AMD Unveil New RX 6000 Series Graphics Cards
Overview and Opinions

AMD officially announced their new RX 6000 graphics cards yesterday in a video hosted by CEO Lisa Su. 

 

Nicknamed “Big Navi”, the cards are an attempt to stir up the GPU market currently dominated by Nvidia.

The $579 RX 6800 and $649 6800XT cards are due to be released on Wednesday, November 18th. The flagship $999 RX 6900XT is slated for release on Tuesday, December 8th.

AMD emphasised some features they will be implementing to improve the gaming experience.

Ray tracing, a cutting-edge lighting feature pioneered by technology rival Nvidia, will be included with AMD cards for the first time.
The new Infinity Cache aims to provide higher memory bandwidth compared to previous cards whilst decreasing power consumption.
Also new is AMD Smart Access Memory, where the new AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU can gain full access to the RX 6000 Series GPU’s memory. This never-before-seen feature claims to provide performance gains compared to previous CPU and GPU pairings.

AMD have already proven themselves to be gaining traction in the gaming CPU market, with the recent Steam hardware survey showing AMD usage has risen from 19% to 25% on their platform in the last 18 months.
The Steam GPU survey seems to show that AMD GPUs are still struggling to gain acceptance by gamers, only having around a 16% share.
With strong 4K and 1440P performance across the board, AMD’s specs suggest the new cards match or beat Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series GPUs. With similarly competitive prices, AMD are looking to increase their foothold in the market.

Image Credit: AMD

AMD can capitalise on Nvidia’s current “paper launch” stock issues by having a smooth launch themselves. It will be interesting to see if the figures provided by AMD match up with real benchmarks when the cards are released in the coming weeks.

Opinions

AMD seem to have really made an attempt here to compete with the mid and high-end offers of Nvidia. If these performance readings and pricing figures are true, any enthusiast gamer looking to pick up a new high-end PC should be seriously considering the RX 6900 XT paired with a Ryzen 5000 processor and compatible motherboard, in order to tap into the new Smart Access Memory feature. The only reason you’d opt for the RTX 3090 would be if you really need that extra 8GB of memory for complex tasks such as 8K video editing or 3D rendering and animation. Or, of course if you already have a good Intel processor and motherboard.

The RX 6800XT seems to be trading blows with the 3080. The slightly lower power consumption does help, but it’s really too similar both in price and performance at this stage to suggest one may come out on top of the other.

AMD’s biggest blunder of the whole reveal seems to be the RX 6800, which seems to be priced a whole $80 more than the RTX 3070 without any performance gain whatsoever. I am fully expecting to see some kind of price decrease on the RX 6800 after launch just to get it to a competitive price.

The over-reliance on extra performance through the Ryzen 5000 CPUs and the RX 6000 GPUs working together may be a shortcoming for AMD. Even though AMD have their biggest CPU market share in a long time, there are still many Intel CPU users who will miss out on Smart Access Memory entirely and will be likely pushed towards Nvidia due to some of the marketing around the AMD GPUs.

It’s also important to note the cooling technology on the new cards. Obviously, we have no temperature figures yet, but just from the presentation the GPU’s appearance tells a lot. Even though it’s nothing compared to the new fan technology seen on the RTX 3000 cards, the transition from AMD’s previous blower cooling on their reference cards to open-air, 3-fan technology is a change AMD should’ve made years ago.

The next few months look to be tentatively promising for AMD on both CPU and GPU fronts, but time will tell as to whether it will be successful. Let’s just hope it doesn’t become two for two on GPU stock issues and paper launches this year.

Watch the full reveal here:

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