Performance Summary Charts
Here are the performance results of 35 games and 3 synthetic tests comparing the Red Devil RX 6900 XT 16GB with the RTX 3090 FE 24GB, and also compared versus RTX 3080 FE 10GB and versus the reference RTX 6800 XT 16GB, all at their factory set clocks. The highest settings are used and are listed on the charts. The benches were run at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and 3840×2160. 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 6900 XT vs. the RTX 3090 FE and vs. the reference RX 6800 XT and the RTX 3080
The first set of charts show the four main competing cards. Column one represents the $1179 Red Devil RX 6900 XT performance next to the RTX 3090 FE, its $1499 primary competitor, in the second column. The RX 6800 XT reference version ($649) performance results are in column 3, and column four gives the RTX 3080 FE ($699) performance results.
The Red Devil RX 6900 XT and the RTX 3090 are cards that are primarily suited for 4K and high-FPS 1440P gaming. There is very little performance uplift at 1920×1080 and we would not recommend these cards for 1080P except for eSports/competitive gamers with highly overclocked CPUs and 360Hz displays. Otherwise, for 1080P, save your money and buy a RTX 6800 XT or a RX 3080 instead.
There is a performance improvement of the Red Devil RX 6900 XT above the RX 6800 XT that is usually higher at 4K than at 1440P, but the performance gap is small and generally less than the performance differences between the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 at similar resolutions. The RTX 3090 and the RX 6900 XT are flagship halo cards with diminishing performance return value for dollars spent. They will appeal to the AMD gamer or the NVIDIA gamer who wants the “best” performance where money is not an object.
Although the RX 6900 XT and the RTX 3090 trade blows in some games and are in the same class, the GeForce is consistently faster at 1440P and at 4K, but it also costs about $350 more than the Red Devil version and $500 more than the reference version. However, where DLSS – which gives equal or superior IQ to TAA – is available, the RTX 3090 pulls even further away from the RX 6900 XT.
Let’s see how the Red Devil RX 6900 XT fits in with our expanded main summary chart, the “Big Picture”, comparing a total of twelve cards.
The Big Picture
Here we see the Red Devil RX 6900 XT performance compared with eleven other cards on recent drivers.
Next we look at six ray tracing enabled games, each using maximum ray traced settings (and DLSS) where available.
Ray Traced Benchmarks
The Red Devil RX 6900 XT is next compared with nine cards when ray tracing is enabled in six games.
The RX 6900 XT now appears to perform similar to the RTX 2080 Ti/Super class when ray tracing features are enabled in-game for older games like Battlefield V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider or ray tracing “lite” games like Crysis Remastered. With newer games like Watch Dogs Legions (and Cyberpunk 2077), the performance gap grows even larger in favor of the GeForce cards.
The problem is that AMD has no hardware equivalent to NVIDIA’s dedicated AI Tensor cores, so it cannot take advantage of DLSS enabled games which put its ray tracing performance even further behind. However, although AMD has promised a DLSS equivalent in the future, the RTX 6900 XT simply cannot currently compete with the RTX 3090 in ray traced games and it also falls behind RTX 3080 performance.
Let’s look at non-gaming applications next to see if the RX 6900 XT is a good upgrade from the other video cards that we tested starting with Blender.
Blender 2.90 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 seven of our comparison cards using CUDA, Optix, and OpenCL.
For the following chart, lower is better as the benchmark renders a scene multiple times and gives the results in minutes and seconds.
Blender’s benchmark performance is slower using the RX 6900 XT compared with the RTX 3090.
Next, we move on to AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks.
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 is the chart summary of the AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks with seven of our competing cards side-by-side. Please note that the very latest version of AIDA64 was used to compare the RTX 3090 with the RX 6900 XT while the other cards were tested on older versions.
The RX 6900 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.
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.
The author of Sandra 2020 informed us that while NVIDIA has sent some optimizations, they are generic for all cards, not Ampere specific. The tensors for FP64 & TF32 have not been enabled in Sandra 2020 so GEMM & convolution running on tensors will get faster using Ampere’s tensor cores. BF16 is supposed to be faster than FP16/half-float, but since precision losses are unknown it has not yet been enabled either. And finally, once the updated CUDA SDK for Ampere gets publicly released, Sandra GPGPU performance should improve also.
With the above in mind, we ran Sandra’s intensive GPGPU benchmarks and charted the results summarizing them. Please note that the very latest version of Sandre 2020 was used to compare the RTX 3090 with the RX 6900 XT while the other cards were tested on older versions.
In Sandra GPGPU benchmarks, since the architectures are different, each card exhibits different characteristics with different strengths and weaknesses. However, we see very solid improvements of the RX 6900 XT over the RX 6800 XT, RX 6800 and 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.
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 recently that features updated viewsets, new models, support for both 2K and 4K display resolutions, and improved set-up and results management.
Here are SPECviewperf 2020 Red Devil RX 6900 XT benchmarks summarized in a chart together with eight other cards.
Again we see different architectures with different strengths and weaknesses. After seeing these benches, some creative users may upgrade their existing systems with a new card based on the performance increases and the associated increases in productivity that they require. The RTX 3090 is generally a faster card as it was also tuned for some creative applications whereas the RX 6900 XT is more of a pure gaming card.
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 6900 XTs are primarily gaming for gamers.
Let’s head to our conclusion.