Awesome raw shader performance, but the price is too high and the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is much quicker at ray tracing.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 comes equipped with a massive 16GB of memory – more than any other card under $1,000 at the moment. The memory is clocked at 16GHz (effective) and it’s GDDR6, so it’s not as quick as the 19GHz GDDR6X memory on the RTX 3070 Ti. It’s attached to a 256-bit wide memory interface, giving you a total memory bandwidth of 512GB/sec, compared to 608GB/sec on the RTX 3070 Ti.
At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing the latest gaming GPUs since 2003, and we run a number of grueling GPU benchmarks in order to gauge performance. Our game tests include measuring the frame rate in Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, and Metro Exodus, with and without ray tracing, and we also test with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. For more information, see our How we test page.
Meanwhile, the GPU itself is based on the RDNA 2 architecture, and has 60 of the Navi 21 GPU’s 80 compute units enabled, each of which contains 64 stream processors, adding up to a total of 3,840. Each compute unit also contains a dedicated Ray Accelerator, so you get 60 of them in this GPU to handle ray tracing in games that support it.
However, while AMD’s ray-tracing hardware can accelerate bounding box and triangle intersections, they can’t accelerate ray traversals, unlike Nvidia’s RTX GPUs, and RDNA 2 GPUs are generally a fair way behind Nvidia Ampere GPUs when it comes to ray tracing performance.
There’s no equivalent of Nvidia’s Tensor cores here either, and although AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution tech can scale gaming resolutions to massively improve frame rates in supported titles, it can’t compete with the image quality of DLSS.
Radeon RX 6800 gaming frame rates
Where the Radeon RX 6800 excels is in raw shader power. In tests without ray tracing, it beats the competition in every game at 1,920 x 1,080, and in most of them at 2,560 x 1,440 – there’s only a 1fps difference between the Radeon RX 6800 and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti in Cyberpunk 2077 at this resolution.
The Radeon RX 6800 doesn’t quite have the power for smooth 4K gaming though. It can handle Doom Eternal fine, and there’s potential to get this card playing Metro Exodus and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 4K if you drop the settings a little, but there’s little performance difference between the RTX 3070 Ti here – that extra memory clearly doesn’t offer a tangible benefit over the 8GB RTX 3070 Ti.
Like the other AMD GPUs on test, the Radeon RX 6800 stormed our Assassin’s Creed Valhalla test, being the only GPU to play this game at 2,560 x 1,440 without dropping below 60fps and to average over 100fps at 1,920 x 1,080. If your motherboard and CPU will enable you to enable Resizable BAR, which AMD calls Smart Access Memory, it will go even faster here too.
Where the Radeon RX 6800 struggles is with ray tracing. Its performance in Metro Exodus wasn’t too bad, with a respectable average of 59fps at 2,560 x 1,440. However, that’s still a fair way behind the 68fps from the RTX 3070 Ti, and even further behind the 76fps from the latter when you enable DLSS.
Cyberpunk 2077 was a bigger struggle, with the Radeon RX 6800 only averaging 26fps at 2,560 x 1,440. The RTX 3070 Ti averages 36fps in this test, and goes right up to 68fps if you enable DLSS.
Radeon RX 6800 pros and cons
- Great raw shader power
- Loads of memory
- Good power efficiency
- Struggles with ray tracing
- High price
- No direct equivalent of DLSS
Radeon RX 6800 specs
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 specs list is:
|Max boost clock
|2 GHz (16 GHz effective)
|16x PCIe 4
|2 x 8-pin
Radeon RX 6800 price
With the current GPU stock shortage, the Radeon RX 6800 is currently very expensive.
Price: Expect to pay $999 (£999).
Radeon RX 6800 review conclusion
It’s hard to justify the extra money for the Radeon RX 6800 over the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. Yes, the Radeon has double the memory, but the GPU doesn’t have enough power to handle the settings where that memory would really make a difference.
If you’re not bothered by ray tracing, then its raw shader power is fantastic, particularly if you play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. However, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti isn’t far behind in other games, it’s much cheaper and it can properly handle ray tracing.
Since we published this review in 2021, AMD has released the new RDNA 3 architecture, and the Radeon RX 7900 XT, which is a much more powerful GPU than the Radeon RX 6800. If you’re looking to buy a new gaming GPU, make sure you check out our guide to the best graphics card, where we take you through all the best options at a range of prices.