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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Review: Big Navi Goes on a Diet

Navi 22 joins the GPU party, trimming core counts, die size, and price

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Radeon RX 6700 XT 1080p Gaming Performance

AMD pitches the Radeon RX 6700 XT primarily as a 1440p gaming solution, or alternatively, a 1080p solution targeting higher fps. We'll start with the 1080p results and move up to 1440p and 4K below. Given the high-end price, we're sticking with our ultra (max/highest without MSAA or SSAA) settings for this review. Our GPU benchmarks hierarchy includes results from 'medium' quality testing — or it will once we get it updated. We have the 6700 XT numbers, but need to update the text and charts.

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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Overall, the RX 6700 XT achieves buttery smooth frame rates at 1080p ultra — no surprise there. Across our test suite, which doesn't include any DXR enabled games for this review, the card averaged 131 fps, about 7% faster than the RTX 3060 Ti and 1% slower than the RTX 3070. That disclaimer about not including any ray tracing tests matters, though. Watch Dogs Legion with DXR at ultra settings dropped performance to just 35 fps, while the RTX 3060 Ti managed 52 fps at the same settings — and with DLSS Quality mode enabled, the RTX 3060 Ti jumped to 70 fps.

As noted earlier, time constraints prevented us from doing a full suite of ray tracing benchmarks, and we'll look at that in the coming days. It's also important to remember that the enhanced visuals that come from ray tracing often aren't that noticeable. Improved reflections, lighting, and shadows might be nice, but not necessarily at half the frame rate. Of course we'd say the same thing about most games' ultra settings compared to high settings.

A few other comparisons are worth pointing out. The RX 6800 is (theoretically) $100 more than the 6700 XT, a 21% difference in price, and it's only 16% faster. The RX 6700 XT is also 26% faster than the previous generation RX 5700 XT, and over 40% faster than Nvidia's RTX 2060 Super, with a launch price that's about 20% higher than those two cards. If we include the factory overclocked cards from Sapphire and Gigabyte, the story remains much the same: The Sapphire card outperformed the Gigabyte card by 6% on average.

Looking at the individual game results, the RX 6700 XT — and AMD in general — delivered significantly better performance in Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Borderlands 3. Those are both AMD promotional games, and they both use the DirectX 12 API. The results suggest some fine tuning of AMD's performance, without similar effort on behalf of Nvidia. Other DX12 games like Dirt 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Forza Horizon 4 end up closer to a 10% lead, rather than 30-45%. If we dropped the AMD-friendly games, or added more games where Nvidia performance is better (e.g. quite a few ray tracing games), we could easily distort things to make it look closer. But that's not the point.

The main takeaway here is that AMD's newcomer lands right where you'd expect, in terms of traditional rasterization performance, when looking at the official launch prices from AMD and Nvidia. It's faster than the 3060 Ti, and close to the 3070, with a price slightly lower than the 3070. If you don't care about ray tracing, or you don't want an Nvidia GPU, the 6700 XT looks good.

Radeon RX 6700 XT 1440p Gaming Performance

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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Gaming at 1440p continues to be the sweet spot in our view, combining high refresh rates with improved resolutions. The RX 6700 XT performance dropped by 23% compared to 1080p ultra, but all of the games we tested, at the settings we tested, stayed above 60 fps. Watch Dogs Legion does fall below 60 fps on minimum frame rates, as does Metro Exodus — and Valhalla just barely dips below that mark. Otherwise, 1440p ultra won't be a problem.

The console comparison here is appropriate, considering the 6700 XT likely comes in around the same level as the Xbox Series X — XSX has 52 CUs clocked at 1.83GHz, compared to 40 CUs at 2.4GHz for the 6700 XT, so they're pretty close. How can an Xbox manage 4K gaming while a PC can't? Easy: Dynamic resolution scaling combined with slightly lower settings. 1440p upscaled to 4K at well over 60 fps is often what you get on consoles, and you can get the same with PCs.

Overall standings don't change too much with the higher resolution, though some of the margins become a bit larger. The 6700 XT still came in 7% ahead of the 3060 Ti, but it's now 3% behind the 3070. The RX 6800 lead increased to 21%, while the 6700 XT beat the 5700 XT by 30% and the 2060 Super by 48%.

In the individual games, the results varied. Looking at just the 3060 Ti and 6700 XT, AMD's lead in Valhalla and Borderlands wasn't quite as large as at 1080p, but Dirt 5, Far Cry 5, and Horizon Zero Dawn all have slightly bigger leads for AMD. That's why it ends up a net wash. 

Radeon RX 6700 XT 4K Gaming Performance

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AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

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4K ultra tends to require extreme GPUs for 60 fps, but if you're willing to tweak the settings a bit, or use dynamic resolution scaling or Radeon Boost, it's certainly within reach. Across the full suite of 13 games, the 6700 XT managed 57 fps on average, with five of the games breaking 60 fps — and a few like Forza and Strange Brigade did so by a wide margin, pulling the overall average up. Memory bandwidth starts to play a bigger role at 4K, however, so the RX 6700 XT's lead over the RTX 3060 Ti now shrinks to just 2% — and again, DLSS can easily make up for the difference and then some.

That's actually a worthwhile point to make, considering Nvidia just announced three more games with DLSS support this morning: The Fabled Woods, System Shock, and Crysis Remastered. That brings the total number of games with DLSS 2.x support up to more than 20 currently available games, with another dozen or so in development. DLSS in quality mode generally looks just as good as native rendering with TAA, with 20-30% higher performance at 1080p and 1440p, and potentially 40-50% higher performance at 4K — more if you're willing to use balanced or performance DLSS modes. That's enough to swing our vote generally in favor of the RTX 3060 Ti, or at least it would be if prices weren't in the stratosphere. 

