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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review: High-performance 1440p gaming

By Aaron Yip & Hoots the Owl - 8 Apr 2021

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review: High-performance 1440p gaming

AMD takes aim at 1440p gaming

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT arrives in the middle of a global GPU shortage, promising performance that sits neatly between the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070. It is the direct successor to the Radeon RX 5700 XT and built on second-generation RDNA 2 architecture. Featuring the Navi 22 GPU core, which is basically a cut-down version of the Navi 21 found in the Radeon RX 6800 XT, the Radeon RX 6700 XT brings RDNA 2 to a slightly more accessible price point at US$479.

That said, this is still a relatively high-end card, and anyone looking for a truly affordable 1080p gaming on AMD's latest architecture will have to wait a while longer. 

As an RDNA 2 card, it packs 96MB of Infinity Cache, still more memory, even higher clock speeds, and of course, Ray Accelerators. Infinity Cache was first introduced on RDNA 2 as a way to get around the need for a wider, more power-intensive memory bus without sacrificing memory bandwidth. The benefits of this are evident in the Radeon RX 6700 XT, which features a narrower 192-bit memory bus width compared to the 256-bit on the Radeon RX 5700 XT. And despite its significantly higher clock speeds, the total board power has increased by a mere 5W to 230W, evidence of the power efficiency gains AMD has made with RDNA 2.  

The amount of VRAM is another one of the headline features – the Radeon RX 6700 XT features 12GB of GDDR6 memory, compared to the 8GB on the GeForce RTX 3070

The final thing that needs mentioning is the Ray Accelerators, which debuted on RDNA 2 and help bring hardware support for ray tracing to AMD. That said, the Radeon RX 6700 XT comes with just 40 Ray Accelerators, a modest number that doesn't put it in the higher echelons of ray tracing cards. 

Here's an overview of its specifications and how it compares to the higher-end Radeon RX 6800 series and the Radeon RX 5700 XT: 

  AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT AMD Radeon RX 6800 AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT AMD Radeon 5700 XT
Stream processors 2,560 (40 CUs) 3,840 (60 CUs) 4,608 (72 CUs) 2,560 (40 CUs)
ROPs 64 96 128 64
Game/Boost clock 2,424MHz/2,581MHz 1,815MHz/2,105MHz 2,015MHz/2,250MHz 1,755MHz/1,905MHz
VRAM 12GB 16GB 16GB 8GB
Infinity Cache 96MB 128MB 128MB N/A
Memory bus width 192-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory bandwidth 384GB/s 256-bit 256-bit 448GB/s
TDP 230W 250W 300W 225W
Manufacturing process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
Architecture RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA
GPU Navi 22 Navi 21 Navi 21 Navi 10
Price US$470 US$579 US$649 US$399

The Radeon RX 6700 XT also supports PCIe 4.0, which allows you to take advantage of Smart Access Memory if you have an AMD 500-series motherboard and Ryzen 5000 processor for a small performance boost. 

Elsewhere, AMD has also ditched the blower-style cooler it usually favours for an open-air design that runs cooler and quieter. The reference card adheres to a reasonably compact dual-slot design, measuring just 267mm long. It is powered by 6-pin and 8-pin connectors, so unlike with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3000 series Founders Edition cards, your regular power connectors will still work. Compared to the Radeon RX 6800 XT however, the Radeon RX 6700 XT has just two axial fans instead of three, complete with support for a zero RPM fan mode for less noise. 

The Radeon RX 6000 series has really improved in terms of design from the previous generation, and the card now boasts a hefty diecast aluminum frame for improved structural rigidity. AMD is talking up the PCB design too. It's apparently a 10-layer PCB with two layers of copper, complete with nine-phase voltage regulation to ensure the card remains stable. 

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8.0
  • Performance 8
  • Features 8
  • Value 8
The Good
Solid 1440p performance
Uses standard 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors
SAM provides performance boost when paired with Ryzen 5000 chips
The Bad
Not always faster than the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Performance can vary significantly depending on the game
Runs hotter than competing NVIDIA cards
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