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AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Review Roundup

Written on January 21, 2021 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

For the last part of 2020, both NVIDIA and AMD have been slowly releasing a number of new GPUs. One of the most recent was the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB which officially launched on December 8th, but due to extremely tight supply, we have not been able to get our hands on one to test until just recently. In fact, we still have not been able to purchase a card ourselves, but our friends at Linus Media Group were able to loan us a card so we could perform our testing.

While gaming is almost always a major focus during these GPU launches, professional applications are becoming more and more important. In fact, if you view the product page for the 6900 XT, you will note that they are starting to include Content Creation performance from benchmarks like our very own "PugetBench for Premiere Pro".

To see how the new GeForce RTX 3060 Ti performs in real-world scenarios, we have reviews looking at a number of content creation applications. While this post includes a summary for each entry, we highly recommend reading the full article for programs you are interested in as we go into much greater detail in the individual reviews.

One thing we will note is that we tested far fewer applications with these cards compared to what was in our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB, RTX 3080 10GB & RTX 3090 24GB Review Roundup post. This is because many of the applications we normally test (including OctaneRender, V-Ray, RedShift, RealityCapture, and Pix4D) currently require CUDA, which makes NVIDIA the only option. In addition, there are other applications where we ran into issues due to other features that don't work with AMD cards or where a very recent software update changed the results enough to delay our testing with those applications.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB benchmark review summary

If you want to see the full specs for the latest GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, we recommend checking out the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series and AMD Radeon RX Graphics Cards product pages. But at a glance, here are what we consider to be the most important specs:

VRAM Cores Boost Clock Power MSRP
Radeon 5700X 8GB 2,560 1.9 GHz 225W $399
RTX 3060 Ti 8GB 4,864 1.67 GHz 200W $399
RTX 3070 8GB 5,888 1.70 GHz 220W $499
Radeon 6800 16GB 3,840 2.1 GHz 250W $579
Radeon 6800 XT 16GB 4,608 2.25 GHz 300W $649
RTX 3080 10GB 8,704 1.71 GHz 320W $699
Radeon 6900 XT 16GB 5,120 2.25 GHz 300W $999
RTX 3090 24GB 10,496 1.73 GHz 350W $1,499

While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, the biggest thing to note is that the AMD Radeon 6900 XT 16GB is at the top of the product stack from AMD and has a MSRP that is $300 higher than the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB, or $500 lower than the GeForce RTX 3090 24GB. Based on price alone, this means that we (hopefully) will see better performance from the 6900 XT than the RTX 3080, although there are certainly other factors to consider such as the larger VRAM capacity.

Note that the current supply is so poor that you will be lucky to find many of these cards for anywhere near the MSRP. However, we typically use the MSRP as a baseline for price in order to rule out fluctuations due to different brands, sales, and scarcity. The actual cost you will likely need to pay for either an AMD or NVIDIA card is likely to be quite a bit different, so keep that in mind as you read this article.

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DaVinci Resolve Studio

Read the full article: DaVinci Resolve Studio - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Performance

Summary: From an overall standpoint, the Radeon 6900 XT is solidly beaten by the significantly less expensive GeForce RTX 3060 Ti by about 10%, and falls behind the more closely priced (although still cheaper) RTX 3080 by a larger 23%. And when looking at especially GPU bound tasks like noise reduction and OpenFX, the results are even more in NVIDIA's favor with the GeForce RTX 3080 scoring a massive 56% higher than the Radeon 6900 XT.

DaVinci Resolve Studio AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB Performance

Adobe Premiere Pro

Read the full article: Adobe Premiere Pro - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Performance

Summary: While the AMD Radeon 6000 series cards are a major improvement over the previous generation, NVIDIA simply has too large of a lead for AMD to be able to catch up. In addition, there isn't much of a performance difference between the $579 Radeon 6800 and the $999 Radeon 6900 XT in Premiere Pro as the 6900 XT scored at most just 7% higher than the 6800. All of this combines to make the Radeon 6900 XT a fairly lackluster option for Premiere Pro. In the GPU portion of our benchmark, the Radeon 6900 XT is only able to match the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (even though the RTX 3070 is almost exactly half the cost) and falls behind the RTX 3080 by about 12%.

Adobe Premiere Pro AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB Performance

Adobe After Effects

Read the full article: Adobe After Effects - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Performance

Summary: For most users, After Effects is going to be CPU bottlenecked long before the performance of your GPU comes into play. But even in situations where the GPU is being heavily used, the AMD Radeon 6900 XT 16GB is not a card we would specifically recommend. The performance is not particularly bad, but it also is not much better than the much lower-priced Radeon 6800.

