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After releasing their next-gen flagship GPUs at the end of 2020, this year both NVIDIA and AMD released their performance-segment graphics cards, which are designed to deliver top-notch raster and ray-tracing performance to mainstream users. In the case of NVIDIA, we’re talking about the GeForce RTX 3060, and in the case of AMD, we’re talking about Radeon RX 6600 XT which has been officially released in August 2021.
For most mainstream gamers who want to play the latest AAA titles at 1080p and 1440p resolution, choosing between one of these two cards may prove as a difficult task, since both cards offers similar rendering performance, and are capable enough of smoothly running graphically demanding games on ultra settings. The rivalry between the RTX 3060 and the RX 6600 XT is in many regards similar to the rivalry of the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and the Radeon RX 580 8GB, which were both fantastic 1080p graphics card back in 2017. In this this article we will examine the performance of both cards, and provide you with advice which card should you choose depending on your budget and needs.
GeForce RTX 3060
- 3584 CUDA cores
- 1777 MHz Boost Clock
- 12GB GDDR6
- PCIe 4.0 x16
- 170 W TDP
- 12.74 TFLOPS
Radeon RX 6600 XT
- 2048 Stream processors
- 2589 MHz Boost Clock
- 8GB GDDR6
- PCIe 4.0 x8
- 160 W TDP
- 10.60 TFLOPS
Let’s first talk about the GeForce RTX 3060. Compared to its more powerful sibling, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, the RTX 3060 (non-Ti) features 35% less Tensor and CUDA cores, as well as 10 fewer RT cores. However, the RTX 3060 comes with 12GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which is much more future-proof compared to the RTX 3060 Ti’s 8GB of VRAM. The RTX 3060 aims to be a spiritual successor to both GTX 1060 and RTX 2060, but in fact it’s a much more powerful card. The RTX 3060 is about 5% faster than the last-gen RTX 2060 SUPER, and about 2% faster than the RTX 2070. Overall, it is on par with the AMD’s last-gen flagship card, the Radeon RX 5700 XT, and as such is capable of delivering more than 80 FPS on average at 1080p resolution, and 50-60 FPS on average at 1440p resolution on ultra settings.
Compared to the GeForce RTX 3060, which was released in January 2021, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a much fresher card, given the fact that it was released just recently. In contrast to the RTX 3060, which was built upon Samsung’s 8 nm processing node, the RX 6600 XT was built upon TSMC’s 7 nm processing node, and as such features slightly lower power consumption (160 W vs. 170 W). The card also features much higher boost clock speed of 2,589 MHz, but comes with a narrower 128-bit memory bus, and features less VRAM (8GB vs 12GB). Despite these drawbacks, the RX 6600 XT is roughly on par with the RTX 3060, and in some cases, it’s even a bit faster. Overall, the new Radeon RX 6600 XT is only around 3% slower than the GeForce RTX 2080, and thanks to its great power efficiency, it may be very appealing to gamers who want to cut their electricity bills.
Speaking of ray-tracing performance, the GeForce RTX 3060 is a clear winner here, since it features more mature 2nd generation RT cores, and comes with support for DLSS technology which greatly improves frame rate, even while playing the most demanding PC games. The Radeon RX 6600 XT also comes with its own resolution upscaling technology called FSR, however, this technology doesn’t utilize the power of AI like the NVIDIA’s DLSS does. Another drawback of the RX 6600 XT is that it features a $50 higher MSRP compared to the RTX 3060, despite the fact that it comes with less VRAM, and a narrower memory bus.
Let’s now inspect the performance of the GeForce RTX 3060 vs Radeon RX 6600 XT. We’ve personally tested both cards at 1080p and 1440p resolutions in multiple games on our testing rig featuring AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM (3.600 MHz), and two 1TB SSDs. Cards we’ve tested were manufactured by two different AIB vendors, and were running at their default settings (they weren’t overclocked). Results are shown below.
If we take a look at the chart above, we can see that the Radeon RX 6600 XT performs slightly better than GeForce RTX 3060 in most benchmarked PC titles. In games like F1 2020, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Watch Dogs: Legion, the Radeon RX 6600 XT clearly performs much better, but even in other games the card appears to be 2-4% faster on average than the GeForce RTX 3060. However, this performance advantage is marginal, and it’s safe to conclude that both cards perform roughly the same. Both cards are able to deliver 60 FPS on average at 1080p on ultra settings in Cyberpunk 2077, which is quite an impressive rendering performance, thus you can expect to achieve very high frame rates in older or less graphically demanding games with both of these cards. Given how powerful both cards are, both the RTX 3060 and the RX 6600 XT are very well-suited for 144 Hz or 165 Hz gaming at 1080p, provided that you lower your graphics settings a bit, and own a powerful enough CPU.
