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AMD Radeon RX 6600 Review: RDNA2 Goes Mainstream at $329

AMD's RX 6600 takes on Nvidia's RTX 3060

XFX Radeon RX 6600 Speedster SWFT 210
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 officially starts at $329, the same price point as Nvidia's RTX 3060. It uses a harvested Navi 23 chip, delivering lower performance than the RX 6600 XT. It's decent for 1080p gaming, but struggles at higher resolutions and with ray tracing.

For

  • Decent 1080p performance
  • Single 8-pin power connector
  • Supply should be okay (maybe)

Against

  • Generally slower than RTX 3060
  • Only 8GB VRAM
  • Poor ray tracing performance

Two months back, AMD launched the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT, the first card to use the Navi 23 GPU. Today, AMD follows up with its first truly mainstream priced RX 6000-series card, the Radeon RX 6600. Take the same GPU but with four of the CUs (compute units) disabled, clock it a bit lower and you get the RX 6600 non-XT.

Will it be one of the best graphics cards, or will it come up a bit short? A lot of that will depend on retail pricing and availability, as GPU prices remain inflated, but supply has been a bit better on the RX 6600 XT than on other RDNA2 graphics cards, so hopefully for gamers, AMD can supply a reasonable quantity of GPUs for this launch.

I talked about the lack of a vanilla RX 6700 prior to the Navi 23 launch, and that previously widely rumored card remains MIA. Presumably that's because any of the Navi 22 chips that aren't fully functional can be sold as one of the various mobile RX 6000M-series solutions. AMD isn't taking that same approach with Navi 23, though, and along with trimming off some of the performance, the RX 6600 reduces the power requirement to just 132W and also cuts the official starting price to $329 — the same price as Nvidia's RTX 3060, though with 'only' 8GB VRAM. That's basically mainstream pricing in today's market — actually, it's less than you'll pay for most actual mainstream GPUs — though we suspect AMD's partners and the various retail outlets will jack up the price as long as GPUs remain in short supply.

Besides reducing the CU count and reducing the GPU clocks — by a relatively large 315MHz if you look at the Game Clock — AMD also reduced the GDDR6 speed from 16Gbps to 14Gbps. Note that the 'maximum' boost clock of 2491MHz (technically the GPU can exceed even the boost clock) is quite a bit higher than the game clock, so we'll have to see how it all plays out in the benchmarks. But overall we'd expect the RX 6600 to be 10–25 percent slower than the RX 6600 XT, depending on whether a game needs more GPU power (up to 25% slower in theory) or more memory bandwidth (about 12.5% slower). Here's the rundown of AMD's latest RX 6000-series GPUs and their specifications.

AMD RX 6000-Series GPU Specifications
Graphics CardRX 6600RX 6800 XTRX 6800RX 6700 XTRX 6600 XT
ArchitectureNavi 23Navi 21Navi 21Navi 22Navi 23
Process TechnologyTSMC N7TSMC N7TSMC N7TSMC N7TSMC N7
Transistors (Billion)11.126.826.817.211.1
Die size (mm^2)237519519336237
CUs2872604032
GPU Cores17924608384025602048
Ray Accelerators2872604032
Infinity Cache (MB)321289612832
Game Clock (MHz)20442250210524242359
VRAM Speed (Gbps)1416161616
VRAM (GB)81616128
VRAM Bus Width128256256192128
ROPs64128966464
TMUs112288240160128
TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)7.320.716.212.49.7
Bandwidth (GBps)224512512384256
PCIe Slot Interfacex8 Gen4x16 Gen4x16 Gen4x16 Gen4x8 Gen4
TBP (watts)132300250230160
Launch DateOct-21Nov-20Nov-20Mar-21Aug-21
Launch Price$329 $649 $579 $479 $379

Paper specs don't always match up with real-world performance, so we'll have to see how the RX 6600 fares against its main competition — which includes not just the RTX 3060 and RX 6600 XT, but also previous generation cards like the RTX 2060, RTX 2060 Super, and RX 5600 XT. Considering this card replaces the previous generation RX 5600 XT, it's unfortunate that generational pricing has gone up quite a bit, but then there's no sense in expecting AMD to launch at a price that few people will ever see. Again, we hope there will actually be a fairly decent supply of RX 6600 cards, both for the initial launch and going forward.

We mentioned the issue with AMD's game clocks vs. boost clocks already, and we've used AMD's game clocks for the above TFLOPS numbers. However, given the way things have changed with boost clocks on RDNA2 (i.e., RDNA2 GPUs often reach and exceed boost clocks while game), it might be better to compare performance using boost clocks rather than game clocks. If we do that, the RX 6600 can provide about 8.9 TFOPS of compute, while the RX 6600 XT delivers 10.6 TFLOPS of compute. That's a much lower 16% drop in theoretical performance, and it matches up better with the reduced memory bandwidth.

