PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil "Big Navi" made landfall today. The Red Devil brand represents PowerColor's most premium custom-design AMD Radeon graphics cards and builds on the legacy of the well-praised RX 5700 XT Red Devil. It launches today alongside the cost-effective Red Dragon series and numerous other custom-design RX 6800 series cards by AMD's board partners. "Big Navi" came out earlier this month as an AMD reference design, today we're reviewing the custom-design cards. The RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 bring AMD's new RDNA2 graphics architecture to the PC platform, which debuted earlier this year on consoles such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. On the PC, it introduces full DirectX 12 Ultimate readiness, including support for real-time raytracing.
The RDNA2 graphics architecture is built on the philosophy of enormous amounts of compute power to accomplish real-time raytracing. While the most compute-intensive part of ray-tracing, ray intersection, is processed by fixed-function hardware, quite a few aspects, such as denoising, are handled via compute shaders. That's why AMD doubled the SIMD resources over the previous-generation RDNA, coupled with a new high-clock-speed silicon design. A side-effect of this approach is an enormous performance uplift with traditional raster 3D rendering performance. As it stands, it will still be some time before we have pure raytraced graphics, and both NVIDIA and AMD are stuck with having to combine raster 3D graphics with certain real-time raytraced elements. AMD in its launch event claimed that the RX 6800 XT performs in the same league as NVIDIA's flagship RTX 3080, and the RX 6800 goes against the RTX 2080 Ti (or RTX 3070), which should mark AMD's return to the high-end segment on the back of this performance uplift.
PowerColor's Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil is based on the new AMD 7 nm "Navi 21" RDNA2 silicon and armed with 4,608 stream processors, an 80% increase over the RX 5700 XT and 100% increase over the RX 5700. Each of the chip's 72 RDNA2 compute units has one Ray Accelerator unit. AMD also doubled the memory amount to 16 GB and uses the fastest JEDEC-standard 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory. The memory bus width is narrower than that of the RTX 3080, at just 256-bit, but AMD found a solution to its memory sub-system bottlenecks in the form of Infinity Cache, an on-die 128 MB L3 cache running at 2 TB/s, which accelerates memory access. Our RX 6800 XT reference-design review takes an in-depth look at the RDNA2 architecture.
The PowerColor RX 6800 XT Red Devil in this review introduces a large triple-slot cooler paired with a vast aluminium fin-stack heatsink. There are also certain cosmetic touches that cleverly use RGB LEDs to give the card the appearance of red-hot metal, which looks very Metal. Bringing it all together is a strong VRM solution supporting factory-overclocked speeds of 2340 MHz (compared to 2250 MHz reference), and premium features, such as dual-BIOS and external ARGB headers. PowerColor hasn't provided us with a price for the Radeon RX 6800 XT RED Devil, citing "market conditions." Their logic is that since retailers will be marking up the price anyway due to limited stock, they rather give no guidance on pricing at all instead of an unrealistic price. Considering the positioning of this card and that PowerColor declared it a limited edition of 1000 pieces, $800 seems appropriate, which I've used throughout this review. Once actual pricing is known, I'll update this review, of course. Apparently there's also a non-Limited Edition Red Devil, with fewer bundled accessories, but that's all we know.
|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|
|PowerColor RX 6800|
XT Red Devil
|$800?||4608||128||2090 MHz||2340 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|