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AMD is filling out the lower rungs of its 6000-series Radeon cards with the Radeon 6600. The new GPU begins shipping today for $329, which puts it head-to-head against Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060. And the good news is that AMD’s newest card is a 1080p beast. And while 1080p60 is essentially a solved problem for $300+ cards, AMD’s new offering ensures that you won’t get left behind even by the newest releases like Far Cry 6.
Here are the basic specs for the Radeon RX 6600.
|AMD Radeon RX 6600|
|Boost Clock (up to)||2491|
|GDDR6 Memory (up to)||8GB|
|Total Board Power||132W|
In addition to those raw internals, AMD is also promising support for Windows 11, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and AMD Smart Access Memory. Basically, you’re getting a modern GPU with all the fixings, and that support is a major reason to consider upgrading if you are on something like an RX 470 or a GTX 1060.
And if you do decide to upgrade, the power efficiency of the RX 6600 will make that a simple proposition. With its low power draw even under load, you can pop this into a system running at least a 450W power supply without any issues. That means you don’t have to fret about upgrading multiple components just to run your new video card.
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You should be able to find the Radeon RX 6600 from AMD’s partners starting today. That includes the Sapphire Pulse model that I tested as well as a single-fan ITX-formfactor card that will fit into your mini PC case.
An ongoing battle to reset price expectations
While AMD has lined up all of its technologies to present a compelling case for the RX 6600, there is the issue of the price. During the more innocent days of January 2020, AMD launched the Radeon RX 5600XT for $279. The RX 6600XT, for comparison, debuted in August for $379. And now the RX 6600 is $329, so still $50 more expensive than the last-generation XT model.
But in 2021, amid an ongoing pandemic, supply-chain chaos, and semiconductor shortage, a price hike was inevitable. AMD and Nvidia wanted to raise the prices on their processors even before the aforementioned confluence of factors. They are not going to miss this opportunity to ratchet up the value perception on their goods. Not when both companies know they are going to sell every GPU they can produce.
I would love to tell you to just get a 5600XT or RTX 2060 instead, but — of course — that’s absurd. Those GPUs continue to sell for well above retail in secondhand markets. So all AMD is doing is taking a little bit of that profit for itself.
And the news could get even worse. With inflation still a major concern and the semiconductor shortage under no threat of ceasing, these prices could move up even higher next year.
So the dark punchline here is that you should rush out to pay whatever AMD wants because this year’s price hike is probably going to be next year’s bargain.
But is the AMD Radeon RX 6600 any good?
If exclude price from consideration, the Radeon RX 6600 is a very solid graphics card. I tested it with an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU and 16GB of memory. And while I did not run it through a complete battery of tests, I came away satisfied with the RX 6660. All I wanted to know is if the 6600 can handle the most recent releases at 1080p60. And the answer to that question is yes. I even tested using a 1080p ultrawide monitor, which has about 75% more pixels than a standard 16:9 display.
Even in that extreme scenario, the RX 6600 easily handled games like Far Cry 6 and Hitman 3.
|AMD Radeon RX 6600||Avg. FPS|
|Far Cry 6||64|
|Back 4 Blood||75|
And those framerates are without the added benefit of FidelityFX Super Resolution. While I don’t love the sometimes blurry effect of FSR, it’s still often worth the trade. And I was able to get north of 100 frames per second in Far Cry 6 and Back 4 Blood.
The takeaway here is that the RX 6600 easily has enough power for 1080p, and it’s even a really nice card for 1440p or high refreshrate monitors. That is especially true if you fiddle with the settings and the features built into certain games.
But yeah … you’re gonna have to pay the Covid tax.
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