At 1440P resolution, we started seeing some unexpected results. For example, the RTX 3060 managed to outperform the RX 6600 XT in games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The performance gap between the two cards in titles that favored RX 6600 XT at 1080p resolution also narrowed down a bit. Both the RTX 3060 and the RX 6600 XT clearly aren’t capable of running Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on ultra settings at 1440p with smooth 60 FPS, however, they are still capable enough of delivering great performance in less demanding titles such as DOOM Eternal, Battlefield V, or F1 2020. This means that both cards are perfectly suited for high FPS gaming at 2K resolution in most online first-person shooters and multiplayer games, which many professional gamers will much appreciate.
Speaking of ray-tracing performance, the GeForce RTX 3060 is a clear winner here, as it’s able to outperform the Radeon RX 6600 XT by a large margin. At 1080p resolution, the RTX 3060 is able to deliver roughly 80 FPS on average in Battlefield V with ray-tracing enabled, and with all other settings set to ultra. Here, the Radeon RX 6600 XT also must be commended, as the card was able to deliver comfortable 65 FPS on average in Battlefield V with ray-tracing enabled. In other titles, the RX 6600 XT’s ray-tracing performance is not so great. In Watch Dogs: Legion, the RTX 3060 outperforms the RX 6600 XT by 23% with ray-tracing enabled, and in Cyberpunk 2077 this performance advantage is even bigger, as the RTX 3060 outperforms RX 6600 XT by 77%. Despite the fact that RTX 3060’s ray-tracing performance in Cyberpunk 2077 may not seem impressive, it must be said that the card can deliver 30 FPS 100% of the time, which is great if you don’t mind playing games at 30 FPS with maximum image fidelity.
Both GeForce RTX 3060 and Radeon RX 6600 XT prove to be great premium mid-range graphics cards, perfectly suited for ultra high 1080p gaming, as well as high 1440p gaming. The rivalry between these two cards reminds us of the rivalry between the Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, and AMD’s Radeon RX 580 8GB, which were both great 1080p graphics card back in their day. NVIDIA and AMD clearly decided to replicate the same power struggle with their new mid-range cards in a battle to win the affinity of contemporary mainstream PC gamers.
Judging by our benchmarks, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a slightly better graphics card compared to the RTX 3060 when it comes to pure raster performance. Of course, the card seems to be performing much better in AMD-optimized titles, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion, but the same could be said for the performance of the RTX 3060 in games like Battlefield V. Overall, both RTX 3060 and RX 6600 XT are great cards for ultra 1080p gaming, especially in the latest titles like Cyberpunk 2077 or Watch Dogs: Legion, which are graphically very demanding.
At 1440p resolution, the performance gap between the RTX 3060 and the RX 6600 XT is very narrow, and it’s safe to say that both cards perform roughly the same. In some titles which favor AMD’s card, the RTX 3060 performs even better at 2K resolution, which was rather unexpected to see for us. For playing competitive multiplayer games, both cards are perfectly fine, and even at 4K resolution both cards can deliver 60 FPS on average in less demanding titles, which is great if you prefer to replay older games, or have a 4K display screen.
When it comes to additional features, the RTX 3060 here has the upper hand. Compared to the RX 6600 XT, the RTX 3060 is able to offer much better ray-tracing performance, and with support for DLSS, it can run even the most demanding games at high and stable frame rates. In our opinion, the DLSS is a major selling point of the RTX 3060, as this resolution upscaling technology utilizes the power of AI, and is able to deliver great image quality at virtually no performance costs. Of course, the RX 6600 XT also comes with its own resolution upscaling technology, called AMD FSR, but this tech is still in early development stages, and is purely based on mathematical algorithms, instead of AI.
Speaking of price, the RTX 3060 launched with an MSRP of $329, while the RX 6600 XT launched with an MSRP of $379. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to buy any of these two cards at their respective MSRPs due to the ongoing cryptocurrency mining craze, but it must be said that the RTX 3060 offers much more features for its MSRP then the RX 6600 XT. Despite being 2-4% faster than the RTX 3060, the Radeon RX 6600 XT hardly justifies its higher price tag, given the fact that it offers poor ray-tracing performance, and its resolution upscaling tech is still in infancy.
Speaking of cryptocurrency mining performance, going with the RX 6600 XT seems like a much better choice, as this card is able to deliver 32 MH/s hashrate on Ethash algorithm with a power consumption of only 55 W. It also must be noted that, unlike the RTX 3060, the RX 6600 XT doesn’t feature a cryptocurrency mining limiter. The RTX 3060 is theoretically capable of delivering 40 MH/s hashrate on Ethash algorithm, but due to its built-in mining limiter, the card is only capable of delivering 23 MH/s on average. However, with certain tweaks the card can still be unlocked, and can deliver 31-32 MH/s, but with a power consumption of 110 W. With that being said, the RX 6600 XT seems like a much more energy efficient solution if you plan to mine Ethereum with one of these cards.
Overall both the RTX 3060 and the RX 6600 XT are great premium mid-range graphics cards. In case you have a hard time choosing between one of these cards, then we recommend going with the GeForce RTX 3060. Despite being slightly slower than the RX 6600 XT, this card offers much better ray-tracing performance, and support DLSS technology which has proven to be a game changer. On the other hand, if you plan to buy one of these GPUs for mining, then choosing the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a way to go.