The Red Devil & Reference RX 6700 XT take on the RTX 3070 & RTX 3060 Ti in 35 Games

Intro

 The PowerColor Red Devil RX 6700 XT takes on the Reference RX 6700 XT & the RTX 3070 & RTX 3060 Ti in 35 Games

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT arrived at BTR for evaluation from PowerColor as a 12GB vRAM-equipped card last week with no manufacturer recommended (SEP/MSRP) pricing.  We have been comparing it with the just released $479 RX 6700 XT reference card from AMD, and also versus the GeForce $499 RTX 3070 Founders Edition (FE) and the $399 RTX 3060 Ti (FE) using 35 games, GPGPU, workstation, SPEC, and synthetic benchmarks.

We will also compare the performance of these competing cards with the RX 6700 XT’s bigger brother, the RX 6800; with its predecessor the RX 5700 XT Anniversary Edition (AE); and also with the $329 RTX 3060; but especially versus the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060/6GB to see how older cards fare to complete BTR’s 9-card Big Picture.

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT is factory clocked higher than the reference version (below) using its OC BIOS.

According to its specifications, the Red Devil RX 6700 XT can boost up to 2622MHz out of the box or 41MHz higher than the reference RX 6700 XT which clocks to 2581MHz.  It also looks different from older generation classic Red Devils, arriving in a more neutral gray color instead of in all red and black.  The Red Devil RX 6700 XT features a RGB mode whose LEDs default to a bright red which may be customized by PowerColor’s DevilZone software.

The Reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XT Features & Specifications

First let’s look at the reference RX 6700 XT specifications compared with its predecessor, the RX 5700 XT

Source: AMD

From what we can see from the specifications, the new card should be solidly faster than its predecessor.

Here are the Red Devil RX 6700 XT specifications according to PowerColor:

Specifications

Source: PowerColor

Features

Here are the Red Devil RX 6700 XT features.

Source: PowerColor

Additional Information from PowerColor

  • The card has 2 modes, OC and Silent 203W / 186W Power target. There’s a bios switch on the side of the card. We designed this card to be very quiet, even on performance mode is considerably quieter than reference board but we also advise to try the silent mode as it’s truly whisper quiet, with a normal case with a optimal airflow, you most likely see the card run around 1000 Rpms under this mode.
  • The board has 12 Phases (10+2 Dr.Mos) VS the 9 (7+2) Phase VRM design on the reference design meaning is over spec’d in order to
    deliver the best stability and overclock headroom, not only capable of well over 250w but by having such VRM it will run cooler and last longer.
  • DrMos and high-polymer Caps are used on our Design, no compromises.
  • Our cooler features 2 x 100mm with a center 1x90mm fan, all with two ball bearing fans with 6 heat pipes 6Φ across the high density heatsink with coper base. As you might notice the PCB is shorter than the cooler, this design is a continuation of what we already implemented in many generations previously and just now has become almost a industry standard.
  • RGB is enhanced, Red Devil now connects to the motherboard aRGB (5v 3 pin connector).
  • Red Devil has Mute fan technology, fans stop under 60c!
  • The ports are LED illuminated. Now you can see in the dark where to plug.
  • The card back plate does not have thermal pads but instead we did cuts across the backplate for the PCB to breath, which under high heat scenarios is more beneficial than having thermal pads as the back plate can become a heat trap.
  • Copper Base Direct Touch – A smooth copper base with direct contact to the GPU and VRAMs provides for optimized heat transfer and dissipation
  • Buyers or Red Devil Limited edition will be able to join exclusive giveaway as well access to the Devil Club website. A membership club for Devil users only which gives them access to News, Competitions, Downloads, and most important, instant support via Live chat.

The Big Navi 2 Radeon 6000 family

The reference Radeon 6700 XT at $479 competes with the RTX 3070 FE ($499) and is priced $20 lower, but it sits $80 higher than the RTX 3060 Ti ($399).  This should tell us that it is expected to trade blows with the RTX 3070, but be solidly faster then the RTX 3060 Ti.

The RX 6800 at $579 competes below the RX 3080 at $699 while the RX 6900 XT at $999 is AMD’s flagship and sits below the $1499 RX 3090.  Of course, as PowerColor would have us understand, none of these “suggested” prices have any meaning to gamers currently because of the supply issues and extreme demand caused by the dual pandemics – COVID 19 and cryptocurrency mining.

Source; AMD

Above is a die shot of the GPU powering the Radeon RX 6700 XT courtesy of AMD.

Source: AMD

AMD has their own ecosystem for gamers and many unique new features for the Radeon 6000 series.  However, the above slide from AMD does not mention two very important features – the Infinity Cache and Smart Access Memory.

Infinity Cache & Smart Access Memory

AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture includes the Infinity Cache which alters the way data is delivered to GPUs. This global cache allows fast data
access and increases bandwidth with higher performance and better power efficiency.  This highly optimized on-die cache uses 96MB of AMD Infinity Cache delivering up to 2.5x the effective bandwidth compared to 256-bit 12Gbps GDDR6.

Unfortunately, BTR uses Intel’s latest 10th generation flagship CPU, the i9-10990K which does not have this cache available so our results will probably be lower than what a gamer using the Ryzen 5000 platform will see.  In addition, we don’t have Smart Access Memory.

AMD’s Smart Access Memory is a new feature for the Radeon RX 6000 Series graphics cards that enables additional memory space to be mapped to the base address register resulting in performance gains for select games when paired with an AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processor or with some Ryzen 3000 series CPUs.  Using PCIe, the Base Address Register (BAR) defines how much GPU memory space can be mapped.  Until now, CPUs can only access a fraction of GPU memory, often limited to 256MB. With less efficient data transfer, performance is restricted.

NVIDIA has worked with its partners and with Intel to enable Resizable BAR which currently is enabled on the EVGA Z490 FTW motherboard but only works with selected games and with the RTX 3060 for now.  When we tried to enable it for the RX 6700 XT, our PC refused to boot.  So we had to disable it and test all of our video cards and games without Resizable BAR limiting the RX 6700 XT’s performance.

Last Friday, AMD explained that we would have to do a clean installation of Windows 10 if we wanted to use it, but we simply had no time.  Here are their instructions for enabling Resizable BAR for our Intel Z490 motherboard that we shall follow for our future reviews:

If you would like to enable Resizable BAR, we recommend re-installing Windows 10 with these steps:

  • Open the BOOT menu and select CSM (Compatibility Support Module)
  • Set this value to DISABLED
  • Open the ADVANCED menu and choose PCI Configuration
  • Set Above 4G Decoding to Enabled
  • Set Re-Size BAR Support to Enabled
  • Save your changes and install Windows 10

So our performance results may be lower for selected games that can take full advantage of Resizable BAR or Smart Access Memory.  Hopefully we will upgrade to a Ryzen 5950X when they become available at a reasonable price and we will retire our i9-10900K.  We already are very unhappy with being limited to PCIe Generation 3 using fast SSDs just because Intel chose to hold back the feature until their upcoming 11th generation.

The Test Bed 

BTR’s test bed consists of 35 games and 3 synthetic game benchmarks at 1920×1080 and 2560×1440, as well as SPEC, Workstation, and GPGPU benchmarks.  Our latest games include Hitman 3, Cyberpunk 2077, DiRT 5, and Godfall.  The testing platform uses a recent installation of Windows 10 64-bit Pro Edition, and our CPU is an i9-10900K which turbos all 10 cores to 5.1/5.0GHz, an EVGA Z490 FTW motherboard, and 32GB of T-FORCE Dark Z DDR4 at 3600MHz. The games, settings, and hardware are identical except for the cards being compared.

First, let’s take a closer look at the new PowerColor Red Devil RX 6700 XT which we shall compare with the reference RX 6700 XT.

A Closer Look at the Reference and PowerColor Red Devil RX 6700 XT

Although the Red Devil RX 6700 XT advertises itself as a premium 7nm 16GB vRAM-equipped card on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture which features 1440P and PCIe 4.0, the cover of the box uses almost no text in favor of stylized imagery.

