The cheapest version of a high end GPU is often where the best pixel-pumping value is to be had. Give it up, therefore, for the XFX Speedster SWFT319 Radeon RX 6800, yours for a piffling $369 from Amazon.
Lest you have forgotten, the plain vanilla AMD Radeon RX 6800 launched almost exactly three years ago, along with other members of the AMD RDNA family, with a list price of precisely $579.
Of course, a perfect storm of crypto madness and pandemic-fuelled stay-at-home demand drove prices to as much as three times that level at one point. So, this new lowest-ever sticker of well under $400 is a deal by any reasonable measure.
For your money you get cut-down version of the same excellent Navi 21 chip found in the pricier RX 6800 XT, RX 6900 XT and RX 6950 XT cards. For the RX 6800, it’s running 3,840 shaders and sports 16GB of GDDR6 memory via a 256-bit bus.
So, you’re sidestepping any issues involving memory capacity and bandwidth on newer GPUs with 8GB and even 12GB of VRAM. For plain raster performance, it spanks the $360 Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti and even with ray-tracing enabled it has the edge in most games and settings.
The obvious AMD comparison is the new AMD RX 7700 XT, which is almost $100 more expensive. There, the RX 6800 is occasionally a little slower, but can also be faster, especially at higher resolutions of 1440p and beyond. It’s that wider memory bus and additional VRAM doing its thing.
You could argue that RDNA 2 tech is pretty old hat, what with RDNA 3 GPUs like the RX 7900 XT and XTX cards having been around for a year. But the thing is, in rendering tech terms, RDNA 3 isn’t much of a step forward. Like for like, it only advanced AMD’s ray-tracing performance by a whisker. And when it comes to features like FSR support, RDNA 2 and RDNA 3 are very similar.
So, it really is a case of weighing up straight performance when it comes to comparing this RX 6800 with the newer RX 7700 XT. You’re not missing out on any really relevant hot new tech. Yes, the RX 7700 XT is a chiplet design. But that’s more about manufacturing costs than rendering tech.
And as a long term buy, this high-end card with its wide memory bus and ample VRAM allocation will likely hold up better in future than a card with less VRAM and a narrower memory bus. If there’s a better sub-$400 option right now, we haven’t seen it.