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Tested: AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT beats the pants off Nvidia Geforce 3060 at 1080p

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT
(Image credit: Future)

AMD’s new Radeon RX 6600 XT graphics card hits store shelves this week with a promise to deliver powerhouse performance at 1080p, and after some preliminary testing we can confirm that it excels at full HD gaming.

Indeed, while testing it against the Nvidia GeForce 3060 — which has an MSRP just $50 cheaper than the RX 6600 XT, if you can find either at an uninflated price — we saw AMD’s latest graphics card delivering more frames per second in many games running at 1080p. Admittedly, the performance gap got slimmer the higher we raised the game resolution, but it's still an impressive result.

Based on those results, it’s easy to recommend the Radeon RX 6600 XT if you’re in the market for a new graphics card and you’re not planning on doing a lot of work or play in 4K. 

In fact, given the ongoing chip shortage and the scarcity of graphics cards, it’s easy to recommend the Radeon RX 6600 XT in any situation — if you can find one for a reasonable price. However, we’ve already seen scalpers trying to sell these cards for more than $1k, which is way too much to be paying for a GPU like this.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT price

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is officially on sale Wednesday, August 11 for a suggested retail price of $379. AMD isn’t selling its own cards, but there should be an array of options on the market from manufacturers like ASRock, Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte, who made the card that AMD sent us for testing purposes.

Radeon RX 6600 XT

(Image credit: Future)

The $379 price tag makes the Radeon RX 6600 XT the new low end of the Radeon 6000 series, behind the Radeon RX 6700 XT ($479) and Radeon RX 6800 XT ($649). As noted it’s about $50 more expensive than a GeForce RTX 3060 ($329), though it's hard to know where to buy the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 without paying ridiculously inflated prices right now.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT specs and performance

The Radeon RX 6600 XT is specced to match its (comparatively) affordable price. Built on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, which underpins the Radeon 6000 series as well as both the PS5 and Xbox Series X GPUs, the card sports 32 compute units, 2,048 streaming processors (GPU cores similar to the CUDA cores on Nvidia cards), 32 ray accelerators, and 8 GB of DDR6 RAM. 

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series Specs
AMD Radeon™ RX 6600 XTAMD Radeon™ RX 6700 XTAMD Radeon™ RX 6800 XTAMD Radeon™ RX 6900 XT
Starting price$379$479$649$999
Compute units32407280
GDDR6 RAM8GB12GB16GB16GB
Game Clock2,359 MHz2,424 MHz2,015 MHz2,015 MHz
Infinity Cache32MB96MB128MB128MB

That’s a long way of saying it’s the new low end of the Radeon 6000 series, though it still has enough power to run most modern games at 1080p with all graphical settings cranked up to max — typically at 60 frames per second or faster.

Radeon RX 6600 XT

(Image credit: Future)

And of course the 6600 XT supports all key features of the Radeon 6000 series, including DirectX Raytracing support, which allows for immersive real-time lighting, shadows and reflections and makes these Radeon GPUs competitive with Nvidia's RTX cards. Developers can also tap into AMD FidelityFX for balancing fidelity and framerate, and Variable Rate Shading (VRS), which dynamically adjusts in-game shading to boost performance without sacrificing much in terms of visual quality.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT vs. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 & GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

When we got our hands on a pre-release Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 XT card we immediately got to work benchmarking it in a number of demanding games from the past few years, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, Red Dead Redemption 2, and more. We specifically wanted to test its performance against the Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, which — with their suggested retail prices of $329 and $399, respectively — are the $379 Radeon RX 6600 XT’s closest competitors.

Based on our testing, the 6600 XT outperforms the GeForce RTX 3060 in most games, especially at 1080p. At that resolution it even delivers more frames per second than the RTX 3060 Ti in a few cases, though the 3060 Ti was able to equal or outperform AMD’s latest card in most games, even at 1080p.