The back of the box touts key features which now include HDMI 2.1 VRR, ray tracing technology, and VR Ready Premium as well as states it’s 700W power and system requirements.  AMD’s technology features are highlighted and the box features PowerColor’s custom cooling solution, Dual-BIOSes, RGB software and output LEDs, and a solid backplate.

Opening its very well-padded box, we see a quick installation guide, RGB LED cable, and an invitation to join PowerColor’s Devil’s ClubPowerColor has a nicer presentation than AMD’s reference RX 6700 XT which is rather barebones.

AMD directs you to their website for installation instructions while PowerColor includes detailed instructions.

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT is a large tri-fan card in a 2.5 slot design which is quite handsome with PowerColor’s colors and even more striking with the RGB on. Here is the Red Devil next to a reference RX 5700 XT and flanked on both sides by a RTX 3060 Ti FE and a RTX 3070 FE to show how much larger and beefier a card it is than the other three cards.

The Red Devil uses two 1×8-pin PCIe connections while the reference version uses 1×8-pin and 1×6-pin. Looking at the other edge, we can see it is all heatsink fins for cooling as is typical of Red Devil cards.

Below, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 6700 XT’s sturdy backplate features a stylized custom devil symbol that lights up in the color of your choice if synced, red being the default. There is also a switch to choose between the default overclock (OC) BIOS and the Silent BIOS.  We didn’t bother with the Silent BIOS but it is good to have in case a flash goes bad.

Compare with the reference RX 6700 XT backplate which is rather plain-Jane.

The Red Devil’s RX 6700 XT’s connectors include 2 DisplayPorts, 1 HDMI connection, and a USB Type C connector.  There is an LED that illuminates this panel for making easier connections in the dark.

It shares the same IO connectors with the reference RX 6700 XT below, but the Red Devil has a better system exhausting hot air out of the back of the PC.

The specifications look good and the Red Devil itself looks great with its default RGB bright red contrasting with the black backplate and its aggressively lit-up end perhaps is stylistically reminiscent of an automotive grill.

Unlike with the reference version that only lights up the logo, you may also enhance and coordinate the RGB colors by connecting to the motherboard using a supplied aRGB (5v 3-pin) connector using the DevilZone RGB software.  It looks awesome.

Let’s check out its performance after we look over our test configuration and more on the next page.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i9-10900K (HyperThreading/Turbo boost On; All cores overclocked to 5.1GHz/5.0Ghz. Comet Lake DX11 CPU graphics)
  • EVGA Z490 FTW motherboard (Intel Z490 chipset, v1.9 BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1/3.2 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x), supplied by EVGA
  • T-FORCE DARK Z 32GB DDR4 (2x16GB, dual channel at 3600MHz), supplied by Team Group
  • Red Devil RX 6700 XT 12GB, factory settings and overclocked, on loan from PowerColor
  • Radeon RX 6700 XT 12GB, reference version stock clocks and overclocked, on loan from AMD
  • Radeon RX 6800 Reference version 16GB, stock settings, on loan from AMD
  • Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB Anniversary Edition, stock AE clocks.
  • EVGA RTX 3060 Black 12GB, stock clocks, on loan from NVIDIA
  • RTX 3070 Founders Edition 8GB, stock clocks, on loan from NVIDIA/EVGA
  • RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition 8GB, stock clocks, on loan from NVIDIA/EVGA
  • RTX 2060 Founders Edition 6GB, stock clocks, on loan from NVIDIA
  • EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB, factory SC clocks, on loan from EVGA
  • 2 x 1TB Team Group MP33 NVMe2 PCIe SSD for C: drive; one for AMD and one for NVIDIA
  • 1.92TB San Disk enterprise class SATA III SSD (storage)
  • 2TB Micron 1100 SATA III  SSD (storage)
  • 1TB Team Group GX2 SATA III SSD (storage)
  • 500GB T-FORCE Vulcan SSD (storage), supplied by Team Group
  • ANTEC HCG1000 Extreme, 1000W gold power supply unit
  • Samsung G7 Odyssey (LC27G75TQSNXZA) 27″ 2560×1440/240Hz/1ms/G-SYNC/HDR600 monitor
  • DEEPCOOL Castle 360EX AIO 360mm liquid CPU cooler
  • Phanteks Eclipse P400 ATX mid-tower (plus 1 Noctua 140mm fan) – All benchmarking and overclocking performed with the case closed

