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AMD Radeon RX 6600 review: revisiting the super-performers

Doom Eternal, Borderlands 3, Control, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

We begin our benchmarking with four games that we've taken to calling the 'super-performers'. These are the titles that exhibited some of the biggest gen-on-gen improvements at the debut of the current GPU generation one year ago. Each game is architected differently, but one common feature they share is that they use relatively modern graphic APIs like DX12 or Vulkan that are better equipped to make full use of high-end CPUs like the Core i9 10900K in our test system. That lets our graphics cards run at full tilt, hitting higher frame-rates than we'd see in more CPU-limited titles that rely on a single thread for the majority of their game processing, and making the gaps between different levels of graphics performance more apparent.

As usual, our games have been run at 1080p, 1440p and 2160p. The 1080p and 1440p results are of the most interest for the RX 6600, given its entry-level price point, but the 4K benches show that this card can still deliver playable results at Ultra HD in some games.

Note that our benchmark results are more than simple bar charts. On desktop, browsers, you'll get embedded YouTube videos of each test scene. Press play on the video to replay our benchmark run, and see how each card handles the scene with live frame-time and frame-rate metrics. You can even choose exactly what GPUs at what resolutions you're interested in by ticking and unticking the boxes to the right side of the benchmark widget. Below the real-time stuff is a bar chart, which you can mouse over to see different measurements and click to switch between frame-rates and percentage differences. All the data here is derived from video captured directly from each GPU, ensuring an pinpoint accurate replay of real performance. On mobile browsers, you'll get a simplified view - just a table of the lowest one percent and average frame-rates for each card at each resolution; we recommend returning with a desktop browser to get the full picture!

With that crash course out of the way, let's see how the RX 6600 conducts itself. We're expecting something in line with the RTX 2060 Super or RTX 2070, and somewhere behind the RX 5700 XT on the AMD side of things - so a good 1080p performer that can occasionally deliver a good 1440p performance too.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal is our first game, where we're using the memory-heavy Ultra Nightmare preset to test how graphics cards perform when their memory subsystems encounter an ultra nightmare. The RX 6600 outperforms the GTX 1080 Ti and equals the RTX 2060 Super, falling a bit behind the RTX 2070. Compared to current-gen cards, we're looking at an 18 percent advantage for the 6600 XT over the 6600, while the RTX 3060 is around 14 percent faster. As the resolution increases, the RX 6600 loses ground on its competitors, with the 2060 Super claiming a four percent lead at 1440p and a crazy 53 percent lead at 4K - clearly, at this stage the RX 6600 is just overwhelmed, while the last-gen Nvidia card is still able to average over 60fps. We'll leave further comparisons as an exercise for the reader; for now, let's move onto another game.

Doom Eternal: Vulkan, Ultra Nightmare, 8x TSSAA

Borderlands 3

The RX 6600's next test is another recent AAA game at its highest preset: Borderlands 3 set to 'Bad Ass'. The 6600 leads the RTX 2070 by nine percent at 1080p, while drawing within a few percentage points of the RTX 2070 Super - a solidly mid-range card. That's a great result for this game, which does admittedly tend to favour AMD hardware. Meanwhile, the $379 RX 6600 XT is 21 percent faster than the $329 RX 6600, while costing only 15 percent more - so the more expensive Radeon card is actually the better value choice if this game is the judge. Against the RTX 3060, the (theoretically) equally-priced $329 competitor, the newest AMD card is seven percent faster. Let's hope that we see more of that in the tests to come!

Borderlands 3: Bad Ass, DX12, TAA


Control's RT workloads are famously tough on AMD graphics cards, but the game still favours Nvidia GPUs even with ray tracing disabled. So it goes with the RX 6600, with even the venerable GTX 1080 Ti beating off the new AMD challenger. That's still a flagship card, you may think, but the picture gets even worse if we consider Nvidia's new entry-level offerings. The RTX 2070 eclipses the 6600 by 21 percent, while the RTX 3060 holds a slightly greater 23 percent lead over the 6600. Even the RX 5700 XT, an older AMD GPU, manages to record an 18 percent higher average frame-rate here at 1080p. Again, at higher resolutions the latest Big Navi card underperforms even harder, with the RTX 3060 holding a 32 percent lead at 1440p and a 37 percent lead at 4K. That's not a great look for an AMD card that ostensibly has the same RRP, so let's move on to our final 'super-performer' and one of my personal favourite games of the generation.

Control: High, DX12, TAA

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

As we mentioned in the earlier RX 6600 XT review, Shadow's integrated benchmark includes a party scene, a jungle scene and a village scene, which exhibit different performance characteristics. It's rare to see most outlets test more than one scene in a given game - including us - due to the significant amount of time each game takes to test in every graphics card, so seeing how cards can swap places in the different phases of this test underlines the importance of seeking out multiple sources to get a fuller picture. After all, reviewers could get legitimately opposing results when comparing two cards, just by choosing different scenes, so looking at a plurality of reviews should provide a more balanced outlook.

We'll leave performance in different scenes as an exercise for the reader this time, and instead just focus on the averages: the RTX 3060 is on average 14 percent faster than the RX 6600 at 1080p, a threshold that increases to 19 percent at 1440p and 32 percent at 4K. That's a pretty sizeable gap for two cards that are meant to cost the same amount of money. In fact, the 6600 doesn't outperform any of the Nvidia graphics cards on our chart, even the old 1080 Ti, which is a bit of a shame for a brand new GPU - even an entry-level one. Compared to other AMD cards, the RX 6600 XT is 21 percent faster than the vanilla 6600, a margin that remains pretty constant across resolutions.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Highest, DX12, TAA

So far, the 6600 doesn't quite hit the heights we were expecting, but let's see how the GPU fares outside of games where Nvidia's 30-series cards are at their strongest.

AMD Radeon RX 6600 analysis

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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 @DealsFoundry.


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