided by AMD, it looks like the RX 6800XT will be more or less on par with the RTX 3080, with each card winning and losing in roughly the same number of titles.
Unsurprisingly, the RX 6800 XT seems to have an edge at 1440p while the RTX 3080 performs very close or the same at 4K, thanks to its wider memory bus and the use of GDDR6X memory.
With its new generation of CPUs and GPUs, AMD is introducing something called “Smart Memory Access” which improves performance by up to 13% in games when using a Ryzen 5000 CPU with a Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card. It’s unclear how this works and which memory is exactly shared, but we should get more details soon. The RX 6800 XT is priced at $649, $50 less than the mostly non-existent RTX 3080.
There’s another feature called “Rage Mode”
which is basically identical to NVIDIA’s scanner, automatically overclocking the GPU to a certain degree, providing a small boost whenever you need it.
Rage mode doesn’t overclock the GPU. It’s similar to PBO on the Ryzen CPUs, increasing the power limit for the GPU by a bit, thereby increasing the average game clock and improving performance.
At the absolute top-end, we have the Radeon RX 6900 XT which supposedly features the full Navi 21 die with 80 CUs. The memory, base, and boost clocks, plus the memory/Infinity Cache size are the same as the 6800XT.
Compared to the GeForce RTX 3090, it’s slightly slower. In the above benchmarks, rage mode and SMA are enabled, and yet the 6900 XT loses in some games. Regardless, for a price of $999, it’s a much better option than the overpriced GeForce competitor which costs 50% more at $1,499.
Another Big Navi part that was announced today is the Radeon RX 6800 which comes with 60CUs and trades blows with the RTX 3070/RTX 2080 Ti, beating both by a notable margin. The memory and IC are the same, but the clocks are slightly lower. The RX 6800 comes with a price tag of $579.
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon RX 6800||AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT||AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT|
|GPU||Navi 21 XL||Navi 21 XT||Navi 21 XTX|
|TMUs/ROPs||240 / 96||288 / 128||320 / 128|
|Game Clock||1815 MHz||2015 MHz||2015 MHz|
|Boost Clock||2105 MHz||2250 MHz||2250 MHz|
|FP32 TFLOPs||16.17 TFLOPs||20.74 TFLOPs||23.04 TFLOPs|
|Memory Size||16 GB GDDR6 +128 MB Infinity Cache||16 GB GDDR6 +128 MB Infinity Cache||16 GB GDDR6 +128 MB Infinity Cache|
|Memory Clock||16 Gbps||16 Gbps||16 Gbps|
|Bandwidth||512 GB/s||512 GB/s||512 GB/s|
|Price||$579 US||$649 US||$999 US|
In case you’re wondering about ray-tracing performance, I’ll admit, there is quite a bit of ambiguity as no performance figures were provided. However, these GPUs will support it on a hardware level along with all the other features of DX12 Ultimate such as mesh shading, sampler feedback, VRS, and a form of upscaling called super-resolution. From what we’ve heard Super-resolution will likely be open-source and more accessible than NVIDIA’s DLSS solution. We’re not sure whether it’ll be based on MS DirectML or something similar to the checkerboard rendering on the PS4.
The first titles that will include ray-tracing support on the RX 6000 series GPUs are Godfall, Far Cry 6, World of Warcraft, Dirt 5, and RiftBreaker. AMD is also including its FidelityFX toolset such as CAS, denoiser, optimized AO and SSR along with its partner ray-traced titles for better performance.
Another point to keep in mind about ray-tracing is that the implementation of the technology on a lower-level will vary. NVIDIA uses its RTCores for everything from BVH traversal to intersection testing while AMD will likely use shaders for the former and dedicated RT units for the latter. The large Infinity Cache will supposedly also help as RT ray-tracing deals with a large amount of ray-triangle data which often chokes the lower level cache.
While DXR is the platform for ray-tracing on PC and Xbox, the same functionality will be provided by different hardware units across NVIDIA and AMD hardware.
In the end, I still believe that NVIDIA will have an advantage when it comes to ray-tracing. Titles like Watch Dogs Legion, Bloodlines 2, Dying Light 2, and most notably, Cyberpunk 2077 are all GeForce partner titles and will likely see the Ampere cards performing slightly better than rival Navi 2x parts. On top of that, they’ll also lack ray-tracing support on them at launch. Not to sound negative, but it looks like this round will be somewhat similar to the last one, with AMD dominating in sheer raster performance with NVIDIA having an edge in ray-traced partner titles.