Test Configuration – Software

  • GeForce 461.72 for the RTX 3070; and GeForce 461.64 drivers for the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti.  GeForce 461.40 drivers are used for the older two GeForce cards.
  • Adrenalin 2021 Edition 20.50.11 press drivers used for the RX 6800, the RX 6700 XT reference and Red Devil editions, and 21.2.3 used for the RX 5700 XT Anniversary Edition (AE).
  • High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display, set in the NVIDIA control panel; Vsync off.
  • All optimizations are off, Vsync is forced off, Texture filtering is set to High, and Tessellation uses application settings in the AMD control panel.
  • AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games
  • All games have been patched to their latest versions
  • Gaming results show average frame rates in bold including minimum frame rates shown on the chart next to the averages in a smaller italics font where higher is better.  Games benched with OCAT show average framerates but the minimums are expressed by frametimes (99th-percentile) in ms where lower numbers are better.
  • Windows 10 64-bit Pro edition; latest updates v10.0.1942. DX11 titles are run under the DX11 render path.  DX12 titles are generally run under DX12, and multiple games use the Vulkan API.
  • Latest DirectX

Games

Vulkan

  • DOOM Eternal
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
  • Wolfenstein Youngblood
  • World War Z
  • Strange Brigade
  • Rainbow 6 Siege

DX12

  • Hitman 3
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • DiRT 5
  • Godfall
  • Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
  • Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Death Stranding
  • F1 2020
  • Gears 5
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  • Metro Exodus
  • Civilization VI – Gathering Storm Expansion
  • Battlefield V
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Project CARS 2
  • Forza 7

DX11

  • Crysis Remastered
  • Mech Warriors 5: Mercenaries 
  • Destiny 2 Shadowkeep
  • Borderlands 3
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • Assetto Corsa: Competitione
  • Monster Hunter: World
  • Overwatch
  • Grand Theft Auto V

Synthetic 

  • TimeSpy (DX12)
  • 3DMark FireStrike – Ultra & Extreme
  • Superposition
  • Heaven 4.0 benchmark
  • AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks
  • Blender 2.912 benchmark
  • Sandra 2020/2021 GPGPU Benchmarks
  • SPECworkstation3
  • SPECviewperf 2020

NVIDIA Control Panel settings

Here are the NVIDIA Control Panel settings.

Next the AMD settings.

AMD Adrenalin Control Center Settings

All AMD settings are set so that all optimizations are off, Vsync is forced off, Texture filtering is set to High, and Tessellation uses application settings.  All Navi cards are capable of high Tessellation unlike earlier generations of Radeons.

Anisotropic Filtering is disabled by default but we always use 16X for all game benchmarks.

Let’s check out overclocking, temperatures and noise next.

Overclocking, temperatures and noise

We spent a lot of time overclocking both RX 6700 XTs for this review. 

Above is the reference RX 6700 XT Wattman default settings which include the power limit set to default.  For the reference card, the performance didn’t matter whether it was set to default or higher and in fact, setting a higher power limit than 5% at our sample’s maximum overclock made it unstable.  However, we needed 5% to stabilize the maximum overclock.  Reference clocks generally runs from 2544MHz to 2571MHz at stock settings which is right around AMD’s maximum Boost of “up to 2581MHz”.

The Reference RX 6700 XT runs rather warm at stock and the fan speed hovers around 2000rpm to keep the temperatures below 74C and the junction temperatures under 90C under Heaven 4.0’s full load.   At 2000rpm the reference RX 6700 XT can barely be heard over our other case fans.

Next we used trial and error to find the maximum performance at the edge of stability by maxing out the memory (107%) and increasing the clocks by 8% as below.

