AMD continues to update its lineup, releasing new video cards based on the RDNA 2 architecture. Last year, top solutions came out — Radeon RX 6900 XT, Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6800. The first novelty of this year was the Radeon RX 6700 XT video card, which should occupy the upper niche of the middle price segment. Although it is difficult to talk about a clear price positioning in the conditions of the current shortage. But this is a very interesting competitor for the GeForce RTX family with a high amount of video memory. In our review, we will get acquainted with the reference model AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and compare its performance with older graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA.
The novelty uses the new Navi 22 GPU based on the 7nm RDNA 2 architecture. All previous models used the larger Navi 21 in different configurations. The new chip has more modest performance with fewer transistors and lower power consumption. Navi 22 has 40 Compute Units, is equipped with a 192-bit bus and 12 GB of fast GDDR6 memory.
In terms of the number of computing units, Navi 22 is half that of Navi 21 — 40 CUs instead of 80 CUs. These are 2560 stream processors instead of 5120, 40 tracing acceleration units instead of 80, 160 texture units instead of 320. That is, the potential of the Radeon RX 6700 XT processor is two times lower than the potential of the Radeon RX 6900 XT. But the operating frequencies are higher — the base value is 2321 MHz, Game Clock 2424 MHz, Boost Clock 2581 MHz. At the same time, TDP is at a moderate level of 230 watts. The memory bus is only 192 bits, but the use of a fast, large Infinity Cache cache reduces calls to the external video buffer and improves the overall efficiency of the memory subsystem. The Navi 22 GPU has 96 MB of Infinity Cache instead of 128 MB for the older GPU. The video card is equipped with 12 GB of GDDR6 memory with an effective frequency of 16 GHz. This is a significant advantage over NVIDIA’s closest 8GB competitors, even the GeForce RTX 3080 is limited to 10GB of memory.
|Video adapter||Radeon RX 6800 XT||Radeon RX 6800||Radeon RX 6700 XT||Radeon RX 5700 XT|
|Core||Navi 21||Navi 21||Navi 22||Navi 10|
|Number of transistors, million pieces||26800||26800||17200||10300|
|Process technology, nm||7||7||7||7|
|Core area, sq. mm||520||520||335||251|
|Number of CUDA Stream Processors||4608||3840||2560||2560|
|Number of Ray Accelerator cores||72||60||40||—|
|Number of texture blocks||288||240||160||160|
|Number of render units||128||96||40||40|
|Base core frequency, MHz||1825||1700||2321||1605|
|Game Clock frequency, MHz||2015||1815||2424||1755|
|Boost frequency, MHz||2250||2105||2581||1905|
|Memory bus, bit||256||256||192||256|
|Memory frequency, MHz||16000||16000||16000||14000|
|Memory size, GB||16||16||12||12|
|Supported version of DirectX||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 Ultimate (12_2)||12 (12_1)|
|Interface||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 4.0||PCI-E 4.0|
The Radeon RX 6700 XT supports all DirectX 12 Ultimate API features, including ray tracing. The hardware supports Variable Rate Shading technology, which allows you to change the quality of shaders in different frame segments. The technology already works in games such as Gears 5 and Dirt 5. Improved Radeon Boost technology, which accelerates performance in dynamic scenes by reducing the resolution and quality of shading of different frame segments. The technology smooths out performance during sudden movements, when the loss of picture quality is not critical for perception.
AMD Smart Access Memory technology is supported, which optimizes CPU requests to graphics card memory. This feature is available on new motherboards with AMD Ryzen 5000 and 3000 series processors.
A set of AMD FidelityFX technologies are supported to optimize performance in certain modes using features of the new architecture. These are tools for optimizing Ambient Occlusion, Variable Shading, etc. FidelityFX Super Resolution technology is important and should be the answer to NVIDIA DLSS. However, it has not yet been officially presented, and if we see any games with FidelityFX Super Resolution support, then towards the end of the year.
AMD is positioning the new product as the optimal solution for games in 2560×1440 format. The video card is faster than the Radeon RX 5700 XT, although it has similar characteristics. The high amount of memory can provide an advantage over NVIDIA’s heavy-duty solutions. At this price point, 8GB GeForce RTXs are available, with some 1440p games capable of loading 9-10GB.
