AMD Announces RX 6000 Series, Competitive with RTX 30 Series

Today, AMD announced its long awaited RX 6000 series. Some things were about inline with our expectations, others weren’t. Let’s just go down the spec sheet first.

GPUCompute UnitsClock speed (base/boost)Cache sizeVRAMTotal Board PowerPriceLaunch date
RX 6800601.8/2.1 GHz128 MB16 GB GDDR6250 watts$580November 18
RX 6800XT722/2.25 GHz128 MB16 GB GDDR6300 watts$650November 18
RX 6900XT802/2.25 GHz128 MB16 GB GDDR6300 watts$1000December 8

Things that we expected with almost certainty: the 80 max CUs, the clock speed, the 16 GB of VRAM, and the launch date. What we didn’t expect to certainly happen was the cache (I personally was a little skeptical) and the price tag. The 6900XT at $1000 is AMD’s most expensive gaming GPU using only a single chip in… ever? I personally cannot think of a counterexample. While the 6900XT undercuts the 3090 by $500, the 6800 series only undercuts the 3070 and 3080 by about $50-100.

The total board power (or TBP) also surprised me a little, but mostly because of how the 6800XT and the 6900XT are rated the same despite having slightly different performance. This is similar to what happened with the Ryzen 3000 series in respect to the 3900X and 3950X and it’s coming down to generally better binning. I do have to wonder what kind of overclocking headroom AMD could get out of these chips; my guess is that they probably don’t overclock all that well but we will see.

One last thing to talk about is ray tracing. AMD didn’t totally ignore ray tracing but they only mentioned it as a feature and gave no performance data. This is probably a sign that AMD’s ray tracing performance is not as good as Ampere’s, but hopefully they can at least reach 2080Ti level on the 6900XT. I don’t think the performance in ray tracing scenarios will be very important this generation, which is good for AMD, but not even showing the performance is disappointing; for AMD’s sake I hope they are just hiding slightly worse performance and not massively worse performance.

So, with the RX 6000 series, AMD seems to be ready to claim that they are the foremost gaming GPU manufacturer. We’ll see if this is true, but if it is, then it’s highly likely that AMD will be kings of gaming CPUs and GPUs at the same time. For the first time ever, the fastest gaming PC money can buy may very well be all AMD.

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