AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT review: A glorious return to high end gaming

Welcome back to the high end, AMD.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is most fun when you can play cooperatively with a buddy, but it’s a fearless experiment—and an absolute technical showcase. Running on the Vulkan API, Youngblood achieves blistering frame rates, and it supports all sorts of cutting-edge technologies like ray tracing, DLSS 2.0, HDR, GPU culling, asynchronous computing, and Nvidia’s Content Adaptive Shading. The game includes a built-in benchmark with two different scenes; we tested Lab X.

wolfenstein Brad Chacos/IDG

This is another Nvidia-sponsored title, but Radeon takes the edge more often than not. The Radeon RX 6800 is 11 percent faster than the RTX 3070 at 4K and 13 percent faster at 1440p, though it falls to a 9-percent win at 1080p simply because the graphics card is so powerful there that we’re hitting some sort of CPU or engine bottleneck.  The Radeon RX 6800 XT once again delivers performance equal to the RTX 3080 at 4K and widens the gap the lower the resolution goes, before hitting the same soft cap as the Radeon RX 6800, at around 320 fps at 1080p.

Metro Exodus

One of the best games of 2019, Metro Exodus is one of the best-looking games around, too. The latest version of the 4A Engine provides incredibly luscious, ultra-detailed visuals, with one of the most stunning real-time ray tracing implementations released yet. We test in DirectX 12 mode with ray tracing, Hairworks, and DLSS disabled for our basic benchmarks.

metro Brad Chacos/IDG

Finally, a consistent result. The Radeon RX 6800 is 10 percent faster than the RTX 3070 at 4K, 12 percent faster at 1440p, and 11 percent faster at 1080p. For more context, the $579 Radeon RX 6800 is essentially as fast as the $700 RTX 3080 at 1080p. The step-up Radeon RX 6800 XT extends the lead over the RTX 3080 even further, as you’d expect, after once again equaling it at 4K and drawing slightly ahead at 1440p.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands is back! Gearbox’s game defaults to DX12, so we do as well. It gives us a glimpse at the ultra-popular Unreal Engine 4’s performance in a traditional shooter.

borderlands Brad Chacos/IDG

Stop, stop, he’s already dead. The Radeon RX 6800 slaughters the RTX 3070, kicking things off with a healthy 20 percent performance lead at 4K and only widening the gap from there. The Radeon RX 6800 XT beats the RTX 3080 across the board as well, albeit by a much smaller margin.

Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test using the Vulkan renderer, which is faster than DX12.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

Two new Radeon cards, two very different results. The Radeon RX 6800 tromps all over the RTX 3070 once again, but the RTX 3080 beats the RX 6800 XT at all resolutions. Still, the same overall trend continues: Nvidia’s lead is largest at 4K, with a 9-percent advantage, and the gap narrows as you go down in pixel count.

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
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