The last few months have been quite exciting for gamers. From the PlayStation 5 to Xbox Series X, we have seen plenty of news to keep us hooked. Now, Team Red has jumped in with the unveiling of its AMD RX 6000 series GPUs. Based on AMD’s new RDNA 2 architecture, the company promises that these GPUs will revolutionise PC gaming.
“The new AMD Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT graphics cards deliver must-have features that provide the ultimate gaming experiences. I can’t wait for gamers to get these incredible new graphics cards in their hands,” said Scott Herkelman, corporate vice president and general manager, Graphics Business Unit at AMD.
Just how powerful though are these cards? And will it help AMD finally pip Nivida? Here’s everything we know so far about the powerful new AMD RX 6000 Series.
RX 6000 Series Specs
The series is made up of 3 cards: the RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT. The entire AMD RX 6000 series comes with PCIe 4.0 technology and support for the new Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate API. They also come with HDMI™ 2.1 VRR and FRL and DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC.
Here’s what each card offers:
|RX 6900 XT||16GB of DDR6 memory||2015MHz||2250Mhz||80||300W|
|RX 6800||16GB of DDR6 memory||1815MHz||2105Mhz||60||250W|
|RX 6800 XT||16GB of DDR6 memory||2015MHz||2250Mhz||72||330W|
At first glance, it can seem like there isn’t much differentiating the RX 6800 XT from the RX 6900 XT. That’s far from the truth however. The RX 6900 XT gets 80 ray accelerators compared to the 72 of the 6800 XT. It also has a greater Peak Single Precision Compute Performance of 23.04 TFLOPs, compared to the 20.74 TFLOPs of the RX 6800 XT.
RX 6000 Series Rage Mode
With the new AMD RX 6000 series comes something called ‘Rage Mode’. This one-click overclocking function will enable the CPU to access the full complement of GPU memory, instead of just 256MB. That’s thanks to a feature called Smart Access Memory (SAM).
It’s said to offer an extra fps or two in complex scenes where the CPU historically bogs the GPU down. At the unveiled, AMD said that the Radeon RX 6800 XT is faster than GeForce RTX 3080 with Rage Mode and SAM turned on. It is certainly a revolutionary idea, since this is the first time the CPU has had full access to a GPU’s memory.
Team Red conveniently skipped over how much power and cooling the mode would require, so until the first tests are out, don’t be wowed by it just yet.
Comparison with Nvidia
At this point, why wouldn’t we? In the unveiling video, AMD was pretty specific about competing with Nvidia, even touting that the RX6800 XT could match, and even exceed Nvidia’s RTX 3080 in 4K and 1440p gaming. That’s a pretty bold claim, one which we will have to take with a pinch of salt till the first test units are out.
In some early benchmarks, the Radeon RX 6800 XT beats the RTX 3080 at 4K in Battlefield V, Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Forza Horizon 4, and more. It also matches the RTX 3080 in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Gears 5, and Doom Eternal. Which is promising for AMD.
Interestingly, the company has opted for the 16GB DDR6 memory across the AMD RX 6000 series, even its high-end RX 6900 XT. Whereas Nvidia packed its top-end RTX3090 with 24GB. That does create a nice price difference, which is exactly what AMD is going for.
Instead of pure power, Team Red is looking at improving efficiency across the AMD RX 6000 series. That’s why it introduced an Infinity Cache. The high-speed 128MB cache that AMD has labelled “Infinity cache” is based on AMD’s own Zen 3 L3 CPU. As The Verge put it: “these latest Radeon cards can more efficiently feed data to the graphics pipeline and provide performance improvements without significant increases to power draw.” At least that’s what AMD claims, and without further details we are unlikely to know more for sometime.
Availability and Price
AMD’s RX 6800 and 6800 XT will be available from November 18th, while the RX 6900 XT will hit shelves on December 8th. On pricing, the RX 6800 will cost $570 and the higher-end RX 6900 XT $999. While that is more than previous years, it is still not as expensive as Team Green’s GPUs, especially the high-end RTX 3090 which costs a whooping $1,499.
The mid-range RX 6800 XT meanwhile gets a $50 cut as compared to Nvidia’s RTX 3080, costing just $649. With more people turning to competitive gaming due to lockdowns, AMD has a huge opportunity here. It won’t be just die-hard gamers as well, there will be plenty of first timers looking for affordable options. The AMD RX 6000 series is an opportunity for AMD, only if it lives up to the hype.