If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

AMD RX 6800 and 6800 XT review: the typical performance upgrade spectrum

Metro Exodus, Dirt Rally 2, Assassin's Creed Unity.

We conclude our testing of traditional, rasterised game performance with the Assassin's Creed Unity, somehow released in 2014 and still proving a challenge to this day - plus the more recent releases of Metro Exodus and Dirt Rally 2.0.

In order to deliver precise results, our performance data is more than just a readout of an average frame-rate at the end of a test. Instead, we use the FCAT tool built into Rivatuner Statistics Server (RTSS), which overlays a coloured border to the left side of the screen. Each new frame is represented by another coloured box in the sequence - and its height signifies the time it took to generate. We capture a direct feed of the game footage and border from the graphics card we're testing, analysing the resultant video file with our own tools to essentially write down the frame-time for each frame. This metadata is then uploaded to the Eurogamer website and then rendered by the server into the live performance widgets you see below, allowing us to pick and choose the comparisons you'll find most interesting or helpful - and give you the power to make your own choices too.

Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus is where we'll start this section. The game is well-known ifor its rather excellent ray tracing implementation, which includes emissives and global illumination, but we're looking at the traditional rasterised implementation for this test (RTX comes later!). We're using the integrated benchmark here rather than the introduction to the Volga level we used previously, as the integrated benchmark is now stable enough to run consistently and offers a more challenging scene.

The 6800 does okay here, with a five per cent lead over the 3070 at 4K, while the 6800 XT drops behind the RTX 3080 by around eight per cent - one of the larger gaps we've seen. The bigger Radeon card is more competitive at 1440p, a trend we've spotted in a few other titles, hitting 103fps and coming just two per cent behind the 3080. It's a similar situation at 1080p.

For owners of the RX 5700 or RX 5700 XT, you should see at least an 80 per cent jump in performance by switching to the RX 6800 XT in this game, with the 6800 still offering a meaningful 55 per cent frame-rate advantage over the RX 5700 XT at 4K.

Metro Exodus: Ultra, DX12, TAA

Dirt Rally 2.0

Codemasters' Dirt Rally 2.0 is the first racing game we've included in our graphics card test suite for some time, and it comes with a nicely configurable benchmark that can be activated using a few XML files and a single convenient launch command. That makes testing a lot more straightforward, and the lengthy 142 second sequence we're using here allows the cards to heat up a little bit as well.

Unfortunately, this game isn't one that seems to favour AMD hardware, with the 3070 beating the 6800 by four per cent at 4K - and remember that the Nvidia card is $80 cheaper. The 6800 XT does a little better, coming within five percentage points of the RTX 3080 at the same resolution. At 1440p, things stablise somewhat, with the 3070 now losing to the 6800 by two per cent and the RTX 3080 falling four per cent behind the 6800 XT. At 1080p things have completely reversed, with the 6800 XT leading the 3080 by nine per cent and the 6800 beating the 3070 by six per cent.

The RX 5700 XT was also a dire performer in this game, so you do at least see a very solid gen-on-gen improvement, with the RX 6800 XT nearly doubling the 4K frame-rate of the best AMD card of 2019.

Dirt Rally 2.0: DX12, Ultra, TAA+8x MSAA

Assassin's Creed Unity

Assassin's Creed Unity gets a bad rap for its launch woes, especially on console, but the PC version of the game - and the game running on Xbox Series X - is a genuine technical achievement. The game remains a challenge to render at 4K, even six years after release, with the RX 6800 hitting just barely squeaking over the 60fps mark in its worst one per cent figures. The 6800 beats the 3070 by around five per cent, making this a relatively poor value performance from AMD's new mid-range card.

Looking at the 6800 XT's fight against the RTX 3080, we see one of the biggest advantages for Team Green at 4K: 12 per cent. This drops to just three per cent at 1440p, suggesting that we're seeing some architectural differences - or indeed, AMD weaknesses - rather than a customary tightening of the margins as resolution diminishes. At 1080p, the margins are back to 12 per cent again, with the 3080 and 3090 hitting the same average frame-rate and the RX 6800 series cards doing the same.

AC Unity: Ultra High, DX11, FXAA

That brings our analysis of traditional rasterised games to a close, but now it's time to see how RT performance is handled by the RX 6000 series cards. RT has been Nvidia's exclusive domain for a couple of years, so how does AMD's first-generation ray tracing card compare?

AMD Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT Analysis

Will you support the Digital Foundry team?

Digital Foundry specialises in technical analysis of gaming hardware and software, using state-of-the-art capture systems and bespoke software to show you how well games and hardware run, visualising precisely what they're capable of. In order to show you what 4K gaming actually looks like we needed to build our own platform to supply high quality 4K video for offline viewing. So we did.

Our videos are multi-gigabyte files and we've chosen a high quality provider to ensure fast downloads. However, that bandwidth isn't free and so we charge a small monthly subscription fee of £4.50. We think it's a small price to pay for unlimited access to top-tier quality encodes of our content. Thank you.

Support Digital Foundry

Find out more about the benefits of our Patreon

Find out how we conduct our reviews by reading our review policy.

Tagged With

About the Author

Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.


More Reviews

Latest Articles

Supporters Only

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch