AMD Radeon RX 6600 vs. RX 6600 XT vs. Nvidia RTX 3060: Budget GPUs, tested

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We’ve moved on from a time when $200 GPUs are among the best graphics cards you can buy, but Nvidia and AMD are still offering affordable options for 1080p gamers. The RX 6600, RX 6600 XT, and RTX 3060 all target 1080p for between $330 and $380, but there’s one card that hits the mark better than the other two.

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These cards make the best 1080p graphics cards out there, so it’s hard to make a bad decision. We’re here to break down the specifications, performance and features to help you know which one is right for you, given that we’ve now put the RX 6600 through our test bench.

If you want to go deeper, be sure to read our RTX 3060 review and RX 6600 XT review.

Pricing and Availability

AMD RX 6600 among other graphics cards.
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AMD launched the RX 6600 XT on August 11 for a recommended price of $379, followed shortly thereafter with the RX 6600 on October 13 for a suggested price of $329. The Nvidia RTX 3060 was released much earlier, on February 25, although the same suggested price of $329 as the RX 6600.

List price doesn’t make much sense for any of these cards. Ongoing GPU shortages have raised prices to obscene heights for all graphics. Still, none of our competitors got the reference model. Although some board partner cards reached list price, most sold for much higher – almost double, in some cases.

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Although the RX 6600 was launched at the time of publication, it will likely follow in the footsteps of the RX 6600 XT and RTX 3060 and sell out immediately. You can expect to pay twice the list price in the old market, if not more. We’re basing our comparisons on list price — the only constant right now — but we suggest taking a look at the running rate and our performance findings while you’re reading this.

We can’t talk about the future of graphics card prices, but there has been a consistent trend during GPU shortages – AMD cards usually sell for less than Nvidia ones. At the time of writing, for example, the RX 6600 is anywhere from $50 to $100 cheaper than the RTX 3060 on eBay, despite the fact that the RX 6600 XT has a higher list price.

Glasses

RTX 3060 installed in the computer.

The specific comparison between Nvidia and AMD graphics cards doesn’t make much sense; Companies are using completely different designs, so you shouldn’t be comparing their specifications directly. Still, there are some interesting things to note about how these three cards are designed and how it affects gaming performance.

RX 6600 RX 6600 XT RTX 3060
GPU Navi 23 Navi 23 GA106
interface PCI 4.0 PCI 4.0 PCI 4.0
CUDA Core/Stream Processor 1,792 2,048 3,584
color tensor n/a n/a 112
ray tracing accelerator 28 beam accelerator 32 beam accelerator 28 RT Core
base clock n/a n/a 1,320 MHz
boost clock 2,491 MHz 2,539 MHz 1,777 MHz
Memory 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 12GB GDDR6
bandwidth up to 224GBps up to 256GBps 360GBps
memory bus 128 bit 128 bit 192-bit
TDP 132W 160W 170W

Ray tracing is a big area where AMD and Nvidia cards differ. The RTX 3060 includes dedicated ray tracing units, while the RX 6600 and RX 6600 XT include a ray accelerator in each compute unit. We’ll dig into the specifics of ray tracing performance later, but the shortcoming is that Nvidia’s solution performs much better.

On the other hand, the two AMD cards consume very little power, especially the RX 6600. AMD has pushed for a 1.5X increase in performance per watt over the RTX 3060 with the RX 6600. That’s impressive, but there shouldn’t be any practical difference when it comes to performance.

Most people think that imagination is memory capacity, and the RTX 3060 wins that battle. It has more bandwidth and capacity than two AMD cards, but don’t be fooled by the numbers. Although the RTX 3060 comes with 12GB of video memory, 8GB on the RTX 3060 Ti provides more effective bandwidth given that card’s larger memory bus.

Display

AMD RX 6600 XT is installed in a computer.

All three of our competitors target 1080p gaming, though some hit it more successfully than others. 1440p isn’t out of the question, especially for the RX 6600 XT. But if you want to hit above 60 frames per second (fps) in the latest and most demanding AAA games, you’ll probably have to step down to 1080p.

