AMD released its Radeon RX 6700 XT back in March, to generally favorable reviews. It's on our list of the best graphics cards (that you still can't buy at reasonable prices) and currently sits in eleventh place (tenth if you don't count the Titan RTX) in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, slotting in right between the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti. It's a great card and AMD's largest volume producer for its latest generation of RDNA2 GPUs. But it also uses the fully enabled Navi 22 GPU, and there will always be a certain percentage of chips that fail to pass muster. So where's the trimmed down RX 6700 non-XT? (FYI, that's a Photoshopped box image up top, in case that wasn't immediately obvious.)
When AMD released its first RDNA cards, the RX 5700 XT and RX 5700, they both launched on the same day — with new Ryzen 3000 Zen 2 CPUs joining the party. I was there; it was a testing and benchmarking nightmare! Not because the products were bad, but because it was too many new things from one company on the same day. That day was July 7, 2019 — a not-so-subtle jab at making it to 7nm well ahead of Intel and Nvidia. Launching multiple products on the same day can create problems, so I get that maybe AMD wanted to do a solo launch for the 6700 XT this round.
Anyway, the main point is that RX 5700 XT uses Navi 10 with 40 CUs and 8GB of GDDR6, while RX 5700 uses Navi 10 with 36 CUs and 8GB of GDDR6. This is a tale as old as time — well, GPU time at least, which only goes back 21 years or so. We've seen this with basically every GPU and CPU die for as far back as I care to remember. And yet, here we are, four months after the RX 6700 XT launch and still in the middle of massive GPU shortages, and AMD still hasn't released the vanilla RX 6700. It's very weird.
To make things worse, there are now credible rumors and leaks suggesting the Radeon RX 6600 XT will launch on August 11. Maybe AMD decided not to make a non-XT 6700 and will put harvested Navi 22 chips into RX 6600 XT cards, but all the current scuttlebutt says the RX 6600 XT will use Navi 23 with 32 CUs. There's not a particularly big gap between 32 CUs and 40 CUs, though the most likely configuration for the RX 6600 XT would be a 128-bit memory bus and 8GB of VRAM. That means there's still room for a Radeon RX 6700 12GB with 32–36 CUs... but where is it?
Right now, there's only a single desktop product using Navi 22 in AMD's RX 6000 stack. There are also two mobile variants that use Navi 22, the RX 6800M (full 40 CU chip with 12GB) and the RX 6700M (36 CUs and 10GB). It's possible and even probable that all of the harvested Navi 22 GPUs are just ending up as 6700M right now, but I'm still waiting for a desktop RX 6700. Maybe I'll end up waiting in vain, but we'll have to see how the RX 6600 XT performs and where AMD wants to price that first.
RX 6700 XT has an official MSRP of $479, and while everything remains massively overpriced at retail, at least there's been a clear downward movement of late. Our GPU pricing index puts the average eBay price of the 6700 XT at $725 for the past two weeks, another 6% drop from the previous two weeks, with higher quantities sold as well. There are rumors the RX 6600 XT might launch with a $399 price point, but that still feels like it should be the RX 6700, with the RX 6600 XT taking on the RTX 3060 directly at $329. Considering this will be the first SKU where AMD has a memory deficit (8GB vs 12GB), it might even need to undercut Nvidia.
Of course, there were also rumors of an RX 6700 6GB impending launch right around the time of the RX 6700 XT debut. Those didn't pan out, and maybe Nvidia putting 12GB on the RTX 3060 is to blame. Either way, Navi 22 in RX 6700 attire is still MIA. Will it eventually surface once supply for other parts catches up to demand? It still seems like it would have been better to add another option back when prices were radically inflated, if only to cash in on the GPU gold rush. Whatever the case, with RX 6600 XT right around the corner, let's hope graphics card prices continue to fall.
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Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.
Definitely interesting where partially faulty RX 6700 chips are disappearing. I believe chip binning is still a thing. Maybe they are sold to come specific mining hardware. Or somewhere else. Don't believe that AMD are throwing out in general functional chips who can't exactly match with RX 6700XT clock speed or have some faulty cores.Reply
6700M are 36CU cut down Navi 22. Although, I can't find laptops with 6700M after a quick google. But, maybe some manufacturer(s) committed to enough orders to hoover up the defective die and we will see them soon.Reply
Isn't TSMC's N7 node supposed to have really good yields? Maybe there are only a limited number of faulty Navi 22 dies to go around.Reply
The 6700M is all they need and it also gets away with using a partially disabled memory controller at 160 bits instead of 192. I'm not sure desktop users would be happy with "just" 10GB and the lower bandwidth that that entails.
Unlike normal times, it makes absolutely no sense for AMD to use fully intact 40CU dies in lower-tier products - they'll sell all the 6700XTs and 6800Ms they can make.
It makes sense for AMD to be trying to get out a GPU with a smaller die.Reply
For RDNA2 they pulled a 180 over Vega to prioritize a big cache with slower memory over expensive HBM. Unfortunately for AMD, they did not anticipate that TSMC would become a major bottleneck for their production. Cache consumes a lot of die space. Their 6700XT die still has a large cache, so the chip isn't nearly as small as they need it to be. So, their current lineup is not well suited to today's manufacturing limitations. But lower powered GPUs need far less memory bandwidth, meaning an exponentially smaller cache. I would imagine that 6700XT production is pretty limited right now, with priority going to the higher margin 6900XT/6800, and to the smaller chips that they will launch soon. There may not be enough faulty chips available to support launching a 6700 for awhile. But, AMD is definitely working to solve the problem. The chiplet-on-chiplet cache that they recently demonstrated is going to be very important for their future GPUs, assuming they are similar to RDNA2.
To Nvidia's credit, Samsung's 8nm is not nearly as efficient as TSMC's 7nm, but Samsung had capacity to spare. It looked bad at launch... But in retrospect, I think that decision is working out very well for Nvidia, right now. There's still production bottlenecks, but that's one less for them to deal with.
Maybe they felt the performance gap was too narrow to be able to shoehorn another part in between the 6600XT and 6700XT, and the 6700 non-XT would end up cannibalizing sales from the other two parts to the point where none of the three was profitable enough.Reply