Today marks the launch of AMD’s next entrant into the Radeon RX 6000 family, the new Radeon RX 6700 XT. AMD is setting a suggested retail price of $479 for this video card. The Radeon RX 6800 sits above that at $579 and the Radeon RX 6800 XT sits above that at $649. This makes the Radeon RX 6700 XT the most affordable Radeon RX 6000 series video card so far. Though, it’s not exactly at mainstream pricing. At $479 it’s still a pretty high-end priced video card that is not yet at the mainstream sweet spot of pricing.
Let’s do a refresh. The Radeon RX 6700 XT has half the compute units of the Radeon RX 6900 XT. It has 40 compute units and Ray Accelerators. It has a rather high GPU Game Clock set at 2424MHz, and a Boost GPU Clock of 2581MHz. It’s based on the same RDNA2 architecture at 7nm as the rest of the series.
Uniquely, it has 96MB (32MB less than the other models) of AMD Infinity Cache. This helps alleviate the bottleneck of a narrower memory bus width and bandwidth. You see, the Radeon RX 6700 XT has only a 192-bit memory bus and 384GB/s of memory bandwidth. This is actually less than the Radeon RX 5700 XT. AMD can get away with this, by use of the AMD Infinity Cache. With a 192-bit memory bus cost of production decreases for add-in-board partners.
Onboard you’ll find 12GB of GDDR6 to take on the demand of current and future games at 1440p. This video card should have all the VRAM it needs and never bottleneck in terms of capacity. AMD is squarely targeting 1440p at high game settings and 60FPS for the best gameplay experience.
Performance vs RX 5700 XT
In terms of performance, let’s first look at the Radeon RX 6700 XT as an upgrade path from the Radeon RX 5700 XT. Granted, the Radeon RX 5700 XT was a cheaper video card at $399. You will be paying more for the Radeon RX 6700 XT.
In all of our gaming evaluation the Radeon RX 6700 XT was much faster than the Radeon RX 5700 XT. It allowed games to be playable at settings that the Radeon RX 5700 XT was not playable. Overall, we experienced between 20-40% better performance with the Radeon RX 6700 XT over the Radeon RX 5700 XT.
It mainly depends on the game, and a game like Cyberpunk 2077 saw a 38% performance improvement. That’s substantial, but then there are other games where the Radeon RX 5700 XT was already getting pretty good performance. It seems the newer, more demanding games may have a better chance at getting a larger increase in performance with the Radeon RX 6700 XT over the Radeon RX 5700 XT.
Performance vs Competition
When it comes to comparing with the competition, our evaluation and data seems to indicate that the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is the main performance competition for the Radeon RX 6700 XT. In every game we played the GeForce RTX 3070 was always the faster video card. Granted, there were cases where they were close, within 4% of each other, but more often than not the GeForce RTX 3070 was much greater in performance than that.
When you look at all the graphs out of these 8 games, it’s the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti that the Radeon RX 6700 XT is dancing around mostly. There are instances where they are equal, and instances where the Radeon RX 6700 XT is faster. It just depends on the game. I would say, more often than not the Radeon RX 6700 XT is faster than the RTX 3060 Ti, but the two still remain pretty close.
Let’s just face the truth, NVIDIA has a huge advantage in Ray Tracing performance right now. AMD does tell us that newer games that are optimized to run Ray Tracing on AMD’s RDNA2 architecture do run better than older games that haven’t been. Therefore, there is hope that new game releases with new Ray Tracing support may actually run better than what we are seeing in these games we showed today.
Time will tell, and more testing will tell how that turns out. AMD does say that they are targeting 1080p as the resolution to run Ray Tracing on the Radeon RX 6700 XT, so perhaps at 1080p in those newer optimized games, Ray Tracing may be playable. We will continue to test new games and see how it turns out.
The Final Points
AMD claims that the Radeon RX 6700 XT is targeted for the 1440p gameplay experience with high game settings. Our opinion is that is right on the money. The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT does allow you to play games at 1440p with the highest in-game settings. You won’t always get a solid 60FPS, it just depends on the game, some will, some won’t. Newer, more demanding games will be more demanding. With 12GB of VRAM, you shouldn’t have a problem running into capacity bottlenecks in newer games.
Overall, we do wish two things, either the Radeon RX 6700 XT was faster, or it was priced lower. We think the $479 price tag is a bit steep for the performance experienced. If you consider that the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti was similar in gameplay experience, albeit slower, but has a suggested retail price as low as $399, then it makes the Radeon RX 6700 XT seem overpriced.
We are actually going to pose this question to our readers (feel free to leave feedback in our forum) which video card do you think the Radeon RX 6700 XT competes with most on performance? The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or the GeForce RTX 3070? Let us know what you think.
The GeForce RTX 3070 is more expensive at $499, but it was also consistently faster and does provide much better Ray Tracing performance, and DLSS support. For only a $20 difference to the Radeon RX 6700 XT, the GeForce RTX 3070 seems like a good deal.
Now all this is dependent on actual pricing today. Naturally, we are simply talking about suggested retail pricing, because that is really all we can go by. It is highly unpredictable what the actual street pricing will turn out to be, and that is going to vary a lot. Hopefully, as time goes on, pricing will return to normal, and when that happens at least you’ll have our review to determine if this is the card for you or not.
To sum it up, the Radeon RX 6700 XT is a welcomed video card in AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series lineup. It needed to happen, and we are glad to see it. It does make us very interested in a non-XT variant, perhaps with a more appealing price tag to performance ratio. We look forward to custom video cards of the Radeon RX 6700 XT because we think this might have great GPU clock frequency potential. Factory overclocked video cards could make this a much more competitive video card if priced right, so we can’t wait to see if that’s true.