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RX 6900 XT vs RTX 3080 – battle of the excessive finish


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With the 3090 being such an expensive option, we look at the cards that follow with the comparison of the 6900 XT vs 3080.  A duo of likely fan favorites with a lower cost but likely plenty of performance for all games and resolutions. 

Both of these came out with their respective series, and have been the staple of the lineups for most people. Competing for the title of the best graphics card, they offer a great choice from both AMD and Nvidia. We take a closer look at which option is better for you.

ASUS TUF GAMING Radeon RX 6900 XT OC 16GB

asus tuf 6900xt

Pros

Axial-tech fan design has been enhanced

GPU Tweak II provides intuitive performance tweaking, thermal controls, and system monitoring

Asus Logo

ASUS ROG Strix NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 OC Edition

asus rog strix rtx 3080

Pros

The building blocks for the world’s fastest, most efficient GPU

Architecture

Being from the two different GPU manufacturers there is a lot of variation between how they are made. AMD’s card is built upon the RDNA 2.0 architecture and in particular, the 6900 XT uses the NAVI 21 XTX GPU. It is built with TSMCs 7nm process making the die 520mm2. While also made up of 26.8 billion transistors.

On the other hand, Nvidia has the Ampere die architecture. The 3080 is built with the GA102 particular GPU that is made with Samsungs 8nm process.  Packing in the die to a size of 628mm2 with 28.3 billion transistors. Giving it a much bigger die than the 6900 XT as it makes up for the bigger transistors and fits more into it.

Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC 10G GPU WePC min

Specifications

RX 6900 XT RTX 3080
GPU Navi 21 XTX(215-121000167) GA102-200-KD-A1
Shaders 5120 8704
RT Cores 80 68
TMUs 320 272
Memory 16GB GDDR6 10GB GDDR6X
Base clock 1825 MHz 1440 MHz
Boost clock 2250 MHz 1710 MHz
Memory clock 16 Gbps  19 Gbps
Card bus PCIe 4.0 x16 PCIe 4.0 x16
Memory bandwidth 512.0 GB/s 760.3 GB/s
TDP 300W 320W

Comparing the 6900 XT vs 3080 we take a look at what the graphics cards are made of. On the base level, they do have different architectures and so looking at their specification may not be a one-to-one comparison. But it does give us a good idea, so we will look at some specific specifications.

TDP

Firstly, we take a look at the thermal design power of the two GPUs. This count tells us how much power the die can consume at the maximum power. This also informs us of how much heat the card will produce. A factor to consider when you’re looking at overclocking, thinking of cooling your GPU, or just how much it will cost to power it.

Asus RTX 3080 12GB 17

Comparing these two cards, it’s the 6900 XT with a lower TDP. It maxes out at 300W, 20W lower than the 3080. Showing it will stay cooler and consume less power to achieve its performance, is potentially a big factor when considering which one to pick.

VRAM

The video memory of a GPU is the frame buffer between the card and CPU as well as storage for texture maps. An important feature when considering large resolutions and multiple screens. As it reduces latency and buffering with the ever-growing demand of pixel counts.

Comparing the 6900 XT vs 3080 there is a difference in both types of memory and size. AMD goes for the size count rather than speeds. The 6900 XT has 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, so plenty of capacity but with a clock rate of 17 Gbps and bandwidth of 512GB/s.

Whereas, Nvidia opts for speed. The 3080 has 10GB of GDDR6X, which has a clock rate of 19Gbps putting its bandwidth at 760.3GB/s. Both of which may have different effects on performance.

NVIDIA RTX 3080 7

Clock rate

Clock speed of a card is determined by how quickly the silicon crystal can cyle. This cycling processes graphical instructions that output the graphical goodness you need. Whilst, not a direct show of performance it can be a good indicator. Especially when you try to get the most out of a GPU with overclocking.

Again as previously seen, AMD gains an advantage in clock speed over Nvidia. The 6900 XT is factory clocked to a 1826MHz base clock and a 2250MHz boost clock. Compared to the 3080s 1440MHz base and 1710MHz boost. Offering a slight advantage to team red.

GPU die cores

The cores are the different processing units within a GPU. They have different specializations, and in our closer look, we have shaders, RT, and TMUs. These focus on showing and shading scenes, real-time ray tracing, and creating 3d textures from bitmaps.

Comparing the 6900 XT vs 3080, the RTX card takes advantage of the shader count but loses in RT cores and TMUs. Potentially leading to lower performance in some areas.

Asus RTX 3080 12GB 16

RX 6900 XT vs RTX 3080 Performance

Taking a look at 3dmark benchmarks we can see the direct graphic performance of the graphic cards. And it’s the 6900 XT that leads in this situation, in fact, it takes first place in the benchmark with a score of 20,352. Whereas, The 3080 is only in 8th with a score of 17,650.

In other scenarios though it is a very close call. With the 3080 having a slightly higher effective speed. But in gaming, they tend to trade blows with the performance being very similar. However, ray tracing is where Nvidia still takes the crown and gives the 3080 the edge in those scenarios.

Price comparison

The launch price for the 6900 XT is $999, but the 3080 is much cheaper at $699. Which is a significant difference at $300. The 43% price difference can be quite a turnoff from choosing the AMD card, especially with the performance similarity.

However, in the current expensive GPU market, it is unlikely that you can buy a graphics card at MSRP. And checking these two, we find that PCPartPicker shows the cheapest 3080 at $1798, compared to the 6900 XT at $1260. So massively cheaper to get the AMD card.

Gigabyte Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB GDDR6 Graphics Card

RX 6900 XT

Pros

Tri-fan cooling system prevents overheating and throttling

Impressive base and boost clock speeds

AMD Fidelity FX boosts display brilliance

Radeon Anti-Lag tech eliminates lag

Super fast in lower resolutions

Infinity cache offers enhanced efficiency

Cons

Not quite as good for intensive parallel creative workflows

Gigabyte Logo

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING OC 10G

GIGABYTE RTX 3080 Gaming OC

Pros

Efficient cooling solution

High out-the-box clock boost

Greater expected lifespan

Conclusion

Comparing 6900 XT vs 3080 on MSRP it is hard to justify the 6900 XT in terms of performance. With similar FPS but losing out in ray tracing it doesn’t make sense, especially with Nvidias software solutions. However, in the current market, the AMD card is cheaper so may be better to afford at the time. Although time may be your friend, with current GPU prices falling and the new RTX 4000 series around the corner.

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