AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT review: 1080p natural-just don’t turn on ray tracing

In the ongoing battle between PC graphics giants AMD and Nvidia, it is usually easy to focus on the most powerful graphics card. Which is the best 4K, everything is upgraded to Ultra, and ray tracing activated? And, I mean-why not, it’s funny, right? Almost everyone likes to drive Bugatti. But we know that the reality is that many people are looking for a good middle ground: a graphics card that can provide excellent gaming performance within their own settings without breaking the bank.

Graphics cards such as the recently released AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT fall into this category. This is AMD’s answer to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti, competing with it at the entry-level point of the market-below the $400 RRP mark. Yes, I know that obtaining these cards with RRP is still very difficult-but we have to assume that the market will eventually normalize, so we continue to review them at their standard prices instead of scalping costs.

So, where does the RX 6600 XT stand among the competitors in this great entry-level pantheon? Well, it’s a bit like having sex in the middle, which may be exactly what some people want.

I mean, in the tests we ran, the RX 6600 XT usually only exceeded the RTX 3060-frame rates ranged from 5% to 15%. However, this has several caveats worth noting.

First is the price-RRP ($379/£329), the RX 6600 XT is $50 more expensive than the RTX 3060-so you have to measure whether the performance improvement is worth the extra expense for you. Then there is the 3060 Ti option, which regains Nvidia’s favor, and costs another $20 or so.

The other major caveat is ray tracing. Nvidia has those custom ray tracing cores that it boasts so much-they do make a difference. In every ray tracing game we tested (Metro Exodus, Cyberpunk 2077, Control), the 6600 XT outperformed Nvidia’s two similar graphics cards. However, excluding ray tracing, AMD’s products are better than RTX 3060 in many cases, and they are definitely the lowest, or at least match Nvidia’s efforts.

Like I said, this is a warning card. You can happily run games like Gears 5 and Hitman 3 under Ultra settings, and get speeds over 100fps. Jumping to more intense open world events like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, I still saw a steady 60fps. The control belongs to the former category, around 100fps, with no ray tracing activated-but as the trendy lights are turned on, it drops below 60fps. This is where the gap between this card and Nvidia widens-and in the wrong direction.

All these tests were done at 1080p, but similar pictures were also drawn at 1440p-just reduce the number by at least 30%. Achieving higher resolution results means giving up ray tracing, unless you are also willing to accept some very bumpy performance-but also in this category. There is no doubt that this is a 1080p card first-this is the resolution at which you can enjoy a frame rate of more than 60fps in modern games-but if you are willing to accept a frame rate that may be slightly lower than 60, this is a perfectly valid one 1440p card, too. However, I mainly recommend it for 1080p.

Of course, the design of the cards you get will vary from vendor to vendor, but they are usually similar to the cards we tested, from XFX: three fans and a fairly thick design, which actually feels a bit too large, given the power level of the card. However, this means that cooling will not be a problem-in addition, the card only requires a 500W PSU, making it one of the lowest power options on the modern gaming market.

This is a good card. However, it is faltering, depending on your ability to withstand price increases within the GPU industry. The entry-level price of this category is about half of what it was ten years ago. However, this creep is an industry-wide transaction-compared with its peers, the Radeon RX 6600 XT proves that AMD has finally begun to rival and contend with Nvidia.

The advantage of the Nvidia card lies in some of its shiny new features. Ray tracing is obviously a problem, but for entry-level 1080p cards on the market, it is undoubtedly not the top priority. However, even if you put it aside, NVIDIA has features such as a broadcast suite and DLSS. The latter is particularly important, because in supported games, turning on DLSS will cause the 3060 frame rate to rise continuously from behind 3600 XT to an appropriate lead. AMD has its own version of the latter, FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR)-it looks very powerful-although in the end it still lags behind DLSS, catching up in terms of supported games and the upgraded image quality it provides.

So, what do you think of these novel bells and whistles? We have made it very clear in our past reviews that we do evaluate a lot of what Nvidia has done with its RTX series of GPUs-in these respects, green is clearly ahead of red. But as a belt-type graphics card that focuses on original performance, the RX 6600 XT is ahead of the RTX 3060-overall, it is a more cost-effective graphics card. You have excellent 1080p performance and good 1440p performance. However, when you start thinking about ray tracing and DLSS, things get really bad-especially if the 3060 Ti is in your price range.

In a sense, the RX 6600 XT feels like a stepping stone for cards. This is a highly respected choice and is easily recommended as a decent value for those whose PC gaming environment fits its feature set. At the same time, this card does have a step with a bigger story-AMD is gradually fighting back and competing with AMD again. This is also a step in the right direction. In the current GPU market, you have to buy what you can find in the inventory, and I won’t discourage anyone eager to upgrade from picking up this card-but to be honest, what I really want to see is that the AMD and Nvidia war is going on. One generation.