AMD is bringing us a new affordable graphics card, the RX 6700 XT. It’s a followup to the October launch of its Radeon RX 6000-based GPUs, the RX 6800, 6800 XT and 6900. The launch comes just after Nvidia launched an entry-level card incorporating its latest Ampere architecture, the GeForce RTX 3060. AMD’s new card seems more of a competitor to the RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070, though, since its $479 list price falls between the two.
It’s slated to launch on March 18, with both AMD’s own cards and all the usual suspects for third-party cards. It will also be available in regular retail PCs; HP has already announced that it’s planning to add the card as an option in its Omen 25L and 30L desktops at the end of March, along with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X option so you can take advantage of AMD’s Smart Memory Access. (International prices aren’t immediately available, but $479 is about £345 or AU$615.)
The big question is how to keep the new cards out of the hands of bots and cryptocurrency miners and in the hands of regular folks — and at their budget launch prices. Unlike Nvidia, which attempted to address the out-of-stock problem by throttling the RTX 3060’s mining-related performance, AMD didn’t address the issue at all in its announcement.
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
Memory bandwidth (GBps)
GPU clock (GHz, base/boost)
Texture fill rate (gigatexels per second)
Texture mapping units
TGP/min PSU (watts)
PCIe 4.0 x 16
2 slots; 10.5 inches (267mm) long
AMD may be at a disadvantage compared to Nvidia’s latest competitors in some respects. The RX 6700 XT draws more power and requires a bigger power supply than they do, and draws slightly more power than the RX 5700 XT it replaces. AMD’s card needs eight-pin plus six-pin power connections, while the RTX 3060 is just eight-pin. Unlike the RX 5700 XT though, AMD says it’s worked to make the fans quieter, at least on its own card.
While many of its specs are similar to the 5700 cards — it has the same 40 compute units, for example — the newer model shares the generational jump to RDNA 2, which adds ray-tracing acceleration, and bumps up to 12GB memory to better handle the larger textures required by the higher 1440p resolution it’s designed for.
It also debuts at $479, however, slightly higher than its predecessor. But if we can find it for less than $1,000 (if at all) at launch, I’ll eat my keyboard.
If you subscribe to only one CNET newsletter, this is it. Get editors’ top picks of the day’s most interesting reviews, news stories and videos.