AMD’s RDNA 2 push continues on March 18 with a newly announced RX 6700XT graphics card, starting at $479 and featuring just about the exact scaled-down options you’d expect from a card that costs $100 less than last year’s RX 6800.
Before we talk about specs, of course…
AMD chose YouTube for the announcement and, perhaps foolishly, left the chat feature on. This allowed fans to spam the livestream chat with “sold out” and “out of stock” for 15 minutes. Oddly enough, the video’s host acknowledged that “demand for GPUs is at an all-time high,” only to make an equally lousy promise about availability: that the GPU will be sold on both AMD.com and “. e-tailers and retailers around the world on day one.”
That’s why we have no idea how many RX 6700XT GPUs will be made available this month, nor whether AMD or other retailers have plans to crack down on scalpers and buying bots. (The same goes for Nvidia, of course, with GPUs like the new RTX 3060, starting at $329, which sold out right away last week.)
Slightly less “Infinite”
The gallery above starts with an all-important AMD spec table and sees the 6700XT shrink from the 6800 in a few key categories. Compute units are down 44.5 percent, while texture units are down 33 percent; L3 cache (which AMD calls “Infinity Cache”) dropped from 128MB to 96MB; and VRAM is down 25 percent to a reasonable 12GB GDDR6. AMD has also deemed it necessary to increase the GPU’s core clocks a bit, with an “to” number of 2424 MHz, which exceeds both the 6800 and 6800XT.
Last year’s new RDNA 2 cards didn’t necessarily live up to AMD’s claims of having released a great 4K line, and they don’t bother with such a sales pitch with the downsized 6700XT. AMD spoke of the fact that most PC players opt for 1080p and 1440p resolutions (without crediting services like Steam for capturing those stats), then reassured fans that the 6700XT is designed for optimal 1440p gaming at high speeds. refresh rates.
But the announcement didn’t have any good counterparts to Nvidia’s feathers, namely the competition’s dedicated cores for ray tracing and deep-learning super-sampling (DLSS). AMD’s possible answer to the latter, FidelityFX Super Resolution, was teased vaguely in Wednesday’s presentation, but we’re still waiting to hear exactly how it works, when it launches, and how many games and software suites it will support. Until AMD implements its own smart upscaling system, it simply won’t be able to compete in ray tracing, as our tests showed last year.
Better news: AMD’s sales pitch about uniting your entire system behind its brand to access the company’s own “Smart Access Memory” feature has been updated to support the older Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, in addition to the existing feature on Ryzen 5000 products. The idea here is to make the CPU and GPU talk to each other more efficiently, thus distributing full access to the GPU memory pool as needed, and with AMD’s clear CPU gains in recent years, you’re probably in a position to profit. However, motherboard compatibility is limited to 500 series boards, and the Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G are not compatible with the function.
It’s worth noting that one of AMD’s charts compares the 6700XT to Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Super – a card whose performance has been summarily compromised by newer Nvidia releases. That’s up to us to shake out in future independent testing, so we’ll do our best to pit the 6700XT against similarly priced GPUs in a future article. And yes, “comparably priced” in 2021 may require a careful scan of auction and reseller lists, which we are ready to do at this point.