In fact, unless you need the 16GB of VRAM (which shouldn't be necessary for the vast majority of After Effects workflows), the "sweet spot" for the latest GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD is probably the GeForce RTX 3080. Although even then, it isn't that much faster than an RTX 3060 Ti or Radeon 5700 XT.

Adobe After Effects AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB Performance

Adobe Photoshop

Read the full article: Adobe Photoshop - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Performance

Summary: While the new AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT performs just fine in Photoshop, the GPU is a very low priority when designing a Photoshop workstation. It is very important to have a supported GPU, but all the cards we tested performed within the margin of error for our benchmark, so there is no reason to invest in a higher-end GPU for Photoshop. So, while the 6900 XT performs just fine in Photoshop, you might as well save your money and get something like a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or Radeon 5700 XT and spend the savings on a more powerful CPU.

Photoshop AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB Performance

Unreal Engine

Read the full article: Unreal Engine - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Performance

Summary: How well a video card performs in Unreal Engine really depends on what type of work you are doing. Most users are adopting Unreal Engine into their workflows due to its real-time rendering, especially with ray tracing and global illumination. In these workflows, the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT falls behind the offerings from NVIDIA.

In rasterized workloads, the Radeon performs impressively, and its 16GB of VRAM may be useful to some users. However, due to its limited ray tracing capabilities, we still wouldn’t recommend it to most professionals as they’d be able to get a more well-rounded product from NVIDIA.

How well does the AMD Radeon 6900 XT 16GB perform overall?

In most of our testing, the new Radeon 6000 series cards are significantly faster than the previous generation AMD GPUs. In fact, in a few cases they are as much as 83% faster than the 5700 XT! Unfortunately, there are some problems with these new Radeon cards - especially when it comes to the 6900 XT in particular.

First, NVIDIA also saw some terrific performance gains with their RTX 3000 series cards, so while the Radeon 6000 series cards cards would have put AMD in a terrific position a few months ago, NVIDIA maintains their (albeit slightly slimmer) lead in content creation applications. In some cases like Photoshop and After Effects, NVIDIA's lead isn't that large, but in Premiere Pro and especially DaVinci Resolve Studio, the lead can be very significant.

The second issue is that the Radeon 6900 XT in particular is not much faster than the lower cost 6800 XT. Even in DaVinci Resolve, which usually benefits from a more powerful GPU, the 6900 XT was only 6% faster than the 6800 XT. In all the other applications we tested, the performance advantage was even less - often just a percent or two at most. Because the performance isn't that much better, it makes NVIDIA take an even further lead at the ~$1000 price point. Comparing the 6900 XT to the RTX 3080 (which is actually only $699), NVIDIA takes up to a 56% performance lead in heavy GPU applications like DaVinci Resolve or a smaller 12% lead in applications like Premiere Pro that do not utilize the GPU quite as heavily.

The larger 16GB of VRAM on the 6000 series cards can be useful in some workloads, but it is worth noting that in many of the applications where it might matter (such as DaVinci Resolve), NVIDIA holds a sizable performance lead. So, you will need to decide if the relatively low cost to get 16GB of VRAM is worth the large performance loss versus paying more for a card like the RTX 3090 24GB.

Due to the performance we saw with the Radeon 6900 XT, we currently have no plans to offer them in our workstations. But if you are in the market for a system, be sure to visit our solutions page to view our recommended workstations for various software packages, our custom configuration page, or contact one of our technology consultants.

Content Creation Workstations

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!
Tags: Premiere Pro, Hardware Acceleration, hardware encoding, NVIDIA, NVIDIA vs AMD, AMD, Radeon RX 5700 XT, RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 3080, After Effects, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, V-Ray, RTX 3090, RTX 3070, Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, RTX 3060 Ti, Radeon RX 6900 XT
TheOhim ✓ᶜᵃʳᵉᵇᵉᵃʳ

I want to point out that the Radeon 6000 series cards are terrible to edit in Davinci Resolve 16 ... in Resolve 17 Beta they are unusable! kinda sad!

Posted on 2021-01-22 19:14:43
Rex Lajos

Has this been resolved since this article was published?

Posted on 2021-06-03 17:24:22
The

Yes, my 6800XT works flawless in the current Resolve and current driver combo. Resolve 17.2 and Driver 21.5.2 Footage used Sony A7 III 4K video files.

Posted on 2021-06-03 18:11:06
Rex Lajos

Good to hear.

Posted on 2021-06-05 19:20:49