Why this 2 year old GPU is still the one you should buy | Digital Trends

Ever since Nvidia and AMD announced their next-generation GPUs, budget PC builders have been waiting with bated breath to see what companies could offer in the mid-$300 to $400 range. Unfortunately, the response hasn’t been pretty. .

Nvidias RTX 4060 Ti launched to nearly universal dissatisfaction, while AMDs RX 7600, while a decent GPU, carried plenty of caveats. Nvidia’s value-focused RTX 4060 also failed to impress, largely due to it being beaten by last-gen options at the same price point.

And around all of these GPU launches, there has been one card at the center: AMDs RX 6700 XT. Launched over two years ago, it was an impressive GPU that was mostly overlooked due to the fact that it arrived in the midst of a GPU shortage. That’s not to mention it was overpriced to begin with, as AMD (and Nvidia) capitalized on the insatiable demand for GPUs during that time.

That dust has now settled, however, and prices have come down. Without a ton of mid-range options from Nvidia and AMD, the RX 6700 XT has slowly become the flagship of the $300 to $400 price range, and there are a few key reasons why.

First, its raw performance. The RX 6700 XT should have traded blows with Nvidias RTX 3070. It doesn’t. Nvidias GPU is faster. However, this math changes with how pricing is now for the RX 6700 XT. You can find the card starting at $320, alongside its beefed up sibling the RX 6750 XT for around $360.

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At that price point, the RX 6700 XT looks much more attractive. As you can see above, it’s roughly on the same level as the last generation RTX 3060 Ti, beating out the similarly priced RTX 4060. It’s not as fast as the RTX 4060 Ti, but it’s also much cheaper.

Now, I don’t want to leave Nvidia out in the cold here. The RTX 3060 Ti has also seen some price drops lately, and you can find it for around $330. Most models come in close to $350, but it’s still a great option at that price point. It even has the edge over the RX 6700 XT in some areas. It’s faster on games that support ray tracing and unlocks Nvidia’s excellent Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS).

However, the RX 6700 XT still has some unique advantages. Overall, the RTX 3060 Ti and RX 6700 XT are on par, but that includes ray-traced gaming. Knock ray tracing out of the mix, and AMD’s GPU takes the lead. Take Resident Evil 4like 1440p as an example. The RX 6700 XT is 11% faster than the RTX 3060 Ti, nearly matching the RTX 4060 Ti.

It’s insideStrength Horizon 5,the RX 6700 XT is not only 20% faster than the RTX 3060 Ti, it even manages to beat the RTX 4060 Ti. This jump is not universal across all games. InCyberpunk 2077,for example, RX 6700 XT and RTX 3060 Ti are on par, while inReturnANDAssassin’s Creed Valhalla,the RX 6700 XT is only a few frames ahead.

The RX 6700 XT excels with its raw and rasterized performance now that prices have dropped. If you want ray tracing, however, the RTX 3060 Ti still has the edge, even if it means giving up performance in other games. In Cyberpunk 2077,for example, the RX 6700 XT can’t maintain 30 frames per second (fps) while the RTX 3060 Ti approaches 40 fps, and that’s before DLSS is turned on.

However, there’s another pro in the RX 6700 XT field: 12GB of VRAM. We’ve seen more and more over the last year how games are stressing the amount of VRAM on GPUs, and the RX 6700 XT is best in that battle. Resident Evil 4it’s a great example. A big reason why the RX 6700 XT is able to stretch its legs in that title is that it requires a lot of VRAM, allowing it to claim a distinct advantage over the RTX 3060 Ti.

Likewise, insideThe Last of Us Part One,the extra VRAM helps the RX 6700 XT gain a 12% lead over the RTX 3060 Ti (along with a whopping 22% jump over the RTX 4060 Ti due to the GPU’s limited memory interface).

There are plenty of games where VRAM isn’t an issue, and in those titles the RX 6700 XT matches or slightly surpasses the RTX 3060 Ti without ray tracing. However, this year alone we’ve seen enough games stressing VRAM to call it a legitimate concern. There are half a dozen titles released this year that have experienced VRAM issues, and there will likely be more in the future. The RX 6700 XT is better equipped to handle those games than any of the other last-gen options from AMD and Nvidia.

I don’t want to leave this saying that the RX 6700 XT is the best graphics card out there. If you are looking at cutting edge like Cyberpunk 2077Stpath tracking mode, Nvidia still has a huge lead. Unfortunately, in this generation, that usually means sacrificing performance in other games, which is why the RX 6700 XT has become the de facto recommendation for budget-conscious gamers, despite being two years old.

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