Radeon RX 6x50XT, a simple refresh of AMD’s RDNA2 graphics cards

AMD has just launched its new Radeon RX 6950 XT, RX 6750 XT and RX 6650 XT. What about the performance of this Refresh range?

AMD today introduced three new graphics cards, the Radeon RX 6950XT, RX 6750XT and RX 6650XT, intended to replace the current Radeon RX 6900 XT, RX 6700 XT and RX 6600 XT in its portfolio. And from the outset, the nomenclature used for the manufacturer leaves no doubt: it is clearly not a new generation, but a “refresh” of the current range

MSI Radeon RDNA2 Refresh – Credit: Igor’s Lab

But don’t let that stop us from dreaming anyway: we can wonder if the performance gap with the previous Radeons will be visible and interesting, and whether AMD will have taken the opportunity to casually make some improvements, all at a price. (really) more attractive than the current offer?

Radeon RDNA2 Refresh: new with old?

AMD has chosen to fully rely on partners for the launch of these three new Radeons. It must be said that part of the task was already done for them: the design differences with the current models are minimal or even non-existent, so much so that some cards look like almost complete copies of the “old”, except firmware and other small details.

Fashion model RX 6950 XT RX 6900 XT RX 6750 XT RX 6700 XT RX 6650 XT RX 6600 XT
GPUs Navi 21 KXTX Navi 21 XTX Navi 22 XT Navi 22 XT Navi 23 XT Navi 23 XT
Stream Processors 5120 5120 2560 2560 2048 2048
ROPs 128 128 64 64 64 64
TMUs 320 320 160 160 128 128
units of account 80 80 40 40 32 32
RT Hearts 80 80 40 40 32 32
Game Frequency 2100MHz 2015MHz 2495MHz 2424MHz 2410MHz 2359MHz
Boost frequency 2310MHz 2250MHz 2600MHz 2581MHz 2635MHz 2589MHz
Memory bus 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 128 bit 128 bit
Memory Speed 2250MHz
(18 Gbps)
(16 Gbps)
(18 Gbps)
(16 Gbps)
(17.5 Gbps)
(16 Gbps)
Memory bandwidth 576GB/s 512GB/s 432GB/s 384GB/s 280GB/s 256GB/s
TGP 335W 300W 250W 230W 180W 160W
Recommended retail price $1099 $999 $549 $479 $399 $379
Publication date May 10, 2022 28 Oct 2020 May 10, 2022 March 3, 2021 May 10, 2022 July 30, 2021

On paper, these Radeon RX 6X50 XT Refresh offer little improvement over the original range anyway, apart from higher frequencies on the GPU and memory side† So we find the same Navi 21, Navi 22 and Navi 23 chipsets, with the same number of stream processors, ROPs or even RT cores. In short, nothing new in the architectural field: AMD reuses theRDNA2 architecture been on the market for 18 months (refer to our previous file for full details on RDNA2), with GPUs still engraved in 7 nm by TSMC

The (recommended) prices AMD has announced for this launch aren’t particularly aggressive either, as the manufacturer places its new Radeons above the suggested retail price of the current Radeon 6900 XT, 6700 XT and 6600 XT despite their age. Let’s hope the performance is worth it…

Testing the Radeon RX 6950 XT, 6750 XT and 6650 XT

As usual, the tests were carried out in collaboration with our colleagues from Igor’s Lab. The three test cards are models from MSI, in the Gaming X series. MSI of equivalent series. Thus, NVIDIA cards are models of the Suprim X series, while AMD cards belong to the Gaming X series.

The test platform used to measure the performance of these three Radeons includes a: Core i9-12900K processoran MSI MEG Z690 Edge motherboard, two 16 GB modules DDR4-4000 Patriot Viper memorytwo 2TB SSDs (MSI Spartium M480/M480 Gaming) and a power supply Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 12 1200W, all placed in a Raijintek Paean case. A water cooling system consisting of an Alphacool Apex (modified) and an Aqua Computer Cuplex Kryos Next (modified) provides the cooling.

