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HomeTechThe Radeon RX 6600 is AMD's weakest RDNA2 GPU to date

The Radeon RX 6600 is AMD’s weakest RDNA2 GPU to date

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AMD released its Radeon 6600 with RDNA2 technology and took the crown as the least attractive GPU since Ampere launched the most recent product update cycle just over a year ago. That’s the general opinion of the various publications that have spent time with the card. These lower-end versions of the RDNA2 may be more affordable and at least a little easier to find than the 6700 XT and 6800 XT, but they are less attractive at MSRP and even less attractive at stratospheric prices. in the GPU market right now.

At $ 329, the RX 6600 is ~ 14 percent less expensive than the RX 6600 XT. Like the 6600 XT, the 6600 is based on the Navi 23, with 11.1 billion transistors, 32MB of Infinity Cache, a 237mm2 die and 64 ROP. The number of CUs and cores is slightly less (28 and 1792 versus 32 and 2048), as is the total amount of memory bandwidth (224 GB / s, down from 256 GB / s on the 6600 XT).

Image and data from TechSpot

The only major improvement the 6600 offers over the 6600 XT is power consumption, where the total power of the board is 132 W compared to 160 W for AMD’s larger Navi 23 chip. This is substantially less than the 170W specified by the comparable RTX 3060, and that’s enough to give AMD some impressive power consumption gains over that GPU.

Image and data from TechSpot

AMD has effectively reclaimed Nvidia’s energy efficiency crown, at least at this price point. That achievement is worth noting because AMD has struggled with energy efficiency against Nvidia for at least the last eight years. If energy efficiency is what you care about, the Radeon RX 6600 deserves some praise. But as the spec sheet shows, it achieves some of these improvements by offering less RAM and a smaller memory bus. The onboard Infinity Cache is meant to compensate for the smaller memory bus, but while this works quite well for the 6700 XT and above, the 6600 XT proved to be less balanced. Performance reports indicate that the RX 6600 also has issues:

The problem with the Radeon RX 6600 is that it doesn’t hold up particularly well to Nvidia’s RTX 3060. At 1080p, the gap between Nvidia and AMD is limited to a few frames per second, with TechSpot measuring the RTX 3060 at 115 fps on its 12-game average, while the RX 6600 scores 111 fps. As resolution increases and / or features like ray tracing are activated, that gap widens. Eurogamer’s Testing shows the Radeon 6600 takes an absolute beating with ray tracing enabled, with the RTX 3060 “between 43 and 69 percent faster.”

As we discussed in our Radeon 6600 XT review, the tests suggest that the Navi 23 is hampered by limited memory bandwidth. Bandwidth limitations become acute when resolution and ray tracing are increased at the same time, and GPU performance suffers from it. The RX 6600’s low power consumption is its strongest selling point, and that will only appeal to a relatively limited buying segment.

At the end of the day, the discussion of whether the RX 6600 is a good value must also take into account the current state of the GPU market today. The Radeon RX 6600 is a good value with its MSRP of $ 329, but GPUs are not available at MSRP, and anything that sells for the list price should be taken advantage of. The recommendations for this GPU, however, aren’t exactly brilliant.

“Sure, in a normal market there is no denying that this product would suck. $ 330 would be a bad joke, “writes Techspot,” but as it stands today, the RX 6600 might just be the most affordable current-gen graphics card you can buy, so that’s it. “

PCMag held off on recommending the RX 6600 until AMD “pushes a more competitive set of drivers.” Eurogamer calls it a “hard sell”. Pc gamer write that “The Radeon RX 6600 may not be the graphics card you necessarily want, but the one that offers a good alternative at a lower price.”

We saw signs of this problem prior to the launch of the 6600 XT and it has reappeared with the RX 6600 – AMD, in our opinion, made a mistake when it specified the 6600 XT and the RX 6600. These GPUs are not particularly competitive against Nvidia and not It does a lot to promote the narrative that AMD represents better value than Nvidia.

It’s fair to wonder if it makes sense for AMD to release an aggressively positioned part right now. All the evidence suggests that the company is allocating a relatively small portion of its wafer purchases to building discrete GPUs. Cryptocurrency miners are likely to get hold of any well-priced GPU you release. There isn’t much practical value in launching cards at MSRP that most people won’t pay for.

But releasing GPUs with less attractive price / performance figures doesn’t necessarily fix this problem. AMD certainly wants to sell every Radeon RX 6600 it makes. The one thing it isn’t manufacturing is the perception that RDNA2 offers better gaming value than Ampere. The excellent power consumption cannot fully compensate for the weaknesses of this GPU and the card would fare much worse if the GPU market weren’t so bad at the moment.

Anyone who can afford to wait a little longer to buy a GPU will better benefit from doing so. Anyone who can’t afford to wait may find that they still prefer a more expensive card over buying a GPU with such limited capabilities in 2021.

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