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AMD technically released its Radeon RX 6900 XT nowadays, while stocks of the GPU clearly show each individual indication of being seriously constrained. Priced at $999, the new Radeon card is intended to be the crown jewel of the Navi stack, and to put AMD on a much more aggressive footing from Nvidia.

This is a major moment for AMD in numerous regards. It’s the initial time the organization has fielded a large-conclude GPU intended to compete at the top of the market due to the fact the start of the Fury X back in 2015. 2017’s Vega 64 competed roughly versus the GTX 1080 at a time when Nvidia already had the 1080 Ti in-current market, though the RX 6900 XT is intended to land in-involving the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090.

Specs on the 6900 XT when compared to previous AMD launches. Graphic by Warm Components.

AMD certainly hits its cost level — the $1,000 RX 6900 XT is $500 a lot less highly-priced than the RTX 3090 — but it delivers a relatively small range of attributes to prospects who move up to the card. Because the 6900 XT is a totally-enabled 6800 XT, clients get the profit of an additional 8 compute units, or a total of 512 compute cores (5120, vs . 4608). It also has 1.1x additional ray accelerators and TMUs, but the identical base and strengthen clocks, the very same VRAM, and the very same TDP. The selling price gap involving the RTX 3090 and the RTX 3080 is a great deal bigger than concerning the 6900 XT and the 6800 XT, but the RTX 3090 adds characteristics like a broader memory bus, a larger sized leap in the complete range of shader cores, and more than double the VRAM. Of class, Nvidia also needs $1,500 for the GPU, so they relatively clearly essential to give people a rationale to decide it.

AMD versus Nvidia at 4K. Knowledge by THG.

According to Tom’s Components, the 6900 XT falls behind the RTX 3090 in 4K, with an regular of 85fps in 13 games as opposed with the 3090 at 93.6fps. That makes the RTX 3090 just 1.1x more quickly than the 6900 XT, for 1.5x much more dollars.

Of training course, this chart also exhibits that the 6900 XT is only 1.06x more quickly than the RX 6800 XT, whilst costing 1.53x far more funds (primarily based on MSRPs, lol). Altogether, the RTX 3090 is 1.18x speedier than the 6800 XT, but costs 2.2x far more. Which is the type of selling price/general performance ratio you’re purchasing into, if you choose to buy at the tip-leading of the market place.

THG writes that the RX 6900 XT “is a bit faster than the RTX 3080, and it can conquer the 3090 in a handful of instances.” Ray tracing functionality amongst AMD and Nvidia is at the moment extremely difficult to evaluate. The online games by now on-marketplace (with comprehensive Nvidia GPU optimizations and constrained AMD optimization, if any) favor Nvidia, a good deal. The couple of tests AMD distributed before launch of the 6900 XT favor AMD. With so few tests and this sort of a lopsided optimization condition, it is hard to tell how items shake out.

The expectation that I have observed, which however appears correct, is that Huge Navi’s ray tracing efficiency is greater than Turing, but not as good as Ampere. AMD’s latest GPUs look to hit ~2080 Ti ray tracing stages and they offer you the effectiveness at <2080 Ti pricing, but they’re strongest against Nvidia in rasterized workloads so far. This could change with future optimizations and patches.

Hot Hardware and THG reach somewhat different conclusions regarding the overall performance of the card. THG notes: “Overall, however, the RX 6900 XT fails to impress relative to the RX 6800 XT. It’s such an incremental bump in performance that it hardly seems worth the trouble.” While it’s fast, it lags in ray tracing workloads and the $1500 RTX 3090 is viewed as offering more features.

Hot Hardware, in contrast, writes: “The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT rocks. Is it the fastest card across the board? No. But it is an immensely powerful and capable GPU, with a beefy 16GB of memory, a leading-edge feature set, and obvious synergy with current-gen game console architectures, which should bode well for game development and optimizations moving forward.”

My own take (I’ve reviewed the 6800 XT but not the 69000 XT) is that the 6900 XT is AMD’s way of signaling it intends to compete in the high-end of the graphics market once more, but that the company is still playing catch-up in some regards. This is not automatically a bad thing. If we look back to 2015, we see AMD nearly-match the GTX 980 Ti, only to fall short of the mark with the Vega 64 in 2017. From 2016 – 2019, AMD’s most-competitive positioning was between $100 – $300. In mid-2019, Navi debuted at higher prices with the 5700 and 500 XT, and demonstrated that AMD was still capable of competing with Turing. With Big Navi in 2020, AMD has demonstrated that it can compete with Nvidia in the upper market once again — but Biggest Navi is still a bit of a reach.

Part of the reason for this, it should be said, is because AMD chose to emphasize high VRAM loadouts and relatively high clocks for its lower-end cards. AMD chose to weaken the RX 6900 XT’s positioning by improving the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT, and while that makes their top-end solution a little bit of an underwhelming step up, it looks this way for the best possible reason.

Most Radeon gamers will, I suspect, be best-served by either the 6800 or the 6800 XT. Nevertheless, the 6900 XT sends a message to investors and enthusiasts that AMD intends to compete robustly in GPUs as well.

When you’ll actually be able to buy one of these cards is anyone’s guess. A recent PR from Swiss retailer Digitec revealed that the company had received just 35 cards for launch, implying that this GPU is going to be extremely difficult to find. In that sense, the entire discussion is academic, since you won’t really be able to buy a card until 2021 unless you want to pay 1.5x – 2.5x over list price. There are RTX 3090’s going on eBay for $2,000 to $2,500, and some that list for even more, so the chances you can buy a new RDNA2 GPU before Christmas are small, no matter what.

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