SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 6600 GAMING Video Card Back View Pulse Logo

Introduction

Today AMD is launching its newest entry into the Radeon RX 6000 series of GPUs.  This new video card today fills out the mainstream desktop gaming PC segment that is more affordable and accessible for gamers.  The new AMD Radeon RX 6600 fills out the segment offering a video card that sits just under the Radeon RX 6600 XT variant.  The Radeon RX 6600 brings the RDNA2 architecture down to the $329 SEP price point.

As we saw when the Radeon RX 6600 XT launched in September, just a month ago, in fact, AMD has hit the sub-$400 segment with its Radeon RX 6600 series GPUs.  At the top-end is the Radeon RX 6600 XT, which we reviewed here.  The Radeon RX 6600 XT and Radeon RX 6600 are both based on the new NAVI 23 GPU.  The RX 6600 XT is NAVI 23 XT and the RX 6600 is just NAVI 23.  As you can predict from this, the Radeon RX 6600 is a cut-down, Radeon RX 6600 XT, with lessened specs to meet the $329 price point versus $379 for the RX 6600 XT.

AMD Radeon RX 6600

Let’s take a look at what the Radeon RX 6600 is, and then how it compares spec-wise to the RX 6600 XT and last generation equivalent.  First and foremost, note that AMD is positioning the Radeon RX 6600 as an entry-level 1080p gameplay experience gaming video card.  It still supports the major Radeon 6000 series features like AMD Smart Access Memory, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and other features.  It is based on the same RDNA2 architecture. 

AMD’s graphs show that the Radeon RX 6600 should offer better performance in games compared to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 and AMD’s Radeon RX 5600 XT from the last generation.  That video card by the way had an MSRP of $279 when it launched.  AMD is claiming high FPS in the biggest titles of this year at 1080p.  Compared to the GeForce RTX 3060 (which also has an MSRP of $329) the two video cards should trade-blows. 

One of the advantages of the Radeon RX 6600 is its performance per Watt.  It has a tremendous amount of performance for the Wattage required.  AMD is claiming some large power advantages for the performance provided compared to the GeForce RTX 3060.  In fact, AMD is stating this video card is ideal for just 450W PSUs making it more accessible to lower-end computer builds.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 Specifications

The Radeon RX 6600 is based on the TSMC 7nm manufacturing process and has 28 Compute Units, 1,792 Stream Processors, 28 Ray Accelerators, 64 ROPs, xxx Textures Units, and 32MB of Infinity Cache.  It will run at a Game GPU Clock of up to 2044MHz and a Boost GPU Clock of up to 2491MHz.  It has 8GB of GDDR6 at 14GHz on a 128-bit memory bus providing 224GB/s of memory bandwidth.  It runs at PCIe 4.0 x8.  The Board Power is 132W.

Radeon RX 6600Radeon RX 6600 XTRadeon RX 5600 XT
ArchitectureRDNA 2RDNA 2RDNA
Compute Units283236
Ray Accelerators2832N/A
Stream Processors179220482304
ROPs646464
Infity Cache32MB32MBN/A
Game/Boost Clock2044/24912359/25891375/1560
Memory8GB GDDR68GB GDDR66GB GDDR6
Memory Clock14GHz16GHz12GHz
Memory Interface128-bit128-bit192-bit
Memory Bandwidth224GB/s256GB/s288GB/s
Board Power132W160W150W
MSRP$329$379$279

The key difference compared to the Radeon RX 6600 XT is that the RX 6600 has fewer Compute Units and Ray Accelerators, 28 versus 32 on the RX 6600 XT.  Therefore, the RX 6600 has 1,792 Stream Processors while the RX 6600 XT has 2,048.  The clock speed is naturally lower as well, the RX 6600 runs at 2044MHz/2491MHz while the RX 6600 XT is at 2359MHz/2589MHz.  Importantly though, they both have the same amount of Infinity Cache at 32MB. 

They also both have the same amount of VRAM at 8GB and the same type.  They also have the same memory bus width, but the speed of the RAM is different, 14GHz on the RX 6600 and 16GHz on the RX 6600 XT.  This makes the memory bandwidth different, 224GB/s on the RX 6600 and 256GB/s on the RX 6600 XT.  They both operate at PCIe 4.0 x8.  Naturally, this all affects the Board Power which is 132W on the RX 6600 and 160W on the RX 6600 XT.

