More mainstream games for $ 329

AMD re-expanded its Radeon RX 6000 video card family this morning, this time by adding a second, cheaper mainstream offering: the Radeon RX 6600. Announced and unveiled this morning, the Radeon RX 6600 is aimed at the mainstream 1080p gaming market, which ranks second, cheaper. an alternative to AMD’s already released Radeon RX 6600 XT. Based on the same Navi 23 GPU as its brother, the Radeon RX 6600 comes with 28 graphics hardware, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and 32MB of Infinity Cache, priced at $ 329.

AMD launched the first members of its Radeon RX 6000 family just under a year ago, and even with the ongoing pandemic and tumultuous video card market, the company continues to run additional video cards in a fairly simple cascading manner. Now to their 6th RX 6000 desktop card, AMD fills the bottom of its line as market conditions and supply allow. This means that with their first desktop 23 based on the Navi 23 card launched in August — the Radeon RX 6600 XT company is now ready to introduce a lower version of the card that will follow the same 1080p gaming audience.

As is typical for second-tier cards, the Radeon RX 6600 is essentially a scaled-down version of the RX 6600 XT. AMD uses the same Navi 23 GPU and GDDR6 memory combination, but everything is somehow reduced in performance, which makes the card with slightly poorer performance and cheaper. Aside from market price madness, this is essentially AMD’s more direct response to NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 in predicted performance and in MSRPs. The decline in gaming performance with the RX 6600 XT is visible – this is not an “epic” 1080p card like the RX 6600 XT – but for players who are not initially trying to run games at speeds above 60 fps the RX 6600 should still show as a capable card.

Comparison of AMD Radeon RX series specifications
AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT AMD Radeon RX 6600 AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
Stream processors 2048
(32 CU)
(28 CU)
(36 CU)
(22 CU)
ROP 64 64 64 32
Game Clock 2359MHz 2044MHz 1375MHz 1717MHz
Boost Clock 2589MHz 2491MHz 1560MHz 1845MHz
Bandwidth (FP32) 9.7 TFLOPS 7.3 TFLOPS 7.2 TFLOPS 5.2 TFLOPS
Memory clock 16 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6 12 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6
Memory bus width 128-bit 128-bit 192-bit 128-bit
Infinity Cache 32MB 32MB N / A N / A
Total plate power 160W 132W 150W 130W
Production process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
Number of transistors 11.06B 11.06B 10.3B 6.4B
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA2 RDNA (1) RDNA (1)
GPU Navi 23 Navi 23 Navi 10 Navi 14
Launch date 08/11/2021 10/13/2021 01/21/2020 12/12/2019
Starting price $ 379 $ 329 $ 279 $ 199

At the heart of the RX 6600 is a scaled-down version of the Navi 23 GPU. We’ve already covered this for both the launch of the RX 6600 XT and for the RX 6600M, so I won’t go into detail on that, but it’s proven to be a powerful GPU, which with 32 MB compensates for the lack of external memory width Infinity Cache. The specific version used by AMD here has 28 of the 32 CU GPUs enabled, meaning it drops about 13% of its graphics hardware compared to the RX 6600 XT.

Clock speeds have also been reduced. While the 2491 MHz boost clock is not too far from the RX 6600 XT boost clock, the 2044 MHz game clock is a more significant reduction, coming 13% lower than its faster sibling. The net result is that for cooling / texturing / RT performance, the RX 6600 on paper will deliver only about 76% of the XT’s performance. ROP throughput and other aspects fare slightly better as they are not part of the reduced number of CUs, but it is still a 13% drop in paper flow.

Meanwhile, when it comes to memory, things are similarly reduced. AMD’s on-board partners still ship a card with 8GB of GDDR6 connected to a 128-bit memory bus — so there was no reduction in capacity — but AMD is finally moving away from allocating 16 Gbps of memory on all of its cards. Instead, the Radeon RX 6600 requires GDDR6 running at 14 Gbps, which runs at a total memory bandwidth of 224 GB / s, which is a 12% drop over the RX 6600 XT. All in all, this move isn’t too surprising, as with fewer input CUs, the amount of pressure on the card’s memory bandwidth is reduced. I guess AMD can also run these chips at lower power levels, which from an efficiency standpoint never hurts. This means, however, that the built-in Infinity Cache SRAM is now more important than ever, as it has to work much harder to hide the limited bandwidth of external memory.

