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AMD RX 6000 GPUs

AMD RX 6000 GPUs

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today unveiled the AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series graphics cards, delivering powerhouse performance, incredibly life-like visuals, and must-have features that set a new standard for enthusiast-class PC gaming experiences. Representing the forefront of extreme engineering and design, the highly anticipated AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series includes the AMD Radeon™ RX 6800 and Radeon™ RX 6800 XT graphics cards, as well as the new flagship Radeon™ RX 6900 XT – the fastest AMD gaming graphics card ever developed.

via AMD

Is.. AMD back? Both Zen 3 and RDNA2 seem to be very, very strong - competitive and perhaps even bettering in some regards their long standing rivals in Intel & NVIDIA.

Whilst the RX 6000 series GPUs don't appear to be the same kind of disruption AMD inflicted on the CPU market, they do seem to be, for the first time in a  while - offering truly high end graphics cards that are legitimate alternatives to NVIDIA in this segment of the market.

A rough break down on the cards:

RX 6800XT

  • Very competitive with the 3080 at an identical price point in traditional rasterisation performance (wins some, loses some)
  • Has more VRAM and the 'infinity cache' than the 3080 (16GB vs 10GB)
  • But memory data rate, bus width, bandwidth) is lower than the 3080 (16Gbs/256bit/512GBps vs 19Gbs/320/760GBps)
  • Has higher clock speeds and lower power consumption

RX 6800

  • Beats the 3070 in rasterisation performance, but costs $80 more
  • Has double the VRAM (8GB vs 16GB) and the memory system is faster
  • This to me seems to be the most competitive of the offerings, on paper it has a decent lead over the 3070 in pretty much all ways except ray tracing (I'll come to this later..)

RX 6900XT

  • Competitive rasterisation performance with the 3090, but with some caveats around this - some mentions of particular modes being enabled to achieve this - will have to wait on benchmarks for this one in particular.
  • $500 cheaper than the 3090
  • Less VRAM and slower memory system (16GB vs 24GB, 16Gbs/256bit/512GBps vs 19.5Gbps/384bit/936GBps)
  • Has the potential to be particular disruptive against the 3090, but NVIDIA would likely be able to easily answer this with a 3080 Ti. The 3090 is basically a rebadged Titan, they don't expect to be price competitive as a gaming card for this. They've sold it as one because they know people will pay the daft premium for it.

Overall, it's looking really quite good. It'll actually be possible to have a legitimately high end PC gaming system with all AMD components.

Has it changed any of my plans? Unfortunately not (although I never expected it to - but was open to it), here's why:

  • No mention of ray tracing performance, so it is likely to fall behind NVIDIA - which is to be expected - NVIDIA has a more mature solution to this and are on the second generation of their RT cores.
  • No mention (in the press conference) of an answer DLSS
  • The NVIDIA ecosystem of periphery tech is still more mature and comprehensive, many people put absolutely zero value in this ecosystem and the raw performance of the card is all that matters, and that's absolutely fine - but I do put some value in it.

So, I'm still keeping my 3080 pre-order. But give AMD another generation or two and I think there's a reasonably high chance I buy an AMD GPU again (my last were 2x ATI branded 5850s in crossfire). That's something I didn't expect to say so soon.

I am still planning on buying a Ryzen 9 5950x though and I'm particularly excited about that. My first AMD CPU in a pretty long time.

AMD's transformation and revival has been really impressive, and I guess we should really wait for the independent benchmarks and real world results, but I'm optimistic. AMD haven't been particularly misleading in their marketing materials recently, so they've earned some trust there.