Because of that, the results in the table below are for 1080p with Ultra settings. Our tests were run from a significant MX500 2TB SSD with an Intel Core i9-10900K and 32GB of RAM.

amd rx 6600 AMD RX 6600 XT nvidia rtx 3060
3DMark Time Spy (GPU Score) 8,071 9,644 8,629
red dead redemption 2 59 fps 68 fps 65 fps
fortnite 98 fps 137 fps 132 fps
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 71 fps 83 fps 64 fps
battlefield v 120 fps 139 fps 123 fps
Civilization VI 138 fps 161 fps 143 fps

Although synthetic benchmarks are not real games, they generally represent GPU scaling. That’s it here, the RX 6600 XT leads the pack in 3DMark Time Spy. The RTX 3060 is about 10% slower, while the RX 6600 is 16% slower. Overall, you can expect scaling from these three cards, although some games show large differences.

to take fortnite, For example, where the RX 6600 is 28% slower than its older XT sibling. Similarly, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Two AMD cards were supported, with the RTX 3060 trailing the RX 6600 XT by about 23%. On the other hand, CPU-bound games like red dead redemption 2 Show a strict grouping, with only a few frames separating each of our competitors.

While it’s important to dig into individual games, there was one constant across all of our benchmarks: the RX 6600 XT trailed the other two cards. It is about 15% more expensive than other GPUs, however, so the performance difference is understandable. In some cases, that extra money gives you a huge boost in performance, but in some titles, only a minor bump.

As with most three-way battles—such as our RTX 3060 Ti vs RX 6600 vs RTX 3060 comparison—it comes down to two competitors. The RTX 3060 outperforms the RX 6600 at the same price, while the RX 6600 XT is slightly faster than the two. If you want the best performance then get the RX 6600 XT; If you’re on a tight budget there’s the RTX 3060.

Ray Tracing and Upscaling

An enemy wields a sword at the main character of Cyberpunk 2077.

For ray tracing, we turned to Control And Cyberpunk 2077. Like our results above, we ran these tests at 1080p with Ultra settings. The only difference between runs was ray tracing, where we chose the highest preset available. Our results are not meant to represent playable performance – ray tracing is very demanding – but rather the differences between each card and how they capture ray tracing.

amd rx 6600 AMD RX 6600 XT nvidia rtx 3060
Control No Ray Tracing 67 fps 73 fps 76 fps
control beam tracing 27 fps 34 fps 47 fps
cyberpunk 2077 no ray tracing 46 fps 62 fps 59 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing 10 fps 13 fps 28 fps

There is a clear bias in favor of Nvidia. As mentioned, Nvidia uses dedicated ray tracing units, which results in much higher performance with ray tracing turned on. In cyberpunk 2077, For example, the RX 6600 XT managed a higher average frame rate than the RTX 3060. Throw ray tracing into the mix, though, and the RTX 3060 is over twice as fast.

Still, 28 fps isn’t playable for most PC gamers. To reach acceptable frame rates, you need an advanced feature. Nvidia offers its Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology, which is available at Control And Cyberpunk 2077. DLSS can offer a huge boost in performance, bringing even demanding titles cyberpunk 2077 Above 60 fps with ray tracing turned on.

The problem is that you need an Nvidia graphics card to use it – specifically an RTX 20-series or 30-series card. AMD’s competitor FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) doesn’t require any special hardware. It offers even bigger benefits than DLSS as in recent times back 4 bloodhandjob Where it managed to increase the frame rate to 116%.

That said, image quality is a problem for the FSR. DLSS leverages AI models running on dedicated Tensor cores, while FSR is based on decades-old upscaling technology. FSR can push frame rates higher, but DLSS still offers a significant bump with better image quality overall.

What can you buy, and at what cost?

AMD RX 6600 among other graphics cards.

In a perfect world, if you can stretch your budget, we’d recommend picking up the RX 6600 XT, despite the fact that the RTX 3060 comes with better features. Looking at the current GPU market, though, a lot of it is going to come down to which card you can find and at what cost.

Currently, the RX 6600 XT sells for less than the RTX 3060 on eBay, and it offers better performance, making it the clear winner of this three-way battle. The RX 6600 is at a clear disadvantage, though we don’t know how many cards will sell for the secondhand market once the launch dust settles.

If it’s significantly less than the RX 6600 XT or RTX 3060, it could still be a good deal. For now, we recommend sticking with the RX 6600 XT for the best balance of price and performance.

Then again, you may want to consider the RTX 3060 Ti, which is more powerful but retails for $70 more.




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