At the very edge of stability, the clocks run from 2748MHz to a peak of 2766MHz, but this time the temperatures rise above 75C with junction temperatures above 90C, and it begins to throttle performance because the fan speed is still low as set by the automatic profile.

So let’s compare with the Red Devil RX 6700 XT.

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT’s clocks are specified to boost “up to 2622MHz” and our sample can run from 2588MHz to 2596MHz under full load, at default.  The Red Devil’s temperatures stay low in the mid-60sC with a junction temperature below 85C with the three fans quietly running under 1100rpm even using the OC BIOS.  It is quieter than the reference version.  So let’s overclock it to the max.

At max overclock, we are still limited to a 7% memory overclock, but we overclocked the core to 9% bringing our clocks to 2790MHz-2800MHz or almost 35MHz higher than the reference core.  Now the Red Devil’s three fans speed up peaking below 1790rpm which is still quieter than the dual fans of the reference version running above 2000rpm.  At its maximum overclock, the Red Devil remains below 55C and the junction temperature never rises above 75C – so it doesn’t throttle like the reference version and it remains very quiet.

There is a small performance increase from overclocking the RX 6700 XT core by 8% to 9% and increasing the memory by 7%.  Unfortunately, AMD has evidently locked all RX 6700 XT cards overclocking down in an attempt to maximize overall performance by limiting the voltage to 1200mV.  We would also suggest that the RX 6700 XT is rather voltage constrained and the Red Devil could seriously benefit by more voltage – but not necessarily the reference version.  We suspect that many enthusiast gamers will use MPT (More Power Tool) and risk their warranty to gain a substantially higher Red Devil overclock although we cannot recommend it.

We believe that the Red Devil’s overclock will not degrade over time as its PCB components are fit to run all the time at the highest overclock settings – perhaps unlike the reference version, which although it is well-built, it is not over-engineered for ultimate maximum reliability.

Of course, many gamers will want to fine-tune their own overclock and undervolting is a possibility.  We have found that Red Devils are generally power-hungry and as the voltage limits are increased using MPT, the Power Limit usually has to increase also.  Check the overclocking chart in the next section for performance increases in gaming for both the reference version and the Red Devil RX 6700 XT.

Let’s head to the performance charts to see how the performance of the RX 6700 XTs at reference and at Red Devil clocks compare with 8 other cards.

Performance summary charts

Here are the performance results of 35 games and 3 synthetic tests comparing the factory-clocked 12GB Red Devil and reference RX 6700 XTs with the RTX 3070 FE 8GB and versus the RTX 3060 Ti 8GB plus five other cards all at their factory set clocks.  The highest settings are used and are listed on the charts. The benches were run at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440. Click on each chart to open in a pop-up for best viewing.

Most gaming results show average framerates in bold text, and higher is better. Minimum framerates are next to the averages in italics and in a slightly smaller font.  The games benched with OCAT show average framerates but the minimums are expressed by frametimes in ms where lower numbers are better.

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT & the reference RX 6700 XT vs. the RTX 3070 & RTX 3060 Ti FEs

The first set of charts show our four main competing cards.  Column one represents the RTX 3070 reference version ($499) performance, column two is the Red Devil RX 6700 XT (no SEP), column three is the RTX 3060 Ti FE ($399), and column four represents the reference RX 6700 XT ($479) performance.

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT is perhaps around 1-2% faster than the reference version and it more-or-less trades blows with the RTX 3070 Founders Edition in some games although the GeForce card is faster overall using our Intel platform.

NVIDIA cards tend to be stronger in DX11, and it appears that Vulcan performance is also strong on the RTX 3070 although one has to go on a game-by-game basis to see which card card is faster in DX12.  Since we do not use Resizable BAR or have Smart Access Memory, we expect that some games would shift in favor of the Radeons using a Ryzen 5000 platform.

Let’s see how the reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XTs fit in with our expanded main summary chart, the “Big Picture”, comparing a total of nine cards.

The Big Picture

Next we see the Red Devil RX 6800 XT performance compared with eight other cards on recent drivers. 

