AMD Radeon RX 6800 Assessment

After testing the Radeon RX 6800 XT, today we're looking at the standard RX 6800, which is only ~ 10% cheaper than the XT at $ 580, though we're looking at 17% fewer cores. So it will be interesting to see how the two compare in terms of cost per frame.

The Radeon RX 6800 is a very similar graphics card and GPU based on the RDNA2 architecture and using TSMC's 7nm process. The card contains 3840 cores, 240 TMUs and 96 ROPs in 60 CUs. The cores clock with up to 2105 MHz and with 16 GB GDDR6 memory on a 256 bit wide memory bus have a memory bandwidth of 512 GB / s for gaming. It has a total output of 250 watts and of course supports PCI Express 4.0.

When the RX 6800 XT competes against the RTX 3080, the standard RX 6800 could rival the RTX 3070. In terms of pricing alone, it's clear that AMD assumes the card will be a bit faster accordingly.

GeForce
RTX 3080
GeForce
RTX 3070
Radeon RX
6800 XT
Radeon RX
6800
Price (RRP) $ 700 $ 500 $ 650 $ 580
Release date September 2020 Oct. 2020 November 2020
process Samsung 8N Samsung 8N TSMC N7
Transistors (billions) 28.3 17.4 26.8
Die size (mm2) 628.4 392.5 519
Core configuration 8704/272/96 5888/184/96 4608/288/128 3840/240/96
Core clock frequency 1440/1710 MHz 1500/1730 MHz 2015/2250 MHz 1815/2105 MHz
Storage capacity 10 GB 8 GB 16 GIGABYTE
Storage speed 19 Gbit / s 14 Gbit / s 16 Gbit / s
Storage type GDDR6X GDDR6 GDDR6
Bus type / bandwidth 320 bit / 760 GB / s 256 bit / 448 GB / s 256 bit / 512 GB / s
TGP 320 watts 220 watts 300 watts 250 watts

With Big Navi, AMD is showing a new Radeon reference card design that looks significantly better than previous generations. The new GPU series also offers new features such as ray tracing support, 128 MB AMD Infinity Cache and Shared Access Memory (SAM). We've covered all of this before, and in this review we'll be testing SAM performance when paired with a Ryzen 5000 series CPU.

Before we jump into the blue bar charts, our GPU test system was equipped with a Ryzen 9 3950X, 32 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 memory, which runs in a two-channel configuration with two ranks. Let's get to the results …

Benchmarks

Starting with Godfall, the RX 6800 is only 3% slower than the RTX 3080, so we're getting 3080-like performance for under $ 600 in this title. That said, the Radeon is 18% faster than the RTX 3070 and 15% slower than the 6800 XT.

The margins at 4K are a little less impressive, but nonetheless the 6800 was still 11% faster than the RTX 3070 and only 14% slower than the 6800 XT and RTX 3080. Overall, a great result for AMD and it wouldn't take much too see that the 6800 is rendering consistently over 60 fps at 4K.

The RX 6800 managed to oust the RTX 3070 at 1440p in Watch Dogs Legion, despite being almost close enough to score a tie at 2 fps. With an average of 72 fps, the 6800 was 15% slower than the 6800 XT and RTX 3080. Even at 4K, the 6800 performed very well and matched the RTX 3070 and the flagship of the previous generation from Nvidia, the 2080 Ti.

As can be seen from our 6800 XT review, the performance of these new RDNA2 GPUs in Assassin's Creed Valhalla is exceptional, and that's exactly what we see with the 6800 as it is roughly the same as the RTX 3090. We're talking about a 27% performance improvement over the RTX 3070 at 1440p.

The 6800 doesn't look that incredible at 4K, but it was still 12% faster than the RTX 3070 and only 14% slower than the RTX 3080.

Another new title where Radeon GPUs are currently dominating is Dirt 5, and we're again looking at a situation where the 6800 is as fast as the RTX 3090 at 1440p, 33% faster than the 3070.

Even at 4K, the RX 6800 remains dominant and corresponds to the RTX 3080, which is almost 30% ahead of the RTX 3070.

Another title where RDNA2 GPUs perform well is Death Stranding. The RX 6800 is 11% faster than the 3070 at 1440p and only 5% slower than the 3080, which is an impressive result for a GPU under $ 600.

Although the RTX 3080 pulls away at 4K because it can make those cores work better, the 3070 doesn't have the same scaling issues at 1440p, and therefore the gap between it and the 6800 stays the same, giving the Radeon GPU a 12% performance advantage .

The RX 6800 was only 6% slower than the 6800 XT at 1440p in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, which means it was 9% faster than the 3070.

It slips a bit at 4K, and now both the RX 6800 and RTX 3070 average 29 fps. If you want to enjoy this flight simulation in all its glory, you should do so at 1440p with one of these GPUs.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider's performance at 1440p is quite good. Here the RX 6800 was 12% faster than the RTX 3070 and only 12% slower than the 6800 XT.

Increasing the resolution to 4K reduced margins slightly, but nonetheless the 6800 was 9% faster than the 3070. It was also only 11% slower than the 6800 XT, which is an overall strong result for the price.

Prior to the Amps release, 255 fps at 1440p was the best a GPU could render at 1440p in this title, and that would get you a cool $ 1200 for the luxury. We're now seeing 16% extra performance for just $ 580.

The RX 6800 manages to outperform the 2080 Ti by 9% and the 3070 by 7% even at 4K. At 147 fps on average, it's a great 4K experience.

Next up we have F1 2020 and at 1440p we expect a 13% increase for the 6800 over the RTX 3070, bringing the average frame rate to 171 fps.

Interestingly, the 6800 measures are much better at 4K compared to the 3070, beating them by a pretty large margin of 18%, with the average frame rate ranging from 93 fps to 110 fps. It was also only 11% slower than the 6800 XT.

Gears 5 is another title where the 6800 does exceptionally well and is almost on par with the RTX 3080 at 1440p, which means it was 14% faster than the 3070.

Interestingly, the RX 6800 was only 5% slower than the 6800 XT at 4K, 11% faster than the RTX 3070. The large ampere GPUs enjoy a relatively large performance advantage here, but the $ 580 Radeon still climbs over 60 fps, which is cool at 4K.

The Radeon RX 6800 can accelerate over 100 fps in Horizon Zero Dawn and was 9% faster than the 3070 and only 10% slower than the 6800 XT and RTX 3080 with an average of 105 fps.

At 4K we then see an average of 60 fps, which is a pretty big increase of 18% over the 2080 Ti and 7% over the 3070.

The Assassin & # 39; s Creed Odyssey results are strange, as the RX 6800 is essentially the same as the 6800 XT's performance. We are suspicious that this is a driver issue that is limiting the performance of the RDNA2 GPUs. However, it could also happen that the 6800 performs much better than expected as it is 20% faster than the 3070 at 1440p.

At 4K, the RX 6800 is a beast that fits the 6800 XT and RTX 3080, making it much faster than the 3070.

Oddly enough, we see exactly the same thing in World War II. The RX 6800 offers basically the same performance as the 6800 XT, making it almost 20% faster than the 3070 and 7% faster than the 3080.

Even at 4K, the performance is far better than expected as it is based on the other games we already looked at. Here the RX 6800 is 44% faster than the 3070 and 8% faster than the 3080, pretty incredible.

Moving on to the Metro Exodus results, the RX 6800's performance is very strong as it is almost the same as the RTX 3080. That makes it 9% faster than the 3070. Margins open at 4K, but the 6800 stayed strong, displacing the 3070 11% slower than the 6800 XT.

We also see a big lead over the RTX 3070 in Resident Evil 3, at 1440p the Radeon RX 6800 was 19% faster and only 9% slower than the 6800 XT.

