AMD’s new $479 Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card will target gamers who want to play at 1440p with max settings but its best feature may be that it’ll be available in “significantly” higher volumes than Radeon RX 6800 GPUs were at launch, the company said Wednesday morning. AMD also announced that its performance-boosting Smart Access Memory technology will be coming to Ryzen 3000 processors.
But the star of the show was the Radeon RX 6700 XT, which features 40 compute units, a game clock of 2,424MHz, 96MB of AMD's radical Infinity Cache, a 230 watt power rating, and an ample 12GB of GDDR6 memory. AMD is especially touting that massive memory buffer to differentiate the Radeon RX 5700 XT from its rivals when they go on sale on March 18.
Both of Nvidia’s nearest competitors, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070, feature “just” 8GB of RAM. At 1440p resolution, AMD said Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War uses about 11GB of RAM, Horizon Zero Dawn uses just over 10GB, and both Dirt 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 push between 9GB and 10GB of memory use. AMD said these situations can give the larger 12GB frame buffer in the Radeon RX 6700 XT an advantage—but it will largely depend on the game.
AMD said ray tracing performance on the card will be similar to its higher-end Radeon RX 6800 and 6900 cards and you’ll be able to play games such as Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Fortnite, and Minecraft with the cutting-edge lighting effects enabled. The company also said ray tracing support for Cyberpunk 2077 and Dirt 5 were on the way too.
Nvidia’s GPUs have traditionally led in ray tracing but AMD noted that the company is now finally starting to reap the rewards of its open standards approach. AMD said there are now more than 40 games that support the company's FidelityFX effects, such as Contrast Adaptive Sharpening, Denoiser, Variable Rate Shading, and Screen Space Reflections. The company chalks that up to not only the open standards approach it takes, but also developers wanting to support features for the new generation of game consoles, too. AMD's Radeon GPUs power both the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5.
For peope who need less latency, AMD said it’s also now ready to offer Radeon Anti-Lag on not just DX9, and DX11 games, but also DX12. That's a very welcome addition, but crucially, AMD did not reveal anything more about FidelityFX Super Resolution, its brewing rival to Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling technology. DLSS's smart AI upscaling gives GeForce GPUs a major performance advantage in ray-traced games.
How much does the Radeon RX 6700 XT cost?
Generally, the card looks to fight with the GeForce RTX 3070 and the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti in performance, so it’s no coincidence that it’s priced between both. AMD said the price of its own cards will be set at $479, which is less than Nvidia’s list price of $499 for the GeForce RTX 3070, but more than the $399 price of the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti card.
Of course, pricing for both those Nvidia cards have mostly been academic because with insanely high demand from gamers, a resurgent coin mining craze, and sneaker scalpers focusing their powers on GPUs, the selling prices for new and used graphics cards alike are out of this world. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070, for example, regularly sees prices in the neighorhood of $1,000 on eBay.
With previous Radeon launches vanishing before anyone could even click the Buy It Now button, few have high hopes for this card either.
What AMD is doing to try to get GPUs to gamers
But AMD said it is well aware of the extreme frustration enthusiasts have suffered trying to get their hands on graphics cards. The company is taking steps to ease some pain with the Radeon RX 6700 XT.
“We hear, and understand, the frustration from gamers right now due to the unexpectedly strong global demand for graphics cards,” an AMD spokesperson said. “With the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT launch, we are on track to have significantly more GPUs available for sale at launch. We continue to take additional steps to address the demand we see from the community. We are also refreshing stock of both AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series graphics cards and AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processors on AMD.com on a weekly basis, giving gamers and enthusiasts a direct option to purchase the latest Ryzen CPUs and Radeon GPUs at the suggested etail and retail price.”
Particular to the Radeon RX 6700 XT launch though, AMD is taking several steps it hopes will help. First, the company said supplies should be “significantly” better this round.
Second, rather than launching an initial reference version of the graphics cards with custom partner boards launching weeks later, as it did with the Radeon RX 6800 XT and 6900 XT, AMD said everything will hit the street at once. That means we’ll see not only AMD-branded cards on March 18, but also versions from Asrock, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Sapphire, XFX, and Yeston available simultaneously.
This doesn’t guarantee that scalpers and miners still won’t vacuum up every single card in the universe once they go live, but—like newborn crabs trying to scuttle back to the ocean while seagulls swoop down from above—the more cards in the system, the better the chance of you getting one at first.
Third, in addition to the simultaneous launch by board partners and its own cards, AMD said it has lined up more than 40 system builders and OEMs who plan to offer prebuilt PCs with the Ryzen RX 6700 XT. While scalpers and miners have no issues employing bots to grab etail GPUs, they’ve been reluctant to buy whole systems to get them.
This won’t help the average person looking for just a GPU upgrade, but for someone who needs also needs a whole new system, it’s at least an option—and a good one.
Smart Access Memory on Ryzen 3000
To add a cherry on top of the Radeon RX 6700 XT reveal, AMD also said it will soon release support for its Smart Access Memory feature on Ryzen 3000 CPUs.
Smart Access Memory lets your CPU access the full memory of your Radeon RX 6000-series GPU at once, leading to (highly variable) performance increases, as we examined in our Radeon RX 6900 XT review. It's built upon the PCIe Resizable BAR spec, which Nvidia recently added to the new GeForce RTX 3060 and Intel has been rolling out for modern motherboards. Smart Access Memory currently only supports newer Ryzen 5000 processors that debuted the technology.
Laptop Radeon RX 6000 coming soon too
One last bit of news for people who need their gaming to go: The laptop version of the Radeon RX 6000 is coming soon. AMD didn’t specify exactly when, but it’s clear the company is hoping to see consumers snap up laptops using its fantastic Ryzen 5000 Mobile CPUs combined with its Radeon RX 6000 GPUs sometime soon. CEO Lisa Su previously said that mobile versions of the Radeon RX 6000-series will launch in the first half of 2021.