The Hellhound 6650 XT & RX 6700 XT vs. the RTX 3060 & 3060 Ti – Finding the best VR value

Video card prices have normalized and most prices of new video cards in the USA have dropped to at or below MSRP, plus there are sales and bundles to be found.  This VR review of the Hellhound RX 6650 XT is our follow-up to BTR’s original review in May.  We found that the RX 6650 XT beats up on the RTX 3060 but falls short of the RTX 3060 Ti in rasterized pancake gaming.  This time, we want to see how the Hellhound performs compared to its faster sibling, the RX 6700 XT, and against the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti to see if it is a good entry level VR value.

The Hellhound RX 6650 XT is currently below MSRP for $369.99 at Newegg which AMD has positioned against entry level RTX 3060s which can be found starting at $380.  RX 6700 XTs can be found starting at $430 and the RTX 3060 Ti can be found starting at $470.  We have found the RX 6650 XT to be faster than than the RTX 3060 in rasterized pancake games but outclassed by the Ti which is in turn is slightly slower than the RX 6700 XT.  For this VR value showdown, we will use the Valve Index and 10 VR games to compare the performance of the RX 6650 XT and the RX 6700 XT versus the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti.

We want to see if the RX 6650 XT is adequate as an entry level mainstream card to power a Valve Index.  Although a fast CPU is important for geometry and other processing, smooth VR delivery depends primarily on the video card.  An underpowered video card can even cause reprojecting and artifacting for a substandard playing experience that may even lead to VR sickness.We currently benchmark ten VR games using the Valve Index that features 2880×1600 resolution (1440×1600 pixels per eye), and we have changed our benching suite and added three new VR games: F1 2022, Kayak Mirage, and Sniper Elite VR.

BTR’s testing platform is an Intel Core i9-12900K, an ASUS ROG Maximus Apex Z690 motherboard, and 32 GB of T-Force DDR5 at 6400MHz on a recent clean install of Windows 11 Pro Edition.

It is important to be aware of VR performance since poorly delivered frames can make a VR experience unpleasant.  It’s also important to understand how we accurately benchmark VR games using FCAT-VR as explained here.  But before we benchmark our VR games, check out our Test Configuration below.

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i9-12900KF (HyperThreading and Turbo boost at stock settings)..
  • ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex LGA 1700 motherboard (Intel Z690 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 5.0, DDR5)
  • T-FORCE DELTA RGB PC5-51200 6400MHz DDR5 CL40 2x16GB kit, supplied by TeamGroup
  • Valve Index, 90Hz
  • Hellhound RX 6650 XT 8GB, factory clocks, on loan from PowerColor
  • Red Devil RX 6700 XT 12GB, factory clocks, on loan from PowerColor
  • RTX 3060 Black 12GB, factory clocks, on loan from EVGA
  • RTX 3060 Ti 8GB Founders Edition, stock clocks, on loan from NVIDIA
  • T-FORCE CARDEA Ceramic C440 2 x 2TB PCIe Gen 4 x4 NVMe SSD (one for AMD/one for NVIDIA)
  • T-FORCE DELTA MAX White 1TBSATA III SSD (Storage), supplied by TeamGroup
  • Super Flower LedEx, 1200W Platinum 80+ power supply unit
  • MSI MAG Series CORELIQUID 360R (AIO) 360mm liquid CPU cooler
  • Corsair 5000D ATX mid-tower (plus 1 x 140mm fan; 2 x 120mm Noctua fans)
  • Samsung G7 27″ 1440P HDR600, 240Hz  FreeSync/Gsync monitor

Test Configuration – Software

  • GeForce 516.79 drivers – Stock settings in the NVIDIA control panel
  • Adrenalin 22.6.1 drivers.  Stock settings in the AMD control panel
  • Windows 11 latest updates
  • Latest DirectX
  • All 10 VR games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication
  • FCAT VR Capture (non-public) Beta
  • FCAT VR Beta 18 (non-public)
  • SteamVR – at 100% resolution

10 VR Game benchmark suite 

SteamVR Games

  • Assetto Corsa Competizione
  • Elite Dangerous
  • F1 2022
  • Kayak Mirage
  • Myst
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Skyrim
  • Sniper Elite VR
  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners

It is important to remember that BTR’s charts use frametimes in ms where lower is better, but we also compare “unconstrained framerates” which shows what a video card could deliver (headroom) if it wasn’t locked to either 90 FPS or to 45 FPS by the HMD.  In the case of unconstrained FPS which measures just one important performance metric, faster is better.

Let’s individually look at our ten VR games’ performance using FCAT VR.  All of our games were benchmarked at 100% SteamVR resolution as we benchmark the Hellhound RX 6650 XT to see how it compares with the EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black and against the Red Devil RTX 6700 XT and RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition.