The 6800 stayed at 4K on the RTX 3070, outperforming it with a compelling 19% margin. It was only 9% slower than the 6800 XT.

We see a 16% performance advantage over the Radeon RX 6800 over the RTX 3070 in Doom Eternal, although it's 242 fps versus 281 fps at 1440p, which isn't very meaningful.

At 4K, the RTX 3070 no longer seems to have VRAM, as the game requires 9 GB of memory at this resolution and these settings. As a result, the RX 6800 extends its lead to 31% from 120 fps to 157 fps.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood shows pretty typical margins at 1440p, where the RX 6800 was 9% faster than the 3070 and 10% slower than the 6800 XT. At 4K we see almost the same thing.

Hitman 2 is CPU limited to 1440p with these high-end GPUs, so we don't see much of a difference between the RTX 3070 and the RX 6800 XT. We plan to update these results with the more powerful Ryzen 9 5950X in the near future.

If we move on to the 4K data, which is in no way limited to the CPU, we see that the RX 6800 is 11% faster than the 3070 and 11% slower than the 6800 XT, which is in line with most of the other games tested .

Average gaming performance

Here's a look at the 18 game averages starting with 1080p data not listed per game above, but we ran the tests. The RX 6800 is on average 10% faster than the RTX 3070 at this resolution, only 4% slower than the 3080, and 9% slower than the 6800 XT.

Now at 1440p the edges start to open up a bit. The RX 6800 averaged 14% faster than the 3070 and only 7% slower than the RTX 3080. It was also 9% slower than the 6800 XT, making the 6800 do very well in terms of cost per frame at 1440p.

At 4K, the RX 6800 is 15% faster than the RTX 3070 and 10% slower than the 6800 XT. It was also 14% slower compared to the RTX 3080, which is good as it costs 17% less.

Cost per frame

Here's a better look at the value equation. From the 1080p data, we can see that the RX 6800 scores slightly better than the XT model, albeit hardly. It also has a 6% premium over the 3070, but that doesn't take into account the fact that the RX 6800 doubles the VRAM you get.

With 1440p, the RX 6800, together with the GeForce RTX 3070, is the most affordable GPU on the market.

The picture remains unchanged at 4K. The RTX 3070 and RX 6800 are level on the values ​​division based on the games available today, but we would expect the 6800 to develop an edge over the 3070 in more demanding titles in the future.

Ray tracing performance comparison

We have only briefly tested ray tracing so far, but it seems that titles optimized for Turing and Ampere work better with these architectures. The performance hit for some slightly better shadows is very high on the RTX 3080 and a joke on the RX 6800 that drops from 133 fps to 68 fps.

Even though the RX 6800 scales better in Dirt 5 and competes with the RTX 3080, we're still talking about a 17% reduction in frame rate as we claim it doesn't improve the image quality noticeably.

Smart access storage performance

Smart Access Memory (SAM) enables a PCI Express feature called Base Address Register, which defines how much VRAM is allocated to your graphics card. Typically, systems are limited to 256MB of dedicated VRAM. With RDNA2 and Ryzen 5000 processors, AMD has given the CPU full access to the graphics card's VRAM buffer.

This feature doesn't improve performance in all games, but it's free (as long as you have a Ryzen 5000). However, Nvidia has announced that it is working on a similar solution for GeForce GPUs (via a driver update) that should work on both AMD and Intel platforms.

When SAM is enabled, the RX 6800 can match the performance of the 6800 XT with SAM disabled for a 13% increase in performance. Basically, the SAM-enabled RX 6800 with 1440p is 45% faster than the RTX 3070 in Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

At 4K we then see a performance increase of 12% for the 6800 with activated SAM, so that it is now 28% faster than the RTX 3070 and basically corresponds to the RTX 3080.