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: GPU Benchmarks and Hierarchy

MORE: All Graphics Content

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.

  • bigdragon
    These benchmarks show better performance than most of the others I've read this week. There's a few surprises in this review given that other sites showed performance in the 3060 to 3060 Ti range consistently. Seeing the 6700 XT beat the 3070 in a few tests is unexpected. I suppose that means AMD has been hard at work tweaking their drivers for better performance. The power consumption doesn't look as bad as I had been led to believe either. Looks like a solid GPU.

    I think the 6700 XT could be a good replacement for my 1070. However, do I really want to waste even more time fighting bots, adding to cart only to be unable to checkout, or being led to believe I have a shot at getting a GPU when I really never did? No. I'm not waking up early to watch a page that instantly flips from "coming soon" to "sold out" again.
    Reply
  • tennis2
    Mining Performance -
    In the case of the RX 6700 XT, we settled on 50% maximum GPU clocks (which doesn't actually mean 50%, but whatever — actually clocks settled in around 2.13GHz)
    Sooo, you don't actually know how to detune the CPU, or? Hint - toggle that "advanced control" slider to ON.

    Power efficiency is poor as expected. Meh. That tiny chainsaw whacked off a few too many CUs.
    Reply
  • oenomel
    Admin said:
    The Radeon RX 6700 XT takes a step down from Big Navi, trimming the fat and coming in at $479 (in theory). Availability and actual street pricing are the keys to success, as the card otherwise looks promising. Here's our full review.

    AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Review: Big Navi Goes on a Diet : Read more
    Who really cares? They won't be available for months if ever?
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    tennis2 said:
    Mining Performance -
    Sooo, you don't actually know how to detune the CPU, or? Hint - toggle that "advanced control" slider to ON.

    Power efficiency is poor as expected. Meh. That tiny chainsaw whacked off a few too many CUs.
    And if you knew how AMD's drivers and tuning section work, you'd understand that toggling that "advanced control" slider just changes the percentage into a MHz number. Hint - toggle the "condescending tone" slider to OFF.

    But I did make an error: I was looking at the memory clock, not the GPU clock, when I thought the GPU was still running at 2.13GHz. I've done a bit more investigating, now that I'm more awake (it was a late night, again — typical GPU launch). With the slider at 40% (which gives a MHz number of something like 1048MHz), I got nearly the same mining performance as with the slider at 65% (1702MHz). Here are three screenshots, showing 40%, 50%, and 65% Max Frequency settings (but with advanced control ticked on so you can see the MHz values). This is with the Sapphire Nitro+, so the clocks are slightly higher than the reference card, but the performance is pretty similar (actually, the reference card was perhaps slightly faster at mining for some reason — only like 0.3MH/s, but still.)

    I've updated the text to remove the note about the max frequency not appearing to work properly. It does, my bad, the description of the tuned settings was and is still correct: 50% Max Freq, 112% power, 2150MHz GDDR6, slightly steeper fan curve, 115-120W.

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  • Wendigo
    We're interested in hearing your thoughts on what features matter most as well. We know AMD and Nvidia make plenty of noise about certain technologies, but we question how many people actually use the tech. If you have strong feelings for or against a particular tech, let us know in the comments section.
    To answer your question, I would say that the most interesting AMD feature is Chill. Sure, it's useless if you're only looking for max FPS or benchmark scores. But on a practical standpoint, for the average gamer, it works wonder. This is particularly true when used with a Freesync monitor and setting the Chill min and max values to the range supported by the monitor, thus always keeping the FPS in the Freesync range. There's no obvious difference when playing most games (particularly for the average gamer not involved in competitive esports), but the card then runs significantly cooler and thus quieter, making for a overall more pleasant gaming experience.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    Asus released their 6700 XT cards about an hour ago...for $350 over AMD's MSRP. The 6700 XT is an absolutely horrific value at $829. The stupid things still sold out almost instantly. Plenty of humans on Twitter complaining about bots buying everything up and immediately flipping the cards on Ebay. AMD and Asus have a lot of explaining to do.

    My 1070 is now worth double what I paid for it. I'm going to sell it this weekend and forget about AAA gaming for the rest of the year. Plenty of indie games get by happily with lower-end GPUs or iGPs.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    bigdragon said:
    AMD and Asus have a lot of explaining to do.
    No explaining to do here, it is simply the free market at work. Demand is higher than supply? Raise prices until equilibrium is reached.
    Reply
  • deesider
    InvalidError said:
    No explaining to do here, it is simply the free market at work. Demand is higher than supply? Raise prices until equilibrium is reached.
    Not sure what the OP was hoping for - a golden ticket system like Willy Wonka?!
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    InvalidError said:
    No explaining to do here, it is simply the free market at work. Demand is higher than supply? Raise prices until equilibrium is reached.
    AMD's release date isn't until 9 AM EDT tomorrow morning -- not today. There were also no promised anti-bot measures in place, again, as usual. AMD's AIB's are also far more aggressive about marking up Radeon prices as compared to RTX prices.
    deesider said:
    Not sure what the OP was hoping for - a golden ticket system like Willy Wonka?!
    Yeah, that would be swell.

    What I seriously want to do is just checkout with 1 GPU without the GPU being ripped out of my cart mid-checkout or the vendor cancelling the order after it's been placed.
    Reply
  • jeremyj_83
    bigdragon said:
    AMD's release date isn't until 9 AM EDT tomorrow morning -- not today. There were also no promised anti-bot measures in place, again, as usual. AMD's AIB's are also far more aggressive about marking up Radeon prices as compared to RTX prices.
    I forgot what time they went on sale and checked within 5 minutes of the release and they are sold out online everywhere. You can get a couple different ones from a physical Microcenter location as they are in store only. Two of those are at MSRP even.
    Reply