The AMD Radeon RX 6600 is the latest and cheapest graphics card out of the red team’s design works, and it has one simple task ahead of it: compete with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060. To do that, AMD’s bringing more of the RDNA 2 architecture we’ve grown fond of, but in a pared-back and slimmed-down package that just falls short of my hopeful expectations.
AMD was long the dominant force in budget graphics cards and often able to sweep the charts in contests of performance-per-dollar versus Nvidia. As of late, however, neither company has focused all that much on the cheaper side of things (thanks, global chip shortage) and that’s left us with a growing void of cheaper chips.
What are the AMD Radeon RX 6600 specs?
But there are some that straddle the ephemeral concept of ‘entry-level’ today. AMD already offers the $379 RX 6600 XT and Nvidia’s cheapest is the $329 RTX 3060. Both far from entry-level as we once knew it, but that’s what we’re working with, and what AMD is up against with the RX 6600.
The Radeon RX 6600 neatly fills a gap beneath the Radeon RX 6600 XT in the red team’s RX 6000-series line-up, and it’s safe to say there are few, if any, real surprises here when comparing the two cards. There are a few differences to note between the two, though, those which make it all the more important to consider stretching to the extra bucks of the XT model, if possible.
First off, the major similarities. AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture is the company’s best to date, and it’s already found its way into an impressive line-up of graphics cards, including the impressive Radeon RX 6900 XT and Microsoft and Sony’s latest consoles. It is, of course, also the architecture powering the RX 6600 XT and RX 6600.
This architecture’s inclusion is a good thing, generally, as the RDNA 2 architecture has proven itself an impressive step up over AMD’s first-generation RDNA. For the RX 6600 specifically, the RDNA 2 architecture comes in handy when it comes to pushing performance per watt, which as you’ll see later in this review, falls in the RX 6600’s favour versus the RTX 3060 12GB.
The RX 6600 comes with a 132W TBP (total board power), and AMD recommends it be paired with at least a 450W PSU. That’s lower than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 TBP of 170W, which it recommends gets paired up with a 550W PSU. In some circumstances, then, that could be a helpful money saver. On the power front, then, all is rosy. But these modest power demands come at a larger cost elsewhere, and are seemingly down to a reduction in core count and clock speed.
The RX 6600 is a far cry from the 5,120 cores of the Navi 21 chip found in the RX 6000-series top card. Instead, it comes with a pared-back version of the same Navi 23 GPU as the RX 6600 XT. The RX 6600 comes with 1,792 cores (28 CUs), down from 2,048 (32 CUs) in the RX 6600 XT. It’s also worth noting that both the RX 6600 and the RX 6600 XT use a PCIe 4.0 x8 connection, and what this means is the graphics card only has the physical pins for an 8x connection, not the amount required for the more standard x16 one. That’s no issue if you’re running a PCIe 4.0 compatible PC, but plug this card into a PCIe 3.0 slot and it may drop some performance. There’s unlikely to be much in it, a frame or two, but just keep this in mind when comparing scores, especially at 4K.
Pair this card with any modern AMD Ryzen CPU and you are set to benefit, and you’ll also be able to notch your performance upwards a touch through the use of Smart Access Memory (SAM). For the record, our test bench is powered by an Intel 10th Gen gaming chip and Z590 chipset, and thus does not offer PCIe 4.0 compatibility.