AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

We all know that AMD and Nvidia rarely disappoint us with their GPUs, but until the release of the 6800 XT, AMD didn’t pose much of a threat to Nvidia in the high-end range of GPUs. Nvidia’s RTX 30 series of GPUs proved to be the biggest leap in GPU power in a very long time, but the 3070 is not the flagship model of the series.

So, when comparing the 6800XT vs the 3070, I have to lean toward AMD, and I’ll explain in detail why in this comparison. Keep reading to find out.

6800XT vs 3070 – Quick Comparison

AMD reached for the stars when they released the 6800 XT, and boy did they grab them. This RDNA2 architecture GPU gave us a palpable boost in performance compared to previous AMD models in terms of Ray Tracing, DirectX 12 support, and 4K possibilities.

Nvidia’s RTX 3070 offers a bit less than the 6800 XT, but it also comes at a lower price. Even so, it’s an Ampere-based GPU, which means it offers us a lot of possibilities and great specs, even if it isn’t at the top of my “best-ever” GPU list.

Radeon 6800 XTSpecsGeForce RTX 3070
Navi 21 XT
(215-121000177)
GPUGA104-300-A1
PCIe 4.0 x16InterfacePCIe 4.0 x16
RDNA 2.0ArchitectureAmpere
8,960 Stream ProcessorsGPU Cores5,888 CUDA Cores
288TMUs/Tensor Cores184
72 Ray AcceleratorsRT Cores46 RT Cores
1.825 GHzBase Clock1.50 GHz
2.25 GHzBoost Clock1.73 GHz
2.8 GHzMax Clock2.1 GHz
GDDR6MemoryGDDR6
16 GBMemory Size8 GB
2,000 MHzMemory Speed1,750MHz
512.0 GB/sBandwidth448GBps
256-bitMemory Bus256-bit
300 WTDP
(Founders Edition)
220 W
700 WRequired PSU
(Founders Edition)
650 W
1x HDMI
2x DisplayPort
USB Type-C
OutputsHDMI
3x DisplayPort
7680×4320Maximum Digital Resolution7680×4320
Check Price on AmazonPriceCheck Price on Amazon

RX 6800XT

6800XT
AMD Radeon RX 6800XT

AMD, founded in 1969 in Silicon Valley, is much more than a GPU manufacturer (in case you didn’t know). AMD is a global leader in CPU development and (more recently) cloud infrastructure, yet they were struggling a bit with their high-end GPUs until the 6800 XT. This GPU rivals Nvidia’s flagship model and blows the 3070 away in many aspects.

Pros:

  • Future-proof GDDR6 capacity
  • Solid 4K performance
  • Excellent at 1080 and 1440p
  • Smart Access Memory

Cons:

  • Higher price
  • More power consumption

RTX 3070

GeForce RTX 3070
GeForce RTX 3070

Nvidia is slightly younger than AMD, founded just under 30 years ago. Nvidia predicted the need for better GPUs and foresaw what was to come in gaming. Unlike AMD, they focus only on GPU power, the power that is behind many computers, robots, self-driving vehicles, and the development of AI tech. Many crypto mining operations rely on Nvidia GPUs as well.

Pros:

  • Great at 1080p and 1440p
  • Great 4K performance
  • Uses less power
  • Lower cost

Cons:

  • Low FPS at max settings
  • Smaller GDDR6 capacity

6800XT vs 3070: Key Specifications

Architecture

The 6800 XT is based on AMD’s RDNA2 architecture, as is the entire RX 6000 series. AMD says this offers us a 65% increase in performance per watt compared to their previous generation. A key innovation of RDNA2 was the introduction of AMD Infinity Cache, which enables higher bandwidth at lower power and latency.

Radeon
Radeon

Another aspect of RDNA2 is Smart Access Memory, something Nvidia was only working on at the time. This feature offered enhanced access to GPU VRAM, the whole of its VRAM, instead of the 256MB segments that were accessible at one time in the previous RDNA(1) series.

Nvidia’s Ampere, which is smaller than its predecessors, packs significantly more transistors into a smaller area (17.4 billion). Nvidia’s second-generation Ray Tracing tech and deep learning hardware are at the core of Ampere, and it is, in general, the fastest GPU architecture in the world.

6800XT Engraved
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Engraved

However, the 3070 doesn’t really rival the 6800 XT as it has less bandwidth, transistors (26.8 billion), memory, and memory access. Even if Nvidia’s Ampere architecture is on another level in general, when comparing these two cards, the 6800 XT takes the (graphic) cake.

