Featured image credit: AMD
After three weeks since the launch of of the new Ryzen 5000 series processors, AMD this week launched a new generation of RX 6000 series graphics cards. The new RDNA2 architecture brings redesigned Compute Units, the revolutionary Infinity Cache, 30% higher clock speed and compatibility with Microsoft’s DirectX Ultimate specification. Compared to the last-gen RDNA graphics cards, the new one brings a performance improvement of 54%. Along with that, the DX12 Ultimate support brings compatibility for DirectX raytracing, variable rate shading, mesh shaders and sampler feedback, and we should also not forget the support for Direct Storage, which allows the graphics card to pull data directly from the SSD, without interfering with the processor.
AMD has decided to launch three graphics cards, all three based on different variants of the Big Navi GPU. These three cards are Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT and RX 6800. All three have the same 16-gigabyte GDDR6 memory that utilizers a 256-bit interface and the same 128-megabyte Infinity Cache – the total local cache available on the GPU. The main difference is in the number of Compute Units, so the strongest model has 80, the first weaker 72, and the weakest only 60 included CUs.
The Radeon RX 6900 XT is the strongest AMD card ever introduced, and is designed to match the NVIDIA’s RTX 3090 at a significantly lower price and with significantly lower consumption. The TDP of the card is 300 W compared to RTX 3090’s of 350 W, and the suggested retail price in the US is $999 compared to RTX 3090 FE’s $1,499. The GPU card has 80 CUs running at a maximum clock speed of 2,250 MHz with the base clock speed of 2,015 MHz, and 16 GB of memory versus 20 GB in NVIDIA’s card. The 6900 XT arrives in stores on December 8th.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT is a card that appears to be a direct competitor to NVIDIA’s flagship GeForce RTX 3080. It offers 72 CUs that run at the same clocks as the 6900 XT, and it also features a 300 W TDP. While the 6900 XT lags behind in terms of total memory capacity compared to the competition, the 6800 XT has 60% more memory. For this card, AMD formed a base price of $649, which is $50 less than the price of the equivalent RTX 3080.
The Radeon RX 6800 is the weakest card among the new RDNA2 cards, and is designed to be a competitor to the RTX 3070. The RX 6800 has a Big Navi GPU with 60 CUs running at a slightly lower clock speed compared to the more expensive solutions, with a maximum clock speed of 2,105 MHz and a base clock speed 1,815 MHz. The TDP of the card is therefore 50 W lower than the other models and it amounts to 250 W. While the other two models are more or less cheaper than their competitors, the RX 6800 is more expensive than the RTX 3070. It costs $579 versus the RTX 3070’s $499. The RX 6800 also features a huge 16-gigabyte VRAM block, while the RTX 3070 has only 8 GB. Apparently, AMD was aiming for a stronger version of the 3070 with this model, but we already know that all of them have been canceled.
AMD also boasted with two new technologies: Rage Mode one-click automatic overclocking and Smart Access Memory. The latter technology works exclusively in combination with 5th generation Ryzen processors, and allows the processor to have access to the full video memory of the graphics card. AMD already had the equivalent of the Rage Mode at a software level, but now this feature appears to be brought to a higher level and works more consistently. In the titles demonstrated, the combination of Rage Mode and SAM delivers between 2-8% more performance at 4K resolution. The new cards also appear to be supporting hardware raytracing technology, however, AMD didn’t publish any benchmark data that could prove this was true. This gives the impression that support for raytracing exists, but that the performance is unconvincing or significantly lower compared to the NVIDIA’s solutions.
Given the fact that many semiconductor manufacturers have problems with supply shortages, it will take a while until we get the chance to buy and test the latest Radeon graphics cards. We certainly hope we won’t have to wait until the New Year, as it would be a pity to spend a Christmas without latest graphics cards.