The RX 6700 XT is in a class above the RX 5700 XT and it clearly outclasses the other two older cards, the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060.

Next we look at seven ray traced enabled games, each using maximum ray traced settings where available.

Ray Traced Benchmarks

The Red Devil RX 6800 XT is next compared with our other two competing cards when ray tracing is enabled in seven games.Next let’s look at the Big Picture of ray traced benches.

The RX 6700 XTs now appear to perform similarly to the RTX 3060/2060 Super when ultra ray tracing features are enabled in-game. But AMD has no hardware equivalent to NVIDIA’s dedicated AI Tensor cores, so it cannot take advantage of DLSS enabled games which puts its ray tracing performance even further behind.

Although AMD has promised a DLSS equivalent in the future, the RX 6700 XT cannot currently compete with the RTX 3070 or RTX 3060 Ti in our benchmarked ray traced games.

Next we look at overclocked performance.

Overclocked benchmarks

These ten benchmarks were run with both Red Devil RX 6700 XT overclocked as far as they can go while remaining stable as described in the overclocking section.  The Red Devil RX 6700 XT factory-clocked card results are presented first and the manually overclocked Red Devil is in the second column.  The third column represents manually overclocked reference RX 6700 XT performance results followed by the stock results in the last column.

There is a reasonable performance increase from manually overclocking the Red Devil RX 6700 XT beyond its factory clocks which already give it an approximately 1% performance boost over the reference version.  AMD has evidently locked all RX 6700 XT cards overclocking down in an attempt to maximize overall performance, but by virtue of its better cooling, the manually overclocked Red Devil achieves higher performance than the reference version which throttles when it gets too warm.

Let’s look at non-gaming applications next to see if the RX 6700 XT is a good upgrade from the other video cards we test starting with Blender.

Blender 2.912 Benchmark

Blender is a very popular open source 3D content creation suite. It supports every aspect of 3D development with a complete range of tools for professional 3D creation.

We benchmarked three Blender 2.90 benchmarks which measure GPU performance by timing how long it takes to render production files. We tested nine of our comparison cards using OpenCL for the Radeons and CUDA and OPTTIX on GeForce – all running on the GPU instead of using the CPU.

For the following chart, lower is better as the benchmark renders a scene multiple times and gives the results in minutes and seconds.

OpenCL does not appear as well-optimized for Radeons compared with either Optix or CUDA for GeForce.

Next, we move on to AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks.

AIDA64 v6.32

AIDA64 is an important industry tool for benchmarkers.   Its GPGPU benchmarks measure performance and give scores to compare against other popular video cards.

AIDA64’s benchmark code methods are written in Assembly language, and they are well-optimized for every popular AMD, Intel, NVIDIA and VIA processor by utilizing the appropriate instruction set extensions.  We use the Engineer’s full version of AIDA64 courtesy of FinalWire.  AIDA64 is free to to try and use for 30 days.  CPU results are also shown for comparison with both the RTX 3070 and GTX 2080 Ti GPGPU benchmarks.

Here are the Red Devil RX 6700 XT AIDA64 GPGPU results compared with an overclocked i9-10900K.

Here is the chart summary of the AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks with nine of our competing cards side-by-side.

The RX 6700 XT is a fast GPGPU card and it compares favorably with the Ampere cards, being weaker in some areas and stronger in others.  So let’s look at Sandra 2020 next.

SiSoft Sandra 2020

To see where the CPU, GPU, and motherboard performance results differ, there is no better tool than SiSoft’s Sandra 2020.  SiSoftware SANDRA (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a excellent information & diagnostic utility in a complete package.  It is able to provide all the information about your hardware, software, and other devices for diagnosis and for benchmarking.  Sandra is derived from a Greek name that implies “defender” or “helper”.

There are several versions of Sandra, including a free version of Sandra Lite that anyone can download and use.  Sandra 2020 R10 is the latest version, and we are using the full engineer suite courtesy of SiSoft.  Sandra 2020 features continuous multiple monthly incremental improvements over earlier versions of Sandra.  It will benchmark and analyze all of the important PC subsystems and even rank your PC while giving recommendations for improvement.

