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AMD Radeon RX 6600 Review

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AMD is releasing a new Radeon RX 6000 series product, the RX 6600, which we are reviewing today. Two months ago, the RX 6600 XT was greeted with a sluggish reception as it didn’t bring much, the MSRP was overpriced even if it doesn’t mean anything these days, and the performance was disappointing.

It is one thing, however, the list prices and the intended role of a given GPU in the market, and another in the current (abnormally bloated) GPU market. So, the Radeon 6600 XT turns out to be a decent option thanks to its decent affordability, one of the best we’ve seen for a new graphics card in the last year or so.

In our GPU pricing update last month, the 6600 XT sold on eBay for an average of $ 640, while the slightly slower RTX 3060 typically sold for $ 710. This price remains almost the same today.

MSRP Average price on eBay July Average price on eBay, August Average price on eBay September Current price inflation Price increases from August to September
Radeon 6900 XT 1000 USD USD 1,460 USD 1,622 USD 1,569 57% -3%
Radeon 6800 XT 650 USD USD 1,282 USD 1,268 USD 1411 117% eleven%
Radeon 6800 USD 580 USD 1,087 USD 1,127 USD 1309 126% 16%
Radeon 6700 XT USD 480 USD 733 USD 793 USD 881 83% eleven%
Radeon RX 6600 XT USD 380 USD 633 USD 639 68% 1%
Average 90% 7%

More vanilla Radeon RX 6600s are expected to be available at launch, so not only will you have a better chance of buying one, but hopefully you can do so at a reasonable price. This is promising, although it remains to be seen, but we will keep that in mind when we test the RX 6600.

The Radeon RX 6600 has a MSRP of $ 330, which means a $ 50 off on the XT model. That’s a small savings of 13%, a figure to stick to when we look at the specs. As the name suggests, the new GPU is a stripped down version of the 6600 XT. It is based on the same 237 mm2 matrix containing 11.1 billion transistors, but of course not all of them are active as the core configuration has been reduced from 32 compute units to just 28 CUs. This translates into a 16% reduction in the number of stream processors from 2048 to 1729.

The clock speed of the gaming GPU has been reduced by a rather substantial 13% from 2359 MHz to just 2044 MHz, although the speed of the accelerated GPU has dropped by 4%. AMD also lowered memory performance by installing 14Gbps memory and the same 128-bit memory bus. The decrease in memory bandwidth resulted in a 13% drop in total bandwidth to 224 GB / s, the same memory bandwidth as the 5500 XT, although RDNA did not take advantage of the Infinity Cache.

Fortunately, AMD hasn’t cut memory, leaving the RX 6600 at 8GB. However, the decrease in the core and memory frequencies led to a decrease in the nominal power of the board from 160 W to 132 W. Finally, like the 6600 XT, the non-XT version is limited by PCIe 4.0 x8 bandwidth. So when installed on a PCIe 4.0 system, this is not a problem, but performance issues can arise when installed on a system that only supports PCIe 3.0, which is most systems currently.

This is because when using PCIe 4.0, the RX 6600 series connects to the processor using a 16GB / s link, which is sufficient for modern graphics cards like what you get with PCIe 3.0 x16. However, limiting the x8 interface drops the PCIe 3.0 system bandwidth to 8 GB / s, and we have found that this can severely limit performance in the past, especially when fetching data from system memory.

I researched this with the 6600 XT and only found one game where bandwidth limitation became an issue and even then it could be bypassed. However, I am concerned that this limitation will raise its ugly head in the future and may mean the RX 6600 series won’t age as much as Nvidia’s rival RTX 3060 series, but of course this is what we’ll have to explore into the future.

For today’s testing we came across a Gigabyte Eagle RX 6600. As with the XT version, AMD has not developed a reference card, although there is a reference PCB design that AIB partners can use for free.

We tested 12 games in total at 1080p and 1440p using our Ryzen 9 5950X test system, which was configured with 32GB of dual-rank DDR4-3200 CL14 dual-channel memory. Since 6600 is very Similar to the 6600 XT in terms of design, we’ll spend time analyzing just a few games and then look at the average performance seen across all 12 games. Let’s move on to the results …

Control points

Starting with F1 2020, we find results that can best be described as predictable: the new RX 6600 is 13% slower than the XT model, with an average speed of 141 fps. That’s great performance at 1080p, although the RX 6600 only matches the 5600 XT, which will no doubt make many of you cringe, given that this product offered a manufacturer’s MSRP of $ 280 in early 2020, and that wasn’t quite the case. then. However, if we focus on the current generation products, it was at least in line with the RTX 3060.

1440p results are less impressive as the RX 6600 sits at the bottom of our graph, delivering performance similar to the RTX 2070, which is admittedly not a bad result.

It really looks less favorable compared to AMD’s own products: the RX 6600 can only be compared to the 5600 XT, so the overall result is disappointing.

