AMD Radeon RX 6600 Overview: Overpriced Is Nonetheless a Good Deal

AMD Radeon RX 6600

RRP $ 329.00

"The AMD Radeon RX 6600 is too expensive, but almost everything will fly in this market."

advantages

  • Over 60 fps at 1080p in most games

  • Single to triple fan designs available

  • Only 132 watts of total board power

  • Hardware accelerated ray tracing

disadvantage

  • About 8% slower than the RTX 3060

  • Does not have access to DLSS

  • Poor ray tracing performance without upscaling

It's unfortunate, but the GPU shortage has made it nearly impossible to buy a good graphics card deal. Compared to the best graphics cards, the new RX 6600 from AMD is not outstanding and its list price is just about acceptable. But at a time when graphics card prices are dictated by scarcity and scalpers, the RX 6600 could be the deal PC gamers are looking for.

It's a small card aimed directly at 1080p gamers, and based on my tests, it hits that mark well enough. List price is higher than it should be, but the second-hand market generally costs Nvidia cards higher. You'll likely be able to buy the RX 6600 for less than the Nvidia RTX 3060, which AMD's latest version competes directly with.

However, once the dust settles on the ironer, you could have a card that is underperforming compared to the competition. And with features like better ray tracing and AI-assisted upscaling on Nvidia cards, the RX 6600 is a big seller.

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Just like the RX 6600 XT, AMD doesn't release a reference model for the RX 6600. Instead, you can only buy partner add-in board (AIB) models – and AIBs have spoiled us with options. From single fan to triple fan designs, there is no shortage of cards to choose from.

AMD sent me the triple fan Gigabyte Eagle, which looks and feels much more impressive than the RX 6600 rightly has. The case has a matte coating and the card looked great in my Lian Li PC-011 Dynamic. Although one of the longer models is available at 11 inches, the Eagle still sticks to the dual-slot design of the other AIB models.

The three fans, however, are only for aesthetic reasons. As I will explain in more detail in the next section, the RX 6600 only has a board output of 132 watts and does not get too hot under load. ASRock was able to squeeze the card into a single-fan design, and I don't think it has to contend with the heat too much. Still, you have many options for AIB models, even if it is more about looks than practical differences.

In terms of connections, the Gigabyte Eagle comes with two DisplayPort 1.4a connections and two HDMI 2.1 connections. I would have preferred a third DisplayPort connector over the second HDMI – even if HDMI 2.1 increases the refresh rate, it makes sense to use three of one type of connector for three-monitor setups rather than splitting them up. The RX 6600 is below the price of many monitors, however, so this is likely a marginal case.

When I look at photos of AMD launch models, I'm a fan of the Gigabyte Eagle and XFX Swift. For the most part, however, AIBs haven't gone crazy with their designs. The PowerColor Hellhound goes a little further with LED fans, but most manufacturers stick with a traditional black dual-fan design.

Specifications

The RX 6600 is the weakest of the RDNA 2 series from AMD. It has 12% fewer compute units than the RX 6600 XT at a 13% drop in price, but otherwise the cards are very similar. Both have 8GB of GDDR6 memory on a 128-bit bus, although the RX 6600 has lower clock speeds overall.

Arithmetic units Shading units Game speed Increase speed Storage capacity TDP price
Radeon RX 6600 28 1,792 2.04 GHz 2.49 GHz 8GB DDR6 132W $ 330
Radeon RX 6600 XT 32 2,048 2.35 GHz 2.59GHz 8GB DDR6 160W $ 380
Radeon RX 6700 XT 40 2,560 2.32 GHz 2.58 GHz 12 GB DDR6 230w $ 480
Radeon RX 6800 60 3,840 1.82 GHz 2.11 GHz 16GB DDR6 250w $ 580
Radeon RX 6800 XT 72 4,608 2.02 GHz 2.25 GHz 16GB DDR6 300W $ 649
Radeon RX 6900 XT 80 5,120 2.01 GHz 2.25 GHz 16GB DDR6 300W $ 1,000

The RX 6600 should be about 15% below the XT model, but my tests show a gap closer to 20%. This difference is likely due to the clock speed, which is lowering your frame rate. However, the slower speed helped AMD get board power as low as 132W, so you can use the RX 6600 with just a 450W power supply.

Nvidia only recommends a 450 W power supply for the RTX 3060 and has the same list price as the RX 6600. AMD emphasizes its performance-per-watt advantage over the RTX 3060, with the RX 6600 up to 1.5x. offers an increase in the metric compared to the RTX 3060. However, this does not make much difference with this type of watt, especially for a high-performance gaming PC.