When it comes to ray tracing, the Radeon RX 6700 XT is seen as a 1080p solution. When paired with additional FidelityFX tracing technologies, the Radeon RX 6700 XT can compete with the GeForce RTX 3070 in some games.
In our review, we will compare the new AMD graphics card with the GeForce RTX 3070, Radeon RX 6800 and some other models. But first, let’s look at the features of the reference instance.
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
The video card fell into our hands without the factory packaging, so we will immediately proceed to the external examination.
The Radeon RX 6700 XT is made in the same design as older models, but is equipped with two fans. With a length of 27, which is identical to the Radeon RX 6800, the younger model is clearly lighter.
The thickness does not exceed two expansion slots. A distinctive feature of the novelty is a large logo in the shape of the letter R between the fans.
The reverse side of the video card is covered with a solid metal plate.
In the corner there are two power connectors — eight and six pins.
The side face has a red border and a red illuminated Radeon logo.
The rear panel has three Display Ports and one HDMI.
The analysis of the video card begins with the dismantling of the back plate. It has a protective function and is not a radiator.
The board is covered with a cooler with a black base and a casing, inside of which there is a heatsink with heat pipes.
In the center of the heatsink there is a protruding copper pad for contact with the surface of the GPU. AMD’s older models used a vapor chamber design. The black base is a heatsink for memory chips and power elements, for which the appropriate thermal pads are provided.
Although the heatsink and the base are in contact in different areas, there is no additional thermal interface between them.
On the outer side of the base there is an additional fin to increase the scattering area.
Three heat pipes permeate all sections of the radiator, touching the copper pad in the center of the structure.
From above, all this is blown by two fans with a diameter of 85 mm. The blades have a solid outer ring. This design of the impeller allows you to increase the air flow.
The PCB is 24 cm long. There are 11 power phases, nine of which are for the GPU power system.
The Navi 22 processor is noticeably smaller than the Navi 21. 12 gigabytes of memory is made up of six Samsung K4ZAF325BM-HC16 chips.
We have a standard model from AMD, but GPU-Z shows a slight difference in frequencies relative to the official specifications, which can be attributed to a program error when working with a new video card. The utility shows Game Clock 2433 MHz and Boost Clock 2615 MHz instead of 2424 MHz and 2581 MHz. The memory frequency is 2000 MHz (effective value 16 GHz).
In game mode, the GPU frequencies are kept in the range between the declared Game Clock and Boost Clock. For example, in Horizon Zero Dawn, the frequencies varied within 2550-2600 MHz, in the 3DMark Time Spy stress test at the level of 2400-2500 MHz. According to AMD Radeon Software peak Boost point is 2699 MHz.
The temperature did not exceed 76°C in the open case (indoors 21°C). Fans spin up to 1900 rpm. Noise is present, but within an acceptable level. The reference Radeon RX 6800 was quieter under similar conditions. The Radeon RX 6700 XT loses to the older model due to small simplifications in the design of the cooler and fewer fans.
An important advantage of AMD video cards is the wide software settings, which eliminates the need to resort to additional utilities. Alternative operating modes can be enabled in the standard AMD Radeon Software suite. In particular, there is an option with lower operating voltages for less heat and noise, there is an option for a small automatic overclocking and fine manual settings.
In the manual settings of AMD Radeon Software, you can adjust the operating range of Boost, smoothly change the fan control curve, increase the power limit, etc. In the course of experiments on our copy, we settled on increasing Boost to a peak level of 2830 MHz, the memory frequency was increased to the upper limit of 2150 (17200) MHz. The complete settings configuration is shown below.
The same settings in the display of the GPU-Z utility:
In games, the frequencies really aspired to 2800 MHz, although in heavy applications there were drawdowns below 2600 MHz. This is reflected in the screenshots of monitoring parameters during the Horizon Zero Dawn tests and in the 3DMark Time Spy stress test.
With fan speeds up to 2500 rpm, the temperature of the GPU remained within 75 ° C.