Moving on to Cyberpunk 2077, we find that the RX 6600 struggles even with 1080p at an average 60fps, although I suppose that’s to be expected given that the 6600 XT was displaying 69fps, which makes the new variant 13% slower.

Again, we’re looking at the performance of the new RX 6600 similar to the 5600 XT, and while we’re comparing two different generations of GPUs sold in two very different markets, it’s hard not to be disappointed with this result. We will discuss this later in the article.

Increasing the resolution to 1440p is not an option when playing Cyberpunk 2077 as it will lower the average frame rate to ~ 35fps and we are already using the adjusted quality settings.

Death Stranding is more convenient for the 6600 as it allows an average of 135 frames per second at 1080p using the highest quality preset in the game. In fact, this is a much better result compared to other AMD GPUs than what we saw earlier, as this time the RX 6600 was able to match the RX 5700, making it slightly faster than the RTX 3060. Not bad considering it was 15% slower than 6600 XT.

1440p is reached here at an average of 95fps, although that meant the 6600 was 18% slower than the XT version. It also meant that we were looking at the performance of the 5600 XT again, which, to be honest, is a bit different.

Then we have Horizon Zero Dawn, and this time the RX 6600 did indeed match the 2060 Super and 2070, so it was not bad in that regard, although it was only 6% faster than the 5600 XT, which means that at 1440p they are going to provide almost the same level of performance.

Since the RX 6600 beats the 5600 XT by just 3% at an average speed of 64 frames per second, it was also 15% slower than the 6600 XT and 7% slower than the RX 5700.

The second last game we’re going to review is Rainbow Six Siege, and here the 6600 was 12% slower than the XT model, playing it between the RTX 2060 Super and the RX 5700. That’s just 5% faster than the 5600 XT.

That headroom drops to 3% at 1440p, although again it was 12% slower than the XT. Very similar to what we’ve seen in other games.

Let’s wrap up the individual Watch Dogs Legion tests. 1080p data shows the 6600 is 10% slower than the XT model, which is a decent result, which means the RX 6600 was able to match the RTX 3060, 2070 and 2060 Super.

The 1440p results are fairly similar, with the 6600 12% behind the XT, but still manage to match the RX 5700 and RTX 2060 Super.

Power consumption

In terms of energy efficiency, the RX 6600 is marginally better than the 5600 XT. We’re talking a slight 26W drop in overall system utilization for roughly the same level of performance, although this was slightly better than the RTX 3060.

Performance summary

The Radeon RX 6600 did not surprise us, as the performance was expected and fairly linear compared to the XT model released two months earlier. Let’s move on to checking the average performance seen in a dozen sample games …

At 1080p, the standard RX 6600 is 14% slower on average than the XT version, in line with the price reduction. Basically, you are looking at the performance levels of the RX 5700 or RTX 2070, which are generally good, but weak in terms of progress.

The 1440p results are slightly less favorable, and while the RX 6600 was still 14% slower than the XT version, it now only matches the RTX 2060 Super and slightly faster than the 5600 XT.

What have we learned

So, here it is, this is the Radeon RX 6600. What to do with it?

It’s honestly hard to tell how good or bad the RX 6600 is at launch, and it will only be decided in the coming weeks based on street prices and availability. We keep our eyes on the ground, and retailers are telling us that availability will be high, at least compared to other recent releases. If they’re right, we’ll see even more inventory than the 6600 XT launch. So this is a potential positive.

Unfortunately, cryptocurrency miners now seem to be buying up RDNA2 GPUs, and in some places, prices for the 6600 XT have skyrocketed and most models are no longer in stock. Perhaps the situation will be similar to the launch of XT, where you can expect early inventory at decent prices like MSRP within a few days. However, this promotion will soon disappear and will never be seen again.

Back to the performance of the Radeon RX 6600. Of course, in a normal market, there’s no denying that this product will suck. $ 330 would be a bad joke – a ~ 20% price increase over the 5600 XT 20 months ago – for a ~ 6% increase in performance at 1440p. But the RX 6600 may be the most affordable current generation graphics card you can buy today, so that’s it.

The best option in a bad situation is perhaps the best way to describe the Radeon RX 6600, so let’s leave it that way for now.

Chances are that you have a working GPU that’s already faster or close to it, so it shouldn’t be worth upgrading. So the RX 6600 is more suitable for those who have no alternative. If you want to play right now and can’t, then the RX 6600 can be a cost effective way to get started.

All in all, the Radeon RX 6600 looks like the 6600 XT, a boring product that is attractive only because of the current climate. It really doesn’t seem right to recommend any graphics card right now, especially one that won’t have a good value or anything remotely close to the normal market. If that’s the case, you absolutely shouldn’t buy a graphics card right now if you don’t need one, but if you do, the 6600 will probably be a decent option.

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