AMD cards traditionally sell in the second-hand market for less than Nvidia cards, and the RX 6600 should be no different.

Put simply, the RX 6600 is too expensive. Although it consumes less power than the RTX 3060, it is also not as powerful. It's a similar situation to the RX 6600 XT and RTX 3060 Ti. They pay roughly the same list price, but with a significant performance advantage in the Nvidia corner.

However, as the GPU shortage has taught everyone, list price means nothing. The good news is that AMD cards traditionally sell for less than Nvidia cards in the second-hand market, and the RX 6600 shouldn't be any different. That pulls the favor back into AMD's corner. The RX 6600 XT may not be as powerful as the RTX 3060 Ti, but it costs almost $ 200 less in the pre-owned market. I would bet something similar will happen to the RX 6600 and RTX 3060 a few weeks after launch.

Games

The RX 6600 is difficult to assess. AMD compared it to the RTX 3060, but the company also compared the RX 6600 XT to the RTX 3060. Based on my testing at 1080p, the RX 6600 is actually below the RTX 3060, just before a powerful foray into Assassin's Creed Valhalla. In reality, the RX 6600 is closer to the RTX 2060 Super.

You can see my results below. I ran tests from 1080p to 4K using the Medium and Ultra presets, but the following results are for 1080p with Ultra settings. I did all of my tests with a Crucial MX500 2TB SSD in a PC with an Intel Core i9-10900K and 32GB of RAM.

AMD RX 6600 AMD RX 6600 XT Nvidia RTX 3060 RTX 2060 Super
3DMark Time Spy (GPU Score) 8,071 9,644 8,629 8,513
Red Dead Redemption 2 59 fps 68 fps 65 fps 62 fps
Fourteen days 98 fps 137 fps 132 fps 105 fps
Assassin's Creed Valhalla 71 fps 83 fps 64 fps 66 fps
Battlefield V 120 fps 139 fps 123 fps 120 fps
Civilization VI 138 fps 161 fps 143 fps 150 fps

The most direct fight is the DirectX 12-based 3DMark Time Spy, which had some noticeable differences on the RX 6600. The XT model is about 20% faster, while the RTX 3060 has a solid 7% lead. Synthetic benchmarks aren't games, but Time Spy clearly shows the differences between the cards – and the RX 6600 is at the bottom of the stack.

However, this was not the case in all games. Assassin's Creed Valhalla is an example where the RX 6600 showed an improvement of about 11% over the RTX 3060. The XT model was still leading, but Valhalla seems to prefer AMD cards more. Unfortunately, this was not the case with other titles. For example, in Red Dead Redemption 2, the RTX 3060 was about 10% faster than the RX 6600.

Adding the 1080p Ultra results together, the RTX 3060 is about 8% faster, while the RX 6600 XT is about 21% faster. The RX 6600 is (theoretically) the same price as the RTX 3060, which shows that AMD is again taking advantage of the GPU scarcity. To be clear, it's a steal at $ 329 compared to what the RTX 3060 is selling for. And given what the RX 6600 XT is being sold for, the non-XT model is likely to cost less than the RTX 3060 in the used market.

This is a card that directly targets 1080p and manages to hit the bull's eye.

While I've listed my 1080p Ultra results, tweaking some settings can mean a big increase in frame rate. For example, the RX 6600 jumped to 83 frames per second (fps) in Assassin's Creed Valhalla with the high presence and Battlefield V produced 158 fps with the medium preset.

It should come as no surprise that the resolution is the killer, even if the RX 6600 can perform at 1440p in some games. It still managed 55 fps at 1440p in Red Dead Redemption, which is impressive considering how challenging this game is. In a less demanding title like Civilization VI, the RX 6600 was able to pull out over 100 fps and even over 60 fps in 4K.

However, Civilization VI was the only game I could manage in 4K. The card produced a pathetic 26 fps in Red Dead Redemption 2 and couldn't break the 30 fps mark in Fortnite. Without the help of FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), 4K is out of the question for the RX 6600. While 1440p is manageable, this is a card that directly targets 1080p and manages to hit the bull's eye.

Content creation

AMD cards generally underperform Nvidia cards in content creation workloads – and the RX 6600 doesn't change that. This is a 1080p gaming card, but my results (especially in Blender) show that you can use it for content creation, and even have an advantage over Nvidia at times.

