AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT Review

AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT Preview


AMD have, to borrow a bit of sporting parlance, solved CPUs. The Ryzen range came out of the doors as excellent and the next versions only refined and enhanced them until we reach a stage with the Ryzen 5000 series where they are a match for anything the opposition can bring to the table.

We don’t think we’d be giving away any secrets to say that their Radeon range of GPUs has been left somewhat in the shadow of its challenger though, particularly as so much of the AMD R&D department has been laser focussed upon getting their Processors to their class-leading position. Both of the major consoles now have AMD chips beating at their heart – the PS5 and Series X – so we know that AMD has got a lot of aces up their sleeve in the graphics world too. With the RDNA 2 architecture, we have a few new graphics cards coming under the Radeon umbrella, and the first of these to cross the OC3D office is the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT.

Both cards have a significant redesign when compared to even the Radeon VII, and with Ray Accelerators built on to the card, they have the potential to be everything we’d expect from a current GPU. It makes perfect sense for AMD to have focused upon a way of extracting the most performance on the software side of things, as the new consoles will have their hardware locked down for the foreseeable future and so any extra performance is going to be driver based. That’s perfect for those of us on PC as updating our drivers is so engrained in our culture that we get antsy if a month goes by without a new release.

Specifications first, then pictures, then some feature slides, and finally we can reveal how it actually performs.

Technical Specifications

Note that AMD has included their own Ray Tracing hardware. It’s more of a solution in keeping with the Nvidia Turing cards, where some processing happens on card and some in the drivers, rather than the Ampere sledgehammer approach, but given how much Ray Tracing is also a feature on the AMD equipped Playstation 5 and XBOX Series X we expect that the software side of things will really get the job done. Unless you believe that Microsoft and Sony will advertise a feature that doesn’t work as well as demonstrated? Either way, the RX 6800 is a serious step up on the Radeon cards that have come before. We’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of what’s new on the third page. Patience young padawan.

  Radeon RX 6800 XT Radeon RX 6800
Architecture RDNA 2 RDNA 2
Manufacturing Process 7nm 7nm
Transistor Count 26.8 Billion 26.8 Billion
Compute Units 72 60
Ray Accelerators 72 60
Stream Processors 4608 3840
Game Clock Up to 2015 MHz Up to 1815 MHz
Boost Clock Up to 2250 MHz Up to 2105 MHz
Single Precision Performance Up to 20.74 TFLOPS Up to 16.17 TFLOPS
Half Precision Performance Up to 41.47 TFLOPS Up to 32.33 TFLOPS
Texture Fill Rate Up to 648 GT/s Up to 505.2 GT/s
ROPs 128 96
Peak Pixel Fill Rate Up to 288 GP/s Up to 202.1 GP/s
Infinity Cache 128 MB 128 MB
Memory 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth 512 GB/s 512 GB/s
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit
Board Power 300W 250W

Now to see them in the flesh..