Radeon RX 6600 XT vs Nvidia GeForce 3060

(Image credit: Future)

For example, the Radeon RX 6600 XT reliably delivered 84 frames per second running Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 1,920 x 1,080 resolution with all graphical settings cranked to max. The pricier GeForce RTX 3060 Ti couldn’t keep up, delivering 78 frames per second, while the plain 3060 only hit 64. However, when we ran the same test with Valhalla set to 3,840 x 2,160 resolution with all graphical settings dialed up, the Radeon RX 6600 XT and Nvidia’s Geforce 3060 both only hit 32 frames per second, while Nvidia’s 3060 Ti was able to outpace both and achieve 40 frames per second.

Similar stories played out when we benchmarked all three cards in Borderlands 3 and Dirt 5: the Radeon RX 6600 XT achieved higher frames per second than the GeForce RTX 3060 at both 1080p and 4K resolutions, though its lead narrowed as resolution increased. The more expensive GeForce 3060 Ti, however, outperformed the Radeon RX 6600 XT at all resolutions.

Radeon RX 6600 XT vs. Nvidia GeForce 3060 vs. Nvidia GeForce 3060 Ti performance benchmarks
Radeon RX 6600 XT ($379)Nvidia GeForce 3060 ($329)Nvidia GeForce 3060 Ti ($399)
Assassin's Creed Valhalla (1080p)84 fps64 fps 78 fps
Assassin's Creed Valhalla (4K)32 fps32 fps40 fps
Borderlands 3 (1080p)98 fps73 fps 97 fps
Borderlands 3 (4K)32 fps28 fps38 fps
DiRT 5 (1080p)94 fps79 fps103 fps
DiRT 5 (4K)44 fps39 fps52 fps
Far Cry New Dawn (1080p)115 fps115 fps122 fps
Far Cry New Dawn (4K)54 fps51 fps67 fps
Grand Theft Auto V (1080p)72 fps87 fps120 fps
Grand Theft Auto V (4K)23 fps26 fps36 fps
Shadows of the Tomb Raider (1080p)79 fps85 fps111 fps
Shadows of the Tomb Raider (4K)23 fps28 fps38 fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (Extreme, 1080p)32 fps34 fps47 fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (Extreme, 4K)11 fps14 fps19 fps

However, in some games both Nvidia cards achieved higher frames per second than the RX 6600 XT, even at 1080p. When we benchmarked all three cards in Grand Theft Auto V, for example, the Radeon card delivered 72 frames per second at 1080p, while the Nvidia cards achieved 87 (RTX 3060) and 120 (RTX 3060 Ti) frames per second at the same resolution. When we dialed the game up to 4K and ran the tests again, the Radeon could only deliver 23 frames per second against the RTX 3060’s 26 fps and the RTX 3060 Ti’s 36 fps.

We also put all three cards through some tests using 3DMark’s suite of graphical benchmarks, and though it couldn’t quite compete with the 3060 Ti, the Radeon RX 6600 XT managed to outperform the 3060 in almost every test. 

In the Time Spy Extreme benchmark, for example, which tests DirectX 12 rendering performance at 4K, the Radeon RX 6600 XT earned a score of 4572, beating the 3060’s score of 4292 but not the 3060 Ti’s score of 5822. However, in the Port Royal test for benchmarking DirectX Raytracing performance, both Nvidia cards outperformed the Radeon RX 6600 XT. 

 AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT outlook

AMD's sales pitch for the Radeon RX 6600 XT is a winning one: lots of folks still play PC games at 1080p, and those who want to do so at a respectable framerate should be well-served by the 6600 XT. 

Obviously we saw it trading wins with the cheaper GeForce 3060 in our testing, and the only slightly more expensive 3060 Ti was reliably able to deliver higher framerates in many games, but all three cards are strong performers that can give you a taste of high-performance gaming in HD.

More importantly, with no end in sight to the scarcity and price inflation currently plaguing the GPU market, the best card for you is often the one you can get hold of at a reasonable price. That's why it's ultimately good news that AMD is releasing another GPU into the market, though it's hard not to start dreaming about the new family of GPUs built on next-gen RDNA 3 architecture AMD is planning to release in 2022.

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. Got a hot tip? Get in touch by sending a friendly email to alex.wawro@futurenet.com.