AMD RX 6600 AMD RX 6600 XT Nvidia RTX 3060 RTX 2060 Super
Mixer BMW (seconds) 86 79 45 58
Blender classroom (seconds) 167 155 208 275
Mixer Koro (seconds) 156 139 162 183
PugetBench for Premiere Pro (overall rating) 605 625 703 784

In two of the three Blender renderings I tested, the RX 6600 managed to beat the RTX 3060 and RTX 2060 Super (although these cards far outperformed the RX 6600 in the BMW rendering). But we're comparing apples with oranges here. Blender can use CUDA or OptiX for GPU rendering. AMD cards are limited to OpenCL.

OptiX gives Nvidia an unfair advantage. It's just a lot faster than OpenCL and even offers a significant advantage over CUDA rendering. While my results favor the RX 6600, they don't tell the full story. If Blender is an application that you plan to use a lot, it is best to stick with an Nvidia card.

PugetBench illustrates Nvidia's lead in content creation more. Here the RTX 3060 outperforms the RX 6600 by around 16% if all machine components are taken into account. The RX 6600 can run these programs, but you should invest in a solid CPU and RAM kit for the best performance.

Super resolution and ray tracing

Like other RX 6000 cards, the RX 6600 has two great features – AMD Super Resolution and hardware accelerated ray tracing. However, just like its sibling RDNA 2, the RX 6600 does not handle ray tracing with decency. It comes down to a design difference between AMD and Nvidia cards, which Team Green favors much more.

AMD RX 6600 AMD RX 6600 XT Nvidia RTX 3060 RTX 2060 Super
Don't control ray tracing 67 fps 73 fps 76 fps 75 fps
Control ray tracing 27 fps 34 fps 47 fps 41 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 no ray tracing 46 fps 62 fps 59 fps 55 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 ray tracing 10 fps 13 fps 28 fps 25 fps

My average frame rate increased by almost 60% in Control and a massive 78% in Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing enabled. I ran all of these tests at 1080p with the highest quality preset specifically controlled for ray tracing. That said, I didn't use Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). The above results are pure ray tracing performance.

And AMD doesn't look good. The RX 6600 has some big drops that I was expecting. You can see from my RX 6600 XT results that this is a trend for AMD. That's because Nvidia cards use a dedicated ray tracing processor, while AMD cards have an accelerator in each processing unit. My RTX 3060 and RTX 2060 Super results show just how much of a difference this design change makes.

Following in the footsteps of the previous RDNA 2 cards, the RX 6600 doesn't look great here.

Regardless of this, none of the above results are playable with activated ray tracing. You need an upscaling function to take advantage of the sophisticated rendering. AMD offers Super Resolution that can increase frame rates many times over. Take the recently released Back 4 Blood, for example, which showed an increase of up to 116% in aggressive performance mode.

FSR can boost your frame rates, but it doesn't look as good as the Nvidia-exclusive DLSS. In addition, FSR does not always accompany ray tracing in games. Control and Cyberpunk 2077 are two prime examples. Both games support ray tracing and DLSS – which you usually find together – but neither supports FSR.

Super resolution is a great feature, but not a reason to buy the RX 6600. The feature is available on practically every graphics card. However, DLSS is one reason to buy an Nvidia card, as is the huge increase in ray tracing performance.

Following in the footsteps of the previous RDNA 2 cards, the RX 6600 doesn't look great here.

Our opinion

The AMD RX 6600 is as expensive as the RTX 3060, but not as good, and it lacks features like high-quality ray tracing and DLSS. The biggest benefit is that AMD cards are sold in the second-hand market for less than Nvidia cards. It still manages smooth 1080p gaming in most games, even if it lags behind the Nvidia competition.

Right now it's a timing issue. If you need a graphics card, the RX 6600 is likely one of the most affordable options of recent generations. If you can get one at the start, there is no competition. But the RTX 3060 is faster, and even the last generation RTX 2060 Super has a lead in some titles. Not to mention the RTX 3060 Ti, which is by far the best 1080p graphics card out there.

I'm almost bound to recommend the RX 6600 as you may be able to get one at list price. That doesn't mean it is a great graphics card compared to the competition. If market conditions were different, I can only wonder how AMD would price this card – and I doubt it would cost $ 329.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes sir. The RTX 3060 is about 8% faster and has the same list price, and the RX 6600 XT is over 20% faster for just $ 50 more.

How long it will take?

The RX 6600 already struggles to maintain 60 fps in demanding titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1080p. If you want to play the latest games with the settings turned up, the RX 6600 will feel underpowered within a couple of years. If you focus on esports and less demanding games, it will take many years.

Should you buy it?

At list price, yes, but understand that you are buying the second best option. The RTX 3060 isn't a great graphics card considering its price, but it's still faster than the RX 6600. In an ideal world, I'd recommend buying an RTX 3060 Ti. But that's not possible for most people considering how expensive they are in the second-hand market.

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