AMD introduces its next mainstream card based on RDNA 2

The RX 6600 is targeted at the 1080P gaming.

Robert Dow

The new RX 6600 AIB working hard in the testbed

AMD introduced its latest add-in board for the midrange class, the midrange is considered the sweet spot in the market where traditionally most sales are generated. This is the first AIB AMD has released since the launch of the RX 6600 XT in August 2021. The new RX 6600 features AMD’s latest RDNA 2 GPU architecture. The RX 6600 is the newest AIB released for this tier since the launch of Fidelity FX in June.

Fidelity FX added hardware acceleration and scaling to AMD GPUs and AIBs to enhance and speed up gaming and make it a real-time operation. AMD offered the enhancement to developers in an open-source manner via its OpenGPU program. That made it useful for any GPU, of almost any vintage. AMD branded it FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). We ran tests with FSR both on and off.

The RX 6600 is the second AIB to feature AMD’s Navi 23 GPU based on RDNA 2.0’s 7 nm architecture. The die size of the Navi 23 is 5.5% smaller than the Navi 10 and almost 14% smaller than Nvidia GA106 which is the GPU featured on Nvidia’s midrange AIB RTX 3060. The AMD RX 6600 is also much less power-hungry than the previous Navi 10 based RX 5700 XT with a TDP of 132 W vs. 225 W for the 5700 XT and 28 W less than the RX 6600 XT. This is important as consumers, as well as governing bodies that are pushing for greater power efficiency.

AMD’s new RX 6600 is targeted at customers who are gaming at 1080p resolutions, AMD reports that 2/3rds of gaming monitors sold are native 1080p. That resolution remains a sweet spot in the gaming market. However, the board was generating such strong framerates at 1080P we decided to include 1440P in our testing as well.

The latest Navi 23-based AIB features 1792 cores within 32 compute units and runs at 2.5 GHz. It has 8GB of GDDR6 memory. The RX 6600 is set up to compete with Nvidia’s Ampere-based RTX 3060. Both AMD and Nvidia have released midrange AIBs this year that they hope will inspire late adopters to upgrade to new technology One of the most popular AIBs of all time, the GTX 1060 can still be found in thousands of gaming PCs around the world. AMD and Nvidia are banking on those gamers upgrading. The GTX 1060 can no longer run most of the newer popular games much above 40 FPS at 1080p and does not offer features such as ray tracing. The RX 6600 delivers frame rates of well over 100 FPS in many of the top titles we tested at 1080P.

Our testing features the RX 6600 vs. its older brother the RX 6600 XT and Nvidia’s popular midrange RTX 3060 AIB. We were lucky enough to be gifted the Gigabyte version of the RX 6600. The RX 6600 Eagle features 8GB of DDR6 and Gigabytes Windforce cooling system and multiple copper heat sinks.

The Gigabyte RX 6600 Eagle

AIB RX 6600 XT RX 6600 RTX 3060
GPU Navi 23 Navi 23 GA106
Cores 2048 1792 3584
Game Clock 2359 2500 1777
Memory GB 8 8 12
Memory Type GDDR6 GDDR6 GDDR6
Memory Clock 2000 1600 1875
TDP(W) 160 132 170
Die Size 237 237 276
$MSRP (at launch) $379 $329 $329
Release Date August 2021 October 2021 January 2021
AIB specifications

The test suite we used included the following games, we added AMD FX Super Fidelity to the suite where available. Godfall, Evil Genius 2, and Anno 1800 all support FidelityFX.

3D Mark Time Spy 3D Mark Port Royal
Metro: Exodus Godfall
Evil Genius 2 Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Red Dead Redemption 2 Wolfenstein: Youngbloods
Chernobylite WatchDog: Legion
Anno 1800 Neon Noir
Test suite 

Our testbed is based on an Intel Core-i9 10900K running at 3.7 GHz, in a Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master with 16 GB of RAM. We tested games at the highest pre-set graphic settings (Ultra/ Uber) at 1440P and 1080P.

Here at JPR, we compare boards using the Pmark. We do not just look at raw FPS but factor in an AIB’s power consumption and MSRP. The Pmark equation is:

RX 6600 XT RX 6600 RTX 3060 
Average FPS 138 114 111
Avg. FPS w/ Fidelity FX Ultra Quality 187 163 165
TFLOPS 10.6 8.9 12.74
TDP(W) 160 132 170
$MSRP (at launch) 379 329 329
Pmark variables 

Comparison of the three add-in boards using Pmark of FPS, FPS with Fidelity FX enabled as well as TFLOPS.

RX 6600 XT RX 6600 RTX 3060 
Pmark FPS 229 264 198
Pmark w/ Fidelity FX Ultra Quality 308 376 295
Pmark TFLOPS 508 867 528
Pmark comparision

As you can see in the above table we ran close to 200 tests and only 3 FPS separate the RX 6600 from the RTX  3060 and only 2 FPS with the AIBs running with Fidelity FX Ultra Quality enabled. The RTX 3060 performed better in some games such as Godfall and Metro: Exodus while the RX 6600 had the upper hand in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Both boards took advantage of Fidelity FX increasing FPS performance by an average of 43% with FX Ultra Quality enabled.

FidelityFX allows all AIBs to deliver faster and higher quality framerates at more demanding resolutions, which enables new midrange boards to deliver 100+ FPS on games running in 1080P and even 1440P in many cases.
Given the board’s almost identical performance and price, the real variable between the two AIBs was power consumption. With the RX 6600 TDP being 132 W compared to 170 W for the RTX 3070 this enabled the RX 6600 to perform better on our Pmark scale.

The RTX 3060 is the class of the midrange when it comes to ray tracing performance. We ran the 3 boards through 3DMark’s Port Royal, its new RT test as well as Neon Noir with the RTX 3060 delivering a 60% better performance over the RX 6600 and 40% over the RX 6600 XT. Ray tracing is a priority for Nvidia, the RTX 3060 has 112 Ray tracing cores compared to the RX 6600’s 28 cores.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT will be available in mid-October, 2021. AMD board OEMs ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Sapphire, XFX should all be releasing their version of the new midrange AIB at an expected MSRP of around $329.

What do we think?

The RX 6600 gives a solid performance in the midrange. The RTX 3060 was introduced in January at the same $329 price point as the new RX 6600 we were hoping to see a larger performance gain over the 10-month-old RTX 3060, but it did not produce when it came to raw numbers. However, where the RX 6600 shined was in its performance per watt. The 132W TDP is impressive for an AIB delivering over 100 FPS in 1440P in many titles (with Fidelity FX enabled), especially when you compare that to the 160W and the 170W TDP in the RX 6600 XT and RTX 3060 respectively. It was this low TDP that allowed the RX 6600 to separate itself. It is yet to be seen if late adopters are ready to upgrade their PCs. But now with multiple AIBs available in the midrange that offer new features such as ray-tracing and providing impressive framerates at 1080P as well as 1440P at a reasonable price point consumers have every opportunity.

This is the most closely matched pair of AIBs we have ever seen, which is curious. The sales results will indicate more about brand preference than performance or price.