The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT has landed — or at least, it will land tomorrow at retail, 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. Officially priced at $479, AMD pits the RX 6700 XT against both the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070, targeting the sweet spot for price and performance among the best graphics cards and landing in the upper ranks of our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. Let's find out how it stacks up in our comprehensive review.
Architecturally, Navi 22 doesn't add or remove features from Big Navi and RDNA2. It comes with full DirectX Raytracing (DXR) support and implements the full DirectX 12 Ultimate features list, including Variable Rate Shading (VRS), mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. What AMD has done echoes what we've seen in past generations of GPUs: It trimmed the fat, shrinking the die size by reducing the number of shader cores, memory controllers, and Infinity Cache. Here's a quick overview 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||Navi 10|
|Process Technology||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7|
|Die size (mm^2)||336||519||519||519||251|
|Infinity 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|
AMD 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 others. The Infinity Cache checks in at 96MB now, 25% smaller than on Big Navi. Similarly, there are now six 32-bit memory interfaces instead of 8 interfaces, which reduces bandwidth by 25%. AMD compensates for the hefty reduction in core counts by delivering the highest official GPU clocks so far, with a Game Clock rated at 2424MHz — and like other RDNA2 chips, it can and often will exceed that in gaming workloads, with a maximum boost clock of 2581MHz (it's actually a bit higher than that according to AMD's drivers, but that's what AMD lists on the official spec sheet).
The RX 6700 XT's clock speed represents a bit of an interesting compromise. To push clocks into the 2.5GHz range, AMD had to increase the power limits. Considering the smaller die and reduced VRAM, normally we'd 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 reach of most modern gaming PCs as it only requires a decent 500W PSU (AMD recommends 650W or higher). However, it's slightly more than Nvidia's competing RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 GPUs.
Navi 22 actually looks 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). Had AMD kept clock speeds closer to 2.25GHz, it probably could have shaved off a decent amount of power — certainly less than 200W is possible. But higher clocks come with performance benefits, and AMD apparently felt sacrificing some efficiency to boost performance was the better course.
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