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Is the 6500 XT worth it?

AMD reveals Radeon RX 6500 XT and 6400 cards

The GPU market remains a nightmare in 2022. And with the new announcement of card offerings from both major makers, there’s a new burning question among PC enthusiasts. So is the Radeon RX 6500 XT worth it? That is really going to depend on what your use case is. Right now, in 2022, most PC gamers will be happy to get their hands on any 1080p-capable GPU.

Anandtech actually put together a comparison of the AMD offerings for the current-gen versus last generations cards. We’ve included the chart they put together below. These cards are all aimed at 1080p, so going to higher resolutions with just a 4GB GPU will be pretty iffy. The thing you really have to consider when thinking about an upgrade to the 6500 XT is that lower frame buffer. Having only 4GB to handle textures and the like will only get more demanding and offer lower performance as time goes on.

The MSRP is very affordable, but you probably won’t be able to get it at that price. Realistically, it could cost $300 or more, which means trying to find another, better, GPU at close to MSRP might be a better use of your time.

AMD Radeon RX Series Specification Comparison
AMD Radeon RX 6600 AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT AMD Radeon RX 6400 AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
Stream Processors 1792
(28 CUs)
1024
(16 CUs)
768
(12 CUs)
1408
(22 CUs)
ROPs 64 32 32 32
Game Clock 2044MHz 2610MHz 2039MHz 1717MHz
Boost Clock 2491MHz 2815MHz 2321MHz 1845MHz
Throughput (FP32) 7.3 TFLOPS 5.3 TFLOPS 3.1 TFLOPS 5.2 TFLOPS
Memory Clock 14 Gbps GDDR6 18 Gbps GDDR6 16 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 64-bit 64-bit 128-bit
VRAM 8GB 4GB 4GB 8GB
Infinity Cache 32MB 16MB 16MB N/A
Total Board Power 132W 107W 53W 130W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 7nm TSMC N6 TSMC N6 TSMC 7nm
Transistor Count 11.06B 5.4B 5.4B 6.4B
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA2 RDNA2 RDNA (1)
GPU Navi 23 Navi 24 Navi 24 Navi 14
Launch Date 10/13/2021 01/19/2022 H1 2022 12/12/2019
Launch Price $329 $199 OEM-Only $199
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Your budget might also be a consideration, and not just for the cost of the GPU. The TDP of the Radeon RX 6500 XT is only 100w, and it only needs 1x 6-pin PCIe connector and a PCIe 4.0 x8 slot. That opens up options for cheaper motherboards and power supplies for upgrades and new builds alike. Though really, you shouldn’t be cheaping out on the PSU. Using a box cooler or cheaper RAM is a more economical and safe approach to saving cash on a PC build.

Let’s do a comparison with RTX 3060, the latest launched “budget” GPU from Nvidia. That card needs a 12-pin PCIe and PCIe 4.0 x16 slot to run. The TDP is also higher at 170w, which means you’re slightly limited in what cheap motherboards and PSUs you can run with an RTX 3060.

The 3060 also has a much better memory bank. With more than double the memory bandwidth and triple the amount of VRAM, there’s really no comparison in terms of performance. So the only time that the RX 6500 XT makes sense is if you’re desperate enough to accept the step down from the 3060. But if you’re upgrading from an older AMD or Nvidia GPU, this purchase makes a lot more sense. And if you’re able to get a 3060 or similarly performing card for around $400, you will likely be better off in terms of futureproofing with that over the new AMD variant.

Nvidia has since announced the RTX 3050, a more direct competitor. So maybe the gap between these two will now narrow. For now, unless you can get the 6500 XT for under $300, go with another more powerful option at a close price point.

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