Following on from the RX 6600 that hit the market back in October, today sees the launch of AMD's lowest-end RDNA 2 GPU, the RX 6500 XT. Designed to offer a solid 1080p gaming experience for $199, or £180, can a GPU with just 4GB VRAM, a 64-bit memory bus and a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface really prove a success? As it turns out, the answer is ‘no', and quite an emphatic one at that.
Announced as part of AMD's keynote at CES 2022, the RX 6500 XT sits at the bottom of the RDNA 2 stack. Using brand new Navi 24 silicon, fabbed on a new 6nm process from TSMC, this is likely the lowest-end – and last – RDNA 2 GPU, completing the family which first appeared with the RX 6800 XT in November 2020.
That means it is also set to be the most affordable, with an MSRP of $199 announced during the CES keynote. Meanwhile, we are told UK pricing will start at £179.99, which is also the price the Gigabyte RX 6500 XT Eagle card in for testing today is expected to launch at.
For that cash, AMD has aimed the RX 6500 XT squarely for 1080p gaming, and at lower than Ultra settings, too. That's an interesting move considering previous cards at this price-point were designed to be 1080p Ultra gaming champs, and both the RX 480 and RX 580 hold up exceptionally well, even today. Let's get into it.
|RX 6800||RX 6700 XT||RX 6600 XT||RX 6600||RX 6500 XT|
|Architecture||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2||RDNA 2|
|Transistor Count||26.8 billion||17.2 billion||11.1 billion||11.1 billion||5.4 billion|
|Die Size||519 mm²||336 mm²||237 mm²||237 mm²||107 mm²|
|Game GPU Clock||Up to 1815MHz||Up to 2424MHz||Up to 2359MHz||Up to 2044 MHz||Up to 2685 MHz|
|Boost GPU Clock||Up to 2105MHz||Up to 2581MHz||Up to 2589MHz||Up to 2491MHz||Up to 2825MHz|
|AMD Infinity Cache||128MB||96MB||32MB||32MB||16MB|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||4GB GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||512 GB/s||384 GB/s||256 GB/s||224 GB/s||144 GB/s|
Let’s first look over the key specifications of the GPU. Using the new Navi 24 GPU, measuring an incredibly small 107 mm², the RX 6500 XT is – more or less – half of the RX 6600 XT. It sports 16 Compute Units, for a total of 1024 stream processors.
RDNA 2 houses one ray accelerator per CU, so there’s a total of 16 with the RX 6500 XT. Four texture units per CU gives a total of 64, while there’s also 32 ROPs. Likely thanks to the new 6nm node, clock speed has been increased to its highest level yet for RDNA 2, with a rated boost clock of 2825 MHz.
As for the memory configuration, this is the hardest pill to swallow, with an exceptionally narrow 64-bit memory interface paired with just 4GB of GDDR6 memory. The memory itself is clocked slower at 18Gbps, resulting in total memory bandwidth hitting 144GB/s, though AMD claims an ‘effective' memory bandwidth of 231.6GB/s thanks to 16MB of Infinity Cache. Crucially, the PCIe interface is limited to x4, which will reduce bandwidth further when used on a PCIe 3.0 platform.
Lastly, total board power (TBP) is rated at 107W, a reduction of 25W, or 19%, compared to the RX 6600. We are using our new GPU power testing methodology in this review, so read on for our most detailed power and efficiency testing yet.
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