Review – Radeon RX 6900 XT vs GeForce RTX 3090: Specs

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Today we will be looking atRadeon RX 6900 XT vs GeForce RTX 3090. The specs, Hashrate, Overclocking, CPU performance, profitability, best coins to mine and more. Radeon RX 6900 XT, review of the top of the AMD range that challenges GeForce RTX 3090

The last months of this year have brought us a total of seven new video cards, four Nvidia GeForce and three AMD Radeon , all difficult to buy but undoubtedly all representing a clear step forward compared to the proposals of the last generation. To close the series of announcements the Radeon RX 6900 XT model , the top of the range of the new range of AMD based on RDNA 2 architecture .

[HWUVIDEO = “3046”] AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT: the most powerful Big Navi of all [/ HWUVIDEO]

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The Radeon RX 6900 XT card is the “non plus ultra” of the company’s graphics offer, a proposal very similar in features to the smaller Radeon RX 6800 XT and 6800 proposals, being based on the same Navi 21 GPU, strong for 8 Compute Units more than the 6800 XT which push up all numbers, from stream processors to Ray Accelerators.

What does 8 CU more mean in practice? Radeon RX 6900 XT based on a GPU with 80 active Compute Units, for a total of 5120 stream processors capable of operating at frequencies of 2015 MHz (Game Clock) / 2250 MHz (Boost Clock). Each Compute Unit has a Ray Accelerator, and therefore on this proposal we find 80 . 320 texture units and 128 ROPs complete the picture. The card has 128 MB of Infinity Cache and 16 GB of GDDR6 memory at 16 Gbps on a 256-bit bus, for a bandwidth of 512 GB / s. The TDP of this solution is 300W .

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Specification (hashrate)

  Radeon RX 6900 XT Radeon RX 6800 XT Radeon RX 6800
Architecture RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA 2
Productive process 7 nanometers 7 nanometers 7 nanometers
Number of transistors 26.8 billion 26.8 billion 26.8 billion
Die size 519 mm2 519 mm2 519 mm2
Compute Unit 80 72 60
Stream processor 5120 4608 3840
Ray Accelerator 80 72 60
Unit texture 320 288 240
ROPs 128 128 96
Game Clock up to 2015 MHz up to 2015 MHz up to 1815 MHz
Boost Clock up to 2250 MHz up to 2250 MHz up to 2105 MHz
FP32 computing power fino a 23,04 TFLOPs fino a 20,74 TFLOPs fino a 16,17 TFLOPs
FP16 computing power fino a 46,08 TFLOPs fino a 41,47 TFLOPs fino a 32,33 TFLOPs
Texture fill-rate fino a 720 GT/s fino a 648 GT/s fino a 505,2 GT/s
Pixel fill-rate fino a 288 GP/s fino a 288 GP/s fino a 202,1 GP/s
AMD Infinity Cache 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB
GDDR6 memory 16 GB a 16 Gbps 16 GB a 16 Gbps 16 GB a 16 Gbps
Memory bus 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit
Bandwidth memoria fino a 512 GB/s fino a 512 GB/s fino a 512 GB/s
TBP 300W 300W 250W

The Radeon RX 6900 XT, being a step beyond the Radeon RX 6800 XT, was born for those who want to play at maximum performance in 4K and above all, given how the younger sister behaves, wants to offer gaming performance comparable to those offered by the GeForce RTX 3090 , Nvidia’s flagship. The latter equipped with 24 GB of memory and unlike the AMD solution was created especially for those who want a card with a lot of VRAM for particularly complex and heavy rendering.

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The reference Radeon RX 6900 XT that we have had the opportunity to test in recent days is completely identical to the Radeon RX 6800 XT , with a three-fan cooler and a radiator of the same thickness. There are no differences from this point of view, the only changes between the two models are related to the GPU.

The three axial fans introduce fresh air inside the board, without producing a great noise. They also have a 0dB mode , which means they don’t spin at low loads. The fans are surrounded by an aluminum structure, open only at the sides , from which heat escapes. This heat, according to AMD, is then captured by the rear fan in the case and expelled.

just looking sideways at the card that you can see the heart of the cooling system, a voluminous radiator with a vapor chamber under which there is a graphite thermal interface on the GPU and an aluminum structure that confers structural rigidity. On MOSFET and GDDR6, AMD engineers have placed thermal pads to promote heat exchange. The 14-layer PCB (four with 2 ounces of copper for better conductivity) has 16 power phases (one more than the 6800 XT) and features two classic 8-pin PCIe power connectors on both boards . Two phases are dedicated to the memories (8 chips of 16 Gbit) GDDR6.

