AMD Big Navi is here with the announcement of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, the company's latest flagship graphics card that it hopes takes a huge bite out of archrival Nvidia market dominance.
AMD has been playing catch-up in recent years after Nvidia introduced dedicated ray tracing cores into their GPUs, but this latest generation of Radeon graphics cards could get AMD back on even footing with Nvidia.
Big Navi, as the new AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture is affectionately called, finally brings dedicated ray tracing hardware to the Radeon line up. As the first cards from Team Red to feature the new technology, Nvidia is likely to still hold the edge where ray tracing is concerned, but some leaks suggest that the RX 6800 XT may outperform the RTX 3080 in traditional rasterized gaming and AMD is promising that it most certainly will.
These new graphics cards start hitting the street on November 18, so until then, we don't really know how they will perform in the real world. Until then, however, we gathered up all the speculation and official information in one spot. And, be sure to keep this page bookmarked, and we'll keep it updated with all the latest information.
What is it? The next AMD Radeon flagship graphics card
When is it out? November 18
How much is it? $649 (around £500, AU$1,000)
Radeon RX 6800 XT release date
Now that the Radeon RX 6800 XT is official, we finally have a release date for when it will go on sale. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, along with its cut-down sibling, the RX 6800 will be releasing on November 18. Only time will tell whether or not AMD has enough stock at launch to serve the high demand these graphics cards will surely carry, though.
Radeon RX 6800 XT price
The Radeon RX 6800 XT is competing directly against the GeForce RTX 3080, and it's priced at $649 (around £500, AU$1,000), which is pretty much what we expected. This puts pressure on Nvidia, as its RTX 3080 is $699 (£649, about AU$950).
By undercutting Nvidia, AMD could sway potential RTX 3080 buys to go for the RX 6800 XT instead, especially if the RTX 3080 remains hard to buy due to stock shortages.
Either way, AMD hasn't challenged Nvidia in this part of the market in a long time, so we're ready to see some fireworks starting to fly in the next couple of months.
Radeon RX 6800 XT specs and performance
Out of the box, AMD is suggesting hat the Radeon RX 6800 XT will provide around double the performance of the last-generation Radeon RX 5700 XT in 4K gaming. A large part of this is just that it's a bigger GPU. We're talking about 72 compute units, with 16GB of GDDR6 memory, which operates on a 2,015MHz game clock and a 2,250MHz boost clock.
It's important to note the differences between these two specs, however. The way AMD GPUs operate, it will only hit the boost clock during very brief and demanding workloads, where a sudden burst of frequency can help it complete more difficult tasks. The number that most people should actually concern themselves with is the 2,015MHz game clock, which is a lot higher than the 1,755MHz game clock that the RX 5700 XT ships with.
When you combine that much higher clock speed with the fact that AMD has nearly doubled the compute units from 40 on the 5700 XT to 72 on the 6800 XT, it's not hard to imagine that AMD can actually hit that 2 x performance boost that it claims. As for how many Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs) these compute units will pack in, that's a little less clear, as AMD hasn't revealed that information quite yet.
However, the Xbox Series X specs list out how many Streaming Multiprocessors its GPU has, and since it's built on the same architectures, we can assume that each Compute Unit on the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT has the same amount of SMs.
The Xbox Series X GPU has 52 Compute Units, with 3,328 SMs, which means that the 72 SMs in the RX 6800 XT – assuming that the layout is similar, and we have no reason to not believe that – packs 4,608 SMs. This all means we can expect a raw throughput of 18.57 Teraflops of FP32 throughput, which is much less than the RTX 3080.
However, AMD is claiming that the Radeon RX 6800 XT performs about on par with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, even outperforming it in some cases, so it's possible that Team Red has just found a way to better keep the cores busy – but this is something we'll have to test for ourselves once we get our hands on the graphics cards.
One sticking point that some may point to with the Radeon RX 6800 XT specs, however, is that the graphics card comes equipped with 16GB of GDDR6 memory, rather than the GDDR6X memory found in the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. This is a concern, but it's one that AMD hopes to solve with similar Infinity Cache technology to its Ryzen processors, which should radically cut down on memory latency.
AMD goes so far to claim that by using the Infinity Cache in combination with the GDDR6 VRAM on a 256-bit bus, it's able to provide more than 2 times the bandwidth with less power – big if true.
Based on AMD's own claims, it looks like Team Red and Team Green will be trading blows in most games at 4K. If this is true, there will be choice in the high-end of the graphics card scene again, for the first time since the Radeon R9 Fury X all the way back in 2015. We can't wait to throw the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT onto our test bench to see exactly what it can do.
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