On October 28th, 2020, Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, took upon the stage once again to unveil AMD’s new RX6000 series range of GPUs. The 30-minute presentation live-streamed by AMD showcased three new graphics cards capable of supporting a level of performance demanded by modern games with Raytracing support at a price targeted at budget enthusiast gamers. From showcasing games known to be resource-intensive running at stellar framerates, to proudly stating the effectiveness of their new architecture delivering performance at low power requirements at a manufacturing cost lower than their competitors, AMD might just give Nvidia a run for its money.
This event closely follows AMD’s reveal of its new Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 processors branded as ‘World’s best gaming CPU’ by Dr. Lisa Su. Much like the RX6000, The CPUs also target the enthusiast gaming market. The entry-level Ryzen 5 5600X has been priced at $299 with 3 other Zen CPUs to follow. The CPUs are built for the current generation of 300 and 500 series motherboards. As an added advantage to AMD, they are designed to leverage the power and performance RX6000 series in a way that the Nvidia’s 3000 series graphics cards just wouldn’t do.
Packs a Punch
Learning from the mistakes in the previous RX5000 series cards, AMD went back to the drawing board and redesigned the core architecture that made them tick. The newly designed RDNA2 architecture boasts a 52% increment in performance per watt than its predecessor RDNA architecture. The RX6000 cards also come equipped with a maximum of 16 GB GDDR6 Memory. Each of the cards is bolstered with an ‘infinity cache’ memory of 128 MB to provide enough bandwidth for seamless High-Performance gaming at 4k.
Alright, what about ray-tracing? Well, the RX6000 series now comes equipped with hardware-based ray-accelerators built into the card to calculate and implement ray-tracing for supporting games. Each card can have from 60 to 80 ray accelerators and compute units to support Ultra graphics for even the most demanding titles across the board. This incredible prowess in hardware combined with AMD’s soft-features such as Freesync technology, anti-lag, and support for HDMI2.1 enables these cards to run games smoothly at 4k 240hz and 8k 60hz with relative ease.
A match made in heaven – or in a lab?
Dr. Lisa and her team dropped another bomb on Nvidia by introducing a new feature shared between AMD’s new Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 processors and the RX6000 series. Using AMD’s Smart Access Memory, Zen 3 CPUs now have full access to the R6000 GPU’s GDDR6 memory. This is the result of an expanded data channel which boosts in-game performances by up to 11%. This is before game developers optimize their titles to fully exploit this feature. More details will be available about this feature after cards and CPUs have been released to the public.
Performance Benchmarks – trading blows with Nvidia?
Many viewers had their jaws dropping to the ground during the presentation when a smug Lisa Su pulled up performance comparison charts comparing their new RX6000 with the Nvidia 3000 series GPUs. One of the benchmark comparisons was for a popular online battle royale game called Call Of Duty, a game known for its massive size and demanding performance. According to AMD’s in-house tests, their RX 6900 XT beats the RTX 3090 at running the game at a solid 100 FPS at 4k Ultra graphics settings. Similarly, RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 beat their counterparts RTX 3080 and RTX 2080ti in performance across multiple titles. Benchmarks for other titles such as Doom Eternal are available at AMD’s website.
Release date – Managing expectations
AMD’s RX 6800 and RX 6900 XT are expected to go on sale on November 18 at $579 and $649 respectively. The RX 6900XT will go on sale on December 8 for $999. The big question looming over these dates: Should you buy one?
As much as AMD would like you to pounce at their products like a kitten pounces on a fish, We suggest waiting. Why? take a look at Nvidia’s debacle! This year, Everyone had a front seat ticket to Nvidia’s sale of new RTX graphics cards, as the majority of the cards available at the time were bought up by scalpers who then tried to sell these cards at nearly double the price on eBay. That combined with the fact that the production has been bottle-necked with manufacturers of these cards struggling to produce enough of the product to meet the demand is a lesson about being cautious.
As an added reason for caution, Most of the performance claims made by AMD were carried out and recorded in an in-house setup. These benchmarks have to be verified by third party reviewers before one can even begin to think of purchasing these cards. We can expect big reviewers to come up with new benchmarks in the week leading up to the sales of the RX6000. One thing is for certain. AMD has brought the fight to Nvidia in the form of fierce competition in which the consumer is the winner.