Finally, with the reduction in CU and overall performance compared to the RX 6600 XT, the total board power (TBP) of the RX 6600 is also lower, and AMD has set the baseline at 132 W. Significantly, this makes the RX 6600 the first desktop graphics card below 150 W which we have seen in this generation; The RX 6600 XT was 160 W and the RTX 3060 had a 170 W TDP. So there’s a possibility that the RX 6600 will fit into a wider range of systems than the XT version did, especially with the 450W power recommendation. However, given the photos and specs I’ve seen so far for partner cards, I have yet to see a card that comes with a 6-pin PCIe power connector — each card is either indeterminate or comes with an 8-connector. Therefore, there may be several (if any) cards that are really suitable for entering systems limited to cards below 150 W.

For people who know the specifications of their video card / GPU by heart, the RX 6600 looks like the RX 6600M overall. AMD’s lowest level mobile part was the first Navi 23 product to be launched and has a similar 28CU configuration, but with higher clock speeds and a smaller power range. To that end, I doubt most of the GPUs that go into the RX 6600 are made up of chips whose power consumption hasn’t been reduced by laptops – those more permeable, warmer chips that require just a little more voltage and power to run than is suitable for laptop use. Still, expect AMD to reduce energy efficiency in its marketing materials, because a low TBP card means it comes with a significant advantage.

Product positioning, partner cards and availability

As mentioned earlier, AMD is targeting the RX 6600 to the mainstream 1080p gaming market. A smaller sibling with the RX 6600 XT, it can’t achieve the same high 1080p image speed as AMD’s other 1080p card. Consequently, while AMD sold the RX 6600 XT as it was almost outperformed for 1080p games, the RX 6600 vanilla is more of a traditional 1080p @ 60fps market offering.

The main competition for it is NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060. With the RX 6600 XT capable of outperforming the RTX 3060 most of the time, the RX 6600 is a more direct competitor. Of course, this isn’t a fight the RX 6600 can win – even AMD admits they expect the card to win something and lose something depending on the game and settings used – so the description of a direct competitor is accurate. This is further emphasized by the price of 329 USD, which is the same MSRP as the RTX 3060. In practice, I doubt that AMD’s performance aspirations are slightly higher than their hardware can meet, but even if it fails to withstand even with RTX – om 3060, AMD will have no problem selling the card in today’s market.

Meanwhile, the more direct undermining of AMD a bit here in the hardware department is the memory capacity; NVIDIA famously gave the competing RTX 3060 12 GB of VRAM to avoid having only 6 GB. So while AMD’s offering is more than enough for current gaming, the RTX 3060 will have extra legroom in the future. That’s more why AMD’s marketing focuses on things like energy efficiency.

Let’s move on, let’s talk about the RX 6600 cards themselves. Like the RX 6600 XT, AMD leaves the production of cards entirely to its on-board partners, who have developed their own custom designs – many of which are reused from the RX 6600 XT. This, of course, also means that there are no reference AMD cards (at least outside the company’s lab).

Given the current video card market, expect AMD’s partners to pile up opportunities and factory overclocking as added value for their cards. If things go as well as the XT for the RX 6600, we’ll see a few basic models and lots of premium cards with more fans and as much RGB lighting as your computer case can handle. On the other hand, at least one ITX card is planned to be released, so manufacturers use lower TBP to enable some smaller cards as well.

Low power gamers in particular will want to check the RX 6600 card specifications three times before buying anything. Although AMD’s reference TBP is low enough to allow a card below the 150 W-6-pin connector and all that-pressure on the premium means the board partners will want to repurpose and overclock their cards. So at the moment it is not clear how many card models will actually work below 150W. We should find out more later today when the complete retail ads are published.

In terms of price and availability, little can be said today that has not already been said during any other video card launches this year. Demand for video cards still far outstrips supply – in large part thanks to cryptocurrency mining (ETH was $ 3,400 at the time of this writing) – so initial card deliveries were faster and smaller inventories even faster. Furthermore, at a suggested retail price of $ 329, the RX 6600 is tied to the cheapest card of this generation, so following the usual demand curves, expect it to be a hot commodity.

Similarly, even with the lower performance of the RX 6600 compared to the RX 6600 XT, I don’t expect the retail prices of this card to remain at $ 329 after launch, or even below $ 400. Where sales prices will settle remains to be seen, but the high demand for RX 6600 XT cards with more than $ 400 gives a similar picture for the RX 6600. Which means buying cards at launch could be the best game for players to get a card remotely close official IFRS.

Yet, as with the launch of the Radeon RX 6600 XT, even if AMD’s latest card is hard to come by, another line of graphics cards on the market is another opportunity to grab a video card. Until the demand equation shrinks, the next best thing video card manufacturers can do is increase supply, and getting a second-rate Nav 23 card is another way to do it.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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