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Sapphire Configures a Radeon RX 6500 XT With 8GB VRAM

Sapphire Radeon RX 6500 XT with 8GB
(Image credit: Sapphire)

Sapphire surprised us by announcing a new Radeon RX 6500 XT configuration with 8GB of memory. The formerly entry-level graphics card now comes with double the original model’s 4GB quota. Nothing else has materially changed, the GPU and memory performance specs are the basically same, but we expect to see a price bump with the additional VRAM. The RX 6500 XT does claim a spot among the best graphics cards, mostly thanks to its budget pricing, but we'd much rather have a faster GPU for a bit more money.

The AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT had a tough time when it was launched, as it was quite widely dismissed as underpowered and under-featured. However, it seems like both Intel and Nvidia have sought to make it look like a champ by releasing competing graphics cards like the Arc A380 and RTX 1630 in the interim period. AMD’s own Radeon RX 6400 also makes the RX 6500 XT seem like quite a muscular offering.

When we tested the RX 6500 XT, memory capacity wasn't our primary concern. We noted that the specs and features had been cut too far from the RX 6600 and above. There were indeed concerns with the memory configuration, but it was more the 64-bit bus, not just the 4GB. There were further concerns with using a PCIe x4 connection — not terrible with PCIe 4.0, but a particular problem on older gen systems with slower PCIe standards — plus the limited display connectivity (one HDMI and on DisplayPort), and finally the complete lack of hardware video encoding support. In brief, no one was asking for more VRAM, except maybe Sapphire's marketing dept.

Comparison of Sapphire Pulse RX 6500 XT models
RX 6500 XT 8GB

RX 6500 XT 4GB

GPU

RDNA 2, Navi 24 XT

RDNA 2, Navi 24 XT

Boost clock

2,855 MHz

2,825 MHz

Stream Processors

1,024

1,024

Ray Accelerators

16

16

Memory Quota

8GB GDDR6

4GB GDDR6

Memory Speed

18 Mbps

18 Mbps

Memory Bus

64-bit

64-bit

Ports

1x HDMI, 1x DP

1x HDMI, 1x DP

Board Power

130W

130W

Above you can see exactly what Sapphire has changed for its Pulse RX 6500 XT model. The GPU max boost clock speed is technically 1% faster, but that could reasonably be described as negligible.

Most people would you play modern AAA games on the 6500 XT with low-ish settings due to the entry-level GPU, which also lowers the VRAM requirements. The larger memory capacity can help in some games with certain settings (like texture and shadow resolution), but the GPU computational power and memory bandwidth will quickly become the bottleneck.

Sapphire tweeted (opens in new tab) that the new Pulse Radeon RX 6500 XT 8GB is on shelves now. We haven't been able to find one for sale, which means we don't have a price yet. That will be a critical factor, considering the RX 6500 XT 4GB starts at $189 (opens in new tab), while the substantially faster RX 6600 8GB starts at $279 (opens in new tab), and the lowest price on a Sapphire RX 6500 XT 4GB is $199 (opens in new tab).

For reference, in our GPU benchmarks, the RX 6600 was 80% faster than the RX 6500 XT at 1080p medium and over twice as fast at 1080p ultra, making it a far more capable GPU overall. That's because it has 75% more GPU cores and double the memory interface width, which are both important for real-world gaming performance. It also has an x8 PCIe interface, supports up to four monitors, and includes full hardware video encoding support.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • artk2219
    As was stated, having 8GB is nice, but it does nothing to fix the main issues of an x4 pcie connection and a 64bit bus, id still be curious to see if it provides a decent uplift though.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Likewise on the curiosity point. Though, wouldn't the bump up to 8GB eliminate the need in a lot of cases to have to go over the x4 PCIe connection to system RAM?

    I would speculate that it might be a larger difference than what was seen with the 5500XT 4 vs 8GB versions. Particularly for systems without PCIe 4.0 or 5.0.

    But I'd love to see how this Giant Among Hobbits GPU manages to do. Will it, perhaps, manage to match the performance of the RX 580 8GB?
    Reply
  • CompuGuy71
    My question is who is gonna buy this? At the low end it will probably retail at $225 ~ $250 at that point, spend another 25 or so bucks and get a 6600 8GB
    Reply
  • King_V
    CompuGuy71 said:
    My question is who is gonna buy this? At the low end it will probably retail at $225 ~ $250 at that point, spend another 25 or so bucks and get a 6600 8GB

    Well, I figure the RX 6400 has been dropping, the RX 6500 XT with 4GB has been dropping a little, I suspect this version will potentially put downward pressure on those prices.

    Maybe.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    Seems like a logical upgrade - most benchmarks showed that the card's performance got hit tremendously when you reached the end of its framebuffer, especially if you didn't use PCIe 4.0. Doubling its VRAM capacity makes it much easier to NOT run out of framebuffer, thus not hitting the PCIe bus. Due to how little compute power the chip has, widening the VRAM bus would have little effect; reducing reads and writes to it, though, might just help.
    I still would recommend getting a RX6600 instead.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    artk2219 said:
    As was stated, having 8GB is nice, but it does nothing to fix the main issues of an x4 pcie connection and a 64bit bus, id still be curious to see if it provides a decent uplift though.
    The problem will be less likely to happen because there is more VRAM and less need to go through the BUS for system memory. But I feel pricing is key because at the low end, there is usually very little legroom for price changes since you can tell that there are other better alternatives that are not going to cost significantly more. If it’s too expensive, I rather go for a RTX 3050 which is not so severely gimped as this card.
    Reply
  • King_V
    watzupken said:
    The problem will be less likely to happen because there is more VRAM and less need to go through the BUS for system memory. But I feel pricing is key because at the low end, there is usually very little legroom for price changes since you can tell that there are other better alternatives that are not going to cost significantly more. If it’s too expensive, I rather go for a RTX 3050 which is not so severely gimped as this card.
    The only downside to that is that the 3050 seems to be stupidly overpriced beyond it's MSRP.
    Reply
  • kewlguy239
    Admin said:
    Sapphire's new Radeon RX 6500 XT Pulse 8GB is available now. The GPU boost clock is 1% faster, but the memory bus remains lacking at 64-bit.

    Sapphire Configures a Radeon RX 6500 XT With 8GB VRAM : Read more
    You guys need to read your own stuff. Saying no one asked for more VRAM directly contradicts Jarred's review, where he stated he would have like to see at least 6GB on the RX 6500 XT.
    Reply
  • artk2219
    King_V said:
    The only downside to that is that the 3050 seems to be stupidly overpriced beyond it's MSRP.

    Definitely, it's pricing is ludicrous, you could pickup an RX 6600 for less which beats it in every way, except in ray tracing, and even there it's close. Heck even if you wanted to stick pure team green you could pickup a 2060 for less and get better performance. Nuts.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    all amd needs to do is widen the bus to 128 and move it to an 8x interface while keeping this @ 8GB, hell they could even skip moving to 8x and they are selling thousands of these

    I guess they just dont want ya enjoying this card......

    so much wasted potential in the low end on both sides, many of us want to stay @ 1080p
    Reply