Home TechShot AMD's RX 6600 XT: An actual New Hope for Gamers? Perhaps...

AMD's RX 6600 XT: An actual New Hope for Gamers? Perhaps...

AMD officially announced the launch of their new RX 6600 XT last week (see video below), and it raises a few questions for those in the market for a more "affordable" 1080p GPU. In the absence of the RTX 3060 Ti, and with the difficulties of finding a sensibly priced RTX 3060, a new AMD alternative vaunting a sub-£400 price point with on-par performance does seem somewhat hopeful. But how exactly does the card fair against NVIDIA's, what could it be capable of at 1440p, and what will it actually be priced at? Well, I've a few thoughts that might help shed some light.

The RX 6600 XT - a "new standard" for 1080p gaming

Given their emphasis on the phrase, it seemed clear that AMD were very much trying to target the "every-gamer" with the RX 6600 XT. Citing the Steam Hardware Survey, we were reminded yet again that most gamers are still using their trusty GTX 1060s, and according to AMD's research, sales of high-refresh 1080p monitors are evidently on the up too.

As such, their focus for the announcement was split between flexing the brand-new GPU on a 5-year-old competitor card, and how using their new Fidelity FX Super Resolution with SAM could see even more performance gains in those more demanding titles. Honestly, I feel rather sorry for the GTX 1060; just a few weeks ago, AMD were hyping up how FSR would give the card a new lease of life. Now, they're running it on current-gen games at frankly unrealistic settings, and, I might add, without using FSR either...

AMD Contradicts themselves with GTX 1060 and FSR

They did also give a sweeping comparison to the RTX 3060, which the RX 6600 XT beat in all of the chosen games, except for Horizon Zero Dawn, to which it was beat by the NVIDIA card by just 3fps. So, with SAM enabled, the RX 6600 XT was averaging around 13% better performance than the RTX 3060 with Resizable Bar enabled.

We'll take these results with a pinch of salt of course, as announcement benchmarks are generally cherry-picked (and again, SAM was active), but I don't see any reason not to believe that these numbers are probably true to what real-world performance will be. But what about 1440p?

How will the RX 6600 XT perform at 1440p?

We know that NVIDIA's 3060 cards are both capable performers when it comes to 1440p, so in theory, the RX 6600 XT should be too. Despite AMD's inadvertently disparaging Anno 1800 demo which was used to big-up FSR (at the expense of making the 6600 XT look incapable of running 1440p titles at even 60fps), I think the card will actually perform quite well.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT Benchmarks 1080p

With the 1080p benchmarks in mind, and given that the Radeon cards have proven more capable than NVIDIA's at 1440p, I imagine it'll also be about 7-13% better than the 3060 at the higher resolution. Again, that would place it smack in the middle of the 3060 and 3060 Ti, whilst keeping it just below the RX 6700 XT. Which is somewhat strange given the MSRP...

The RX 6600 XT will start at £379 - emphasis on the "start at"

Oddly enough, AMD have decided to price the card at £379 rather than the originally rumoured £349. This seems like a strange move given that the card won't be outperforming an RTX 3060 Ti any time soon (a card with a £369 MSRP), and is only ~£40 shy of the RX 6700 XT's MSRP of £419. That said, we all know that finding a good value GPU anywhere near MSRP has been impossible in the current market. So what will the RX 6600 XT actually retail at?

If you read our article the other week, you'll know about the myriad reasons for the immensely inflated costs of GPUs at the moment - it sucks royally for everyone involved, but there's little anyone can do about it. By-the-by, if we use some of the prices I researched for that post, I think it's pretty clear where this card will end up.

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On average, GPUs have seen their costs rise by 120% over MSRP at retail, with the worst offender being AMD's RX 6800 XT, which has seen a whopping 192% increase over it's cited MSRP. Fortunately, the lower-end GPUs have seen some of the "smallest" increases though. 

With the 3060 cards seeing a 75-100% increase over MSRP, if the RX 6600 XT suffers a similar fate, that would put the card in a similar ballpark at between £650-750. Considering the 6600 XT only features 8GB of GDDR6, I imagine it should sit on the bottom end of that range, in keeping with the RTX 3060 Ti. This makes a lot of sense with how hard it is to find 3060 Ti's, as it means the 6600 XT will effectively become the only new generation card available between the RTX 3060 and RX 6700 XT. Sort of makes you wonder whether the MSRP was tailored more towards projected price inflation, instead of the existing MSRP of other cards in the line-up...

Maybe a new hope?

As with every card released over the last year or so, whether this GPU will be worthwhile will unfortunately come down entirely to pricing. There's no doubt the card is shaping up to be a great performer at 1080p and even 1440p, so we'll just have to pray that costs aren't blown completely out of proportion by scalpers and the ever on-going effects of Covid. Still, there were rumours that NVIDIA has been hoarding RTX 3060 stock in readiness for the launch, so maybe an influx of both cards at the same time might at least squeeze some sort of competition out of AIBs.

The RX 6600 XT will be hitting shelves (probably very briefly) on August 11th, which you can check out here as soon as they go live.

Posted in TechShot

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Published on 02 Aug 2021

Last updated on 02 Aug 2021

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