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As for overall dimensions, the card is 26.7 cm long and 12 cm high. AMD recommends an 850W power supply. In the back of the Radeon RX 6900 XT we find two DisplayPort 1.4 and an HDMI 2.1, together with a USB C port that can be used for power or to manage displays equipped with this port, or virtual reality viewers. And the price? The Radeon RX 6900 XT card costs 1001 euros (availability at launch will be zero or in any case very low), about 500 euros less than the official price list of the GeForce RTX 3090 Foundes Edition (which unfortunately is not found or costs, although the custom models , about 2000 euros at the moment).

Consumption, temperatures, noise and thermal analysis

The heatsink of the Radeon RX 6900 XT is the same as the Radeon RX 6800 XT model tested in recent weeks and which we had already defined “brilliant”, as it is capable of keeping the GPU at normal temperature levels, while ensuring adequate performance and noise. not problematic. Will it be the same for the newcomer with a more “bodied” GPU?

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The official specifications of AMD indicate for the Radeon RX 6800 XT and the 6900 XT the same operating frequencies of the GPU and we see this aspect also in practice, with the clock recorded in our workload (a Hitman 2 loop in detail maximum and in 4K) and practically in photocopy (green line and purple line).

Radeon RX 6900 XT

Radeon RX 6900 XT

Radeon RX 6900 XT

Radeon RX 6900 XT

We also see a similar trend from the point of view of GPU temperature . The Radeon RX 6900 XT appears to peak slightly earlier, but this is only true because we started our test shortly after the end of a test, so with the GPU already hot. Observing the trend, we also see in this how the lines are almost completely identical.

The GPU consumption on the Radeon RX 6900 XT in our possession proved to be much more regular than that seen with the other two cards: in our test the card showed a much less “jolting” trend than the Radeon RX 6800 XT.

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In terms of noise , the Radeon RX 6900 XT achieves a similar value to the RX 6800, higher than that of the 6800 XT, at least in our test environment. We can however say that as with the other two graphics cards, AMD’s reference design is not overly noisy when it comes to traditional gaming.

Test setup

The tests were conducted at video resolutions of 1920×1080 pixels, 2560×1440 pixels and 3840×2160 pixels, always trying to use very high quality settings to shift the load as much as possible on the GPU. Below are the video cards included in this comparison:

  • AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT (reference)
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (reference)
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 (reference)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Super (Founders Edition)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (Founders Edition)
  • AMD Radeon VII (reference board)
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700XT (reference board)
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 (reference board)
  • AMD Radeon RX 5600XT (Sapphire Pulse)
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Below is the configuration of the system used for the tests:

  • Operating system: Italian Windows 10 Pro
  • Processore: Intel Core i9-10900K
  • Power supply: CoolerMaster Silent Pro Gold 1200 Watt
  • Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero WiFi
  • Memoria: G.Skill Trident Z 2x8GB DDR4-4000 (17-17-17-37)
  • SSD: Crucial P1 M.2 2280 1TB
  • Driver video NVIDIA: GeForce 457.51
  • AMD Video Drivers: Printer drivers compatible with the new Radeon RX 6900 XT

Performance without ray tracing

The tabs in the charts are placed depending on the result in 4K . Compared to the tests carried out in recent weeks, there are some changes, which fortunately do not affect the values ​​in the field that are already appreciated but which bring further order.

In DIRT 5 we appreciated bad results for Nvidia proposals and finally this situation was brought back to normal. This is because in previous tests we were testing a version of the game that AMD and Codemasters had made available to us to test ray tracing in advance. Evidently that version of the game allowed you to appreciate the performance with ray tracing with the AMD cards, penalizing for the GeForce proposals. As a result we went back to a stable version of the title by retesting all the video cards, so that we have the current picture.

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We also saw a performance boost with the latest Nvidia card drivers with Doom Eternal , and so we retested all Nvidia GPUs. For the other games we ran sample tests at various resolutions without seeing any changes with the new drivers.

So let’s see how the newcomer is positioned, in particular compared to the GeForce RTX 3090 , in traditional games without features such as ray tracing.

The Radeon RX 6900 XT a few percentage points ahead of the RX 6800 XT , which is roughly on par with Nvidia’s RTX 3080, and slightly behind the GeForce RTX 3090 . Not a lot, there are tests in which it wins, but overall just behind Nvidia’s flagship.

Performance with ray tracing

The ray tracing the new frontier on which collide AMD and Nvidia. We tested several games (RT only, no DLSS or other tricks) to better understand the various performance nuances of the cards. Nvidia has a two-year lead over AMD in terms of technology adoption , so we expect much higher average frames per second for GeForce.

