The Radeon RX 6000 Big Navi are the new graphics cards from AMD, based on the RDNA 2 architecture. More powerful than the previous generation GPUs, embedding ray-tracing and Variable Rate Shading technologies, they respond harshly to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 Series.
While AMD is embarrassing Intel in the CPU market, gaining more and more market share, it is still far from eclipsing Nvidia in the GPU segment. Already well behind its competitor, AMD must have appreciated the latest announcements from its rival, Nvidia having hit hard with its new GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090. To counter them, the American group is banking on its new generation of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. But to say the least, it’s pretty promising.
What release date for the AMD Radeon RX 6000?
AMD unveiled its Radeon RX 6000 cards at the end of a streaming conference on Wednesday October 28, 2020. The Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT have been on the market since November 18, 2020. And have since been chronically out of stock. As for the Radeon RX 6900 XT, AMD has set marketing at December 8, 2020. For the moment, the cards are out of stock everywhere and it seems that the return to normal will not take place before March 2021.
What price for Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards?
It’s one of the great surprises this year: AMD declines against Nvidia the strategy that has worked so well on Intel – to offer more powerful cards, for less than the competition. We thus have a very attractive price list for performances that are on paper of the order or even above the latest RTX from Nvidia:
- Radeon 6900: 999 dollars
- Radeon RX 6800 XT: 649 dollars
- Radeon RX 6800: $ 579
As a reminder, Nvidia offers its latest cards at the following prices:
- GeForce RTX 3090: 1,549 euros
- GeForce RTX 3080: 719 euros
- GeForce RTX 3070: 519 euros
Note also that the prices of new AMD graphics cards may vary depending on the manufacturer. Thus, at Asus, the Radeon RX 6800 ROG STRIX OC is worth around 800 euros. The top of the range, namely the Radeon RX 6800 XT ROG STRIX LC, appears for its price of around 1000 euros.
On the side of the manufacturer Sapphire, we find the Radeon RX 6800 NITRO + OC at 750 €, while the most expensive model in the range, the RX 6800 XT NITRO + OC SE, is worth a little less than 900 €.
What is the data sheet of the three RX 6000 cards?
|Base frequency||1815 MHz||2015 MHz||2015 MHz|
|Boost frequency||2105 MHz||2250 MHz||2250 MHz|
|Cache “Infinity”||128 MB||128 MB||128 MB|
|GDDR6 memory||16 GB||16 GB||16 GB|
|Release date||November 18, 2020||November 18, 2020||December 8, 2020|
|Price||$ 579||$ 649||$ 999|
AMD is showing many innovations with its new Radeon RX 6000 cards. All three revolve around the new RDNA2 architecture that we detail a little later in this report. AMD also talked about a new type of cache called “Infinity” in connection with a completely redesigned memory architecture.
This 128 MB cache is particularly useful for 4K gaming. Along with a series of other optimizations, this allows it to deliver 3.25x more memory bandwidth than is normally possible with a 256-bit bus and GDDR6 memory.
AMD has designed its new cards for Direct X 12. All versions have been optimized to support all the functionalities of the API library, starting with Ray Tracing. On the performance side, if we are to believe the first benchmarks provided by AMD, we are on results that are cause for concern for Nvidia.
The Radeon RX 6800 outperforms the RTX 2080 Ti in many 4K games. The RX 6800 XT (300 W) delivers as much or more FPS in 4K as the RTX 3080 (320 W). As for the RX 6900 XT, we are neck and neck with the RTX 3090 in 4K. Tests that will of course have to be confirmed independently.
The design of these cards has already been known for some time. AMD kicked off its teasing campaign by releasing a first visual of what we imagine to be the most high-end Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card. A partnership with Epic Games also gave us an original preview of the material in the form of a 3D rendering directly in the game Fortnite.
