On Wednesday, AMD revealed their new Radeon 6000 Series graphics cards. The keynote titled “Where Gaming Begins: Ep. 2”, a follow up to the CPU reveals of October 8th, AMD took aim at NVIDIA. Despite rumors and supposed leaks, the event did have a few surprises, including official pricing for these new GPUs.
The presentation began once again with Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. Just as she did earlier in the month, Dr. Su began by touting the company’s recent accolades, including awards for CPU and GPU of the year. She also mentioned again, that AMD technology powers both the PlayStation 5, the Xbox Series X, and the Xbox Series S.
She called back to the Ryzen 5000 announcement, reminding viewers of the impressive line of CPUs before turning her attention to the topic of today’s announcement: RDNA 2, and the Radeon 6000 series.
Dr. Su went on to explain that AMD is on a journey with their graphics. Much like with the Ryzen line, she believes that it’s a process of building and fine tuning their graphics architecture to become the best they could be. Their goal with RDNA 2, the successor to their previous RDNA architecture, was to have at least a 50% increase in performance per watt compared to the previous generation. According to the graphic below, they seem to have achieved that.
Dr. Su then revealed Big Navi, the chip powering the new series of cards, before tossing to Laura Smith, Senior Director of Radeon Technologies Group for an in-depth look at the RDNA 2 architecture.
AMD introduced RDNA last year, and at that time they committed to return quickly with a significant improvement to that architecture. RDNA 2 is the follow up to that promise. The goals that AMD set for themselves were challenging. They aimed to increase performance without drawing more power, leaving customers the headroom they would need to potentially overclock their GPUs. RDNA 2 will support Direct X 12 raytracing, competing directly with the 30 Series cards from NVIDIA.
RX 6800 XT
Scott Herkelman, Vice President and general manager of the graphics business unit had the honor of unveiling the first of the new generation’s cards: the Radeon RX 6800 XT. The RX 6800 is a 4k gaming GPU, featuring 72 compute units, 2015 MHz game clock, 2250 MHz boost clock, 128 MB infinity cache, 16 GB GDDR6 Memory, and a power draw of 300 W. The 6800 XT delivers over 60 FPS in 4k on ultra settings in all the games they tested, pushing upwards of 120 FPS in many of them.
AMD then compared the RX 6800 XT to its competitor, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. The two cards have nearly the same level of performance across the board, with wins and losses on both sides. The graphic below shows the RX 6800 with wins in a few titles, including Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Forza Horizon 4.
Herkelman was sure to note though, that the RX 6800 XT performed about the same as the RTX 3080, with less power consumption.
At 1440p, the more common gaming resolution, the RX 6800 XT appears to have more wins over the RTX 3080.
In order to maximize potential performance, the AMD tuning software includes a “one click” overclocking method called Rage Mode. They’ve also optimized their new RX 6000 series to pair with the new 5000 Series Ryzen CPUs, with what they’re calling AMD Smart Access Memory. Combining both the Smart Access Memory and Rage Mode will offer up to 13% performance increase over the standard GPU performance alone.
This new AMD Radeon RX 6000 series will have full DirectX 12 Ultimate support, taking advantage of ray tracing and variable rate shading in current and upcoming titles. The AMD FX fidelity suite features a host of additional graphics enhancing technology, and is currently supported by 35 titles.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT will be available November 18th, at a starting price of $649.
Radeon RX 6800
They also announced the Radeon RX 6800. This GPU features 60 compute units, 1815 MHz game clock, 2105 MHz boost clock, 128 MB infinity cache, 16 GB GDDR6 memory, and a total power draw of 250w. Like the RX 6800 XT, this is a graphics card made for 4k gaming. The RX 6800 beats out the competitors previous generation RTX 2080 Ti in every title they tested. Though, it’s noted that their benchmarks were performed utilizing the “Smart access memory” technology.
In 1440p, the gains are even more significant, with an overall 18% performance increase over the 2080 Ti. Though it bears repeating, the RX 6800 is utilizing the Smart Access Memory, which presumably contributes to the overall score.
Radeon RX 6900 XT
For the finale of this keynote, AMD turned the stage back to Dr. Su who had the pleasure of making the last announcement. The last GPU in the RX 6000 graphics card lineup is the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT.
This powerful card is roughly the same size as the RX 6800 XT, while boasting 80 compute units, 2105 MHz game clock, 2250 MHz boost clock, 128 MB infinity cache, 16 GB GDDR6 memory, and a total power draw of 300w.
Compared directly to NVIDIA’s top of the line GeForce RTX 3090, the RX 6900 XT shows similar performance, again with wins and losses on both sides. Though, as you can see in the chart below, the benchmarks for the RX 6900 XT were done utilizing both Rage Mode and the Smart Access Memory, which was previously stated to provide a boost of up to 13%.
However similar the performance may be between competitors, the pricing is not. The Radeon RX 6900 XT will have a starting price of $999, compared to the GeForce RTX 3090’s $1499 price tag. The RX 6900 XT will be available on December 8th.
The end of this keynote marks the beginning of an amazing time for PC gaming enthusiasts. No matter your preference of CPU or GPU, the recently released and soon to be released hardware is making high performance gaming accessible to more gamers than ever. We’re looking forward to learning more about these new parts.