RX 6500 XT: AMD’s first entry-level AIB featuring RDNA 2 technology

AMD has released its first entry-level AIB based on its RDNA 2.0 architecture. The new Radeon RX 6500 XT is optimal for gaming at 1080p, targeted at new PC builds

Robert Dow

AMD has released its first entry-level AIB based on its RDNA 2.0 architecture. The new Radeon RX 6500 XT is optimal for gaming at 1080p, targeted at new PC builds—gamers looking to introduce themselves to PC gaming.

Powering the RX 6500 XT is the new Navi 24 GPU. The Navi 24 is impressive for its lack of size: It has a die size of 107 mm²—over 60% smaller than the RX 6600’s Navi 23, which translates to 27% fewer cores but 15% less power consumption.

AMD has established a suffix policy to indicate the type of GPU used on AIBs. If the GPU designation includes an XT that means it is a full implementation of the chip with all CUs operating and at specifications. If it’s a binned part (less CUs or slower clock) then it will not have the suffix.

We compared the RX 6500 XT to AMD’s previous midrange offering, the RX 6600, which was released at a $329 price point in October 2021, and the GTX 1660 Super that was released for $229.

The RX 6500 XT is the first entry-level AIB released since the launch of FidelityFX in June. The RX 6500 XT will run games smoothly at 1080p, averaging 80 PFS within games in our testing suite with medium to high presets. With Fidelity enabled at its Ultra Quality setting, we saw frame rates jump by 28%, allowing for the RX 6500 XT to perform well at 1440p resolutions.

We tested the RX 6500 XT Eagle from Gigabyte, which features their Windforce 2x80mm blade fans and copper pipe cooling system. The Gigabyte RX 6500 XT Eagle features 1,024 cores, 4GB of onboard GDDR6 with a memory clock of 2,248 MHz, a base clock of 2,310 MHz, and a game clock of 2,610 MHz.

RX 6500 XT GTX 1660 Super RX 6600
GPU Navi 24 TU116 Navi 23
Cores 1024 1408 1792
Game Clock (MHz) 2610 1785 2500
Memory (GB) 4 6 8
Memory Clock (MHz) 2248 1750 1600
TDP (W) 107 284 237
Die Size (mm²) 107 284 237
$MSRP (at launch) 199 229 329
Release Date January 2022 October 2019 October 2021
AIB specifications 

The following table shows the games we used to test the RX 6500 XT. We added the AMD FX  AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution to the suite where available. Godfall, Evil Genius 2, and Anno 1800 all support the FidelityFX.

3DMark Timespy Metro: Exodus – Ultra preset
Evil Genius 2 – Ultra preset Red Dead Redemption 2 – Medium preset
Godfall – Medium preset Assassins Creed: Valhalla – Medium preset
Chernobyl Lite – Medium preset Far Cry 6 – Medium preset
Watch Dogs: Legion – Medium preset Anno 1800 – High preset
Test suite

This is the first time that we have employed our new testbed system, which features a 12th-generation Core i9-12900K aboard an EVGA Z690 Classified 1.2.0 motherboard with 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR5 RAM running at 6400 MHz.

RT 6500 XT GTX 1660 Super RX 6500
Average FPS (1080p and 1440p) 74 90 121
Average FPS w/ FidelityFX Ultra Quality 100 123 174
TFLOPS 5.7 5 9
TDP(w) 107 125 132
$MSPR (at launch) 199 229 329
Pmark variables 

Comparison of the three add-in boards using Pmark of FPS, FPS with FidelityFX Ultra Quality enabled, as well as TFLOPS.

RX 6500 XT GTX 1660 Super RX 6600
Pmark FPS 351 316 280
Pmark w/ FidelityFX Ultra Quality 470 431 400
Pmark TFLOPS 27 17 20
Pmark scores comparison

We ran more than 300 tests, and the RDNA 2.0 based midrange RX 6600 AIB performed the best when it came to raw FPS, as expected; however, the RX 6500 XT, with its entry-level price point of $199 and its power efficacy, performed very well in our Pmark statistics, outscoring its midrange SKU by 25% in Pmark FPS and by 21% in Pmark FPS with FidelityFX Ultra Quality enabled.

Frames per second running Evil Genius 2.

Frames per second running Godfall.

FidelityFX allows all AIBs to deliver faster and higher quality frame rates at more demanding resolutions, which enables new mid-range and entry-level boards to deliver 80+ frame rate games running in 1080p.

The RX 6500 XT price point and low power allowed the AIB to score well in the following Pmark comparisons.

Pmark FPS scores.

Pmark FPS scores with FidelityFX enabled.

The RX 6500 XT performed well when it came to raw FPS as long as you keep the resolutions and preset in check. At 1080p, the new AIB performed very well. AMD is targeting this AIB at entry-level gamers, new PC gamers putting together their first builds. We ran the AIB in a Core i9 system, but gamers will most likely pair this card with a Ryzen 5 or Core i5 CPU. The die size of the Navi 24 and the low TDP enables OEM to make the new AIB relatively small. The Gigabyte RX 6500 XT Eagle is 7.5 inches compared to 11 inches for its RX 6600 counterpart. This will allow new builds to use a small tower, which will save money for new PC gamers.

The RX 6500 XT (bottom) compared to the Gigabyte RX 6600 XT Eagle.

What do we think?

It’s good to see AMD and Nvidia addressing the entry-level segment with new high-quality AIBs, especially given the escalating prices of AIBs since the supply chain issues of the past couple of years. Prices, in fact, did start to taper, and we saw a small decrease overall in Q4. However, with the new situation in Europe, we can now expect to see prices for AIB rise as energy prices increase.

Nvidia brought ray tracing to entry-level with the launch of the RTX 3050 in January at a $249 price point; however, that card is now listed for as high as $500 on New Egg. The RX 6500 XT has already jumped to a street price of $279 from $199. Hopefully, OEMs can keep these quality add-in boards on the shelves.

We did not compare the RX 6500 XT to the RTX 3050 because the Radeon R6500XT is in a class of its own as of now—Nvidia does not have an equivalent part. Nvidia’s RTX 3050 is comparable to AMD’s RX 6600 in terms of die size, memory load, clocks, and price. Especially given how the RTX has risen in price since its release.