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Hands-on review: AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT GPU

By Darren Price, Mon 6 Sep 2021

Unlike other 6000-series Radeons, the RX 6600 XT is only available from AMD’s third-party partners. AMD sent us an ASRock Phantom Edition RX 6600 XT OC to look at.

The ASRock GPU is big. Bigger than AMD’s own RX 6700 XT reference card. It’s so big that it only just fit in the test machine (note to self: get a bigger case for the test rig). The card is 300mm from bow to stern, the same length as my EVGA RTX 3090 GPU. 

This large size is likely due to the three fans that ASRock has chosen to fit on the underside of the card. The card comes with stylish a metal backplate protecting the circuit board. All told, it’s a nice-looking and solidly-built bit of kit.

Unsurprisingly, the card takes up two PCI slots in the case. Power is provided by a single 8-pin PCIe cable.

                          

The test machine sports an Intel i9 11900K, in an ASUS ROG Maximus Hero XIII motherboard with 16GB of Kingston Fury Renegade DDR4-4600 RAM. Pretty much the ultimate gaming rig.

The ASRock board, like all the Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs, is PCIe 4.0. It also has 8GB of GDDR6 memory. The Radeon RX 6600 XT features the latest technology for display connectivity. The card can support up to four displays via three DisplayPort 1.4 sockets, which allow for Display Stream Compression, or the single Variable Refresh Rate equipped HDMI 2.1 socket. 

Once I’d worked out how to get the card in the chassis, the installation went without a hitch. A swift download of AMD’s all-in-one Adrenaline 2020 software had the drivers up-to-date and the card optimised for the installed games.

The cooler’s middle fan is an RGB fan, as is the panel on the board’s outer facing edge. The RGB lighting automatically synched with the PC’s motherboard, cooler, and memory creating a nice flow of colour across the machine.

The card makes use of AMD’s impressive Adrenaline software that can be set to automatically overclock the card. The software can also be used to optimise performance on a per-game basis. 

The card is marketed as an HD GPU suitable for 1920x1080 gaming. According to 3D Mark, the RX 6600 XT will run Battlefield V at a resolution of 2560 × 1440 with a 90Hz frame rate, which should be more than enough for most.

Using Passmark’s PerformanceTest 10, The RX 6600 XT scores 13131, which is a 76%-tile ranking — that is, better than 76% of GPUs tested. The PC scored a graphics score of 9569 in 3D Mark’s Time Spy benchmark, 4398 in the Time Spy Extreme benchmark, and 4445 in the Port Royal ray-tracing benchmark.

The same test machine with a Radeon RX 6700 XT, running the Time Spy benchmark achieved a graphics score of 11408. The RX 6700 XT scored 5298 in the Time Spy Extreme benchmark. 3D Mark suggests that the RX 6700 XT will run Battlefield V at 1440p 30 FPS faster than the RX 6700 XT. Keeping in mind that the Radeon RX 6700 XT is NZ$400-$500 more than the RX 6600 XT, the RX 6000 XT holds up quite well against its more powerful sibling.

                         

I also tested the machine with Horizon Zero Dawn at 1920x1080 with ultra settings. The machine attained a max GPU FPS of 99 FPS but maintaining 60 frames-per-second throughout the benchmark. Running Microsoft Flight Simulator, again at 1920x1080, the PC managed a fairly consistent 60 frames-per-second with only the odd frame drop at the default settings. 

                         

The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT offers great performance at 1080p resolutions, but also fares quite well at 1440p, with the right CPU. The ASRock board is a bit on the large side, but should fit most cases with a bit of fidgeting around. The excellent AMD Adrenalin software keeps everything optimised, both the Radeon GPU and Ryzen CPU, if installed. 

It’s not a cheap GPU, but that’s probably more down to current market forces, but it is cheaper than most. If you want decent graphics performance without re-mortgaging your house, the Radeon RX 6600 XT is probably the way to go.

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