The Radeon RX 6700 XT is the new kid on the block from AMD, and arguably its most important RX 6000 series graphics card launched to date as it's the most affordable (on paper) and targets the heart of the performance segment. The card is designed for high refresh-rate 1440p gaming and capable of real-time raytracing. It introduces the company's second discrete GPU based on the RDNA2 graphics architecture, the 7 nm Navi 22. AMD also claims that the RX 6700 XT should disrupt the sub-$500 graphics market, taking the fight to two of NVIDIA's popular Ampere products, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070.
The new RDNA2 graphics architecture from AMD breathed life back into the consumer graphics market by competing with NVIDIA at the highest market segments with the RX 6800 series and the flagship RX 6900 XT Big Navi. It offers full DirectX 12 Ultimate readiness, including real-time raytracing, variable-rate shading, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. Raytracing is the holy grail of 3D graphics, and while fully raytraced interactive 3D is beyond the capabilities of consumer hardware, it's possible to combine conventional raster 3D graphics with certain real-time raytraced elements, such as lighting, shadows, reflections, global illumination, and so on, to significantly increase realism.
Even this much raytracing requires an enormous amount of compute power. The most compute intensive task of ray intersection is handled by special hardware AMD calls Ray Accelerators, while shaders handle other related tasks, such as denoising. A side-effect of this approach is that AMD has had to boost shader performance significantly over the past generation, which means most games that only use raster 3D graphics should see enormous performance gains over the previous RDNA generation.
The Radeon RX 6700 XT debuts the Navi 22 silicon, which is leaner and more space efficient than the Big Navi silicon powering the larger RX 6000 series cards. The chip physically packs 40 RDNA2 compute units, working out to 2,560 stream processors and 40 Ray Accelerators. The number of stream processors is identical to that of the RX 5700 XT Navi, but the performance uplift comes from the higher IPC of the RDNA2 compute unit, besides much higher engine clocks—2424 MHz vs. 1755 MHz (game clocks).
AMD has made a significant yet frugal change to the memory setup. You now get 12 GB of GDDR6 memory, which is 50% higher than the 8 GB of the RX 5700 XT, but at 192-bit wide, the memory bus width is 25% narrower. AMD has tried to make up for this by using the fastest JEDEC-standard 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips, resulting in 384 GB/s bandwidth. This is still much lower than the 448 GB/s of the RX 5700 XT. The company deployed its new Infinity Cache technology that it debuted with Big Navi. A 96 MB fast cache on the GPU die cushions memory access, and operates at 1.5 TB/s.
AMD is pricing the Radeon RX 6700 XT at US$479 for the reference design, undercutting the $499 price of the GeForce RTX 3070, but $479 is higher than the $399 starting price of the RTX 3060 Ti, the card it is extensively compared against in AMD's marketing materials. It also faces some internal competition from the $100 pricier RX 6800, which AMD is marketing as a 4K-capable 1440p card. All these prices are pure fiction; real-world graphics card pricing is completely whack right now. In this review, we'll focus on how the card competes with others in its vicinity on our swanky new March 2021 test system.
Our Radeon RX 6700 XT launch-day coverage includes six articles including this one. Do check them out!
PowerColor Radeon RX 6700 XT Red Devil | MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT Gaming X | ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6700 XT OC | Sapphire Radeon RX 6700 XT NITRO+ | XFX Radeon RX 6700 XT Speedster Merc 319
|RX Vega 64||$400||4096||64||1247 MHz||1546 MHz||953 MHz||Vega 10||12500M||8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit|
|RX 5700 XT||$370||2560||64||1605 MHz||1755 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2070||$340||2304||64||1410 MHz||1620 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 3060||$600||3584||48||1320 MHz||1777 MHz||1875 MHz||GA106||13250M||12 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|RTX 2070 Super||$450||2560||64||1605 MHz||1770 MHz||1750 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|Radeon VII||$680||3840||64||1400 MHz||1800 MHz||1000 MHz||Vega 20||13230M||16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit|
|RTX 2080||$600||2944||64||1515 MHz||1710 MHz||1750 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 2080 Super||$690||3072||64||1650 MHz||1815 MHz||1940 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 3060 Ti||$700||4864||80||1410 MHz||1665 MHz||1750 MHz||GA104||17400M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX 6700 XT||$700|
|2560||64||2424 MHz||2581 MHz||2000 MHz||Navi 22||17200M||12 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|RTX 2080 Ti||$1000||4352||88||1350 MHz||1545 MHz||1750 MHz||TU102||18600M||11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit|
|RTX 3070||$800||5888||96||1500 MHz||1725 MHz||1750 MHz||GA104||17400M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX 6800||$1000||3840||96||1815 MHz||2105 MHz||2000 MHz||Navi 21||26800M||16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX 6800 XT||$1300||4608||128||2015 MHz||2250 MHz||2000 MHz||Navi 21||26800M||16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 3080||$1300||8704||96||1440 MHz||1710 MHz||1188 MHz||GA102||28000M||10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit|
|RX 6900 XT||$1500||5120||128||2015 MHz||2250 MHz||2000 MHz||Navi 21||26800M||16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 3090||$2000||10496||112||1395 MHz||1695 MHz||1219 MHz||GA102||28000M||24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit|