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AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT review

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The current generation of graphics card is well-established. However, the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 have inadvertently raised standards for PC gaming. The AMD Radeon RX6600 XT is designed to power next-generation PC games at 1080p. It takes the Nvidia GeForce RX 3060 to task, particularly when it comes traditional rasterization and without shiny Ray Tracing effects.

The Radeon RX6600 XT is available at a time when it’s more difficult than ever to purchase any graphic card, let alone latest and greatest. AMD raised the suggested price to match the RTX 3060. It’s easy to see why. You won’t find any graphics cards at this retail price right now. So why not make it a little more expensive?

The current graphics card situation will not last forever. So the big question is whether the AMD Radeon RX6600 XT will make sense in the long-term.

Prices and availability

  • Amazon AMD Radeon 6600 XT for US$1,259.99

The AMD Radeon RX6600 XT will be available from August 11th at a suggested retail price $379 (or about PS270, AU$520). This price will go up and AMD won’t be selling its own version.

The 6600 XT will be sold through third-party manufacturers, such as MSI and XFX. We tested the MSI Gaming X which costs $569, or about PS510, AU$773.

 

The extra cost does not include nice features like a backplate and RGB lighting. MSI’s Twin Frozr cooler design is also available. However, the same design is used on all types of graphics cards, from the RTX 3080 to Radeon 6700XT. This doesn’t add much to your graphics card’s performance unless you plan to overclock it.

We haven’t had the opportunity to test a reference spec AMD Radeon RX6600 XT so we are unable to say how much performance this card offers.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 3060 and RTX3060 Ti are the other two big elephants in the room. The RX 6600 XT costs $379, or about PS270, AU$520. This is $50 more than the RTX3060, but it was around 10% faster during our testing.

The RTX 3060T Ti is where the Radeon RX6600 XT’s value proposition falters. The suggested retail price for this graphics card is $399 (or about PS299, AU$540), however it runs 20-30% faster so most people should just pay the extra money for the RTX3060 Ti – if it’s in stock. It’s the best graphic card.

Chipset and other features

The Radeon RX6600 XT, like the other Radeon RX6600 graphics cards is based upon AMD’s 7nm RDNA 2 graphic architecture. AMD was primarily focused on optimizing RDNA and adding new features such as hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing and power efficiency. AMD included Infinity Cache on RDNA 2 graphics cards. This greatly increases memory bandwidth.

This means AMD graphics cards can have more memory at a lower price, even though the RX6600 XT has 8GB of GDDR6 memory and the Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 has 12GB.

The AMD Radeon RX6600 XT 32 RDNA2 compute units (CU) means that you get 2,048 Stream Processors and 32 ray accelerators – one per CU. This is a significant step down from the Radeon RX6700 XT which has 40 cores and 2,560 SPs. This is a 25% decrease in cores and pretty much correlates to the performance.

You still get a fast clock speed. The AMD Radeon RX6600 XT has a Boost clock speed of 2,589MHz and a Game Clock speed of 2,359MHz. The boost clock simply indicates how fast the GPU can perform in brief bursty workloads. While the Game Clock represents what you see when actually playing games, it is the most common.

FidelityFXSuper Resolution (or FSR) has been a huge addition to the Radeon RX6600 XT since its March 2021 drop. This is AMD’s answer for Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling, which will upscale a video from a lower resolution to its native resolution. This feature is available on the Radeon RX6600 XT. However, it can also be used on any DirectX 11-ready GPU. Performance will be better on AMD’s GPUs at least for now.

The features available on AMD RDNA 2 cards still exist. Smart Access Memory is a huge feature that will allow you to squeeze a little more performance out of your Radeon RX6600 XT. You will need to enable Resizable Bar in your BIOS to enable this feature.

This will allow your CPU direct access the memory of your GPU, which should improve latency and gaming performance. It’s like overclocking. You will need to navigate your BIOS to enable it. However, if you feel comfortable doing this, it’s a simple matter of turning on the technology.

Radeon Boost is another great feature. This is especially useful if you play fast-paced competitive shooters such as Rainbow Six Siege and Apex Legends. This will reduce the resolution of scenes that have a lot more movement. You won’t notice any difference anyway. This will increase framerate. In games like this, a high framerate is crucial.

(Image credit: Future)

Design

AMD will not launch its own Radeon RX6600 XT, unlike the RDNA 2 graphics cards. It’s only available through third-party card partners such as MSI and XFX. We were sent the MSI Radeon RX6600 XT Gaming X version of the card to review.