The Navi 23 architecture uses the same general formula as the other Big Navi and RDNA2 GPUs. It supports DirectX Raytracing (DXR) and implements the full DirectX 12 Ultimate features list, including Variable Rate Shading (VRS), mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. The smaller 32MB Infinity Cache on Navi 23 represents a compromise that mostly benefits 1080p and maybe 1440p, but mainstream GPUs generally aren't used at higher resolutions so that should be okay.

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.

  • Zarax
    Hi Jarred, would you suggest this card as an upgrade from a RX590 in an older PC (i7-3770k)?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • kal326
    Says these launch the 21st. Newegg shuffle hit early today and lists 8 rx6600 cards from ASRock, XFX, Gigabyte, MSI, Powercolor and Sapphire. They seems lower priced at the $329 level and I noticed they were non XT with first listing day of today.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Zarax said:
    Hi Jarred, would you suggest this card as an upgrade from a RX590 in an older PC (i7-3770k)?

    Thanks!
    Not that I want to speak for Jarred, but the RX 6600, being somewhere in the same performance range as the RX 5600 XT or the RX 5700, would be a very noticeable jump from the RX 590, while also consuming a lot less power.

    That said, on that old i7, I think the only real problem would be possibly the motherboard. Sometimes, older motherboards are very finicky and won't work with newer video cards, most particularly when they're part of OEM systems like Dell and HP.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    Ah, another "meh" release of a GPU. Only saving grace is going to be the real street pricing vs MSRP. So sad... So sad...

    Anyway, thanks a lot for the review; much appreciated as always.

    King_V said:
    Not that I want to speak for Jarred, but the RX 6600, being somewhere in the same performance range as the RX 5600 XT or the RX 5700, would be a very noticeable jump from the RX 590, while also consuming a lot less power.

    That said, on that old i7, I think the only real problem would be possibly the motherboard. Sometimes, older motherboards are very finicky and won't work with newer video cards, most particularly when they're part of OEM systems like Dell and HP.
    Wasn't the Z77 chipset PCIe2.0? It would make the 6600 siblings run in X8 of PCIe2, so I'd imagine they won't perform as in these charts? Maybe close, but I wonder how badly they'll be constrained.

    EDIT: yep, 2.0 indeed: https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/products/64024/intel-z77-express-chipset.htmlEDIT2: Z77 with the 3770 does run in PCIe3.0; just want to clear that up just in case. It was pointed out later in the thread.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • Zarax
    King_V said:
    Not that I want to speak for Jarred, but the RX 6600, being somewhere in the same performance range as the RX 5600 XT or the RX 5700, would be a very noticeable jump from the RX 590, while also consuming a lot less power.

    That said, on that old i7, I think the only real problem would be possibly the motherboard. Sometimes, older motherboards are very finicky and won't work with newer video cards, most particularly when they're part of OEM systems like Dell and HP.

    Luckily it's not a branded PC but a custom build.
    In my case I would use the RX590 to replace my wife's HD7970 and get the RX6600 for myself IF I can get it at MSRP. If not, I will keep playing lottery at AMD's website in the hope of getting something realistically priced.
    Reply
  • PiranhaTech
    When AMD misses the mark, they often have price adjustments and/or sales eventually... but they probably don't need to in this climate.
    Reply
  • King_V
    @Yuka 's post does bring up a good point, though. That the 6600 is constrained to x8 PCIe, and that early era board you have is running PCIe 2.0, could make the 6600 a little slower than expected.

    I still imagine it'll do far better than the RX 590, though.
    Reply
  • r7litepro
    4 chips of ram... this is a 150 gpu ...Mainstream ? lol ok
    Reply
  • Makaveli
    Zarax said:
    Hi Jarred, would you suggest this card as an upgrade from a RX590 in an older PC (i7-3770k)?

    Thanks!

    As someone who is on a RX580 I think it would be better to go with the 6600XT model, but as other have suggested if you don't have a PCIe 4.0 motherboard makes this a more difficult decision.
    Reply
  • King_V
    Yeah . . I think even on PCIe 3.0, you'd still be okay. PCIe 2.0, on the other hand, is kind of an unknown in terms of how much of a choke-point that will be.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Yuka said:
    Wasn't the Z77 chipset PCIe2.0?
    Doesn't matter what the chipset is: the x16 slot is fed directly by the CPU and Ivy Bridge (3000-series) does support PCIe 3.0. Most 60-series boards with a hard-wired x16 slot (no x8x8/x8x4x4 bifurcation since 2.0 switches can't do 3.0) also got a free upgrade to 3.0x16 with an Ivy Bridge CPU installed.

    Kind of the reverse of how a lot of 300/400-series AM4 motherboard could do PCIe 4.0 when using a Zen 2 CPU until AMD pushed an AGESA update to block it.

    As for the review/RX6600 itself, basically feels like overpriced tech from years ago. MSRP is about $100 more than it would have any right to in a remotely sane economy.
    Reply