Compared to the previous generation Radeon RX 5600 XT the Radeon RX 6600 is based on the RDNA2 architecture while the Radeon RX 5600 XT was based on the RDNA architecture.  This means the Radeon RX 6600 has Ray Accelerators for hardware-based Ray-Tracing support, while the Radeon RX 5600 XT does not.  In terms of Compute Units and Streaming Processors, the Radeon RX 6600 actually has less than the Radeon RX 5600 XT. In fact, the Radeon RX 5600 XT actually has more streaming processors than the Radeon RX 6600 XT does, but it’s a different architecture of course.  The clock speeds are also vastly different, RDNA could not reach the clock speeds that RDNA2 can.  The Radeon RX 5600 XT also does not have Infinity Cache. 

Another big difference is that the Radeon RX 5600 XT was hampered quite a bit by a small 6GB VRAM capacity, and the Radeon RX 6600 now has 8GB.  The memory bandwidth and bus width is less on the Radeon RX 6600, but it has Infinity Cache to make up the difference.  Interestingly the Radeon RX 5600 XT could run at PCIe 4.0 x16, while the Radeon RX 6600 and RX 6600 XT both run at PCIe 4.0 x8.  The Board Power is also different, the Radeon RX 6600 has a much less 132W while the Radeon RX 5600 XT was 150W.

When we look to the competition, which in this case is the GeForce RTX 3060 which has the same MSRP at $329 there are some differences.  The big stickler is that the GeForce RTX 3060 has 12GB of VRAM versus the Radeon RX 6600’s 8GB, so there is that difference.  Another difference is the TDP as AMD was talking about.  The GeForce RTX 3060 has a TDP/TBP of 170W, versus the Board Power of 132W on the Radeon RX 6600.  That’s a very big difference, and even greater than the Radeon RX 6600 XT.  Interestingly, the GeForce RTX 3060 can run at PCIe 4.0 x16, whereas the RX 6600 and 6600 XT are x8.  Though the AMD GPUs support AMD Smart Access Memory and the GeForce RTX 3060 also supports Resizable BAR.  We have this enabled in all our tests for all cards.    

SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 6600 GAMING

Since this is a board partner launch, AMD sent us a SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 6600 GAMING 8GB GDDR6 HDMI/TRIPLE DP retail boxed video card for review.  The SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 6600 GAMING is a compact, small video card, based on the Radeon RX 6600 GPU.  Not all Radeon RX 6600’s will be this compact, but this card shows that they can be.  Manufacturers will have varying sizes with varying sizes of heatsinks.  This one represents a small video card that should fit in any case.

While this video card is a custom board from SAPPHIRE, in both PCB and heatsink/fan, this particular model does not have a factory overclock.  This one operates at the AMD reference frequency of 2044MHz/2491MHz so it represents the reference clock speeds with no factory overclock.  It does have custom cooling, which will affect the dynamic clocks, and of course, we will take a look at what it actually runs at and overclock it in this review. The SAPPHIRE features it supports are a Premium Digital Power Design, Fuse Protection, Dual-X Cooling Technology, Intelligent Fan Control, Precision Fan Control, Metal Backplate, Two-Ball Bearing Fans, and TriXX Supported.

As you can see, the SAPPHIRE PULSE Radeon RX 6600 GAMING is a dual-fan configuration, with two large fans on the shroud.  They do seem to have a unique fan blade design, as you can see the fan blades connected. This is SAPPHIRE’s Dual-X Cooling Technology coupled with Intelligent Fan Control to keep temperatures low and fan noise low.  There is a full backplate on the video card, which adds stability and keeps it protected well, plus looking good.  It is well vented throughout so it won’t trap heat underneath. 

The aluminum heatsink on the front of the video card seems to extend past the length of the PCB creating an opening for air to pass through both sides of the heatsink toward the rear of the card.  Unfortunately, there is no dual-BIOS on this video card.

This video card requires an 8-pin power connector, though this does seem to be a bit overkill for the video card.  At least it will have stable power for overclocking.  It has one HDMI port and three DisplayPort 1.4 ports with DSC.  The video card measures only 7.6” long, 4″ wide, and 1.5″ in height, so this is a very compact video card that should fit in pretty much anything. 

Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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1 Comment

  1. I wonder if this card was specifically engineered with greater availability and ease to produce in mind.
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