We ran Sandra’s intensive GPGPU benchmarks and charted the results summarizing them.

In Sandra GPGPU benchmarks, since the architectures are different, each card exhibits different characteristics with different strengths and weaknesses.  However, we see very solid improvement of the RX 6700 XT over the RX 5700 XT.

SPECworkstation3 (3.0.4) Benchmarks

All the SPECworkstation3 benchmarks are based on professional applications, most of which are in the CAD/CAM or media and entertainment fields. All of these benchmarks are free except for vendors of computer-related products and/or services.

The most comprehensive workstation benchmark is SPECworkstation3.  It’s a free-standing benchmark which does not require ancillary software. It measures GPU, CPU, storage and all other major aspects of workstation performance based on actual applications and representative workloads.  We only tested the GPU-related workstation performance as checked in the image above.

Here are our raw SPECworkstation 3.0.4.summary and raw scores for the Red Devil RX 6700XT. Here are the Red Devil SPECworkstation3 results summarized in a chart of our nine competing cards.  Higher is better.

Using SPEC benchmarks, since the architectures are different, the cards each exhibit different characteristics with different strengths and weaknesses.

SPECviewperf 2020 GPU Benches

The SPEC Graphics Performance Characterization Group (SPECgpc) has released a new 2020 version of its SPECviewperf benchmark last year that features updated viewsets, new models, support for both 2K and 4K display resolutions, and improved set-up and results management.

We benchmarked at 4K and here are the summary results for the Red Devil RX 6700 XT.

Here are SPECviewperf 2020 GPU reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XT benchmarks summarized in a chart together with eight other cards.

Again we see different architectures with different strengths and weaknesses.  The reference version and the Red Devil RX 6700 XT are quite close in performance and they are significantly faster than the RX 5700 XT.

After seeing these benches, some creative users will probably upgrade their existing systems with a new card based on the performance increases and the associated increases in productivity that they require. The question to buy a new video card should be based on the workflow and requirements of each user as well as their budget.  Time is money depending on how these apps are used.  However, the target demographic for the reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XTs is primarily gaming for gamers.

Let’s head to our conclusion.

 Final Thoughts

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT improves significantly over the RX 5700 XT and it trades blows with the RTX 3070 in multiple rasterized games.  The reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XT beat the last generation cards including the RX 5700 XT and RTX 2060 although they struggle with ray traced games especially when DLSS is used for the GeForce cards.  We somewhat handicapped the RX 6700 XTs by not being able to use Infinity Cache & Smart Access Memory and we expect that performance would be higher if we used a Ryzen 5000 platform.

For Radeon gamers, the reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XTs are a good alternative to GeForce Ampere cards for the majority of modern PC games that use rasterization.  The RX 6700 XT offers 12GB of GDDR6 to the 8GB of GDDR6 that the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti are equipped with.  The RTX 3060, although it has 12GB of vRAM, appears to be wasted on that card and it is outclassed by the RX 6700 XT.

At its suggested price of $479, or $20 less than the RTX 3070, the reference RX 6700 XT offers a good value – if it can be found at all.  Unfortunately, this launch has proved to be an extremely high demand and limited supply event that will probably be impossible for most gamers wishing to purchase one.   This same thing has happened to Ampere cards where the stock is still trickling in and being purchased the instant it’s available.

Prices are ridiculously high and many resellers are taking advantage of this demand situation by raising prices significantly because they realize that ETH (Ethereum) cryptocurrency mining will go bust relatively soon (probably, if we are allowed to speculate compared with what happened in 2017) as mining difficulty continues to rise and Summer’s cooling costs will have miners scrambling to sell their used cards.

ETH prices are starting to show drastic price swings as those at the top are working to prop it up.  What goes boom, also goes bust, and (relatively) soon we will see the used market flooded with cheap mining cards that will suddenly ease availability and return video card pricing to a buyer’s market – so be patient please.

