With the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X in just a few weeks, AMD fans have been trying to find out what Team Red has to offer PC gamers with its new RDNA 2 architecture. RX 6000 series GPUs are the answer, and they are exciting. The new RX 6800 XT is positioned to challenge Nvidia's latest RTX 3080. You'll also save a little money with $ 50 less.
More importantly, AMD's next-gen GPUs arrive at an opportune time as the inventory shortage for Nvidia's latest cards persists. In the past, Team Green has always won the war of performance so AMD could compete for price. AMD can do both this time around, especially with the new features AMD is introducing into its RX 6000 series cards.
This guide covers the RX 6800 XT versus the RTX 3080 so you know which card to pick up for your next build.
Prices and availability
AMD's new RX 6800 and 6800 XT will launch on November 18 for $ 579 and $ 649, respectively. At just $ 50 less than the RTX 3080, the 6800 XT is unlikely to win over many users based on price alone, though it will at least remain competitive, especially when compared to 3080 board partner cards.
However, at the end of October 2020, the RTX 3080 is nowhere in stock. Nvidia struggled to get a grip on the 30 series launch after reports of poor yields from the Samsung 8nm node for Nvidia's new cards were released. The RTX 3080 is currently sold out everywhere and is likely to stay that way through 2021.
In the past, TSMC, which is behind the 7 nm node in the RX 6800 XT, was able to meet demand with mass production. Especially during the Christmas season, AMD could take a significant market share from Nvidia if it can keep cards on the shelves. The RX 6800 XT is already priced at $ 50 less, and if AMD's performance numbers are right, it will match the 3080 in many games.
Technical data and performance
It's difficult to compare AMD and Nvidia GPUs directly from specs, and that won't change with AMD's new RX 6000 cards. However, there are some aspects that are more comparable. We can notice some big differences between the 6800 XT and the RTX 3080 in terms of memory. The 6800 XT has 16GB to 10GB of the 3080, although the Nvidia card uses newer, faster GDDR6X memory and has a wider memory bus, giving the RTX 3080 more standard memory bandwidth.
AMD has a trick up its sleeve, however. The new Infinity Cache significantly speeds up memory bandwidth and in some scenarios offers a potential memory bandwidth that is twice that of the RTX 3080.
|RX 6800 XT||RTX 3080|
|interface||PCI Express 4.0||PCI Express 4.0|
|GPU cores||4,608 stream processors||8,704 CUDA cores|
|Ray tracing cores||72 radiation accelerators||68 Gen 2 RT cores|
|Tensor cores||N / A||272|
|Base clock||TBD||1,440 MHz|
|Music box||2.015 MHz||N / A|
|Boost clock||2,250 MHz||1.710 MHz|
|memory||16 GB GDDR6 + 128 MB infinity cache||10 GB GDDR6X|
|Storage speed||16 Gbit / s||19 Gbit / s|
|Bandwidth||512 GBit / s (1,664 GBit / s effective)||760 GBit / s|
According to AMD's numbers, the 6800 XT is equivalent to the RTX 3080 at 4K in a number of games. It depends on the game, but the newer card from AMD is within a few frames. For example, the 6800 XT beats the 3080 by about 10 frames in Battlefield V, but lags behind a few frames in The Division 2. At 1440p, the gains are exaggerated in favor of Nvidia, with Battlefield V shooting up to 200 fps.
These are AMD's benchmarks, so we'll have to wait for third-party benchmarks to draw real conclusions, but they're still promising.
Based on our testing of the RTX 3080, we know that AMD's competing numbers are at least close to each other. In Battlefield V, the card reached 97 fps at 4K with Ultra settings and 147 fps at 1440p. The 1440p numbers are a bit high on the AMD charts, although the 4K performance is roughly in line with our expectations. If the 6800 XT can keep up with the performance of the RTX 3080, AMD could finally take back market share, especially if availability is better.
AMD is introducing two new features with the introduction of RX 6000 GPUs that could further boost performance. Rage Mode is a new one-click overclocking tool built into Radeon software that allows you to get the most out of your graphics card with minimal adjustments. The exciting new addition, however, is the Smart Access Memory. The upcoming Ryzen 5000 processors from AMD can fully control the RX 6000 series GPUs. According to AMD's benchmarks, using either can provide a performance improvement of up to 13% at 4K.
This apparently depends a lot on the game. Although AMD showed a 13% improvement on Forza Horizon 4, Doom Eternal only saw a 2% improvement.
Ray tracing and other functions
AMD was quick to highlight hardware support for DirectX 12 during the RX 6000 reveal event, and follow-up reports gave us an idea of the potential performance. AMD includes a single one of its Ray Accelerators on each compute unit, meaning the RX 6800 XT has 72 of them in total. Some third-party testing and AMD's own numbers give us a rough comparison of the ray tracing performance of the RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080, and the RTX 3080 wins easily.
This is still in its infancy with just a single benchmark, but it suggests that the RX 6800 XT outperforms the RTX 2000-series GPUs when it comes to ray tracing, but significantly worse than the RTX 3000 alternatives.
As we've seen with Nvidia's RTX 20 GPUs, the ray tracing feature degrades performance significantly, which is why Nvidia's DLSS is such an important feature. AMD has promised a number of its own performance-enhancing features, including variable rate shading and contrast-adaptive sharpening. Now the DLSS alternative is not yet available.
The RTX 3080 benefits massively from the support of the excellent DLSS 2.0 with its tensor cores with A.I. drive. This gives him a significant advantage for now.
The difference of 50 dollars
While we're not quite there yet, AMD and Nvidia are almost on par in terms of performance and function for function. The RTX 3080 is likely to be the slightly faster and more functional card for the time being, but with its terrible availability, higher price, and comparatively weak memory configuration, the RX 6800 XT is a compelling alternative.