Radeon RX 6800 Review, Raw 4K GamingNovember 18, 2020
AMD has achieved something big this year by releasing their latest Ryzen processor, the Ryzen 5000 series. With the new processors under its belt, AMD has given its competition a run for its money this time around.
AMD’s improvements with its latest processors have delivered the IPC performance they needed to stand tall against the competition in 1080p gaming and single-threaded workloads that the competition dominated for a long while. By reimagining its Zen architecture, AMD enabled the Ryzen 5000 series CPUs to have faster core-to-core and core-to-cache communications, thus improved overall performance and efficiency.
Much like the Zen 3 architecture, the revamped RDNA architecture of AMD’s new Radeon GPUs introduces fresh features that enhance the gaming experience and improve overall gaming performance. This new RDNA architecture, dubbed RDNA 2, will be found on the latest Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards revealed a month ago.
The competition’s new offerings and its previous top-tier lineup feature real-time raytracing, which was the Radeon RX 5000 series lineup’s bane. But this time around, AMD addresses what its previous lineup lacked – raytracing – as the Radeon RX 6000 series lineup features Ray accelerators.
With enhanced architecture, new features, and raytracing ability, would the new Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards be capable enough to reach the same achievement as the Ryzen 5000 series. We’ll know that in a bit as we bring you our Radeon RX 6800 review.
Silver is the new black
For the Radeon RX 6000 series cards, AMD ditched the blower type fan, which was seen on the previous 5000 series graphics cards, and picked a more conventional fan setup that delivers better cooling performance.
The reference cards under the Radeon RX 6000 series are equipped with a cooling system with an extended vapor chamber backed by a beefy heatsink and triple fan setup. AMD chose the conventional triple-fan setup to support its newest Radeon software feature – Rage mode. Aside from having a conventional cooling setup, Radeon RX 6000 series cards are built with a robust shroud and backplate made entirely of metal.
Just like the previous Radeon reference cards, Radeon branding is seen all over the shroud, fans, and backplate. The only lighting you’ll get on the AMD reference model, specifically on the Radeon RX 6800, is the red led that lights the Radeon branding up top. RGB and other aesthetical improvements will be available when AIBs release their own models of the Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs.
Unlike the previous reference designs, the Radeon RX 6000 cards veer from AMD’s usual gamer-centric design elements. The new-gen reference cards combine subtle mirror accents and a black and silver color scheme. It’s still of the gaming-centric kind but not as aggressive-looking as the previous generation.
New features out to haunt
Along with the previous RDNA features such as FidelityFX, Radeon Anti-Lag, Radeon Boost, Radeon Chill, Radeon Image Sharpening, and many others, the RDNA 2 architecture introduces noteworthy features that are set to enhance the gaming experience of the user by improving a Radeon RX 6000 series graphics card’s overall performance.
First on the list is the new Rage mode. This new feature is an additional option on the Radeon Software’s performance tuning presets. It basically raises the power limit along with the fan-speed to improve the GPU performance further. The GPU frequency can go up to 2310MHz when Rage mode is in play. However, this option is only available to the first tier and second tier Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards.
Then we have new effects coming into the FidelityFX feature. One of which is the FidelityFX Variable Shading that analyzes luminance and motion on each frame to optimizes the performance of a Radeon RX 6000 series card without lowering the graphics quality. The other additional effect to the FidelityFX is the FidelityFX Denoiser, which improves in-game real-time raytracing and other in-game effects.
As of this writing, however, these features are only available to select games. It requires time for other game devs to adapt and implement these new features into your favorite and upcoming games.
Last on the list, but definitely not the least, is AMD’s Smart Access Memory. By combining the technologies of AMD’s latest Ryzen 5000 series, 500 series motherboards, and the Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards, the Smart Access Memory feature enables a Ryzen 5000 series processor to utilize the PCIe bandwidth to expand its data channel to open full access to a Radeon RX 6000 graphics card’s memory, which ultimately removes bottleneck to increase performance significantly.
The only thing that might hold back this new feature is the required components to enable it.
Processor: Ryzen 5 5600X
Motherboard: ASRock X570 Taichi
Memory: HyperX Predator DDR4 4200MHz 16GB (8 x 2) (Running @ 3200MHz)
Drive: Seagate FireCuda 2TB, Kingmax PX3280 M.2 NVMe SSD 256GB
Graphics Card: Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, ASUS TUF RTX 3080
PSU: Corsair RM750 80 Plus Gold Fully Modular
Case: Corsair Carbide Spec-05
Synthetic Benchmarks and Game Benchmarks:
Experience and Conlusion:
The Radeon RX 6800 is an upgrade worth looking into if you are looking to step into the visually stunning 4K gaming realm. It is also a sound upgrade for those who have high refresh 1440p displays.
The massive VRAM of the Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards can literally push the settings of a handful of triple-a titles to their max settings at 4k. This alone can compel some into joining team red. In addition, with an average of 59MH/s that only consumes around 169W, the Radeon RX 6800 will surely be eye-candy for crypto mining. However, when usable gaming and streaming features are concerned, the competition’s offerings would be the sound choice. Moreover, the first generation Ray accelerators of the Radeon RX 6000 series are just not that ripe yet. As such, they lag behind their competition when it comes to ray tracing performance. And as we’ve mentioned at the onset of this review, the new effects of the FidelityFX will take time to be implemented in some game titles.
Though it’s the third tier of the Radeon RX 6000 series, the Radeon RX 6800 is capable enough for 4k gaming. However, the lack of usable features and its launch price of $579 makes it hard not to look at the competition’s offering that’s $80 cheaper. But it’s not about those things this time around. With the current lack of supply, this battle will just boil down to availability.
So, if maxing out game settings is what you’re after, the behemoth VRAM of the RX 6800 would surely be of help in that department, especially if you are looking for the best raw 4K gaming experience, then you should put this one into your to-consider list.