The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT review is here! It's been a while since the 2019 launch of the "Navi" Radeon RX 5700 RDNA series, which disrupted NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20-series performance segment line. That forced them to the RTX 20-series SUPER Series, but NVIDIA still had a huge lead in performance and efficiency. AMD has been working on the new RDNA2 architecture not only to power its next-generation Radeon GPUs, but also next-generation consoles, such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. This is what makes RDNA2 very relevant to game engine developers, as modern games are developed for consoles first because that's where the money is. Having the same architecture on both console and PC will mean it's easier to optimize for the latter, with minimal effort. The Radeon RX 6800 series is AMD's first discrete GPU to meet DirectX 12 Ultimate requirements, which include raytracing and variable-rate shading.
NVIDIA more than doubled the shader counts of its GeForce "Ampere" GPUs over the previous generation since it sought to make "RTX on" frame rates roughly match the "RTX off" frame rates of "Turing." Since this is AMD's first Radeon to feature real-time raytracing, a doubling of the shader count for "Big Navi" over the RX 5700 was also expected, and double them AMD did. When we started watching AMD's live-stream announcement for the new RX 6000 series in late October, after having reviewed the RTX 3080, little did we expect AMD to launch a "high-end" GPU. What was unraveled in that stream was jaw-dropping, with AMD claiming its RX 6000 series chips to go up against NVIDIA's fastest, and being competitively priced as well. The Radeon RX 6800 XT in this review was being compared to the RTX 3080, and the RX 6800 (also being reviewed today) to the RTX 2080 Ti, which is essentially the RTX 3070. The flagship RX 6900 XT is purported to compete with the RTX 3090—it will launch later this year. We would have called BS on these straightaway if AMD hadn't priced these cards well upwards of $500—AMD is confident about the performance of these cards being enough for such a heavy price tag in NVIDIA's league.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT, along with the RX 6800, is based on the 7 nm "Navi 21" RDNA2 silicon with an 80% increase in compute units over the RX 5700 XT. Each of these RDNA2 compute units has raytracing hardware. AMD also doubled the memory amount to 16 GB, although the memory bus is still 256-bit, and the company is using JEDEC-standard 16 Gbps GDDR6 (512 GB/s). Shouldn't that starve the silicon of memory bandwidth? AMD could have sought out broader memory buses, or even taken the HBM-MCM route, which would have hit the company's price-cutting headroom against NVIDIA, but the company changed tactics by introducing a clever new component called Infinity Cache, which we'll talk more about in the Architecture section. AMD is offering the Radeon RX 6800 XT at $649, or $50 less than the RTX 3080. AMD is marketing the RX 6800 XT as the card to buy for maxed out gaming at 4K Ultra HD resolution—the same use case the RTX 3080 is meant for. In this review, we put the Radeon RX 6800 XT through its paces to test all of AMD's performance claims to tell you if AMD is back in the high-end game.
|RX Vega 64||$400||4096||64||1247 MHz||1546 MHz||953 MHz||Vega 10||12500M||8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit|
|GTX 1080 Ti||$650||3584||88||1481 MHz||1582 MHz||1376 MHz||GP102||12000M||11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-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 2070 Super||$450||2560||64||1605 MHz||1770 MHz||1750 MHz||TU104||13600M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|Radeon VII||$680||3840||64||1802 MHz||N/A||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 2080 Ti||$1000||4352||88||1350 MHz||1545 MHz||1750 MHz||TU102||18600M||11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit|
|RTX 3070||$500||5888||96||1500 MHz||1725 MHz||1750 MHz||GA104||17400M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX 6800||$580||3840||96||1815 MHz||2105 MHz||2000 MHz||Navi 21||26800M||16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX 6800 XT||$650||4608||128||2015 MHz||2250 MHz||2000 MHz||Navi 21||26800M||16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RTX 3080||$700||8704||96||1440 MHz||1710 MHz||1188 MHz||GA102||28000M||10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit|
|RTX 3090||$1500||10496||112||1395 MHz||1695 MHz||1219 MHz||GA102||28000M||24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit|