AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review: A good GPU that (understandably) costs too much

And you'll probably still wind up paying even more for it.

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Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2020 benchmark at 4K for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter, which measures the power consumption of our entire test system. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

This isn’t a worst-case test; this is a GPU-bound game running at a GPU-bound resolution to gauge performance when the graphics card is sweating hard. If you’re playing a game that also hammers the CPU, you could see higher overall system power draws. Consider yourself warned.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia GPUs prevent our computer from fully going into idle in the five minutes of downtime we use for this test, though it does so after a longer duration. That’s new to this Ryzen 5900X platform; we didn’t see it on our old Intel-based testbeds, nor with AMD Radeon graphics cards installed. We’ll have to change our methodology going forward and poke around the behavior to understand it more fully. 

Even under load, the Radeon RX 6700 XT manages to draw less power than the RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 it competes against. It’s also comparable to the Radeon RX 5700 XT’s power draw despite being much faster. Bravo, RDNA 2.

We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2020 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temp Brad Chacos/IDG

The Radeon RX 6700 XT loses a bit of cooling prowess compared to the RX 6800, probably because it sports one fan fewer. Nonetheless, its 75-degree-Celsius result is perfectly acceptable, and cool enough to push custom cards to step up their own game. It’s very quiet, though not totally inaudible. Our review sample exhibits some light coil whine in scenes with exceptionally high frame rates—mostly title screens, though also in high-fps games like Strange Brigade at 1080p. The noise is light enough that it may not be heard in a case, however, and we don’t consider it a major detriment, especially considering that any individual graphics card could wind up with some degree of coil whine.

All in all, AMD’s new reference card design continues to impress.

Next page: Should you buy the Radeon RX 6700 XT?

At a Glance
  • AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card is a good graphics card for 1440p and 1080p gaming. It doesn't handle ray tracing well, however, and comes with a too-high price that makes a lot of business sense in today's environment.

    Pros

    • Great 1440p and 1080p gaming performance
    • 12GB of memory bolstered by Infinity Cache
    • Smart Access Memory unlocks higher performance when paired with Ryzen 5000
    • Cool, quiet, and attractive cooler design
    • Should fit in most systems due to standard dimensions

    Cons

    • Price is too high versus GeForce rivals
    • Poor ray tracing performance
    • No answer to Nvidia's DLSS
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