Equipped with three fans for cooling, an aluminum heat sink and two 8-pin connectors, it offers full connectivity consisting of two DisplayPorts, an HDMI port and a USB-C port. The graphics card occupies two slots on the motherboard.
A leak had already revealed the PCB of an upcoming Radeon RX 6000 graphics card. After analysis, we could guess a GDDR6 memory of 16 GB with a 256-bit bus for it.
What’s interesting is AMD’s claim that the size of the larger card, the RX 6900 XT is more or less the same form factor as the RX 6800 XT, which suggests that their smaller footprint could be an argument in favor of AMD.
RDNA 2 architecture and performance
The next Big Navi (or Navi 2x) graphics cards are based on the RDNA 2 architecture, which has already heard a lot about in recent months since it is also found on the next generation of consoles. AMD has set an engraving fineness of 7nm since last year, a performance that even NVIDIA has not yet achieved despite rapid progress in this area (passage from 14nm to 8nm with the new RTX 3000).
AMD has already announced that RDNA 2 offers 50% better performance per watt to those of the first RDNA of the name, allowing to display games in 4K “without compromise”. It remains to be seen what it means “without compromise” for AMD. It is likely that this is the 4K 60 fps which is referred to here. The figure of 17.5 TFLOPS was brought up to measure the power of Big Navi GPUs, confirming capacities above those of the RTX 2080 Ti.
It is on the other hand inferior to the new RTXs (20 TFLOPS for the GeForce RTX 3070), but it is in any case not very useful to compare the NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards in this respect since the TFLOPS do not mean exactly the same. thing depending on the architecture used.
The next generation could benefit from up to 80 calculation units, twice as much as what we find on the Radeon RX 5700 XT. First benchmarks of the most high-end graphics cards of the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series have been spotted.
On one of them from the Ashes of the Singularity strategy game, it looks like this one comes up to roughly the level of NVIDIA’s Geforce RTX 3070. We should not hope that AMD attacks the performance of the RTX 3080, but we can at least expect a card at the level of the RTX 3070 but with a lower price.
It also remains to be seen whether AMD improves in terms of software and driver updates, a point on which NVIDIA is more flawless than its rival. Other benchmarks show that the RX 6800 XT is even able to compete with the GeForce RTX 3090, or even surpass it in some cases.
A shame when you know the gap in terms of price that separates the two cards: at the very least, count a difference of 500 €, the RX of AMD being obviously the one which is less expensive of the two.
Ray-tracing is the new star
With a generation behind NVIDIA, AMD is preparing to bring the real-time ray-tracing management on its graphics cards. Not all will benefit from it so as not to inflate the price of entry-level references, but the most powerful models will be entitled to it.
We will have to wait to see with our own eyes what the ray-tracing made in AMD is worth to judge. Last March, we had the opportunity to get an overview of the capabilities to expect from accelerated ray-tracing at the hardware level via a demo based on Microsoft DirectX Raytracing 1.1 and AMD RDNA 2 architecture. But this one was not really revealing.
The Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is already present on NVIDIA graphics cards, this technology finally arrives on their competitors from AMD. This technology allows game developers to have their title automatically and in real time manage the quality of shadows based on their location on the screen.
Without Variable Rate Shading, good quality shadows can be displayed in areas of no interest because the player is not looking in that direction. And yet these shadows do draw on the GPU, which allocates resources unnecessarily to the textures of these shadows. With the VRS, there is therefore a need for less power for the graphics quality, which remains unchanged in the eyes of the player. This power can then be reallocated to other elements and in particular allow performance and frame rate gains.
Read also: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT – first 4K benchmarks, it buries the GeForce RTX 3090
The Big Navi should logically renew several features already present on the Navi graphics cards. We think for example of Fidelity FX, a technology that makes areas of a game with poor graphics quality more beautiful, crisp and vivid without impacting performance too much. We should also witness the return of the Radeon Anti-Lag, which promises to reduce latency between devices and what’s happening on the screen.