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GeForce RTX 3060 pk Radeon RX 6600 XT

Today we're comparing the Radeon RX 6600 XT and GeForce RTX 3060 head-to-head to see how these two GPUs stack up using the latest drivers in a wide range of games. Even though the Radeon carries an MSRP of $380, while the RTX 3060 is meant to cost $330, in reality they're competing products, both selling for about $400 at major online retailers.

That's quite a drop for the RTX 3060 which was closer to $500 a few weeks ago, while the 6600 XT was around $440. Meanwhile, supply for the 6600 XT appears to be drying up and that's probably due to the imminent release of the 6650 XT.

For testing we've used our Ryzen 9 5950X test system with 32GB of DDR4-3200 CL14 dual-rank, dual-channel memory. Both GPUs were tested using the default AMD and Nvidia clock specifications at 1080p and 1440p across 50 games with Resizable Bar enabled. The driver versions used were Radeon Adrenalin 22.4.2 and GeForce Game Ready Driver 512.59, as these were the latest available drivers when we started testing a week ago.

We won't go over the data for all 50 games individually as that would take all day, instead we're going to take a close look at the results for about a dozen of them and then we'll take a look at how these two GPUs compare head-to-head across all games tested in a single graph.

Benchmarks

Starting with Dying Light 2, this recently released game uses a proprietary 3D game engine developed by Techland known as Chrome Engine 6, and it's the only game in our test suite to use it.

Dying Light 2 plays well with Radeon GPUs and here the 6600 XT is 11% faster at 1080p and 8% faster at 1440p. Perhaps more impressive is that both GPUs rendered well over 60 fps at 1080p using the highest quality settings, with the exception of ray tracing, which isn't enabled by default.

Warhammer III is another new game and this one uses the Warscape Engine 3 which is used exclusively by the Total War series. Here the GeForce GPUs currently enjoy a small performance advantage.

In this matchup, the RTX 3060 was 9% faster at 1080p and 14% faster at 1440p which is a significant margin, though the 1% lows are basically identical.

Next we have Call of Duty Warzone, where the 6600 XT was quite a bit faster than the RTX 3060, delivering 21% more frames at 1080p and 16% more at 1440p. A strong win for the Radeon GPU, though keep in mind it was also meant to cost 15% more based on the original MSRP.

Forza Horizon 5 is a well optimized title that plays well on both hardware platforms. We are using the extreme preset, so this is as demanding as the game gets, yet we're still looking at 61 fps on average from both GPUs at 1440p. Performance was very similar with no clear winner.

God of War is another well optimized title and while it does play well on the 6600 XT, it plays much better with the RTX 3060, especially at 1440p. We did double check these results, and it would seem the RTX 3060 is 15% faster at 1080p and a whopping 33% faster at 1440p. A massive win for Nvidia in this game.

Far Cry 6 uses the Dunia 2 engine and this one runs very well on AMD hardware, largely helped by the fact that AMD had a hand in sponsoring the game's development. As a result, the 6600 XT enjoys a strong 13% performance advantage at 1080p and was able to maintain a double digit win at 1440p where it was 10% faster.

Typically, Radeon GPUs perform well in the F1 series, but F1 2021 enables ray tracing by default at the highest presets and therefore we tested with the feature enabled. This hands the RTX 3060 a performance advantage, affording it a 6% performance advantage at 1080p and 10% at 1440p. Disabling ray tracing does favor the 6600 XT, but we feel we might as well test using the default configuration as that's how we normally test, and we're still looking at around 60 fps at 1440p.

Next we have Metro Exodus Enhanced and this version of the game requires ray traced accelerated hardware, so ray tracing effects are enabled by default and for testing these mid-range GPUs we've gone with the 'normal' setting.

Although the 6600 XT was able to deliver highly playable performance at 1080p, the RTX 3060 was 29% faster and that meant we were seeing similar frame rates at 1440p from the GeForce GPU compared to what the 6600 XT could do at 1080p.

The Rainbow Six Extraction performance was comparable with both GPUs delivering over 130 fps at 1080p. The RTX 3060 did edge ahead by a 7% margin at 1440p, but overall performance was very similar.

