AMD has just now officially announced their next generation of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards based on the RDNA2 architecture during the Where Gaming Begins Episode 2 event.
Flagship RX 6800 XT delivers RTX 3080 performance for $649 and available November 18th
We'll be updating this article as more information is revealed...
AMD officially revealed the Radeon RX 6000 series of GPUs which includes the flagship RX 6800 XT, the RX 6800, as well as the enthusiast RX 6900 XT. Let's take a look at the official specs for each Radeon RX 6000 graphics card...
Radeon RX 6000 GPU lineup and official specs:
|Card||Game Clock||Boost Clock||Compute Units||Infinity Cache||Memory||TBP||Price||Launch Date|
|RX 6900 XT||2015MHz||2250Mhz||80||128MB||16GB GDDR6||300W||$999||December 8th|
|RX 6800 XT||72||$649||November 18th|
Of course, whilst we got all the official specs out the way, one thing that will be of most interest to everyone will be how they perform, and if they are indeed able to compete against Nvidia's RTX 30 series.
But before we jump straight into those performance figures, AMD also announced some interesting new technologies that can help further increase performance on these RX 6000 GPUs by combing a new "Rage Mode" and "Smart Access Memory". Some of these benchmark results below were also conducted using these technologies, so its worth briefly skimming over to understand them.
AMD Rage Mode
AMD's Rage Mode is a new feature built into the Radeon software package. Essentially, it's a one click overclocking button that automatically takes advantage of the extra overclocking headroom that is built into the GPU itself in order to deliver every bit of performance it has left to offer.
AMD Smart Access Memory
The second of these technologies is the AMD Smart Access Memory, which is only possible thanks to AMD being able to supply both high-end processors like the new Ryzen 5000 series, as well as GPUs like the new Radeon RX 6000 series.
Pairing both a Ryzen 5000 processor and a Radeon RX 6000 graphics card will unlock a greater amount of high speed memory. To enable it, you will need to pair both of these devices on a 500 series motherboard and enable the setting from the BIOS, from there the performance uplift becomes automatic.
Enabling both Smart Access Memory and Rage Mode on an RX 6800 XT and Ryzen 5000 CPU can see anywhere between 2% up to 13% performance increase, just for having an all-AMD rig.
Interestingly, and importantly, this is all before any games developers are able to begin optimizing for this new capability. So it's likely we'll see even greater performance boosts from this technology in the future.
Radeon RX 6800 XT performance
First up we have the flagship Radeon RX 6800 XT which was the first GPU to be revealed by AMD. Fortunately, AMD gave us some actual FPS numbers, and not just that, but they cheekily compared the RX 6800 XT to the RTX 3080, which seems to be the Nvidia equivalent for this specific card.
As you can see in the benchmarks below it comes very close to the RTX 3080, but ultimately shows a lot of performance at 4K gaming without the use of any upscaling techniques or AMD's Smart Access technology.
Radeon RX 6800 performance
The next GPU to be revealed by AMD was the RX 6800, a slightly cut down version of the RX 6800 XT but still delivering some great 4K performance. Again, AMD compared this card to one of Nvidia's own RTX 20 series GPUs, the RTX 2080 Ti, delivering even more performance than Nvidia's top end card of the last generation.
Interestingly, these benchmarks show that the RX 6800 was using the new Smart Access Memory technology, so its clear the RX 6800 is just on the cusp of 4K 60fps gaming, but not quite unless you pair it with a Ryzen 5000 CPU.
Ultimately, the RX 6800 is best suited for 1440p gaming it seems if you want over 60fps. Again, the benchmarks here were using the Smart Access Memory technology, but even then regularly achieves more than 100fps across all the titles shown.
This makes the RX 6800 kind of an awkward middle child that's not quite there for 4K60fps but also overachieves at 1440p gaming. Nevertheless, it looks like a pretty solid card for a decent price.
Radeon RX 6900 XT performance
Finally, we have the enthusiast RX 6900 XT, which seems to be a competitor to the RTX 3090 for $500 less. Looking at the specs, it seems to be a slightly beefed up version of the RX 6800 XT with more Compute Units on offer, whereas all the other specs stay the same. It's interesting then that it costs almost $300 more than the RX 6800 XT, but performance does seem to math the RTX 3090 pretty spot on.
Again though, these results were achieved using AMD's Smart Access Memory technology as well as their proprietary "Rage Mode" which automatically overclocks the GPU.
It's still impressive for $500 less than the competition mind you, but when performance is not much higher than the RX 6800 XT and doesn't include a load of VRAM like the RTX 3090, I'm unconvinced as to why you'd spend nearly $300 more than the one below. If you guys have any ideas do let us know!
Unfortunately, AMD didn't supply any ray tracing specific benchmarks, and it's all well and great to see some awesome 4K gaming performance coming from these new GPUs, but if they're anything like the leaked benchmarks from a while ago, we could see some slightly worse performance for ray tracing compared to the RTX 30 series.
I think what's the most amazing here is that this performance is all achieved whilst still requiring less power than Nvidia's competition. Which just makes you think as to what kind of performance AMD could achieve with some extra juice to spare...
Just as an interesting comparison, here are the specs for the previous-gen Radeon RX 5000 series and how it compares to the new RDNA2 architecture.
Radeon RX 5000 specs comparison:
|Card||Base Clock||Boost Clock||Compute Units||Stream Processors||Memory Type||Memory||TBP||Price|
|RX 5700 XT||1605MHz||1905MHz||40||2560||GDDR6||8||225W||$399|
|RX 5700 XT||1465MHz||1725MHz||36||2304||GDDR6||8||180W||$349|
|RX 5600 XT||1130MHz||1560MHz||36||2304||GDDR6||6||150W||$279|
|RX 5300 XT||1670MHz||1845MHz||22||1408||GDDR6||4||100W||-|
What do you think? Are you excited for the Radeon RX 6000 series? How do you feel about the specs and performance? And what do you think of the price? If you weren't able to get an Nvidia RTX 30 GPU, will you be switching to AMD now? Let us know!