AMD has officially given us a Spring 2022 Radeon RX 6000 series video card refresh. Today AMD is launching the Radeon RX 6950 XT with an MSRP of $1,099, the Radeon RX 6750 XT with an MSRP of $579, and the Radeon RX 6650 XT with an MSRP of $399.
The Radeon RX 6950 XT and Radeon RX 6970 XT will be sold on AMD.com, and the Radeon RX 6650 XT will be sold by add-in-board partners only. In an interesting twist, the Radeon RX 6650 XT will be completely replacing the Radeon RX 6600 XT, which will be going out of production, while the Radeon RX 6750 XT and Radeon RX 6950 XT will remain as options with the current GPUs.
In today’s review, we focused on and reviewed MSI’s top-tier Radeon RX 6650 XT offering, the new MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X 8G video card. At the top of the SKU, at the top of the GAMING X models, the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X has a custom design, custom cooling, and factory overclock. It’s geared for the enthusiast and made to overclock. It takes the new refined Radeon RX 6650 XT and pushes it to the limits.
The Radeon RX 6650 XT is not much different from the Radeon RX 6600 XT. The process has been refined but it’s the same NAVI 23 silicon. The process has been refined to allow higher GPU clock speeds. It now runs at a GPU Game Clock of 2410MHz and a Boost Clock of 2635MHz. In addition, video cards now use faster 17.5GHz GDDR6 memory pushing the memory bandwidth up also.
These are the only differences to the Radeon RX 6600 XT, so you can practically think of the Radeon RX 6650 XT as an overclocked Radeon RX 6600 XT. Just keep in mind, that it’s replacing it, and will therefore not exist alongside it, and is not meant to offer any sort of upgrade path from it.
In our performance testing, we focused on 1440p gameplay to challenge the video cards, but to also find out how well they can handle the higher resolution. We wanted to make a point and show that these video cards are actually capable of playing games at 1440p. We already know that they can offer an “Ultra” 1080p gameplay experience, so challenging them at 1440p shows just what kind of gameplay experience they really can offer, especially if you take into consideration upscaling like FSR and DLSS. The point is, that you don’t have to settle for low resolutions, it is possible to aim higher.
In Dying Light 2 the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X was playable at 1440p with the highest settings, averaging 50FPS. This was slightly faster than the RX 6600 XT, and 17% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060. With FSR enabled performance was super smooth at 70FPS. Overclocking it provided a benefit as well and made it even better without FSR.
In Rainbow Six Extraction the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X was very playable at 1440p providing an average of 90FPS. This is with the highest in-game graphics settings and TXAA. This really shows how certain games can be really fast even at 1440p on this video card. Forza Horizon 5 was another game that was very playable at 1440p on the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X at the game’s highest game settings, with FXAA. It was averaging 67FPS and was actually 20% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060. With CAS and or overclocking it takes it up to 70-80FPS.
Far Cry 6 was also playable at 1440p with the highest in-game settings at 1440p with the HD Texture pack turned on. Performance averaged a very high 82FPS on the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X and with FSR that increases to 119FPS. The MSI RX 6650 XT was 15% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060. Cyberpunk 2077 was the most demanding game and was not playable at 1440p with “Ultra” settings. However, once we turned on FSR it was, FSR allowed the game to be playable on the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X at near 60FPS average. It was also 19% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060.
MS Flight Sim was playable at 1440p and “Ultra” settings on the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X which was faster than the GeForce RTX 3060. In Watch Dogs Legion the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT was on the border of playability, but overclocking helped it overcome that quite well. It was 20% faster than the GeForce RTX 3060.
When it comes to Ray Tracing performance it is no shock or surprise that the AMD Radeon GPUs struggle a bit, in some games. However, there are other games where they actually perform very well and are playable with Ray Tracing. We certainly had to lower every game to 1080p, to get any semblance of playability performance with Ray Tracing. In the games that supported FSR, this helped as well.
Dying Light 2 was a bit too demanding for the Radeon RX 6650 XT however, and even with FSR was not playable with Ray Tracing at 1080p. The same is true for Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs and Metro Exodus Enhanced. However, in Far Cry 6 the Radeon RX 6650 XT handled Ray Tracing just fine at 1080p producing 60FPS of gameplay performance. Turning on FSR also helped bring performance up even more. So at least in that game, Ray Tracing is playable at 1080p. There are other games out there that exist as well where Ray Tracing performs well on this video card at 1080p, such as Dirt 5 and Godfall.
If you haven’t caught on yet from the performance results, the common denominator here is that the Radeon RX 6650 XT is faster than the GeForce RTX 3060. In every scenario (except Ray Tracing) the Radeon RX 6650 XT is much faster, even comparing DLSS/FSR performance. Also, in all scenarios the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is the fastest card in this lineup, but the Radeon RX 6650 XT comes very close in many situations. With overclocking, and FSR it can make up for differences.
We were very impressed with the overclocking ability of the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X 8G video card. The refined Radeon RX 6650 XT GPU overclocks very high, as does the memory. Though we did not have control to increase the Power Limit at this time, we still saw very high GPU clock speed improves and memory clock speed improvements yielding gameplay performance improvements thanks to overclocking. Generally speaking, we got an average 8-9% performance increase with overclocking, and that’s with an already factory overclocked video card.
We managed to darn near get this GPU close to 3GHz, which is amazing. It settled around 2943MHz on average for our overclock. This is a hefty overclock from the default 2703MHz the card was operating at by default. Even at its default clock speed, we found that it was operating not just above the Game Clock but also the GPU Boost Clock! In addition, we managed to max out the memory slider to 19GHz from the default 17.5GHz on the RAM. Keep in mind the 6600 XT starts at 16GHz, comparatively, that’s a pretty high memory bump. We look forward to seeing how far enthusiasts push these cards.
We can sum up the gameplay experience on the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X as follows: it is a very capable 1080p “Ultra” gameplay performance video card, or a 1440p “Medium” gameplay experience card on average, and “High-Ultra” in some more easy-going games. It just depends on the game, but there are some that are playable at the highest settings at 1440p, and some more demanding games you’ll have to lower to High or Medium, but generally, you should be able to find a playable level at 1440p with some tweaking. In addition to that, upscaling like FSR can easily make any game playable at 1440p at “Ultra” settings if the game supports FSR.
Else, at 1080p is where you will find yourself if you want to play with Ray Tracing in games. Some games like Far Cry 6 will be playable with full Ray Tracing, while others may not be unless you are able to use FSR. Generally speaking, Ray Tracing performance is not the GPUs best area of expertise, but there are some games where it’s really not a problem. FSR can help in these cases and go a long way to help.
The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT will replace the Radeon RX 6600 XT. As a refresh, it’s a worthy replacement. The real test will be availability and street pricing. The MSRP is $399, but will it really be close to MSRP in retail? We will have to wait and see. If it is, then this is a good replacement, and if AMD can crank these out should sell well. There is a renewed excitement about this GPU thanks to the overclocking potential and higher memory speeds.
MSI has put together a robust and well-made video card, the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X is a solid enthusiast-level video card. It does carry a price premium, but with that, you get more than adequate cooling, a big factory overclock and the potential that custom overclocking will bring. If you are in the market for a Radeon RX 6650 XT level video card, give the MSI Radeon RX 6650 XT GAMING X 8G a look.