Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT review: Simple is better

Aided by performance-enhancing Trixx.

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Our test system

Our AMD Ryzen 5000-series test rig can benchmark the effect of PCIe 4.0 support on modern GPUs, as well as the performance-boosting AMD Smart Access Memory and Nvidia Resizable BAR features (which are both based on the same underlying PCIe standard). Currently, we’re testing it on an open bench with AMD’s Wraith Max air cooler; in the future, we’ll add an NZXT Kraken liquid cooler to the mix. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the storage ourselves.

  • AMD Ryzen 5900X, stock settings
  • AMD Wraith Max cooler
  • MSI Godlike X570 motherboard
  • 32GB G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4 3800 memory
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply
  • 1TB SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD

We’re comparing the $399 Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT against the various cards it’s replacing either spiritually or practically: The $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT, the $350 Radeon RX 5700, and the $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT, as well as Asus’s spin on this GPU, the $550 ROG Strix RX 6600 XT, and the $419 XFX Speedster Merc 308 Radeon RX 6600 XT. On the Nvidia front, we’ve included results for the reference-spec’d $330 EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming as well as EVGA’s fearsome GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra, because this card hovers in the same general price range as the Ti models. All of these suggested prices are a fraction of what you’ll pay for these GPUs in the real world right now, of course, but using suggested pricing helps evaluate graphics cards as they were intended.

We test a variety of games spanning various engines, genres, vendor sponsorships (Nvidia, AMD, and Intel), and graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, and Vulkan). Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or DLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, along with any other vendor-specific technologies like FidelityFX tools or Nvidia Reflex. We’ve also enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.

As mentioned in the prior section, we’ve also included benchmark results with Trixx Boost active at 90 percent scaling of the native cited resolutions, paired with Radeon Image Sharpening. We don’t do that for Nvidia DLSS or AMD’s FSR, but Trixx Boost works in virtually every game available, and it’s worth highlighting what it can do, especially since the Radeon RX 6600 XT can sometimes struggle at 1440p resolution due to its configuration. Trixx Boost can really help there.

Be sure to check out our original Radeon RX 6600 XT review for much deeper conversation about the GPU’s technical prowess and capabilities. We’ll be presenting the data without comment here until the end of the review. Keep an eye on those Trixx Boost results.

Gaming performance benchmarks

Watch Dogs: Legion

Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the first games to debut on next-gen consoles. Ubisoft upgraded its Disrupt engine to include cutting-edge features like real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS. We disable those effects for this testing, but Legion remains a strenuous game even on high-end hardware with its optional high-resolution texture pack installed. The game allocates more than 8GB of memory even at 1440p. Oof.

wdl Brad Chacos/IDG

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yep, PlayStation exclusives are coming to the PC now. Horizon Zero Dawn runs on Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine, the same engine that powers Death Stranding.

hzd Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6600 XT is a simple, straightforward graphics card that focuses on good cooling and excellent performance, aided by a killer Trixx Boost software feature. It's a great 1080p gaming option if you're willing to pay pandemic pricing for a GPU.


    • Excellent, fast 1080p gaming
    • Trixx Boost can make performance much faster
    • Cool, very quiet custom design
    • AMD features like FSR, Radeon Boost, Smart Access Memory can make it faster
    • Reasonably sized, just a hair over 2 slots
    • Laser-focus on good performance and cooling


    • Very, very high MSRP for a 1080p card
    • No extra features like BIOS switch or RGB lighting
    • 1440p performance isn't as impressive due to memory setup (but Trixx Boost helps)
    • Ray tracing lags behind Nvidia's performance
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