It certainly should come as little surprise that AMD has recently upgraded their Radeon RX 6000 XT line to be more inclusive. No, what is surprising is how long it has taken them to fill the major, borderline chasm sized, hole in their GPU line-up. A hole that NVIDIA has exploited to the fullest. Let’s face it. While it is indeed true that everyone loves to talk about the 70(0)s, 80(0)s and 90(0)s of the marketplace when it comes time to buy those itty bitty “good enough” 60(0)s dominate the sales numbers. This is because most people are not willing to spend a mortgage payment on a freakin’ video card. The average buyer just wants to play their favorite games on their 1080P (or at worst 1440P) monitor without having to sell a(nother) kidney to pay for it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Thus, the release of the all-new Radeon RX 6600 XT should be good news and cards like the MSI Radeon RX 6600 XT Gaming X being released on launch day should be even better news!
Sadly, AMD has found a way to not just shoot themselves in the foot but burn through a lot of goodwill their CPU team has built up over the past couple years. In theory, when you take the excellent architecture like NAVI II and create a smaller NAVI 23 XT variant you do so with one on goal in mind: making a value orientated model. One that is meant for the average joes. An ‘everyman’ GPU that does not price gouge their loyal fan base and instead makes higher end models look overpriced by comparison. This is the whole reason NVIDIA GeForce GTX/RTX ’60 variants exist. It is the entire reason the AMD RADEON RX 6600 XT should exist.
This philosophy and market segmentation is why you should not be surprised by the Radeon RX 6600 XT’s relatively anemic specs. With any Radeon RX 6600 XT you can expect to find a GPU with 2048 stream processors, 128 TMUs, 64 ROPS, and a piddly (first gen) 32 RT cores / “accelerators” all backstopped by 8GB of GDDR6 on a 128-bit bus… and only 32MB of Infinity Cache. Instead of 2560/160/64/40/96MB/12GB GDDR6 on a 192-bit bus like the Radeon RX 6700 XT. To help boost performance up to reasonable numbers you can expect a ‘reference’ (read vaporware) AMD reference Radeon RX 6600 XT to have a base clock of 1968 MHz with 2589MHz Boost. This all screams 1080P gaming. It also screams “value orientated” performance.
Sadly, what you will not find is the value to go along with the whole “value orientated” philosophy. Instead of a high 2bill to low $300 range card the (vaporware) reference AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT has an MSRP of a whopping 379 USD. Since there are no reference boards being sold directly by AMD that already fifty dollars more than a ‘reference’ NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060’s launch day MSRP is much more when dealing with (admittedly ‘best of breed’) 3rd party cards like the MSI Gaming X. Enough that is more in line with what the $399 barebone GeForce RTX 3060Ti’s cost on launch day… and then some.
MSI are fully aware of the sheer mind bogglingly short sightedness of AMD’s pricing ‘strategy’ and have done the best they can. They have boosted those itty bitty, 7nm NAVI 23 XT cores base speed by 5 percent to 2064. They have included a good dual fan variant of their Twin Frozr 8 custom cooling solution that is longer (10.9 inches vs 7.5), wider (5.1-inch instead of 4.3) and taller (2inches vs 1.6 or 2.5’ish slots vs dual slot). All of which should make this card peak high, stay high and do so while also running cool ‘n’ quite. Is that enough to overcome the “streamlined” specifications of the NAVI 23 XT core? Press X to doubt… or F to pay respects? Either way both buyers and board partners like MSI are the victims here.