AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Roundup Review - Referance - Merc 319 - Gaming OC
Published: 17th March 2021 | Source: AMD | Price: AMD £419 Gigabyte £430 |
So far in our reviews of the RDNA2 cards from AMD, we've found them to be a significant upgrade to all of their cards that have come before. Long term fans will know that for a while there AMD were floundering, but they turned their might to developing the Ryzen series of processors which have been an unqualified, rampant success. Once they had finally reclaimed the CPU market it was only a matter of time before they turned their attentions and resources to the desktop GPU market and with the RX 6000 series they have firmly re-established themselves as the company we all knew them to be. The sleeping giant has awoken.
For the RX 6700 XT, the target isn't so much the top end of the graphics card world, but instead, they are targeting the largest section of the market, 1080p gamers who want to be able to turn everything to max, and people who game at the increasingly popular 1440P resolution. We like 1440p a lot as it's clearly got higher visual fidelity than 1920x1080, it gives you more space in your applications and yet doesn't require a monstrously expensive graphics card to make the most of the large pixel count. 1080p has 2m pixels, 1440p has 3.6m whilst 4K has over 8m. It doesn't take a professor of math to realise that you need less than half the horsepower to get a smooth 1440 experience compared to 4K, and that's without taking into account the price of a good gaming monitor. The RX 6700 XT is firmly aimed at those who have a 1440p display and want to run things very close to maximum in everything, and indeed it succeeds handily.
In the majority of our tests the RX 6700 XT, in all guises, was somewhere between the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070. There is the odd game where the Nvidia Ti sneaks ahead, and some - F1 2020 springs to mind - where the game engine is clearly stacked in the Radeon's favour. The performance difference between the three cards was usually paper-thin too, with the XFX usually being the card ahead if there is a gap to be found, but to be honest if you chose any of these cards you would be delighted with your purchase.
As for the three cards themselves, the AMD being so fast is not quite the shock to us it might be to some of you. AMD's own models have always been super fast. We're not saying they cherry-pick their GPU cores, just that the days in which the Nvidia/AMD branded card was a total joke are so far behind us as to be out of view. We know brand loyalty is a big thing but if you can only find the AMD card available you won't be disappointed. The days of trash quality own-brand graphics cards are over.
The Gigabyte RX 6700 XT Gaming OC 12G continues Gigabytes excellent resurgence of their Gaming brand. We've come to expect their Aorus cards to be amazing, and they are, but the Gaming cards have been consistently good performers in whatever guise we've tested them. The Windforce cooler keeps everything frosty and does so quietly, whilst the pricing is attractive too. It is the surprise package that, to those in the know, isn't a surprise at all.
The XFX RX 6700 XT 319 MERC is very much the enthusiast's card. For consistency, we've tested it at stock like the rest and let the GPU Boost do all the overclocking for us, and even here the larger power input and premium nature of it led to it getting the highest average Boost clock of the three cards. As you can see from our graphs when it really had something to dig its teeth into it took off in a way the other two couldn't quite match. Some brief time spent overclocking also shows it has the best potential of the three. It's very much the enthusiasts choice.
If we have to find a negative, and it's our job so we do, the ray-tracing performance is still the weakness of the 6000 series of AMD Radeon cards. Whilst the RX 6900 XT and 6800 XT have enough horsepower to still give decent frame-rates on the RX 6700 XT you're asking a little too much to have ray tracing too. It works, but you have to compromise a lot of settings to get a smooth experience. This is only AMDs first effort though and the Nvidia Turing cards weren't RT behemoths first time up either.
Regardless of which card you choose, if you've been looking with covetous eyes at the new RDNA2 cards and waiting for one to appear that fit your budget then the RX 6700 XT continues AMD's resurgence back into the hearts of gamers everywhere.
The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT has an MSRP of £419/$479. Gigabyte $599/£430, We haven't got XFX pricing yet although we expect it to be around the £500 mark.