With the release of AMD’s latest graphics cards just a few weeks away, we’ve already seen a steady influx of teasers of various AIB models appearing across the internet. And today, we’re looking at one such teaser. This time, it’s in the form of an AMD Radeon RX 6800XT Black Edition graphics card – supposedly made by Sapphire.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Black Edition is, in a word, stunning. If you’re like me and have a wardrobe of almost exclusively black clothes – this is going to speak to your aesthetic so damn much. It shouldn’t be mistaken with the similarly named XFX Black Edition that comes with a custom-design cooler though. This model will feature reference cooling and PCB designs. And while we don’t know for sure which manufacturer is behind this retail variant, sources indicate that it’s probably Sapphire. But, all will be made clear in just a few days either way.
Looking more closely at the design for a minute here, and you can see just why we love it so much. This design features an all-black backplate and even the front shroud and the I/O plate are black, unlike the standard design that comes with silver and black accents with a silver backplate. The fan blades have silver detailing along the edges as well as the outer trim of the Radeon sticker. It just looks so much sleeker and cooler than the reference design. And, from some leaked pictures of the card in action, we can see that there’s still a small part of RGB in there (we know how much you all love some good RGB). We see in these images that it’s just the Radeon logo that lights up, but that just means it’s leaving some room for all your other RGB components to shine, right?
AMD revealed all the specs and details for their 6000 series GPUs in a live-streamed event recently, giving us a first official glimpse at what these cards can do. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT will come with the Navi 21 GPU, a cut-down SKU featuring 72 Compute Units, 16GB of DDR6 memory across a 256-bit bus interface, 512 GB/s total bandwidth, and clock speeds of 2015 MHz base and 2250 MHz boost. The card can handle ray-tracing thanks to it’s 72 Ray Accelerators. It also features 128MB of Infinity Cache in addition to the standard memory meaning it can boost bandwidth for higher performance at higher resolutions (we’re talking 1080p+).
But, with all those stats out of the way – what does it all mean for PC gamers? Well, when compared to its main rival, the Nvidia RTX 3080, AMD’s own benchmarking shows a bit of a mixed bag. While the 6800XT brings home some clear wins when it comes to 4K gaming across a range of different titles, these results are based on an all-AMD system – running a new Ryzen 5000 series CPU alongside the 6800XT. This means, the system was able to take advantage of AMD’s latest Rage Made and Smart Access Memory technology. We still don’t know how different the performance will be if the new GPU is paired with an older 3000-series CPU, or even an Intel CPU.
When we drop down to 1440p gaming, the same kind of results appear, with AMD claiming a win in most titles – although the increase in performance is more evident here. Of course, this is using the same setup as before, so we still don’t know how much of an effect Rage Mode and Smart Access Memory were on these results.
It’s hard to solidly say which card will be better for your setup until we’ve had the chance to benchmark the 6000 series GPUs for ourselves. With the AMD 6800XT coming in at $649 versus the Nvidia RTX 3080 coming in just over that at $699 – it may be that AMD has got Nvidia beat when it comes to value for money.