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Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 XT Eagle Review: Clipped Wings

Soaring With the Turkeys

Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 XT Eagle
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

The Gigabyte RX 6600 XT Eagle effectively matches the performance of other cards using Navi 23, but the heatsink and fans leave us wanting something better. Only buy this if you don't have any other reasonably priced choices or need the dual HDMI 2.1 ports.

For

  • + Similar performance to other 6600 XT cards
  • + $380 official MSRP
  • + No bling (could be a con for some)
  • + Comes with dual HDMI 2.1 ports

Against

  • - Higher fan speeds, noise, and temperatures
  • - Hard to find in stock, like everything else
  • - Underwhelming design
  • - No extras or bonus features

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT launched on August 11, 2021, and today we have the Gigabyte RX 6600 XT Eagle. My mom had a saying that she used to quote to me whenever I stayed up late playing computer games: You can't expect to soar with the eagles if you run around all night with the turkeys. Never mind that turkeys sleep at night, and I usually responded with a joke about aspiring to be more like an owl than an eagle. Gigabyte's Eagle GPUs on the other hand are oddly placed at the value end of the spectrum, which is not what I normally think of when people reference the majestic birds, but let's see how it compares to the competition. Will it be one of the best graphics cards, or will it hang out with the turkeys?

The Gigabyte RX 6600 XT Eagle comes with AMD's reference clocks, which I find rather surprising for a triple-fan cooler. If you want the factory overclocked models with some extra bling, that would be the Gaming and Gaming Pro line, which have substantially higher MSRPs. I picked up the base model Gigabyte card at Micro Center on launch day for $380 (plus tax), opting to save my pennies rather than splurging on the Gigabyte Gaming OC ($470 MSRP) or Gigabyte Gaming Pro OC ($500). Initial stock was good, at least by 2021 metrics, but most places are now back to being sold out and waiting for additional shipments, which often amounts to a few hundred cards a week for a larger chain. (That's what a Micro Center employee suggested, at least, saying they typically got about two dozen cards per week — and there are 25 locations nationwide.) 

RX 6600 XT GPU Specifications
Graphics CardGigabyte RX 6600 XT EagleASRock RX 6600 XT PhantomSapphire RX 6600 XT Pulse
ArchitectureNavi 23Navi 23Navi 23
Process TechnologyTSMC N7TSMC N7TSMC N7
Transistors (Billion)11.111.111.1
Die size (mm^2)237237237
CUs323232
GPU Cores204820482048
Ray Accelerators323232
Infinity Cache (MB)323232
Game Clock (MHz)235924282382
VRAM Speed (Gbps)161616
VRAM (GB)888
VRAM Bus Width128128128
ROPs646464
TMUs128128128
TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)9.669.959.76
Bandwidth (GBps)256256256
PCIe Slot Interfacex8 Gen4x8 Gen4x8 Gen4
TBP (watts)160180160
Launch DateAug-21Aug-21Aug-21
Launch Price$379 $499 $379

Here are the specs for the three different RX 6600 XT cards we've tested. The Gigabyte Eagle sticks with AMD's reference clocks, the Sapphire RX 6600 XT Pulse comes with a minor 23 MHz factory overclock, and the ASRock RX 6600 XT Phantom Gaming OC (which AMD provided for the launch review) has a slightly higher 69 MHz factory overclock. That should mean at best about a 3% difference in performance, though there's more to a graphics card than just pure performance — at least for some people. If you want a quieter card, or something with a bit more flash, the Eagle falls short.

Getting those extras can cost quite a bit, however. The Phantom Gaming is priced over 30% higher than the Eagle and Pulse cards, and blinged out models from Gigabyte and Sapphire (e.g., the Gaming Pro OC and Nitro+) carry similarly high prices. Honestly, I find it difficult to justify the expense on what is ostensibly a mainstream card. In a normal market, we'd be looking at RX 6700 XT cards for $500 — something the RX 6600 XT can't hope to compete with in performance. But of course, the market remains anything but normal right now.

Over the past two weeks since it launched, the Radeon RX 6600 XT has followed the well trodden path of other recent GPUs in our GPU price index, selling out quickly and then showing up on eBay at inflated prices. While there are a few retail models that start at AMD's base $380 asking price, most are listed at $450–$550. Checking sold listings at eBay, the average price for the RX 6600 XT right now sits at $637, and that includes plenty of minimum spec models like the Gigabyte Eagle. More desirable GPUs like the RX 6700 XT and RTX 3060 Ti average $835 and $935, respectively. The theoretically direct competition comes in the form of Nvidia's RTX 3060, which has an average price on eBay of $715. That's to AMD's advantage right now, as the RX 6600 XT generally beats the RTX 3060 (even though it has less VRAM and memory bandwidth), though Nvidia takes the lead if you factor in ray tracing and DLSS performance. 

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Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton's (Senior Editor) love of computers dates back to the dark ages, when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and 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.

  • watzupken
    I am glad at least it doesn't explode. In any case, I feel the cutback is to be expected given that the Eagle series is Gigabyte's entry level model.
    Reply
  • artk2219
    watzupken said:
    I am glad at least it doesn't explode. In any case, I feel the cutback is to be expected given that the Eagle series is Gigabyte's entry level model.

    I agree some compromises are expected with entry level models, but the crazy thing is they didn't have to. I can't see the build cost on that longer triple fan model being any cheaper than some of the shorter dual fans models that are available. Eh who knows maybe they had a bunch of those fans, or could source them super cheaply, still doesn't explain the long heatsink or extra plastic etc on the card.
    Reply
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    Something about JD and Turk screaming “Eagle”.

    in all seriousness, wow, this is truly budget in every sense of the word, it could be worse, but wow.

    reminds me of my first blower card, GTX 660, and how loud and hot it ran (this was an oem design on an Alienware system).
    Reply
  • Findecanor
    watzupken said:
    I am glad at least it doesn't explode.
    Every large computer brand produces faulty hardware or software sooner or later.
    The difference, which matters is in how they treat the issue — and the customers affected by it.
    This was Gigabyte's biggest failure with the PSU.
    Reply
  • watzupken
    Findecanor said:
    Every large computer brand produces faulty hardware or software sooner or later.
    The difference, which matters is in how they treat the issue — and the customers affected by it.
    This was Gigabyte's biggest failure with the PSU.
    This I totally agree. I am not upset with failing products from Gigabyte. I am upset with the way they handle the issue. And considering this may be a potential fire hazard, or may end up killing something in the computer (where warranty gets void), it is highly irresponsible of Gigabyte to delay a recall and try to blame it on reviewers. Worst of all, they are bundling these PSU with GPUs despite knowing almost a year back of the issue. This just shows they don't care. Anyway, no more Gigabyte products for me after 2 decades of supporting them by buying their motherboards.

    Back to the topic of this GPU.
    Reply