SAM isn't quite as powerful for Rainbow Six Siege as we're seeing a small 4% increase for the 6800. The effect is lessened at 4K, so the RX 6800 only saw a 3% increase with SAM enabled, but that meant it was now 10% faster than the RTX 3070.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we see a 5% increase with SAM enabled and bringing the RX 6800 to an average of 139 fps at 1440p, which is 16% faster rendering than the RTX 3070. At 4K we only see a 3% increase in performance.

power consumption

In terms of power consumption, the RX 6800 has increased total system usage to 424 watts, which is reasonable considering the power output. This is similar to what we saw with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Super, and not much more than the 5700 XT. This corresponds to a reduction of 12% compared to the 6800 XT and an increase of 14% compared to the RTX 3070.

If we just look at the graphics card with PCAT, we see that the RX 6800 consumes 245 watts, which is an 18% reduction compared to the 6800 XT and only 8% more than the RTX 3070.

It's also a little less than the 5700 XT. The reason the margins are a little different from what we see when measuring total system usage is because the 3950X has to work harder with faster graphics cards, but here we remove the 3950X from the equation.

If we look at the performance per watt, we can see that the RX 6800 is the most energy efficient GPU we've ever tested, even outperforming the RTX 3070. You also get about 8% more power per watt compared to the 6800 XT.

When it comes to operating noise and temperatures, the RX 6800 isn't quite as impressive as the thicker XT model. While the XT reached a maximum value of 75 ° C at a fan speed of 1600 rpm, the standard 6800 ran up to 85 ° C at a fan speed of 1800 rpm. So a bit louder and 10C hotter. That said, the RX 6800 is still very good in terms of reference designs.

Overclocking

As with the RX 6800 XT, the OC headroom is very limited. In stock, the card runs the cores at 2.2 GHz and overclocks an average of 2310 MHz, which corresponds to a moderate overclock of 5%, which increases the operating temperature by 7 ° C and the fan speed by 200 rpm.

For whom is that?

Nvidia only amazed us three weeks ago with the GeForce RTX 3070 by offering RTX 2080 Ti-like performance for $ 500. That alone was reason enough to buy it if that was your intended budget for a new graphics card. However, inventory was extremely low, and we mentioned in our review that AMD would be bringing out RDNA2 products at a similar price with significantly more VRAM. That's what happened now.

As good as the RTX 3070's performance is, we believe that even when playing games at 1440p, the 8GB VRAM buffer won't be optimal in the not-too-distant future. This is perfectly acceptable on $ 300 (or cheaper) mainstream bound cards, but you might do a little better for $ 500.

For an additional $ 80, there is now the option of the Radeon RX 6800, which includes twice as much VRAM. Although the Radeon costs 16% more, it already offers gamers 16% more performance on average. Of the 18 games tested, there wasn't a single instance where the 3070 was faster than the 6800, which is more definitive than the comparison between the 6800 XT and the RTX 3080.

As mentioned in our review of the 6800 XT, Nvidia offers an edge over Ampere GPUs in the form of more sophisticated ray tracing support and DLSS 2.0, which you can use or not the small (but growing) list of supported depending on the games you play Title.

Some of the potential benefits of the RX 6800 include the much larger VRAM buffer, which proves to be beneficial for all games that require more than 8GB of VRAM (e.g. Doom Eternal), while SAM is a nice feature that increases performance increases, but the function is limited to Ryzen 5000 owners is not too cool.

Then there is the question of availability. Currently, you cannot buy an RTX 3070 or 3080, while Radeons are also very rare. The Radeon RX 6800 won't technically arrive until November 25th, when partners release their bespoke models. However, you can expect them to sell out just as quickly. The real test will be how quickly AMD can meet demand in ways that Nvidia couldn't before.

The bottom line is that the Radeon RX 6800 is a beast that offers gamers exceptional value for money and is now the go-to choice for those looking to spend up to $ 600 on a new graphics card.

Purchasing links:
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT on Amazon
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 on Amazon
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900X on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600X on Amazon

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