AMD today announced its Radeon RX 6000 Series of graphics cards. The product lineup reveal was headed by CEO Lisa Su in a prerecorded event. There were three graphics cards announced in total, with probably more to come down the line. With these new products, AMD is back in competition at the high-end.
AMD RX 6000 Graphics Cards – Features
The Radeon event covered three graphics cards in total. These include the Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6800. They are based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture that was introduced in the first generation of Navi GPUs. It features many improvements with power-efficiency being the highlight. The RDNA 2 architecture is 54% more efficient than the RDNA architecture in the RX 5000 Series of graphics cards. All three cards probably utilize the Big Navi GPU (Navi 2X) manufactured on TSMC 7nm fabrication process. It packs 26.8 billion transistors compared to the 10 billion transistors of the Navi 10 GPU. Nvidia’s GA102 GPU used in 3090 and 3080 has 28.3 billion transistors.
There were several new features introduced by the company. The most notable of these are included here.
Infinity Cache – The new RX 6000 Series cards feature Infinity Cache, which is inspired by the L3 cache on AMD Ryzen CPUs. As per AMD, the 256-bit memory bus with Infinity Cache provides more than two times better performance than using GDDR6 memory with a dedicated 384-bit memory bus.
DirectX® Raytracing (DXR) and DirectX® 12 Ultimate Support – AMD RDNA 2 GPUs feature hardware-based ray tracing through DXR and support DirectX® 12 Ultimate along with Variable Rate Shading. Each Compute Unit has one fixed-function Ray Accelerator engine for processing ray tracing. We expect AMD to release more details on Infinity Cache and Ray Accelerators in the future.
Smart Access Memory (SMA) – The company has also introduced the Smart Access Memory feature. It allows the Ryzen CPU to access the graphics card’s GDDR6 memory for accelerating performance. Users will need a Ryzen 5000 series CPU, an RX 6000 series GPU, and either a B550 or an X570 motherboard.
Rage Mode – Another new feature is the Rage Mode. It is a one-click overclocking setting that derives the maximum performance out of your Ryzen and Radeon system. The mode enables easy overclocking of the system for maximizing performance.
AMD RX 6000 Graphics Cards – Specifications
AMD introduced three RDNA 2 graphics cards based on the Big Navi or Navi 2X GPU. They support PCIe 4.0 technology just like the previous generation. All three Radeon graphics cards feature two 8-pin power connectors.
Radeon RX 6800 XT – $649
Radeon RX 6800 XT was the first graphics card introduced at the event by Scott Herkelman. It features 72CUs (Compute Units) along with 72 Ray Accelerators and 128 ROPs. The card has a game clock of 2015MHz with a boost clock of 2250MHz.Radeon RX 6800 XT utilizes 16GB of GDDR6 memory across a 256-bit memory bus and 128MB of Infinity Cache. Its total power consumption is 300W, as stated in the presentation.
AMD has pitched the Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card against Nvidia RTX 3080. The performance figures in the presentation showed the two cards trading blows with each other. AMD’s card leads in eight of the ten games at 1440p demonstrated in the presentation. At 4K resolution, Radeon RX 6800 XT was faster in five games while the Nvidia RTX 3080 won in four titles, with the tenth game (Shadow of the Tomb Raider) being a tie. But it is best to wait for independent reviews to confirm them. AMD is selling the Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card for $649, which is $50 cheaper than Nvidia RTX 3080. Additionally, it comes with more memory, something that 4K gamers may find enticing.
Radeon RX 6800 – $579
Radeon RX 6800 was the second graphics card introduced at the event. It has 60CUs, 60 Ray Accelerators, and 96 ROPs. The card retains 16GB of GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit bus and 128MB of Infinity Cache. Its clock frequencies are slightly lower, with a game clock of 1815MHz and a boost clock of 2105MHz. RX 6800 has a TBP rating of 250W.
Radeon RX 6800 is a direct competitor to Nvidia RTX 3070 launched recently. AMD showed the RX 6800 graphics card to be ahead of RTX 2080Ti in 1440p and 4K gaming performance, which means it will probably be faster than RTX 3070. In the 4K slides, Radeon RX 6800 comprehensively beat Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti in nine games and was ahead by a hair in the tenth game (Division 2). RX 6800 is a comprehensive winner at 1440p resolution in all ten games. Please do note that AMD had enabled its new SMART Memory Access feature for both of these resolutions. Without SAM, the margin between Radeon RX 6800 and Nvidia RTX 2080Ti/3070 may decrease.
As an added bonus, Radeon RX 6800 packs 16GB of memory, which is double that of Nvidia’s newer comparable offering. Buyers will have to pay $579 for the graphics card, which is more than the $499 for Nvidia RTX 3070. However, the extra memory on AMD Radeon RX 6800 makes its price tag reasonable.
Radeon RX 6900 XT – $999
Finally, Lisa Su introduced the top-end AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card, a direct competitor to Nvidia’s RTX 3090. The card has 80CUs with 80 Ray Accelerators and 128 ROPs. It comes with a game clock of 2015 MHz and a boost clock of 2250MHz, the same as Radeon RX 6800 XT. The Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card still retains 16GB of GDDR6 memory and a 256-bit memory bus along with 128MB of Infinity Cache. It has a TBP rating of 300W, like its 72CU sibling.
Radeon RX 6900 XT competes with Nvidia RTX 3090. As per the slides showing 4K gaming performance, AMD’s flagship offering is ahead of Nvidia’s top-tier card in five games and lags in four games, with one game being a tie (Shadow of the Tomb Raider). AMD enabled Rage Mode and Smart Access Memory for this slide. Without these modes, the Radeon RX 6900 XT may lose some performance. We will have to wait for independent benchmarks to confirm the same.
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT has a hefty price tag of $999, which is lower as compared to Nvidia RTX 3090’s $1499. However, it does not seem to offer much value when compared to its siblings, the Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6800. Also, it may be an AMD exclusive, but we can’t confirm the same yet.
AMD Radeon RX 6000 Graphics Cards – Availability
The Radeon RX 6000 Series of graphics cards will become available from the mid of next month. You will be able to buy the RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 from November 18th. AMD’s top-end GPU, the Radeon RX 6900 XT, will start selling from December 8th. AIB board partner models of Radeon RX 6800XT and RX 6800 may also hit retail shelves sometime in November. AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs will also become available for purchase from November 5th. AMD did not show its mainstream offerings at the launch nor talked about them. These cards may probably be pushed to next year. Even Nvidia has not announced any mainstream graphics (like 3060 and below).
With the launch of its Big Navi based graphics cards, AMD is competing again at the high-end segment. It has been quite a while since the company had something comprehensive to offer, the last time being the R9 290X graphics cards. The newfound competition will surely benefit consumers, with competing offerings now available from both AMD and Nvidia. We are excited to see how independent third-party benchmarks stack up.