First up, Assetto Corsa Competizione.

Assetto Corsa Competizione

BTR’s sim/racing editor, Sean Kaldahl created the replay benchmark run used for both the pancake game and the VR game.  It is run at night with lots of geometry, and the lighting effects of the headlights, tail lights, and everything around the track adds to the feel of racing.

Just like with Project CARS, you can save a replay after a race.  The CPU usage is the same between a race and its replay so it is a reasonably accurate benchmark using the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps against 20 AI drivers.

Although iRacing may be more accurate or realistic, Assetto Corsa Competizione has some appeal because it feels more real than many other racing sims.  It delivers the sensation of handling a highly-tuned racing machine driven to its edge.

Here are the VR Low frametimes.

Here are the details are reported by FCAT-VR:

The RTX 3060 achieved 123.89 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames nor Warp misses but with 42 synthetic frames generated.

The RX 6650 XT managed to deliver 137.15 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, but 1 frame was synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti achieved 170.66 unconstrained FPS with 4 dropped frames and 4 Warp misses plus 4 synthetic frames generated.

The RX 6700 XT managed to deliver171.69 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses nor were any synthetic frames generated.

The experience playing Assetto Corsa Competizione on VR Low is similar for all 4 cards.  Unfortunately VR Low shows a noticeable drop in visuals from VR High and we would suggest increasing individual settings when playing with the two stronger cards that offer more performance headroom.  Unfortunately, there is no “VR Medium” preset.

Let’s check out Elite Dangerous next.

Elite Dangerous

Elite Dangerous is a popular space sim built using the COBRA engine. It is hard to find a repeatable benchmark outside of the training missions.  We picked a reasonably representative and repeatable benchmark inside of an asteroid field.

A player will probably spend a lot of time piloting his space cruiser while completing a multitude of tasks as well as visiting space stations and orbiting a multitude of different planets (~400 billion).  Elite Dangerous is also co-op and multiplayer with a very dedicated following of players.

We picked the Medium Preset and we set the field of view (FoV) to its maximum.  Here are the frametimes.

Here are the details are reported by FCAT-VR:

The RTX 3060 achieved 100.67 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames nor Warp misses but with 142 (2%) synthetic frames generated.

The RX 6650 XT produced 116.42 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, and no frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti achieved 138.36 unconstrained FPS with 2 dropped frames and 2 Warp misses plus 16 synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT delivered 138.74 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses but 4 synthetic frames were generated.

All four cards deliver an similar experience on High settings, but the RX 6650 XT has a little extra performance headroom over the RTX 3060.  The RTX 3060 Ti and the RX 6700 XT both give the same experience and more headroom to increase individual settings or resolution over the two weaker cards

Let’s continue with F1 2022.

F1 2022

Codemasters has captured the entire Formula 1 2021 season racing in F1 2022, and the VR immersion is good.  The graphics are customizeable and solid, handling and physics are good, the AI is acceptable, the scenery is outstanding, and the experience ticks many of the necessary boxes for a racing sim.  Best of all, it runs well on the cards we tested.

Here is the frametime plot for F1 2022.

Here are the details as reported by FCAT-VR.

The RTX 3060 struggled with 97.37 unconstrained FPS with 10 dropped frames and 10 Warp misses plus 4565 (46%) synthetic frames generated.

The RX 6650 XT managed to deliver 108.63 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, but 50 (1%) frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti 131.63 delivered  unconstrained FPS with 2 dropped frames and 2 Warp misses plus 14 synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT achieved141.20 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses and no synthetic frames were generated.

The RTX 3060 really struggled with the F1 2022 VR Medium preset unlike the RX 6650 XT, and the RX 6700 XT edged out the RTX 3060 Ti with a bit more performance headroom.

Next we check out Kayak VR: Mirage.

Kayak VR: Mirage

The outstanding near-photorealistic visual fidelity really sets Kayak VR: Mirage apart from other simulators.  It boasts a wide range of locales with day/night/sunset options offering tropical, icy, desert, and even stormy scenarios with trips to Costa Rica, Antarctica, Norway, and Australia and occasional interactions with wildlife.  It can be played as a relaxing sim or as a strenous workout with competitive time trials which offer asynchronous multiplayer and ranking on global leaderboards.

We benchmark at 100% resolution with the highest “Cinematic” in-game settings but do not use DLSS or FSR.

Here is the frametime plot for Kayak VR: Mirage.

Here are the FCAT-VR details.

The RTX 3060 struggled with 88.74 unconstrained FPS with 1 dropped frame and 1 Warp miss plus but 2603 (41%) synthetic frames generated.

