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The Big Navi is here! AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT First Impressions

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Today we are checking out something new from Team Red – it’s the reference edition RX 6800 XT from AMD’s Radeon division. While I can’t give you any information on performance just yet, I can tell you this card is aimed at the high end gaming and at a retail price of 649 US dollars it better deliver. Make sure to visit our site again, our full review is coming out soon.

First impressions definitely give premium vibes: we are presented with a very elegant box, welcoming you to the red team. Here we have a nice padded insert with a mini safety and legal guidelines document as well as a QR code which leads you to AMDs website for all the relevant documentation.

And then we have the graphics card itself. AMD has gone with a triple fan design enclosed in a very solid 2.5 slot shroud. When we look from the side, it is fin-city! We also immediately noticed that there are no heatpipes in sight, just end to end fins with what looks like a large heat plate across the whole board. A very interesting design. Will have to see how it performs in our testing!

It is actually surprisingly small – especially when we compare it to the NVIDIA counterparts. Here we have RTX3070 and it dwarfs RX 6800XT. Even though this card appears to be reasonably sized, it is actually really heavy. It measures just over 1.5 kilos in weight. In comparison the RTX 3070 is just 1100 grams, and our older RTX 2080 Super is 1430 grams. Considering that both of those cards are considerably larger, it leads to ponder – what is the heat distribution plate made out of..?

Moving on, at the back we have a die cast aluminium backplate which smoothly wraps around the enclosure. I really like this matte black and silver finish, and for those who want to go complete dark mode, it seems AMD may also have a Black Edition card where even the I/O plate is made in black. But this painted red accent line… somehow I’m just not feeling it, they could’ve made it into a user configurable LED light instead.

RX 6800XT is a 300W card and to power it there are two 8 pin connectors. When taking a closer look at the back, we have two display 1.4 ports and single HDMI 2.1 port as well as USB type C port which can also provide power, this is especially useful for those who want to play in VR.

This card features the new RDNA 2 also known as the “BIG NAVI” architecture, it comes with 72 compute units and 72 hardware ray accelerators. It also has Boost frequency up to 2250MHz and Game frequency up to 2015MHz.

In terms of memory, this card features 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM clocked at 16Gbps as well as 128MB of infinity cache. This is a new type of memory dedicated to amplify memory bandwidth without increasing the size of 256 bit bus thus improving efficiency.

Another large development is smart access memory, SAM for short. This allows the CPU to have direct access to all VRAM on the GPU, thus improving performance. It is a function currently only available between new Zen 3 CPUs and RDNA 2 graphics cards but I feel it might become mainstream in the future across all brands.

For people who play triple A titles this latest Radeon lineup supports DirectX 12 Ultimate as well as AMD FidelityFX and Radeon Image Sharpening and for those who are into Esports titles there is Radeon Anti-lag and Radeon Boost to help improve overall game responsiveness.

We will be going over all of this in our upcoming review so stay tuned. Ultimately this card is aimed to compete with Nvidia’s RTX3080 and we look forward to seeing which comes out on top.


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