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Sapphire Radeon RX 6600 XT Pulse Review: Compact and Just as Fast

Basically a reference design for RX 6600 XT

Sapphire Radeon RX 6600 XT Pulse
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Some people want an in-your-face graphics card with laser beams coming out the ports; others prefer something a little less ostentatious. Sapphire's Pulse line caters to the latter, with no fancy lights but with a competent cooling setup that runs just as quiet as some larger cards. If you don't have a case window, or you're looking for a smaller card that can fit a mini-ITX build, this might be the RX 6600 XT for you.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Performance comparisons are largely meaningless with the sort of factory overclocks we've seen so far. Theoretically, the ASRock Phantom Gaming has a 2% advantage in clock speed, plus a 10% higher power limit, but it didn't really matter in actual testing. Across our entire test suite, we only saw an average performance difference of 0.5%. Of course, no one would notice that in real-world gaming, and even in benchmarks, it's not really significant. Plus, Sapphire offers Trixx Boost as a way to potentially hit much higher frame rates if you want to use upscaling on pretty much any game out there.

What it really boils down to is the type of graphics card you're looking to buy. Actually, what it really comes down to is availability — everything continues to sell out, even at retail stores, so unless you're willing to wait quite a while, your options are going to be limited to whatever you can find. But if you care about looks and bling, there are better cards out there — including Sapphire's Nitro+.

AMD's RX 6600 XT performs fine in nearly any game out there, especially if you're only looking to run at 1080p. The only real exception is games with ray tracing, particularly games that use a lot of RT effects (e.g., Cyberpunk 2077, Control, or Minecraft). If you want to play games with ray tracing on, Nvidia's GPUs remain the better choice, and you can typically find the RTX 3060 for roughly the same price as the RX 6600 XT. If all you want is a new GPU that's efficient and hopefully won't cost much more than $400, the RX 6600 XT is one of only a few options. Until the GPU and component shortages ease up, that's about the best we can get.

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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.