The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT has landed — or it will land at retail tomorrow and sell out 0.67 seconds later. (For a bot, that’s practically an eternity!) This also marks the debut of AMD’s smaller Navi 22 GPU, which we’ll call Little Big Navi or Medium Navi or something similar. Officially priced at $479, AMD pits the RX 6700 XT against both the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070, aiming for the sweet spot for price and performance below the best graphics cards and land in the higher ranks of our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. Let’s see how it compares in our in-depth review.
Architecturally speaking, Navi 22 does not add or remove any features Big Navi and RDNA2† It comes with full DirectX Raytracing (DXR) support and implements the full list of DirectX 12 Ultimate features, including Variable Rate Shading (VRS), mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. What AMD has done is similar to what we’ve seen in previous generations of GPUs: It trimmed the fat, made the die smaller by reducing the number of shader cores, memory controllers, and Infinity Cache. Here’s a quick rundown of the specs for AMD’s latest GPUs, plus the previous-generation Navi 10-based RX 5700 XT for comparison.
|Graphics Card||RX 6700 XT||RX 6900 XT||RX 6800 XT||RX 6800||RX 5700 XT|
|architecture||Navi 22||Navi 21||Navi 21||Navi 21||Navigation 10|
|Process technology||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7|
|Die size (mm^2)||336||519||519||519||251|
|Infinite cache (MB)||128||128||128||96||N/A|
|Game Clock (MHz)||2424||2250||2250||2105||1755|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||16||16||16||16||14|
|VRAM bus width||192||256||256||256||256|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||12.4||23||20.7||16.2||9|
|Launch date||21 March||Dec-20||Nov-20||Nov-20||July 19|
AMD has made some serious cuts with Navi 22 compared to Navi 21, with half the potential CUs and shader cores. That’s the biggest change, but there are more. The Infinity Cache now checks in at 96 MB, 25% smaller than on Big Navi. Likewise, there are now six 32-bit memory interfaces instead of 8 interfaces, which reduces bandwidth by 25%. AMD makes up for the significant reduction in core count by delivering the highest official GPU clocks to date, with a gaming clock of 2424MHz – and like other RDNA2 chips, it can and often will outperform those in gaming workloads, with a maximum boost clock of 2581MHz (it’s actually a bit higher than that according to the AMD drivers, but that’s what AMD states on the official spec sheet).
The clock speed of the RX 6700 XT represents a bit of an interesting compromise. To get clocks in the 2.5GHz range, AMD had to increase the power limits. Given the smaller die and reduced VRAM, we’d normally expect a pretty significant drop in power requirements compared to the RX 6800, but AMD lists a TBP (Typical Board Power, meaning it includes all power and not just the GPU) of 230W. That’s not bad, and it’s certainly within the reach of most modern gaming PCs, as it only requires a decent 500W PSU (AMD recommends 650W or higher). However, it is slightly more than Nvidia’s competing RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 GPUs.
Navi 22 is actually very similar to Nvidia’s GA106 used in the recent RTX 3060 12GB. It has the same amount of memory and a similar die size (slightly larger for AMD due to the Infinity Cache). If AMD had kept the clock speeds closer to 2.25GHz, it probably could have saved a decent amount of power – certainly less than 200W is possible. But higher clocks bring performance benefits, and AMD apparently felt it was the best choice to sacrifice some efficiency to improve performance.
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