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AMD Radeon RX 6600
AMD finally brought some much-needed competition to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards when it launched the RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6000 Series about a year ago.
The company understandably focussed on the premium end of the market first, characterised by cards such as the high-octane Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT, but has in recent times harnessed cut-down versions of the Navi 2x architecture for cheaper, mainstream cards.
Released in August 2021, the most affordable way to enter the desktop Radeon RX 6000 Series portfolio lay with the RX 6600 XT, priced from $379 (£349), though ongoing stock shortages escalated real-world pricing much closer to £500.
Nevertheless, AMD is now debuting the Radeon RX 6600 GPU. Nominally priced from $329 (£299), it's purposely designed to woo enthusiasts away from contemplating the baby of the rival GeForce bunch, the RTX 3060. Let's examine how it does this.
|Radeon RX 6900 XT||Radeon RX 6800 XT||Radeon RX 6800||Radeon RX 6700 XT||Radeon RX 6600 XT||Radeon RX 6600||Radeon RX 5700 XT|
|Launch date||December 2020||November 2020||November 2020||March 2021||August 2021||October 2021||July 2019|
|Codename||Navi 21||Navi 21||Navi 21||Navi 22||Navi 23||Navi 23||Navi 10|
|Architecture||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA|
|Die Size (mm²)||519||519||519||336||237||237||251|
|Full Implementation of Die||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Infinity Cache (MB)||128||128||128||96||32||32||No|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||2,250||2,250||2,105||2,581||2,589||2,491||1,905|
|Game Clock (MHz)||2,015||2,015||1,815||2,424||2,359||2,044||1,755|
|Peak GFLOPS (SP)||23,040||20,736||16,166||13,215||10,605||8,928||9,750|
|Memory Size (GB)||16||16||16||12||8||8||8|
|Memory Clock (MHz)||16,000||16,000||16,000||16,000||16,000||14,000||14,000|
|Memory Bus (bits)||256||256||256||192||128||128||256|
|Max Bandwidth (GB/s)||512||512||512||384||256||224||448|
|PCIe Support||Gen 4 x16||Gen 4 x16||Gen 4 x16||Gen 4 x16||Gen 4 x8||Gen 4 x8||Gen 4 x16|
|GFLOPS per watt||76.8||69.1||64.66||57.46||66.28||67.63||43.3|
In sensible fashion, AMD uses the existing Navi 23 silicon from the RX 6600 XT and switches off a few performance parameters for effective segmentation. In particular, RX 6600 XT's 32 Compute Units - the muscular processing blocks that mostly define in-game framerate - are lopped to 28. Doing so has the knock-on effect of reducing shading processors and texture units by the same ratio, though AMD keeps certain hardware - ROPs and Infinity Cache - at the same levels.
Acknowledging the lower peak speed, it is easy to see RX 6600 will be around 15 per cent slower than the available XT. AMD further dampens performance by reducing the memory speed by 12.5 per cent, but the one positive aspect of these changes is board power that's scaled back to just 132W.
Getting away from pure speeds and feeds for a moment, it's clear AMD's ambition with this GPU is to offer solid 1080p performance in an energy-efficient package. The specifications suggest it has the horsepower to do so, and results from leading independent review websites corroborate this line of thinking.
Run at maximum image quality settings, the Radeon RX 6600 is able to muster solid framerates within intensive games. Key to the RX 6600's success is the ability to use image-enhancing raytracing in hardware, which older cards such as the Radeon RX 5700 XT cannot, so it's a firm choice for modern games that use the full gamut of features available to the developer.
Radeon RX 6600 succeeds in providing stern competition to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, too, and both represent a fine choice for a mainstream PC gaming build focussed on high-quality 1080p visuals.
AMD is not releasing an MBA reference board for this model. Instead, the onus is on trusted partners such as Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, et al, to build custom designs. Understanding that the Radeon RX 6600 is excellent with respect to energy efficiency, there is plenty of scope to launch small-form-factor cards that are easy on the ear and fit into a wide range of chassis.
In summary, AMD has succeeded in its aim of launching a more cost-effective RDNA 2-based graphics card. Starting at £299, the Radeon RX 6600 is the easiest way for the enthusiast PC gamer to buy into the company's latest technology.
Scan Computers stocks a wide range of AMD Radeon RX 6600 cards.