The RX 6650 XT managed to deliver 99.12 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, but 265 (4%) frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti achieved 122.38 unconstrained FPS with 2 dropped frames and 2 Warp misses and 4 synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT delivered 124.13 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses and 4 synthetic frames were generated.

Kayak VR: Mirage looks fantastic at 100% resolution with maximum settings although we would recommend dropping settings for the RTX 3060 but not necessarily for the RX 6650 XT.  The RX 6700 XT and the RTX 3060 Ti both give similar experiences although DLSS can be enabled for the GeForce card to increase the resolution further.

Next, we look at Myst.

Myst

Myst (2021), by Cyan Worlds Inc, is the latest remake of the iconic 1990s puzzle-adventure game. Myst was rebuilt to play in PC VR. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, it offers support for both AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and NVIDIA Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technologies to boost performance although we did not use them.

Myst boasts very good visuals and use the second highest settings – High, below Epic, and we leave SteamVR’s resolution at 100%.

Here are the frametimes plots of both of our cards.

Here are the details are reported by FCAT-VR:

The RTX 3060 struggled with 86.57 unconstrained FPS with 2 dropped frames and 2 Warp misses but 2801 (44%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT also struggled to deliver 85.87 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, but 2832 (45%) frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti achieved 122.25 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses but 14 synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT delivered 111.58 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses and 59 (1%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT and the RTX 3060 would each benefit from dropping the preset from High to Medium and/or using FSR or DLSS to improve the delivered FPS so that synthetic frames are unnecessary.  The RTX 3060 Ti may have enough performance headroom using DLSS to potentially increase some individual settings.

Next, we will check out another demanding VR game, No Man’s Sky.

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival single and multiplayer game that emphasizes survival, exploration, fighting, and trading.  It is set in a procedurally generated deterministic open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion unique planets using its own custom game engine.

The player takes the role of a Traveller in an uncharted universe by starting on a random planet with a damaged spacecraft equipped with only a jetpack-equipped exosuit and a versatile multi-tool that can also be used for defense. The player is encouraged to find resources to repair his spacecraft allowing for intra- and inter-planetary travel, and to interact with other players.

Here is the No Man’s Sky Frametime plot.  We set the settings to Enhanced which is one step over Standard, but we also set the anisotropic filtering to 16X and upgraded to FXAA+TAA.  Although DLSS is available for RTX cards and the Quality setting improves performance without impacting image quality significantly, we did not benchmark with it.

Here are the FCAT-VR details of our comparative runs.

The RTX 3060 struggled with 81.81 unconstrained FPS with 1 dropped frames and 1 Warp miss but 3462 (50%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT also struggled to deliver 83.70 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, but 3490 (50%) frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti delivered 118.40 unconstrained FPS with 2 dropped frames and 2 Warp misses but 120 (2%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT managed 101.51 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses and 319 (5%) synthetic frames were generated.

Both the RTX 3060 and the RX 6600 XT should use the Standard preset; neither card is strong enough to play on the Enhanced setting without synthesizing frames.  On the other hand, the RTX 3060 Ti is well suited for the Enhanced preset and DLSS would be able to further increase the performance headroom, unlike with the RX 6700 XT which is able to just manage Enhanced.

Next we check out Sniper Elite VR.

Sniper Elite VR

Sniper Elite VR’s visuals are decent with good texture work that is well-realised.  The building architecture and panoramas look good, explosions are convincing and the weapons sport a sense of weight, although not quite achieving realism.  Of course, it is primarily an arcade style sniping game with its signature X-Ray kill cam, but it offers multiple ways to achieve goals including using explosives and three other primary weapon choices besides your rifle.

We benchmarked using the High preset.  We did not use FSR.

Here is the frametime plot.

Here are the details:

The RTX 3060 managed 134.08 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses but 35 (1%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT delivered141.95 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, and no frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti gave the highest 193.96 unconstrained FPS of the four cards with no dropped or Warp misses and no synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT 189.38 achieved  unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses and no synthetic frames were generated.

All four cards deliver a similar playing experience on High with the faster two cards offering more performance headroom.  We recommend that any performance headroom be used for increasing the SteamVR render resolution.

Next we will check out a classic VR game, Skyrim VR.

Skyrim VR

Skyrim VR is an older game that is no longer supported by Bethesda, but fortunately the modding community has adopted it.  It is not as demanding as many of the newer VR ports so its performance is still very good on maxed-out settings using its Creation engine.

We benchmarked Skyrim VR using its highest settings but we did not increase or Supersample the resolution.

Here are the frametime results.

Here are the details of our comparative runs as reported by FCAT-VR.