Performance was also similar when testing with Apex Legends. In short, the 6600 XT was slightly faster at 1080p and then slightly slower at 1440p. Both GPUs proved plenty powerful for this title though, delivering over 100 fps at 1440p using the highest in-game quality settings.

Another competitive title that delivered competitive results is Fortnite. Although most Fortnite players won't run the Epic preset, we're interested in testing GPU performance and not CPU performance, which is where things quickly head with competitive settings.

Assuming you don't run into CPU bound conditions, Radeon and GeForce GPUs scale very similarly with the quality presets, so using competitive settings both the 6600 XT and RTX 3060 will deliver a similar level of performance.

The last set of results we're going to look at are for Cyberpunk 2077 and here the 6600 XT was 9% faster using the high quality settings at 1080p. Both GPUs are best suited to 1080p gaming in this title as the slightly dialed down quality settings saw just 44 fps rendered on average at 1440p.

Performance Summary

Based on the games we just looked at, the RTX 3060 and 6600 XT appear to be extremely close in terms of performance. There were a few titles that heavily favor one over the other, but for the most part performance was close.

We did spend a week testing through 50 games though, so let's check that out...

Starting with the 1080p data, we see that the 6600 XT was 3% faster on average, meaning they're basically identical overall across a wide range of games as we deem anything within 5% a draw. That means for 20 of the 50 games tested performance was near enough to "identical" with margins 4% or less.

There were just a handful of outliers where the margins extended to 10% or more in either direction. The big losses for AMD were seen in Resident Evil Village and Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, unsurprisingly two of the games that used ray tracing. Vermintide 2, God of War, and PUBG were also bad titles for AMD.

Titles where the 6600 XT performed exceptionally well included Assassin's Creed Valhalla, World War Z, Borderlands 3, Warzone, Call of Duty Vanguard and Death Stranding.

Increasing the resolution to 1440p flipped the results in Nvidia's favor as now the 6600 XT was 2% slower overall, but again that margin is insignificant. This time there were 23 games where the margin was 5% or less, with just three outliers with a few games in either direction exceeding 20%.

Picking a Winner: Go RTX

Depending on the resolution and the game played, one GPU might be faster than the other. There were instances where the margins grew to almost 30%, which is very significant, so you may want to pay attention to how these Radeon and GeForce GPUs stack up in the games you care about the most.

When looking at our 50 game sample -- and that's a substantial number of games to test -- it's fair to conclude that in most instances there will be less than a 10% difference between these two GPUs.

Having said that, once you take the full picture into account, it's hard not to argue that the GeForce RTX 3060 is the better buy and is even worth a premium. This is because when you start to look at what each product offers beyond rasterization performance, there's not much to talk about when it comes to the 6600 XT.

The RTX 3060 packs a 50% larger frame buffer with 12 GB opposed to 8 GB, so it should handle future HD texture packs a lot better, meaning future AAA titles could potentially look better without hurting frame rate performance. In our opinion, that's a nice bonus that shouldn't be overlooked.

The RTX 3060 also packs a full x16 PCIe 4.0 connection whereas the 6600 XT is cut down to just 8 lanes, and this can cause serious performance issues when exceeding the memory buffer. That's another reason why the memory subsystem of the RTX 3060 is vastly superior.

On top of that, you get DLSS which is widely supported by many new AAA titles and it works really well at 1440p and beyond, and that's resolutions where the RTX 3060 could do with a performance boost.

AMD offers some upscaling techniques for 6600 XT owners and more plans are in the works to head off the DLSS threat, but for now DLSS is the best option. Then there's ray tracing, which is yet another strength of the RTX 3060. As we saw in the titles that use this rendering technique, the GeForce GPU had a clear performance advantage thanks to its more mature implementation.

In a nutshell: the RTX 3060 offers similar rasterization performance, superior ray tracing, DLSS support, a bigger VRAM buffer, and a full PCIe 4.0 x16 connection, making it a better product -- and if available at the same price, the obvious option.

Whether or not AMD can tempt us with the Radeon RX 6650 XT has yet to be seen, but we're keen to look into that very soon.



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