AMD Radeon RX 6700 review: If another sold-out GPU falls in the forest…

Look, I am going to degree with you: reviewing a GPU amidst a global chip shortage is ludicrous sufficient to rely as darkish comedy. Your skill to purchase new, higher-end GPUs from both Nvidia or AMD has been hamstrung for months—a truth borne out by their very low ranks on Steam’s gaming PC stats gathered around the world.

As of press time, AMD’s latest “Big Navi” GPUs barely make a ripple in Steam’s checklist. That is arguably a matter of timing, with their November 2020 launch coming two months after Nvidia started transport its personal 3000-series GPUs. However how a lot is that compounded by low provides and purchasing bots? AMD is not saying, and on the eve of the Radeon RX 6700’s launch, the first in its “Little Navi” line, the corporate’s assurances aren’t completely comforting.

In an internet press convention forward of the launch, AMD Product Supervisor Greg Boots supplied the standard platitudes: “a ton of demand on the market,” “we’re doing all the things we are able to,” that form of factor. He talked about a few AMD’s steps that could assist this time round. For one, AMD’s “reference” GPU mannequin is launching concurrently with associate playing cards, so if the stock is definitely on the market (we actually do not know), that at the least places increased numbers of GPUs within the day-one pool. Additionally, Boots emphasised inventory being made obtainable particularly for brick-and-mortar retailers—although he did not supply a ratio of what number of GPUs are going to these outlets, in comparison with on-line retailers.

However then he supplied an assurance that despatched my eyebrow to the ceiling: “We’re working with retailers to stop bots, like we did with the 6800.”

I am sorry, what?!

Enlarge / RX 6700XT specs, as in comparison with 2019’s RX 5700XT.


I requested once more, pointing to ample evidence that the 6800 and 6800XT’s combined launch was an online-retail disaster, and Boots stated he “could not get into too many particulars on what precisely we’re doing.” Minutes later, one among his associates admitted in any other case: a memo AMD had despatched to on-line retailers had leaked on Reddit. I used to be unable to search out the memo in query, but it surely appeared to incorporate advisory statements about purchases per account and different normal anti-bot practices, versus any high-end commerce secrets and techniques.

Moments later, Boots appeared to confess defeat: “On the finish of the day, [retail partners] are both going to utilize that or not. That is as much as them.”

None of this makes AMD significantly particular as a GPU producer, thoughts you. Nvidia hasn’t been a glowing steward of bot prevention or GPU provide management, both, and rapid-fire sellouts of its most up-to-date GPU launch, February’s RTX 3060, proved that out. In both producer’s case, we will must play this damaged report of “are you able to really purchase it?!” insanity earlier than each evaluation till issues change.

Specifically, the everyday “bang for the buck” dialog is at the moment moot. MSRP, or “producer’s prompt retail worth,” doesn’t suggest diddly in an eBay wasteland; your least favourite five-star retailer could not give two hoots about what AMD or Nvidia recommend, as long as determined players and ethereum miners put the supply-and-demand curve in scalpers’ favor.

Ensure to depart milk and CUDA cores

Regardless of these market realities, MSRP at the least provides us a way of every GPU’s meant vary, and the $479 RX 6700XT lands closest to Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti, “priced” at $399. If you would like to learn this evaluation in a traditional Sears catalog method, dreaming that St. GPU Nicholas may at some point fill your stocking with teraflops, this head-to-head showdown makes essentially the most sense as a narrative of Group Purple vs. Group Inexperienced—each specializing in high-end 1440p efficiency with these merchandise, not 4K.

AMD would in all probability choose that we examine the 6700XT to Nvidia’s newer $329 providing, the RTX 3060, and if these are the one two playing cards in inventory, and we’re not measuring retailer costs, the dialog tilts additional in AMD’s favor. As I reported final month, the RTX 3060 and 2019’s RTX 2060 Super are neck and neck performance-wise, and also you’re extra more likely to have an RTX 2060 Tremendous to check this to, so I’ve put it in my benchmarks. My charts additionally embody 2016’s GTX 1070 as a “baseline” card and final yr’s AMD RX 6800. I am utilizing the latter that will help you probably measure the curve of what a hypothetical RX 6700 (non “XT”) may appear like by way of stepping down from one mannequin to the following.

All of this text’s benchmarks have been performed on my normal Ars testing rig, which sports activities an i7-8700K CPU (overclocked to 4.6GHz), 32GB DDR4-3000 RAM, and a mixture of a PCI-e 3.0 NVMe drive and normal SSDs.

Usually, assessments of gaming software program at 4K resolutions do the most effective job of demonstrating a GPU’s full potential for your system, even in case you’re not planning to play video games at 4K resolutions. Setting a sport’s decision to 4K does a greater job of taking a CPU’s influence on a sport out of the equation for these measurements, at which level it’s best to examine share variations between my assessments and guess accordingly. The identical goes for the overkill I slap onto every benchmark’s settings, which I normally set to both the best doable or next-highest setting—and in your precise gameplay, it is typically higher to turning off sure costly results, which is able to end in increased body charges than seen right here (typically with negligible hits to how your favourite video games look in motion).

Nonetheless, AMD has just lately insisted that its GPUs are tuned to crank at 1440p decision, so I’ve taken the corporate’s reps at their phrase and included 1440p assessments for each benchmark above (albeit with overkill graphics settings). Certain sufficient, that gross sales pitch checks out to some extent, particularly when evaluating the 6700XT on to the 3060 Ti.

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