RX 6800 and 6800 XT performance and market situation

AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT

AMD and Nvidia have both launched a new generation of graphics cards. "Team Green" presented the GeForce RTX 3070 in October (see our performance analysis) and with the 3080 and 3090 (we also have a test analysis ready for this) in September. Since last week, AMD has stepped up with the Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT. It was already quite clear in advance that AMD would be able to offer graphics cards for the first time in a long time, which not only play a role in the price range below 400 euros.

Our special will clarify whether AMD has succeeded in this and also offer you the latest graphics card purchase advice. The current market situation for graphics cards in general plays a major role, but we will come to that later.

AMD: Back with Big Navi?

AMD launched the Radeon RX 6800 for € 549 and the RX 6800 XT for € 649. This already shows that the two graphics cards with the first new Big Navi GPU are clearly above the current top AMD graphics card RX 5700 XT and not only want to compete with the 2000 generation from Nvidia.

Powercolor Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil

Powercolor Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil

Source: PC games hardware

The direct opponents of the new AMD graphics cards are rather the GeForce RTX 3080 and its little sister RTX 3070, which cost 699 and 499 euros respectively when they were released as Founders Edition. In terms of the timing of the release of the RXT 2000 series, AMD also offered the Radeon VII, which is stronger than the RX 5700 XT. However, the Radeon VII was aimed more at professional users and was never a real option for gamers because of the high price, so that Nvidia had no real competition for graphics cards for gamers above around 400 to 450 euros. Even with previous generations, AMD could only attack the mid-range GTX graphics cards with models like the Radeon R9 290X or RX 590. Above about 300 euros or after the release of the RX 5700 series, which initially cost over 400 euros, Nvidia had free hand for a long time above 400 euros. Now there seems to be headwinds for Nvidia with graphics cards over 500 euros – we now take a closer look at the most important technical key data of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT.

RX 6800 and 6800 XT: The technology

Together with Big Navi, AMD is also introducing the new RDNA2 architecture into gamer PCs. A difference that is directly relevant for gamers is that RDNA2 – like the Nvidia RTX graphics cards – supports ray tracing. However, this property is weaker with AMD graphics cards, so that the expected drop in performance with activated ray tracing is higher than with RTX graphics cards.

The two RX 6800 graphics cards as well as the upcoming RX 6900 XT use the GPU with the name Navi 21. In the RX 5700 models, Navi 10 GPUs are still used. Navi 21 is manufactured in the 7nm process, just like Navi 10 – but in an optimized version. A smaller production, this to explain, opens up the option of placing the filigree conductor tracks and transistors closer together. This potentially creates more power per square millimeter of chip area. In the case of Navi 21, the GPU is also significantly larger than Navi 10, so you can expect more performance for that alone. But AMD has also modernized the rest of the technology and offers more than the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT in all points – we summarize the technical data in the following table.

graphic cardRX 6800RX 6800 XTRX 5700RX 5700 XT
Chip area519 sqm519 sqm251 sqm251 sqm
Transistors26.8 billion26.8 billion10.3 billion10.3 billion
Shader units3840460823042560
Base rate1700 MHz1825 MHz1465 MHz1606 MHz
Boost clock2105 MHz2250 MHz1705 MHz1905 MHz
Bandwidth RAM512 GB / s512 GB / s448 GB / s448 GB / s
Electricity requirements about250 watts300 watts185 watts225 watts