A blog post penned by AMD staffers in June 2020 temporarily disappeared from AMD's community pages. KitGuru was perusing the page in question only yesterday, and saved some lovely before and after screenshots of the post. The 18-month old blog post, which was missing for a few hours, poured scorn on the idea that graphics cards should be marketed at gamers with 4GB of VRAM or less. Is it a coincidence that today AMD launches the Radeon RX 6500 XT with 4GB VRAM?
Given the post has returned, likely due to public knowledge of the post being hidden, it's still interesting to look at the change in attitude. AMD's June 2020 blog post was titled 'Game Beyond 4GB', making the idea it wanted to promote to PC gamers clear enough. At the time the post was written, AMD bragged about its range of Polaris and RDNA 1 (Radeon RX 5000-Series) graphics cards that came packing 6GB or 8GB of VRAM.
AMD's arguments against limiting yourself to a GPU with 4GB still apply today. It listed three major areas of concern for people buying such VRAM limited GPUs in mid-2020. Even when playing at 1080p, it said 4GB graphics cards might experience "error messages and warning limits, lower framerates, [plus] gameplay stutter and texture pop-in issues."
A chart provided by AMD at the time, to steer buyers to its RX 5500 XT with 8GB over the 4GB version, and also to tout the benefits of the RX 5500 XT 8GB over Nvidia's competing GTX 1650 Super, showed decent performance boosts with 8GB across a number of popular 2020 titles, including CoD Modern Warfare (22%), Forza Horizon 4 (18%), and MS Flight Simulator 2020 (97%). Not surprisingly, more recent AAA titles only push these VRAM demands further with titles such as Far Cry 6 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Cyberpunk 2077 being quite notorious for VRAM limited performance impacts.
With today's launch of AMD's Radeon RX 6500 XT with 4GB VRAM, we can now see the real-world performance of the new RX 6500 XT. This entry-level design officially has a $199 MSRP, with models priced at $199 to $359 at places like Newegg. Like all modern graphics cards, market forces will ultimately determine where the price settles, a common theme for this generation.
There's hope that, with its undesirable specs for mining, good availability might help hold the pricing of the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT down. Is 4GB actually sufficient for gaming now? Apparently, particularly if you stick to medium or high settings.