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Before moving on to the tests, we must also make a clarification in this section. In the case of Watch Dogs Legion , the new AMD drivers have fixed a bug and the impact of the technology has become more marked than previously seen, in exchange for an improvement in graphics quality. As a result , the new Radeon RXs appear more detached from the GeForce in this game than in the past.

DLSS, Nvidia’s advantage

Not only does Nvidia have an advantage in pure ray tracing performance, but it has a weapon to play and it’s called DLSS . Deep Learning Super Sampling, when implemented in games, allows you to significantly increase the performance of Nvidia video cards with ray tracing active while preserving image quality. In the following graphs relating to the 4K resolution alone we show you how much Nvidia GPUs earn with DLSS active. AMD has stated that it is working on a similar technology called Super Resolution , but at the moment there are no details on its operation or in terms of performance or debut date.

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Performance with Smart Access Memory

With the new video cards, AMD has introduced the Smart Access Memory (SAM) feature . This is a technology that gives the CPU access to the entire VRAM memory of the video card (in this case 16 GB), whereas previously access was limited to 256 MB. This solution derives from the Base Address Register (BAR) functionality at the heart of PCI Express technology, which allows you to define how much GPU memory space can be mapped. By mapping the entire memory, a limit (and therefore an inefficiency) is removed, unlocking further performance. This is due to the fact that by mapping only 256MB, games have to make continuous “back and forth” trips between the CPU and RAM in case the data exceeds that size, thus creating a so-called bottleneck.

It was initially only enabled on platforms with AMD 500 series chipsets, Ryzen 5000 processors and updated firmware, but fortunately the technology is also expanding to Intel platforms . We updated the BIOS on our Asus motherboard and tested SAM on the Core i9-10900K processor platform. The good news that it works , and Borderlands 3 proves it . The bad news that we don’t always have improvements , as can be seen in two resolutions of Hitman 2 and especially Wolfenstein Youngblood, where we encountered a bug that dramatically reduced performance. In short, SAM remains an additional option to be evaluated case by case, but not always – at least in our experience – a guarantee of greater performance.

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The time has come to take stock : how does this Radeon RX 6900 XT behave? First of all we can say without a shadow of a doubt and quite obvious that the most powerful video card ever created by AMD . The new born in addition elegant, as it is presented with dimensions completely identical to the Radeon RX 6800 XT and with a low noise level . This is possible thanks to a careful selection of the chips in production and the good cooling system designed by AMD, after years of deficient design reference.

Much smaller than the GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition , it offers comparable gaming performance: yes, in numerical terms Nvidia’s GPU is slightly faster, but in everyday practical experience you won’t notice the difference . We are basically facing a draw, as already seen in the comparison between RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT.

When it comes to ray tracing, Nvidia has an advantage both in terms of pure performance and by virtue of the DLSS card. Recall that AMD aims to offer adequate gaming performance with active ray tracing in 1440P and we can say that in most cases it succeeds. Nonetheless, Nvidia cards remain one step ahead in this respect.

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then the time has come to talk about prices (and we do so by comparing the official price lists, given the dramatic market situation). AMD offers the Radeon RX 6900 XT at around 1000 euros, 500 euros less than the GeForce RTX 3090 FE : an important gap and the difference in terms of traditional rendering performance is narrow, so in this context we would recommend the newcomer between the two. by AMD . In case ray tracing is important to you or you intend to use the video card for semi-professional rendering tasks capable of making the most of large amounts of video memory, then you would do well to invest in Nvidia’s proposal.

For a complete examination, one cannot ignore the slightly less performing proposals, namely GeForce RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6800 XT. If you look at the price difference between these proposals and the top of the range, it becomes difficult to recommend RTX 3090 or RX 6900 XT , as the other two models offer more than enough performance at lower prices, especially if we compare the RTX 3080 (719 ) and the RTX 3090 (1549).

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Comparing the 6900 XT with the 6800 XT, the newcomer comes out better than the Nvidia homologous, but we reiterate that the difference of a few percentage points, too few to fill a price gap , 99). In short, if you aim for high-performance 4K gaming, you have to make a choice between GeForce RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6800 XT.

The certainty after this review is one : as seen a few weeks ago by analyzing the 6800 models, AMD is back to compete for high performance in the gaming video card sector. Not all perfect, the company still has to take some steps forward to fill the gap with Nvidia all round (ray tracing and DLSS), but if 4K performance with traditional rendering is what you are looking for, now you surely have a choice. you didn’t have before.