AMD’s new Radeon RX 6800 Series graphics cards are available now - with the AMD Radeon RX 6800
($949 AUD) and AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
($1049 AUD) hitting the scene to directly compete with the recent launch of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series. Ahead of our own review, AMD’s exciting new RDNA 2 architecture has been with several publications ahead of today’s launch and reviews have hit overnight.
Check out our coverage of the RX 6000 series reveal for more info on the tech
So then, how does the RX 6800 XT stack up to the flagship RTX 3080?
When it comes to 4K gaming using non-ray-traced titles it looks to be very close, with Tom’s Hardware reporting
that the RX 6800 XT is “nipping at the heels” of NVIDIA’s Ampere-based RTX 3080. Built on 7nm tech, AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 series is a force to be reckoned with.
At 4K, NVIDIA's 3080 leads the 6800 XT by three percent, but it's not a clean sweep — AMD comes out on top in Borderlands 3, Far Cry 5, and Forza Horizon 4. Meanwhile, NVIDIA gets modest wins in The Division 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Metro Exodus, Red Dead Redemption 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and the largest lead is in Strange Brigade. But that's only at the highest resolution, where AMD's Infinity Cache may not be quite as effective.
From the above Tom’s Hardware reports that lowering the resolution to 1440p sees AMD’s effort effectively tie with the RTX 3080 when it comes to overall performance - the RX 6800 XT winning in some games and the RTX 3080 winning in others.
Over at TechPowerup
the results look similar with the RX 6800 XT performance reaching almost RTX 3080 levels when it comes to rasterized (that is non-raytraced gaming).
The Radeon RX 6800 XT is almost twice as fast as the Radeon RX 5700 XT, quite a huge gain generation over generation. Now, these cards are of course at different price points, but they are the best AMD had at the time. Compared to NVIDIA's offerings, we see great results, too. The RX 6800 XT is just 6% behind the RTX 3080 and 25% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070. Before AMD's announcement, I've heard people say "oh if AMD could only match 2080 Ti, it would be huge win for them." NVIDIA's fastest, the RTX 3090, is 16% faster than the RX 6800 XT, at much higher pricing.
Over at The Verge
the review puts special attention on the sweet-spot of 1440p, reporting that in its tests the RX 6800 XT outperforms the RTX 3080 at that resolution.
I’ve put the 6800 XT head to head with the RTX 3080 in a variety of games we typically test and some new titles like Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. In most of the games I’ve tested, the 6800 XT outperforms the RTX 3080 at 1440p.
When the 6800 XT outperforms in certain titles, it does so comfortably. Shadow of the Tomb Raider manages a full 10fps more on AMD’s card, and with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it’s nearly 20fps. In other titles, it’s extremely close on performance between the two cards at 1440p, but most of the time AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT is holding its own against the RTX 3080 or beating it.
shared similar results, stating, “If you thought AMD would let up at 2560 x 1440 then you were wrong -- we have 142FPS average versus the RTX 3080 with 140FPS.”
Where the story changes is when it comes to ray-tracing, where NVIDIA has been leading the charge in recent years - with the RTX 30 series presenting the company’s second generation of RT hardware. Here the RTX 3080 outperforms AMD’s offering by around 30-percent at 4K (according to the reviews mentioned here) - but when DLSS rendering is added into the mix, that lead grows exponentially.
And in a totally valid sense with DLSS offering image-quality on par with a native resolution with up-to an 80-percent bump in performance. The RX6800 RT numbers we’re seeing highlight just how taxing ray-tracing is on all cards, and why technology like DLSS is important for the near-future. Based on reviews for the RX 6800 series, ray-tracing at 4K is nowhere near 60fps, nor even 30fps. When it comes to ray-tracing AMD is gearing up for its own DLSS equivalent - so stay tuned on that front.
Also, it sounds like AMD’s use of Smart Access Memory technology, which pairs the new GPUs with Ryzen processors offers a negligible improvement in a number of titles. Though that’s based on TechPowerup’s tests
. Again, our own review and testing is to come. And on the SAM front benchmarks for Assassin's Creed Valhalla does show a double digit bump, meaning that it's tech newer games will benefit the most from.
In the end though the story is clear, AMD is back in a big way when it comes to high-end PC gaming. Ray-tracing may be a step or so behind NVIDIA, but gaming at 1440p the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT are beasts, easily outperforming the RTX 3070 (though NVIDIA’s card is cheaper) and performing on par or slightly better than the RTX 3080. At 4K, NVIDIA’s flagship looks to be edging out AMD’s 6800 XT. Perhaps the best thing of all is that NVIDIA now has some competition in the PC space, and this will see both companies go all out over the next couple of years when it comes to graphics tech.