PowerColor hasn’t set any pricing on the Red Devil RX 6700 XT allowing the resellers to set theirs. They claim that their margins are actually below their usual historical low double-digit (10-12%) for a new product.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to recommend any card with no suggested price even though it is overclocked, very nicely equipped, and well-built over a well-designed reference version for $479.   We wish that we could say that “PowerColor thinks their Red Devil is worth $100 more than the reference version” – and we would agree.  But now there is no pricing frame of reference whatsoever.

We recommend the Red Devil RX 6700 XT as a great choice out of multiple good choices, especially if you are looking for good looks with RGB, an exceptional cooler, and great performance for 2560×1440, PowerColor’s excellent support, and overall good value assuming that the stock and price stabilizes.  We are convinced that PowerColor is an outstanding AMD AIB, and we never hesitate to recommend it to our friends.  When we have a choice, we pick and have picked PowerColor video cards for our own purchases.

Let’s sum it up:

The Red Devil RX 6700 XT Pros

  • The PowerColor Red Devil RX 6700 XT is much faster than the last generation RX 5700 XT by virtue of new RDNA 2 architecture.  It beats the RTX 2060 and the RTX 3060 as it trades blows with the RTX 3070 in some raster games.
  • 12GB vRAM may make the RX 6700 XT more useful for future gaming than the 8GB vRAM the RTX 3070 or RTX 3060 Ti are equipped with
  • The Red Devil RX 6700 XT has excellent cooling with less noise than the reference version – plus it does not throttle from any thermals
  • The Red Devil RX 6700 XT has a very good power delivery system and 3-fan custom cooling design that is very quiet when overclocked even using the OC mode
  • Dual-BIOS give the user a choice of quiet with less overclocking, or a bit louder with more power-unlimited and higher overclocks.  It’s also a great safety feature if a BIOS flash goes bad
  • FreeSync2 HDR eliminates tearing and stuttering
  •      Infinity Cache & Smart Access Memory give higher performance with the Ryzen 5000 series
  •      Customizable RGB lighting and a neutral color allow the Red Devil to fit into any color scheme using the DevilZone software program.

Red Devil RX 6700 XT Cons

  •        Pricing.  PowerColor has given no suggested price.  We simply cannot compare its price with the reference version at $479 during this current dual pandemic situation.  Wait for stock and pricing stability after ETH mining crashes – do not buy from scalpers!
  •       Weaker ray tracing performance than the RTX 3070 or the RTX 3060 Ti.

Either the reference version or the Red Devil RX 6700 XT are good card choices for those who game at 2560×1440, and they represent good alternatives to the RTX 3070 albeit with weaker ray tracing and VR performance.  They are offered especially for those who prefer AMD cards and FreeSync2 enabled displays which are generally less expensive than Gsync displays; and Infinity Cache & Smart Access Memory are a real plus for gamers using the Ryzen 5000 platform.  If a gamer is looking for something extra above the reference version, the Red Devil RX 6700 XT is a very well made and handsome RGB customizable card that will overclock better.

The Verdict:

  • PowerColor’s Red Devil RX 6700 XT is a solidly-built good-looking RGB card with higher clocks out of the box than the reference version and it overclocks better.  It trades blows with the RTX 3070 in many rasterized games.  Although we have no price or availability updates, it is a kick-ass RX 6700 XT.  Hopefully there will be some solid supply coming and the market pricing will normalize after the cryptocurrency pandemic ends (relatively soon).

The reference and Red Devil RX 6700 XTs offer good alternatives to the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3060 Ti for solid raster performance in gaming, and it also beats the performance of AMD’s last generation by a good margin.

Stay tuned, there is much more coming from BTR. This weekend we will return to VR with a performance evaluation comparing the Red Devil RX 6700 XT with the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3060 Ti.  After that, we have a T-FORCE PCIe Gen 4 x4 SSD review.  And stay tuned for Rodrigo’s upcoming 461.92 driver performance analysis!

Happy Gaming!

 

1 COMMENT

  1. great review. i really enjoyed it. i still have my eyes on RTX card though, but the prices are insane. i hope it goes back to normal soon. i cant take this anymore … all the best to BTR.

    cheers. Magnus

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