AMD announces RX 6700 XT graphics card, coming in March

The RX 6700 XT is the next graphics card from AMD, the company announced Wednesday. With more mainstream-friendly pricing than its predecessors in AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 line of GPUs, this card is designed to compete with cheaper offerings from Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000-series GPUs — namely, the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti. It’s also optimized for gaming at 1440p resolution, rather than 4K.

The RX 6700 XT will be released March 18 with a retail price starting at $479, AMD announced. That launch date will apply for both AMD-made cards as well as options from third-party manufacturers such as Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI.

That puts the RX 6700 XT’s pricing between Nvidia’s RTX 3070 ($499) and RTX 3060 Ti ($399). It does top both of those cards in terms of raw specifications, with 12 GB of GDDR6 RAM and a base clock of 2.321 GHz. The RX 6700 XT also draws 230 W of power, and will require two power connectors, one eight-pin and the other six-pin. Check out AMD’s website for the full specs.

AMD highlighted the benefits of the RX 6700’s RAM in particular, pointing out that modern games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War often demand more than 8 GB of video memory when running with high-resolution texture packs at 1440p. The company described the RX 6700 XT as “the ideal choice for 1440p gaming,” showing a chart in which the card bested both the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti in frame rates at max settings in games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3, and Hitman 3.

Image: AMD/YouTube

Like the other RX 6000 cards, the RX 6700 XT features AMD’s latest GPU microarchitecture, RDNA 2, which is the same technology that powers the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. While RDNA 2 products are capable of hardware-accelerated real-time ray tracing, AMD didn’t discuss the details of the RX 6700 XT’s ray tracing performance. (That was also the case last fall, when AMD announced the first GPUs in its RX 6000 lineup.)

That’s perhaps because AMD has yet to reveal its open alternative to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology, which uses machine learning to accelerate graphics rendering through image reconstruction. In games that support both ray tracing and DLSS — and it’s worth noting that there aren’t many of them right now — enabling DLSS delivers a significant boost to performance, allowing for players to turn up graphics settings (including ray tracing) and resolution while maintaining a playable frame rate.

Of course, the big question looming over any GPU announcement in 2021 is whether customers will actually be able to buy them. Worldwide semiconductor shortages caused partly by the coronavirus pandemic have been causing manufacturing problems in a variety of industries for many months, and that issue is compounded in the GPU market by cryptocurrency miners, who snatch up cards for mining operations. Nvidia took aim at the latter situation with its latest GPU, the RTX 3060, by releasing drivers that limit the card’s usefulness for Ethereum mining.

AMD won’t be doing that, but the company says it’s doing its best to provide more GPU supply. AMD told our sister site The Verge that it is “on track to have significantly more GPUs available for sale” at the launch of the RX 6700 XT. The company also said that it will sell RX 6000 cards and Ryzen 5000 CPUs through its own website, with new stock each week.

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