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A Better Buy Than A RTX 3070?? – ASUS STRIX RX 6800

We finally have a RX 6800 to test!  Thanks to ASUS for sending over this STRIX RX 6800. So we have had multiple discussions here at the studio about these GPU’s, especially the whole team green VS team red debacle. Some of us believe that AMD has finally been able to conquer NVIDIA in the GPU segment as they mostly did now in the CPU segment against INTEL with ZEN 3.

Price

Now the RX 6800 is the direct competition for the RTX 3070. But how do the two compare as the RX 6800 does have a higher MSRP than the 3070. The 3070’s launch price was $500 whereas the RX 6800’s launch price was $580. Is the raw performance of the RX 6800 so much better than that of the 3070 to justify the $80 price difference?

Specs

Now to understand where our $580 would go let’s first see what the RX 6800 has to offer on the spec side. So base clock speed is 1700MHZ, boosted clock speed is 2105MHz. That’s quite high, but the core clock isn’t everything. It also has 60 Ray cores, now this is the first time we see ray tracing technology in an AMD card, which is very exciting. The RX 6800 has 3840 shader cores and last but not least 16GB of GDDR6 memory. 

Okay so specs wise this does pack quite a punch. Especially the very nice 16GB of memory, that does push the advantage into the RX 6800 side over the 3070. Or does it? 

RX 6800RTX 3060 TiRTX 3070
CUDA Cores/Stream Cores384048645888
Tensor Cores/Texture Units240152184
Memory 16GB8GB8GB
Memory TypeGDDR6GDDR6GDDR6
ArchitectureRDNA 2.0AmpereAmpere
RT Cores603846
TDP 250 W200 W220 W

Design

But before we get into the benchmarks let’s quickly take a look at the design of this STRIX RX 6800. We have seen the new design before and all of us here agree that so far the new STRIX is just the best looking card on the market right now. The sharp black and silver angular fan shroud is gorgeous. Plus they managed to jam a tone of RGB in there, made it look good, and smooth for that matter, with no hotspots either. The extra touch of making the RGB shine onto the three fans was a very nice addition too. Then the backplate, good golly, this is probably one of my favorite features of the new STRIX. The almost two part style is brilliant! You get the main part which is over almost 80% of the back and then the silver part with the ROG eye printed on it. It’s probably one of the only cards that doesn’t need to be vertical mounted. 

So we tested the RX 6800 on a bunch of games on 1440p and then also on 4K. We compared it with some of its NVIDIA rivals to see how it stacks up, and if the raw power from the RX 6800 justifies the $80 jump over the 3070.

Power

For power the RX 6800 uses 2x 8 Pin power  connectors with a TDP of 250W. For IO you get 2x HDMI 2.1 ports and 2x Display 1.4a  

Benchmarks

So for our benchmarks we only tested in 1440p and 4K as those are the 2 resolutions that’s becoming more and more popular.  

Our first game we will  take a look at is the all new AC valhalla, unfortunately we have not been able to test a 3070 on this game yet only a 3060 Ti so we will have to use that as our reference. 

But we can clearly indicate that with our review of the 3060 Ti that it performed about 10% lower against the 3070. But we can see here that the RX 6800 performed about 25% better than the 3060 Ti in 1440p and in 4K

In Far Cry new dawn we saw the RX 6800 even beat the RTX 3080 in 1440p and in 4K it came right in between the 3070 and 3080. Having an average of 11 FPS more than the 3070.

Another AC game we tested was Odyssey. Strangely the 3070 performed an average of 5 FPS better than the Rx 6800 here in 1440p. But it seems that the extra VRAM on the Rx 6800 gave it the upper hand again in 4K, merely beating the 3070 with 1 FPS.

Horizon Zero Dawn is another game where the Rx 6800 beat the 3080 in 1440p even if only by 1 frame. 4K we saw again it fall right in between the 3070 and 3080, having 10 more FPS average than the 3070. 

