After AMD lags behind the rival Nvidia in the high-end GPU area, AMD finally has a high-end graphics card with real-time ray tracing functions in the form of the new Radeon RX 6000 family.
AMD officially takes off the packaging of its Radeon GPU. With this new graphics card, AMD can compete against the competing Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. AMD reviewed the design and specifications of its Radeon card before launch. Executives made fun of Nvidia by stating that the AMD GPUs don't have the same bottlenecks as the flagship GeForce card.
In contrast to the PC-centric GPUs from Nvidia, the RDNA 2 architecture – also referred to as Navi 2x by committed gamers and referred to as "Big Navi" – uses the GPU from AMD not only for gaming PCs and workstations, but also for the next generation consoles like Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5 this holiday season.
Radeon RX 6800 XT
One of the first PC graphics cards to use AMD's RDNA 2 architecture is the new Radeon RX 6800 XT, which is designed for 4K gaming.
"The 6800 XT is specifically designed to play all of your favorite AAA games at 4K resolution and below and at the highest settings available," stated the AMD team.
The $ 650 graphics card is equipped with 72 processing units and a game clock rate of over 2 gigahertz. It has a boost speed of 2.25 GHz, 128 MB Infinity Cache and 16 GB GDDR6 memory. The card has an output of 300 watts TDP. It will arrive on November 18th.
During AMD's presentation, the company positioned the RX 6800 XT against Nvidia's flagship RTX 3080 GPU and showed that its card can also work in 4K at 60 frames per second (fps).
"As you can see, the 6800 XT not only delivers 4K 60 frames per second, but in most cases is also above average," said AMD in its comparison. "And as you can see, the 6800 XT is striking, making some significant gains on a variety of titles." These include Borderlands 3, Battlefield 5, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
Radeon RX 6800
AMD next announced its cheapest new card, the Radeon RX 6800. Priced at $ 580 on November 18, the card was compared to the RTX 2080 Ti in AMD benchmarks.
Given its pricing, AMD clearly intends this card to be a competitor to the Nvidia RTX 3070, although the Radeon RX 6800 is a bit more expensive.
One key difference that AMD highlights is the RX 6800's memory. It will have 16GB of GDDR6 memory, which is a lot for a $ 580 graphics card. AMD presents this as a better solution for 1440p and 4K games.
Radeon RX 6900 XT
Eventually, AMD announced the RX 6900 XT as "just another GPU" to end the show.
"We knew that the RDNA 2 architecture could offer gamers even more," said AMD CEO Lisa Su at the presentation of the Radeon RX 6900 XT. This is AMD's most powerful GPU launched today and designed for "the ultimate 4K gaming performance".
The GPU comes with 80 processing units with a 2.25 GHz boost clock and 16 GB of GDDR6 memory. The 6900 XT has a TDP of 300 watts and achieves 65% more performance per watt than the previous RDNA architecture.
With 4K at the highest settings, the 6900 XT has been shown to be competitive with Nvidia's RTX 3090.
This GPU will be available for purchase on December 8th, starting at $ 999.
Here is a summary of each card.
- Radeon RX 6800 – 60 CUs, 16GB GDDR6, $ 580, Nov. 18
- Radeon RX 6800 XT – 72 CUs, 16 GB GDDR6, $ 650, November 18
- Radeon RX 6900 XT – 80 CUs, 16 GB GDDR6, $ 999, December 8
Big Navi's architecture extends to infinity
"2020 is the year of the gamer", Su proclaimed during the keynote presentation of the Radeon. AMD called it the most powerful GPU ever built, and it performs 50% better than last year's RDNA architecture that has already been replaced. It already offers an output of 50% per watt compared to the old GCN architecture.
Although AMD uses the same 7nm process node as the previous RDNA platform, the company says Su and her team have made significant process and architecture improvements to achieve better performance per watt.
“We've evolved every aspect of computing unit design using the techniques that were first developed for the CPUs,” said Laura Smith, chief graphics engineer. “We implemented extensive fine-grain clock gating and redesigned the pipeline to aggressively maximize performance while minimizing data movement. In combination, these elements make the computing units 30% more energy efficient so that they can be moved faster. "
AMD solved the efficiency challenge by using a high-speed, high-density cache, and the company called this the Infinity Cache. The system helps to minimize bottlenecks and latencies and to reduce power consumption. AMD claimed that its new custom libraries and high-speed design flow allow the new RDNA 2 to get 30% faster frequencies with the same 7nm process node.
The company worked with Microsoft to bring DirectX 12 Ultimate features like DirectX ray tracing, variable rate shading, mesh shaders, and more into the RDNA 2 architecture. The platform will also support Microsoft's Direct Storage API, which is designed to make it much easier to load games, faster with minimal lag.
More performance through overclocking
Gamers can get another boost with a one-click rage mode, an overclocking feature built into the Radeon software package. This takes advantage of the overclocking built into the GPU, AMD said.
Another key feature is the AMD Smart Access Memory, which allows gamers to unlock more high-speed memory using a Ryzen processor.
"AMD Smart Access Memory unlocks the greater amount of high-speed memory from the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards for the AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors and provides additional levels of performance in games," the company said of the feature.
When the Rage mode is combined with the Smart Access Memory, players can see a performance increase of up to 13%.
Radeon Anti-Lag and Radeon Boost help reduce latency on monitors that support AMD's FreeSync technology. This helps reduce latency by up to 37% in games like Fortnite, AMD said.
"For select games, Radeon Boost provides dynamic resolution in response to your mouse or controller input, resulting in higher frame rates and therefore faster responses to your input," said AMD.
Ray tracing is supported on these GPUs, and DirectX 12 Ultimate is also supported. There are more than 35 titles with announced support including Godfall, FarCry 6, Dirt 5, World of Warcraft, and The Rift Breaker.