AMD Radeon RX 6800 sequence graphics playing cards have critical 4K cred


The Radeon RX 6800 XT.


Lori Grunin/CNET

AMD is lastly going after 4K gaming with its spectacular top-end PC graphics playing cards, the Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT (and 6900 XT) after spending its time concentrating on worth consumers. Its still-current RX 5700 XT was previously the highest of the road and designed for 1440p play, although I count on AMD will deliver the remainder of the Radeon playing cards updated with the newest applied sciences. All the brand new playing cards incorporate the RDNA 2.0 structure that is within the graphics processing items for the upcoming Xbox Series X and S and PS5 consoles and straight deal with the brand new Ampere-architecture GeForce RTX 3080 and 3070 lately launched by Nvidia

The RX 6800 and its higher-end sibling, the RX 6800 XT, fall between the Nvidia playing cards in efficiency and value — at the least by producer value. The $579 (straight transformed: £435, AU$790) RX 6800 falls between the $499 (£375, AU$680) RTX 3070 and the $699 (£525, AU$960) RTX 3080, whereas the $649 (£490, AU$890) RX 6800 XT competes nearly straight with the RTX 3080. Precise costs can fluctuate quite a bit, nevertheless, relying on inventory and the “one thing additional” that third-party card makers throw into the combination, in order that they’re regularly larger than AMD and Nvidia’s express goal. The brand new playing cards can be found as of in the present day.


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So far I’m impressed with the performance of both of the 6800 cards, but exactly how impressed will depend upon where the prices land when the market has settled. They both hit eminently playable 4K frame rates and that’s before you start futzing with driver settings like overclocking and upscaling with FidelityFX, AMD’s open-source image quality toolkit. When the cards are maxing out the graphics processing unit, the fans can get loud, but they never get too hot or unstable. (I never pushed them to the point where I’d expect them to, though.)  

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The Radeon RX 6800 (top) and RX 6800 XT (bottom).


Lori Grunin/CNET

Physically, the 6800 is narrower than the 6800 XT, and both are longer than Nvidia’s RTX 3070 (but shorter than the RTX 3080). The three fans suck air in from the side and blow it out through the top and bottom; there’s no venting out of the back as there is on the RTX cards. They use standard eight-pin power connectors and provide an HDMI, two DisplayPorts and a USB-C port.

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The Radeon RX 6800 cards are on the long side, and I don’t think I’d try to cram one into a small system.


Lori Grunin/CNET

Hardware performance improvements over previous generations stem partly from the higher-density on-die Infinity Cache design (all have 128MB) and enhanced design of the compute units, which includes a new Ray Accelerator core for each compute unit. These combine to improve the memory subsystem by reducing the latency of moving data around, increase bandwidth by up to 2.2x with a narrower path (256 bits) and deliver better energy efficiency. That also allows the processors to hit higher clock frequencies without a substantial increase in power requirements.    

Specifications

AMD Radeon RX 6800 AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
Memory 16GB DDR6 16GB DDR6
Memory bandwidth (GB/sec) 512 512
Memory clock (GHz) 2.0 2.0
GPU clock (GHz, base/boost) 1.815/2.105 2.015/2.250
Memory data rate/Interface 16Gbps/256 bit 16Gbps/256 bit
Texture fill rate (gigatexels per second) 505.2 648
Ray Accelerators 60 72
Stream cores 3,840 4,608
Texture mapping units 240 288
Compute Units 60 72
TGP/min PSU (watts) 250/650 300/750
Bus PCIe 4.0 x 16 PCIe 4.0 x 16
Size 2 slots; 10.5 in/267mm long 2.5 slots; 10.5 in/267mm long
Price $579 $649

Relative performance between the AMD and Nvidia cards seems to be mixed across the board as well. (It’ll require a lot more testing to confirm the patterns I’m seeing.) There’s a significantly smaller gap between the 6800 XT and 6800 and Nvidia’s cards at 4K than at 1080p, for example, which is more than likely due to their 16GB of memory (the 3080 has 10GB) and the Infinity Cache. 

You generally don’t take much of a hit going from 1080p to 1440p with AMD’s cards. For instance, on Shadow of the Tomb Raider the 6800 XT dropped from 140fps to 132fps on average. The details look different, though. I noticed more reliance on the central processing unit and less consistency in the amount of time it takes to render a frame in 1440p. On the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided benchmark, the AMD cards dropped less than 3% from 1080p to 1440p. The RTX 3070 and 3080 lost about 20%.

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The Radeon RX 6800.


Lori Grunin/CNET

The AMD cards also hit higher graphic processing unit clock rates for DirectX 12 calls than for DirectX 11. The GPU clock frequencies — memory and instruction — also vary a lot more relative to each other. By comparison, the 3070’s frequencies are in lockstep. Much of this may be driver-related since AMD’s driver makes more automatic on-the-fly adjustments. The behavior isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different.

There’s an optimized all-AMD configuration, which takes advantage of the cards’ new Smart Access Memory. SAM basically gives the card direct access to the main system memory across the system bus, rather than having to use the central processing unit as a middle man. But that’s only in systems using one of the company’s new Ryzen 5000 series of desktop CPUs, and AMD says it only boosts frame rates by up to 13%. I haven’t had a chance to try it for want of a motherboard and CPU, though.

Between the new consoles and the barrage of graphics cards, this is an exhausting — or exhilarating, take your pick — time to shop for new gaming gear, especially gear that likely won’t see a Black Friday discount this holiday shopping season. Toss in the supply problems we’ve been seeing for consoles and graphics cards, and you’ve got plenty of time to make a decision. As long as the prices don’t get too high, or Nvidia’s don’t get too low, AMD’s enthusiast gaming GPUs are more competitive than they’ve ever been.

Far Cry 5 (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (680<span class=”scribe-editor-marker” style=”display: none;”></span>0 XT)

Note:

NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Far Cry 5 (4K)

Note:

NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance (fps)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (4K)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

3DMark Time Spy

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

SpecViewPerf 13 3DS Max (1080p)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Configurations

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 FE) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition; 1TB SSD
Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); Intel Core i9-10900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 10GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (EVGA); 1TB SSD + 500GB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800; 1TB SSD



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