The RTX 3060 managed 132.99 unconstrained FPS with 2 dropped frames and 2 Warp misses but 40 synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT delivered 140.02 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, and 1 frame was synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti produced 183.41 unconstrained FPS with 3 dropped and 3 Warp misses and 3 synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT achieved 185.91 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, and no synthetic frames were generated.

All cards deliver an identical vanilla Skyrim VR experience with a little bit of extra performance headroom for the RX 6650 XT, unlike with the RTX 3060, and a ton of extra headroom to add mods or to Supersample for the two faster cards.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Although The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an older first generation VR game built on the Unreal 4 engine, it still boasts amazing visuals even on entry-level cards.  Although it is considered by some to be a walking simulator, it is also an excellent detective game with great puzzles.  However, be aware that its style of locomotion tends to make some of its players VR sick.

There are only a few in-game graphics options available, so we picked the highest 130% resolution with TAA.

Here is the frametime plot.

Here are the FCAT-VR details.

The RTX 3060 managed 219.82 unconstrained FPS with 1 dropped frames and 1 Warp miss but no synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT achieved 258.13 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames nor Warp misses, and no frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti produced 270.97 unconstrained FPS with 1 dropped frames and 1 Warp miss, but no synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT delivered 304.39 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, and no synthetic frames were generated.

The experience playing The Vanishing of Ethan Carter on our medium VR settings is identical for all cards.  The RX 6600 XT is faster than the RTX 3060 as the RX 6700 XT is faster than RTX 3060 Ti, which means there is a lot of performance headroom to increase the SteamVR render resolution.

Last up, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinner is the last of BTR’s 10 VR game benching suite.  It is a first person survival horror adventure RPG with a strong emphasis on crafting.  Its visuals using the Unreal 4 engine are very good and it makes good use of physics for interactions.

We benchmarked Saints and Sinners using its High preset and we left the Pixel Density at 100%. Here is the frametime chart.

Here are the details as reported by FCAT-VR.

The RTX 3060 managed 108.22 unconstrained FPS with 4 dropped frames and 4 Warp misses.  In addition, 2565 (33%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6650 XT provided 128.54 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames nor Warp misses, and but 324 (4%) frames were synthesized.

The RTX 3060 Ti delivered 152.75 unconstrained FPS with 1 dropped frames and 1 Warp miss and 55 (1%) synthetic frames were generated.

The RX 6700 XT achieved 155.17 unconstrained FPS with no dropped frames or Warp misses, but 9 synthetic frames were generated.

Playing The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners using the in-game High preset and 100% Pixel Density is too optimistic for both of our lower end cards and some individual setting should be lowered.  However, the RX 6700 XT and the RTX 3060 Ti deliver a decent and similar High preset experience.

Let’s check out our conclusion.

Conclusion

It is great to see AMD and NVIDIA delivering two mainstream cards that are both again priced below $400 that are adequate for entry level VR using a Valve Index (or Vive Pro). AMD appears to have addressed the micro stutter VR driver issues we found when we tested the RTX 6600 XT versus the RTX 3060 last August, and the Radeon is now a faster card that offers slightly more VR performance headroom.

Both the RTX 3060 and the RX 6650 XT can max several VR games in our benching suite if the resolution is left at 100% or slightly subsampled, or if the in-game settings are lowered.  But if a VR enthusiast is going to spend $1000 for a premium HMD, it makes sense to pair it with a faster video card like the RTX 3060 Ti or the RX 6700 XT.  However, one cannot pair a high resolution headset like the Reverb G2 or the Vive Pro 2 with any of our four tested cards without lowering the resolution or settings.

To recap pricing: The Hellhound RX 6650 XT is currently below MSRP for $370 at Newegg versus entry level RTX 3060s which can be found starting at $380.  The RX 6700 XT can be found starting at $430 and the RTX 3060 Ti can be found starting at $470.   Make sure to check for new game bundles, sales, and promotions as both AMD’s and Nvidia’s promos recently ended.  Video card pricing changes almost daily.

The RX 6650 XT offers a stronger VR performance at a slightly lower price than the RTX 3060 while the RTX 3060 Ti offers a similar VR experience to the RX 6700 XT.  The advantage the GeForce cards hold over the Radeons is that they offer more DLSS supported VR games.

We did not test DLSS in VR nor did we use FSR and will leave that comparison for future reviews.  We are going to take a break this week to play Spiderman: Remastered for PC and will be back with more great reviews next week.

Stay tuned to BTR!

Happy VR Gaming!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great breakdown, but can you guys bench with Fallout4VR again? It’s one of the most demanding VR games out there, so it’s far more likely to be relevant for people looking to upgrade their GPUs.

    • Thank-you. BTR’s benching suite is currently being updated to add new VR games. FO4 didn’t appear to be that popular as a benchmark as it is still relatively unoptimized without mods. However, we can consider adding it back.

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