The MSI Radeon RX6600 XT gaming X is essentially the same as the MSI Radeon RX6700 XT Gaming X. However, it’s a little smaller. The Radeon RX6700 XT Gaming X, unlike the 6700 XT is a dual-slot card and not a 2.5 slot. This will allow it to fit in smaller cases and make it easier to install other expansion cards, such as a capture card, or sound card (yes they still exist).

The 10.9-inch length of the graphics card and 5 inch height of the cooler means that the cooler extends a little past the PCIe bracket. To fit the Gaming X, you will need approximately 2 inches clearance between your case and the place where your graphics card will be mounted. If you prefer a more compact build, there are many low-profile Radeon RX6600 XT versions.

The MSI dragon logo is in the middle of the two fans on this graphics card. The card features some RGB accents between the fans. It has a very gaming aesthetic with a black-and-silver colorway. The shroud has more RGB lighting and the MSI logo is lit up.

The backplate is made of full-metal and has very few cutouts. The PCB is not extended to the full length of your card due to low power requirements. MSI was able to remove some gaps from the backplate to improve airflow through the heatsink.

This cooler is too hot for the GPU. The MSI Radeon RX6600 XT Gaming X topped at 67°C in all our testing. This is remarkable for a card that has a 160W TGP.

However, we found that this version of the card stayed below 160W, even when playing extremely challenging games such as Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition. It reached a peak of 146W. This is less than the RTX 3060 Super and RTX 2060 Super which reached 169W or 183W respectively.

This GPU should allow you to simply toss it in your build without worrying about the MSI Radeon RX6600 XT becoming too hot.

You get three DisplayPort outputs as well as one HDMI 2.1 port. This graphics card is designed for 1080p gaming but can also output 8K video at 60Hz. You shouldn’t expect to play at this resolution.

You only need one 8-pin PCIe cable to provide power. AMD recommends at least a 500W power supply.

Performance

Specifications for the test system

This is how we tested the AMD Radeon RX6600 XT

CPUIntel Core I9-11900K (8 cores, up to 5.8GHz)

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid 360P Silver Edition

RAM:64GB Corsair Dominator Gold @ 2,333MHz

MotherboardMSI Z590 ACE

SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro @ 1TB

Power Supply: Corsair AX1000

Case: Praxis Wetbench

AMD targets 1080p gamers with the Radeon RX6600 XT. The Radeon RX6600 XT is absolutely a knockout. We were able to run every game at this resolution with great performance.

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition is more geared towards Nvidia cards. However, the RX6600 XT managed 52 frames per second at 1080p. This is more than acceptable. While the RX6600 XT is barely beaten by the Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 in this title, AMD’s card frequently battles Nvidia’s card.

Dirt 5 shows that the RX 6600 XT is 16% quicker than the RTX 3060. In Metro Exodus 1, it holds a 15% advantage at 1080p. The AMD graphics card is not as fast as the RTX 3060 in Final Fantasy XIV or Horizon Zero Dawn, which is a bad look considering the price difference.

The Radeon RX6600 XT is slower than the Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 Ti. Despite being only 5% cheaper, the RTX 3060 Ti runs at 1080p around 15% faster than Radeon RX6600 XT. Metro Exodus also shows that the Radeon RX6600 XT is 38% slower than Nvidia’s card. This is quite a difference.

While we understand that not many PC gamers will go all out for ray tracing technology, it doesn’t make financial sense to buy the RX6600 XT unless the RTX3060 Ti is more affordable than it. While some would argue that prices should be compared once the card goes live so we can see how much the prices rise, the MSRP prices are what AMD uses to set the price and where the card will fit in the market.

Right now, the AMD Radeon RX6600 XT is roughly at the same level of the RTX 3060 T, and that’s a competition AMD doesn’t win in any circumstance.

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a good deal if…

Play at 1080p

AMD Radeon RX6600 XT can easily handle any current-generation PC games at 1080p, with all settings maximum.

A small power supply is not necessary

The AMD Radeon RX6600 XT reached a peak power output of 146W in our testing. This means that you can fit this into a system with a 500W UPS and it will work fine.

You participate in a lot of esports

AMD graphics cards are a great choice if your goal is to play esports and take advantage of technology like Radeon Boost to improve frame rates.

It’s not worth the risk if…

You can save a little more

The Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 Ti, which is slightly more expensive than the AMD Radeon RX6600 XT at retail, is a better deal.

Ray tracing is a fun game you can play with

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT supports ray tracing but it is not as good as an Nvidia equivalent.

 

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