The long-awaited Radeon 6000 series graphics cards on a large Navi chip mean extremely much to the AMD graphics division. Firstly, they will help the company regain its long-lost position in the high-performance gaming gas pedal sector, and secondly, the second-generation RDNA architecture will bring a host of new features not found in first-generation Navi chips, including full DitectX 12 Ultimate compatibility and hardware-accelerated ray tracing.
AMD has announced three Navi 21-based offerings at once, the junior models under the Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6800 XT brands are expected to go on sale on November 18th with recommended prices of $579 and $649, respectively, and their closest competitors among NVIDIA devices are GeForce RTX 3070 and RTX3080, valued at $499 and $699. The launch of the flagship model in the new family, the Radeon RX 5900 XT, which will cost $999 and promises performance in the same category as the GeForce RTX 3090, is scheduled for a later date, December 8.
The premiere of the Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6800 XT is based on reference devices, followed by partnership varieties with PCBs and original cooling systems. Tests of novelties in games and professional applications are already in full swing, and in two days - Wednesday at 17:00 Moscow time - we will be able to discuss their results. And today the chipmaker has allowed a public inspection of new products - alas, without an autopsy, this too will have to be left for later.
Radeon RX 6800, on the one hand, and RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT, on the other hand, serve similar cooling systems, which differ mainly in size and, accordingly, the depth of radiators. The younger model occupies strictly two expansion slots in the PC case, the older one - two and a half, and the other dimensions are the same. The length of devices is 267 mm, so they will fit into almost any modern case. At the same time, video cards weigh a lot because of the large radiator, which covers almost the entire area of the PCB, and the metal casing: Radeon RX 6800 pulls on 1397, and XT - 1517.
The open design cooler with three 80mm diameter fans gives the impression of knowingly more efficient solution than the Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT turbine. The blades of each fan are gripped by a ring, which increases the air pressure in an axial direction. At low heat emission, they stop and the device cools passively. And under high load, as AMD assures, the new cooler runs at 6 dBA quieter than the reference CO of the previous generation.
The casing of the cooler is designed so that the heated air leaves the fan perpendicular to the long sides of the cooler. The mounting plate is deaf here, but it's not a problem: the fin block is still perpendicular to it. Only the large projection with the Radeon logo, which partially covers the airflow in the center, is confusing - more so for the basic model Radeon RX 6800, which is less deep.
Also note that AMD has changed one of its DisplayPort outputs to a USB Type-C for simultaneous signal transmission and power supply to the virtual reality helmets within the VirtualLink standard. VirtualLink technology itself has not been widely adopted despite support from NVIDIA and VR device manufacturers. But in any case, the tiny connector can still be used as a regular USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector, including DisplayPort forward mode.
In general, as a result of a brief inspection, we can confidently say that AMD has advanced in the design of reference graphics cards and cooling system design since the noisy and hot Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT. The main thing to ensure adequate ventilation of the computer case: the novelties develop a serious power of 250-300 W, and all the heat remains inside the PC. Do not forget to return to 3DNews at five pm (Moscow time) on November 18 to read a full overview of Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6800 XT.