Our first fast paced title to test this on was apex legends. On 1440p the RX 6800 just beat the 3070 with 4 frames and in 4K it seems to come down to margin of error beating the 3070 with 1 frame.

Our first ray tracing title to test with was watch dogs Legion. So now we can see how the RX 6800 performs with its first Gen RT cores here. So in 1440p we can see on rasterized tests that the RX 6800 does quite a lot better than the 3060 Ti. But when it came to Ray tracing the 3060 Ti did an average of 4 FPS more than the RX 6800 with only ray tracing enabled. But then again with NVIDIA you have the advantage of DLSS which bumped the RTX 3060 Ti up by more than 20 FPS against the RX 6800. `In 4K the results were more or less the same. So we can see that the RX 6800 really does struggle with ray tracing.

Control was our second Ray tracing title, Lets see if the results will be any different here for the RX 6800. On rasterized tests the RX 6800 again did very well beating the 3070 on 1440p, but with ray tracing enabled it fell last actually doing worse than the RTX 2080 super. In 4K again rasterized tests beating the 3070, but unfortunately the same end results with RT on.

Our third raytracing test was wolfenstein youngblood, but that unfortunately hasn’t been updated for the vulkan ray tracing as of yet so we had to do rasterized tests only. Luckily for the RX 6800 it seems it does very well in these tests. Easily beating the 3070 in 1440p and 4K

Our last game we tested was another fast paced one, COD MW. Now in this the RX 6800 really shows some of its true potential. Being closer to competing with a 3080 than the 3070 actually. In 1440p it beat the 3070 by an average of 35 FPS, that was only 15 FPS behind the 3080. Even in 4K the difference between the 2 was 23 FPS more for the RX 6800. And only 11 FPS behind the 3080. 

For our synthetic benchmarks we used 3D Mark. On time spy we had a graphic score of  15 259   That was 1200 points more than the 3070! In firestrike the graphics score was 43 801, That’s 7000 points more than the 3070! 

Conclusion

So we can see that the RX 6800 is pure raw performance, and beats the 3070 on most rasterized games, actually coming very close to the 3080 sometimes. But it does fall short when it comes to raytracing. The thing is, this is the first time AMD has introduced ray tracing in their cards so I don’t blame them for struggling. NVIDIA has the major advantage of it being their second RT generation and also having DLSS. 

The incoming AMD FidelityFX super resolution technology might be some sort of saving grace for AMD users, but then again I don’t have much hope for that in the start. It might get better as it goes  along and improves, but just as DLSS was super bad in the beginning I do feel the same fate will hit AMD. 

Don’t get me wrong this card is phenomenal when it comes to rasterized rendering, so for the majority of gamers who don’t really care that much about ray tracing yet, this is a very good option to go for.

But the thing is, this is more expensive than a RTX 3070 and to be honest the 3070 does offer more. NVIDIA does have a working base for DLSS 2.0 pushing the FPS up even more. It does help with ray tracing titles if that’s your thing as well. Even if you didn’t care about RT or DLSS the compute AI chip in the NVIDIA cards does offer other advantages as well. Like NVIDIA’s broadcast engine which does a lot for streamers, from cancelling out background noise and virtual backgrounds without the use of a green screen. 

AMD does not have any of those things yet. We don’t know it might have something to compete with in the future. If AMD brought this out for a little bit cheaper than the 3070 it would’ve been an easier choice to go for. But then again that’s just me. The 16 GB of VRAM on the RX 6800 is very good for future proofing and the pure raw performance is brilliant, I wouldn’t use the RT feature on the card though not on 1440p or 4K. 

But it all comes down to what you use, if you don’t like RT or DLSS and don’t stream then none of NVIDIA’s tech will come as an advantage to you. If pure FPS is your thing then the RX 6800 is the card to go for. Honestly it all doesn’t matter to us that much, the only thing it boils down to is competition. At the end of the day competition between brands is ultimately an advantage to all consumers. Either getting better products or getting products at better prices. 

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Written by Ruan Bronkhorst

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