AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT test: a graphics card that ticks on raytracing
The Radeon RX 6600 XT is positioned by AMD as an ideal graphics card for gaming in good conditions on a Full HD monitor. A model which therefore aims to overshadow its direct rival, the GeForce RTX 3060.
The Radeon RX 6600 XT is the fifth generation Navi / RDNA2 graphics card from AMD. Displayed at a starting public price of € 380, it is positioned as an entry-level, even mid-range solution. The manufacturer is targeting here players wishing to equip themselves with a graphics card capable of correctly supplying a Full HD monitor.
The technical point
As for the entire Radeon RX 6000 family, we find under the heatsink of the Radeon RX 6600 XT a GPU using the RDNA2 graphics architecture. We will not go into detail on this architecture that we discussed in our full test of the Radeon RX 6800 XT.
See Also : Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Driver Update
If the architecture is identical to the rest of the series, the chip is for its part unique. It is a Navi 23 GPU with 32 execution blocks (CU) for 2,048 compute units. For the other units, there are 128 units dedicated to textures, 64 rendering units or even 32 units dedicated to accelerating effects rendered in raytracing.
The Infinity Cache system is renewed, but it is limited to 32 MB, thus making it possible to reduce the size of the chip (237 mm²) – and therefore its cost. The 11.1 billion transistors are etched in 7 nm by TSMC, like the entire series.
The operating frequency of the GPU is, as with all Radeon RX 6000s, quite high. AMD announces a base frequency of 1968 MHz, for an average frequency in games at 2589 MHz.
For memory, the 128-bit bus and aggressive pricing positioning desired by AMD left no other choice than an orientation towards 8 GB of GDDR6 at 2000 MHz. As a result, memory bandwidth is limited to 256 GB / s.
In return, the energy envelope is rather contained, with 160 watts announced by AMD, compared to the 230 watts of the Radeon RX 6700 XT or to the 170 watts of the GeForce RTX 3060, its direct competitor in the Nvidia catalog.
Unlike the Radeon RX 6700 XT and higher models, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is not offered as a reference model. In other words, only the so-called ” custom ” models will be marketed by the GPU manufacturer’s partners. For our tests, AMD provided us with an MSI Radeon RX 6600 XT Gaming X. This model is slightly overclocked at the GPU level (+18 MHz).
The power envelope of the MSI graphics card we tested was pushed to 180 watts, compared to 160 watts recommended by AMD. One way to achieve higher operating frequencies.
In practice, we have actually measured this power consumption, with peaks of 190 watts. This nonetheless remains good energy efficiency, which is common to the entire Radeon RX 6000 range.
Performance in games
The MSI Radeon RX 6600 XT Gaming X that we used in our test posted an average effective frequency of 2640MHz in most games at 1440p rendering.
With this GPU, AMD clearly has its sights set on Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060. The latter is outstripped in classic rendering games. This is valid for both Full HD and 1440p.
However, the RDNA2 architecture has shortcomings in games that exploit raytracing effects. This is true once again here, where the Radeon is clearly positioned behind its signed rival Nvidia.
We hoped that the FSR would give this model a performance boost, but it is clear that we will have to wait several more months before this upscaling technology is implemented in a significant number of games.
Nvidia still keeps a lead here with DLSS, more adopted by developers at the time of this writing.
The Radeon RX 6600 XT does its job in that it offers enough resources to play properly in Full HD. The higher definition (1440p) is also possible, although it will probably be necessary to go down some levels of graphic detail to maintain fluidity in the busiest scenes of the latest games.
Faster than the GeForce RTX 3060 in classic games, it also comes at a high price, or € 379 recommended starting price.
But now, the graphics card scene is now much more complicated than that. First of all, there is raytracing, which largely reshuffles the cards. On this, AMD is no match for Nvidia, which systematically keeps a step ahead at this level.
By activating this type of effects, the performance of the Radeon RX 6600 XT collapses in such a way that it rarely becomes possible to maintain a satisfactory fluidity.
This problem is all the more important as raytracing compatible games are becoming commonplace, just as DLSS support tends to be generalized on most large video game productions.
Conversely, the AMD FSR upscaling technique is currently quite confidential. Worse still, it is only of interest in higher definitions (ideally in 4K), the graphics rendering in Full HD being particularly degraded, whatever the level of quality selected.
A sum that seems too high for a model that does not allow us to take advantage of the refinements of raytracing .
Radeon RX 6600 XT Software And Manual
Software Driver and Manual > Download
The Radeon RX 6600 XT is a very good graphics card for gamers who want to play on a Full HD monitor and have no desire to enable raytracing in compatible games.
For them, this model offers performance at a very good level and the controlled power consumption leaves the possibility for manufacturers to offer models with discrete cooling. For others, it is better to turn to a GeForce RTX 3060 or a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti.