The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has not been great for PC hardware enthusiasts, as the global chip shortage puts strain on availability, which then gets quickly snapped up by scalpers or miners, leaving very little to actual gamers. With the reveal of AMD’s new entry-level GPU though, the specs aren’t looking too great compared to another GPU 5 years ago at the same price.
RX 6500 XT is launching on January 19th for $199. 5 years ago the RX 480 also launched at $199, and as some users online have pointed out actually has better specs despite the 6500 XT being a much newer card at the same price. Of course, no proper comparisons can be made until we get to test the new card ourselves, but on paper it’s not looking too good…
As Reddit user u/valhalao pointed out, the RX 480 launched in 2016 with 5.83 TFLOPS of raw compute power, whereas the newer RX 6500 XT only has 5.77 TFLOPS. It also lacks some encoding features that the 5-year old GPU had. But again, this is not completely representative of actual performance until we see some third-party benchmarks.
The RX 480 even has higher memory bandwidth, more shader cores and texture units. It is possible that the more efficient RDNA2 cores and the 16MB of Infinity Cache can make up for the difference though, improving the bandwidth as AMD said the Infinity Cache helps out more at 1080p resolutions, which is what entry-level cards are targeted for. Plus, the 6500 XT has a pretty impressive 2.6GHz clock speed, much higher than the RX 480.
One silver lining in all this though could be more availability for gamers. AMD has pressed for a ‘gamer-first’ approach, and as such seems to be delivering a GPU that is not powerful enough for mining but still good enough to play modern games:
“We have really optimized this one to be gaming-first at that target market. And you can see that with the way that we configured the part,” said the CVP of Radeon Graphics at AMD, Laura Smith. “Even with the four gigs of frame buffer. That’s a really nice frame buffer size for the majority of AAA games, but it's not particularly attractive if you're doing blockchain type activities, or mining activities.”
“And so we've tried to make some real gamer-first transitions for the things that we don’t control but we have influence over to optimize that card to be as accessible as possible to that use of gamers.”
What do you think? Is the RX 6500 XT a good deal disregarding inflated prices? Do you think we’ll see better availability? Or will miners still want to buy a card like this? And how do you feel about the specs compared to the old RX 480? Let us know your thoughts!