The three new Radeons had to compete with the other models from NVIDIA and AMD currently on the market, with cards that therefore also come from MSI’s catalog. SAM/rBAR is enabled for all cards that support it.

The performance of these new Radeons

The panel of games used to measure the performance of these cards includes 10 recent titles: seven in DirectX 12 and three with the Vulkan API† All games have been tested in Full HD, QHD and UHDeven though the latter definition is not necessarily relevant for the fastest cards with the highest possible graphics settings.

In absolute terms, each new card offers a few percent more performance compared to the old range, whether in FHD, QHD or UHD: between +5% and +10% depending on the definition between the Radeon RX 6950 XT and the RX 6900 XT, about +5% between the RX 6750 XT and the RX 6700 XT and from +2% to +5% between the RX 6650 XT and the RX 6600 XT.

But it is especially in light of the competition that these cards reveal their interest. Whatever the definition, Radeon RX 6950 XT outperforms RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3090 . on average and let itself tickle the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti. This retains its leadership, but it came close. In Full HD and QHD, the Radeon RX 6650 XT does slightly better than the RX 6600 XT, but it is still a long way from the RTX 3060 Ti. Finally the Radeon RX 6750 XT allows AMD to compete directly with the RTX 3070both cards offer identical performance (excluding ray-tracing, of course).

Energy consumption and performance

If indeed the performance increases with this “Refresh” range thanks to higher operating frequencies on the GPU and VRAM side, it is a priori also the case for consumption, as AMD has increased the TGPs of these new Radeons compared to the old range . The energy consumed is highly dependent on the definition and the game; to do this, we averaged the consumption over the same ten games as before.

Indeed, consumption explodes with these three cards : +17% in Full HD with the RX 6650 XT compared to the RX 6600 XT, +24% in QHD between the RX 6750 XT and the RX 6700 XT or even +20% between the RX 6950 XT and RX 6900 XT in UHD . At a glance, we immediately notice that the increase in consumption is much greater than that in performance, but the watt/FPS ratio should confirm this.

The energy efficiency of these new Radeons is much less interesting than that of the “old” models† AMD seems to have tried to push its RDNA2 architecture to its limits without any power optimizations, simply by overclocking its chips. The Radeon RX 6800 is not surprisingly far ahead in this test, regardless of definition.

Refresh cards that bear their name well?

Even if it’s just a “MHz-doped” version of the existing RX 6900 XT, the Radeon RX 6950 XT still holds interest in the AMD catalog: it allows the manufacturer to offer a serious alternative at NVIDIA in high definitions, if you are ready to accept its price and its consumption. However, it is only a last stand of the RDNA2 architecture before the long-awaited arrival of the successor, in a few months.

MSI Radeon RDNA2 Refresh
MSI Radeon RDNA2 Refresh – Credit: Igor’s Lab

The situation is slightly different for the Radeon RX 6750 XT: AMD is aiming here not only at the GeForce RTX 3070, but also at Intel’s future A770, which is expected exactly in this performance range, if Intel finally manages to get its drivers down. laps… Finally, the Radeon RX 6650 XT has no direct competitor in its market. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is out of reach and the GeForce RTX 3060 is much slower. In short, this card replaces the RX 6600 XT in a market segment where there is no real competition yet… yet?

Finally, in terms of prices, AMD has (officially) placed its new cards several tens of euros above the launch prices of the previous Radeons, despite a minimal performance difference. By simultaneously ending the commercial life of the Radeon RX 6900 XT, 6700 XT and 6600 XT, the manufacturer leaves us no choice but to opt for replacement models that are more economical, sure, but slightly less interesting energy point of display. In short, these cards are by no means bad, quite the contrary, but the RDNA2 era is clearly coming to an end.

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