AMD Graphics Cards Buyers Guide

What is an AMD Radeon GPU / Graphics Card?

Though many modern CPUs are equipped with integrated graphics, these are only really suitable for basic tasks such as web browsing and office applications. Therefore you should seriously consider buying a separate graphics card if you want to play GAMES or edit videos.

A key supplier of graphics cards is AMD, and its range of Radeon GPUs offer something at most price points. The key specs to look out for when choosing an AMD graphics card are the number of stream processors and amount of memory, with more powerful cards having more of both. A faster and more powerful graphics card will enable to run games at higher quality settings at a smooth frame rate and even allow you to take advantage of super sharp HIGH RESOLUTION MONITORS, making everything look better. In this buyers guide we’ll give a recommendation of the optimum monitor resolution for each graphics card.

AMD is constantly updating its product range which could make it confusing to know if you’re buying the latest and greatest version.

The easiest way to tell is to look at what series the graphics card is, this essentially refers to the generation of that product which you’ll always find in the product description. Right now, the latest series of AMD GPUs are from the RX 6000-series.

The Radeon RX Hierarchy

With prices ranging from £150, there’s an AMD Radeon GPU for most budgets. To make the selection process a little easier to discern, we’ve also divided all the GPUs into four main categories in descending performance: High-End, Mid-Range and Entry-Level.

RX 6800 XT, RX 6800
High End
RX 5700 XT, RX 5600 XT, RX 5500 XT & RX 580
Mid Range
RX 570
Entry Level

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Graphics Cards

The most powerful and advanced AMD gaming graphics cards belong to the Radeon RX 6000-series, although you’ll still see some less powerful previous generation RX 5000 and RX 500-series graphics cards listed on our website.

DXR Real Time Ray Tracing

Radeon RX 6000-series GPU are based on the RDNA2 architecture. Launched in winter 2020, RDNA2 enables real time ray traced graphics in games. Unlike traditional rasterised graphics, ray tracing simulates how light beams and shadows actually work, providing far more rich and realistic graphics. While ray tracing as a technique has been used for decades in pre-rendered films, what makes RDNA2 GPUs unique is that they are powerful enough to produce ray traced graphics in real time.

The Ray Accelerators in Radeon RX 6000 GPUs work with Microsoft DXR to enable stunning ray traced graphics.

Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs also support the latest Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate standard, which further improves DXR ray tracing as well as adding three new rendering techniques.

Variable Rate Shading

VRS enables games to dynamically change the rate at which they shade different parts of a scene. For instance, as the human eye can’t pick up as much detail on fast moving objects as slower moving objects, fast moving objects can be shaded at a slower rate than the rest of the scene, freeing up the GPU to render the whole scene faster.

Mesh Shading

Mesh Shading is a similar concept to VRS and is a way of dynamically changing the amount of geometric detail on peripheral objects, freeing up the CPU to focus on other tasks.

Sampler Feedback

Sampler Feedback is a new method of saving the GPU from non-essential rendering. The concept is that rather than rendering every frame from scratch, there are frequently lots of objects that barely change in colour or size between several frames. Sampler Feedback analysis these objects and cuts down how often they are rendered, saving the GPU from rendering them every frame, and enabling it to focus on more visibly beneficial tasks.

AMD Smart Access Memory

In conventional gaming PC, the CPU can only access a fraction of graphics memory (VRAM) at once, limiting system performance.

AMD Smart Access Memory, which works when you combine a Radeon RX 6000 GPU with a Ryzen 5000-series CPU, the data channel gets expanded to harness the full potential of GPU memory, utilizing the bandwidth of PCIe to remove the bottlenecks and increase performance by up to 11%.

Radeon RX 6800 XT

Radeon RX 5700XT Graphics Card

The RX 6800 XT is the most powerful Radeon RX 6000-series gaming graphics card. This ultra-fast graphics card packs in 4,608 stream processors and 16GB of memory and provides stunning gaming experiences at the most demanding resolutions, 4K and UW-QHD.

Gaming 9
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution4K or UW-QHD

View all RX 6800 XT Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 6800

Radeon RX 6800 Graphics Card

The RX 6800 XT is the second most powerful Radeon RX 6000-series gaming graphics card. This superfast graphics card packs in 3,840 stream processors and 16GB of memory and provides a stunning gaming experience at 1440p.

Gaming 8
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution1440p

View all RX 6800 Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 5700 XT

Radeon RX 5700XT Graphics Card

The RX 5700 XT is based on the previous generation RNDA architecture and so does not support real time raytracing. It packs in 2,560 stream processors and 8GB of memory and provides a great gaming experience at 1440p.

Gaming 7
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution1400p

View all RX 5700 XT Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 5600 XT

Radeon RX 590 Graphics Card

The RX 5600 XT is based on the previous generation RNDA architecture and so does not support real time raytracing. It packs in 2,304 stream processors and 6GB of memory and provides a great gaming experience at 1440p.

Gaming 6
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution1440p

View all RX 5600 XT Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 5500 XT

Radeon RX 570 Graphics Card

The RX 5500 XT is based on the previous generation RNDA architecture and so does not support real time raytracing. It packs in 1,408 stream processors and either 4GB or 8GB of memory and provides a great gaming experience at 1080p.

Gaming 5
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution1080p

View all RX 5500 XT Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 580

Radeon RX 580 Graphics Card

The RX 580 is based on the previous generation Polaris architecture and so does not support real time raytracing. It packs in 2,304 stream processors and 8GB of memory and provides a great gaming experience at 1080p.

Gaming 4
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution1080p

View all RX 580 Graphics Cards

Radeon RX 570

Radeon RX 570 Graphics Card

The RX 570 is based on the previous generation Polaris architecture and so does not support real time raytracing. It packs in 2,048 stream processors and either 4GB or 8GB of memory and provides a good gaming experience at 1080p.

Gaming 3
0 5 10

Optimum Resolution1080p

View all RX 570 Graphics Cards

Summary

Still not sure which AMD graphics card is right for you? This table shows the key characteristics, rated out of 10, of the main models.

RX 6800 XT RX 6800 RX 5700 XT RX 5600 XT RX 5500 XT RX 580 RX 570
Gaming 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
RAY TRACING
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
VR READY
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
OPTIMUM RESOLUTIONY 4K / UW-QHD 1440p 1440p 1440p 1080p 1080p 1080p
AMD Radeon RX Card Specifications
Model RX 6800 XT RX 6800 RX 5700 XT RX 5600 XT RX 5500 XT RX 580 RX 570
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA2 RDNA RDNA RDNA GCN 4th GCN 4th
GPU Big Navi Big Navi Navi 10 Navi 10 Navi 14 Polaris XTX Polaris 20 Pro
Stream Processors 4,608 3,840 2,560 2,304 21,408 2,304 2,048
Reference Base Clock 2,015 MHz 1,815 MHz 1,605 MHz 1,420 MHz 1,607 MHz 1,257 MHz 1,168 MHz
Reference Boost Clock 2,250 MHz 2,105 MHz 1,905 MHz 1,620 MHz 1,845 MHz 1,340 MHz 1,244 MHz
Memory 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 6GB GDDR6 4GB/8GB GDDR6 4GB/8GB GDDR5 4GB/8GB GDDR5
Memory Controller 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 128-bit 256-bit 224-bit
TDP 300W 250W 225W 160W 130W 185W 150W

There you have it, everything you need to know when choosing a new AMD Radeon graphics card for your gaming PC. We hope you've found this buyer’s guide helpful. Don't hesitate to contact one of our friendly advisors for more advice if you still have questions on how to select the perfect graphics card.

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