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Clock Speeds & Overclocking

When you compare the two, the 6800 XT has the upper hand in both “base” and “boost” clock speeds, as well as max clock speeds. Its base speed is 1.825 GHz, compared to GeForce’s 1.50 GHz. The 6800 XT also wins in boost clock, with 2.25 GHz compared to 1.73 GHz, respectively.

Clock speeds are the frequency at which the GPUs operate. “Base clock” is the default operating speed of a graphics card. It can be “overclocked,” but you shouldn’t take overclocking lightly, as you can damage your card if you push it too far. This is because computer components generate heat, and the more you push them, the hotter they get.

Overclocking can send your card into dangerous territory in terms of heat, something that will surely shorten its lifespan. If you ever want to give overclocking a try, be sure to set the fan speed to the highest setting to compensate for the heat your card will produce while you fiddle around with its settings.

MSI Afterburner
MSI Afterburner

If you’re curious about trying this, be sure to use AMD software (instructions here) for the AMD 6800 XT. You can overclock Nvidia’s cards through the performance tab of Nvidia’s software or using MSI Afterburner.

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Also Read: MSI Afterburner – The Complete Guide (Beginner and Advanced)

GPU Cores

The more cores in a GPU, the better the results for you as a user. Cores handle everything from lighting and shadows, through physics, and certain types of anti-aliasing, to ambient occlusion and more. To translate, this means in-game scenery, characters, and pretty much everything that makes up your favorite game.

Nvidia uses CUDA cores (Compute Unified Device Architecture) which are a small part of a larger whole. CUDA, a specialized programming language, leverages your GPU in specific ways and achieves greater performance. These cores are parallel processors, much like a CPU with two, four, or eight cores — only Nvidia’s GPUs have thousands.

What Nvidia calls CUDA cores, AMD calls Stream Processors, and they are the same thing in essence. Due to the higher count available in the 6800 XT, I have to give this one to AMD as well.

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

VRAM & Memory Specs

Both the 6700 XT and the 3070 use GDDR6 memories, but AMD offers twice as much in the 6800 XT as Nvidia does in the RTX 3070. Its 16GB shadows the 8GB that is offered in the 3070 and renders it somewhat future-proof. And, when you take into account AMD’s Infinity Cache and Smart Access Memory, there is no doubt who the winner here is.

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Shaders, RT cores, and TMUs

Shaders are generic programs that calculate optimal light, darkness, and color settings when rendering 3D in-game images. The sheer number advantage that the 6800 XT has (8,960) over the 3070 (5,888) puts it in first place here.

Nvidia uses dedicated Ray Tracing cores which free up the GPU to handle other things, while AMD uses something they call Ray Accelerators, which are part of the Compute Structure in RDNA2. Whatever they are trying to convince you of, dedicated is better than non-dedicated.

Nvidia RTX Ray Tracing On and Off Comparison
Nvidia RTX Ray Tracing On and Off Comparison

Ray Tracing graphically renders light in a way that simulates the physical behavior of light in the real world. Needless to say that this is far from the real thing, but you can’t but appreciate the advancements Ray Tracing has brought to our visual experience during gaming.

The 6800 XT has a total of 72 Ray Accelerators as it has one per compute unit. The 3070 may have only 46 Ray Tracing cores, but they work independently from the rest of the GPU, unlike those of the 6800 XT. Nevertheless, the 6800 XT has tested better across all settings than the 3070 (but not by how much you would expect everything considered).

TMUs or Texture Mapping Units are low-level components of GPUs critical to video game rendering. They handle the texture of objects, something that would disappear without TMUs whenever you changed your angle of view. Nvidia calls their’s Tensor cores and has only 184 in the 3070 compared to AMD’s 288 in the 6800 XT.

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Performance & Resolutions

Testing has shown an average FPS speed advantage of 11% in favor of the 6800 XT and even an advantage in favor of the 3070 in some games. The average is quite in favor of AMD at lower resolutions, and, interestingly enough, the smallest differences (on average) are seen when both cards are used at 4K ultra settings.

6800XT vs 3070 Average FPS at 1440p
6800XT vs 3070 Average FPS at 1440p
6800XT vs 3070 Average FPS at 4K
6800XT vs 3070 Average FPS at 4K

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Connectivity

You win some, you lose some. The 6800 XT has one HDMI port, two DisplayPorts, and one USB-C port. The 3070 doesn’t have a USB-C port at all but compensates for this with a third DisplayPort. Both support four peripherals.

Both cards are dual-slot, requiring 16-pin PCI Express slots. The 6800 XT has up to three 8-pin connectors for the PSU (depending on the manufacturer). The 3070 had a 12-pin connector in the Founders Edition but comes in variations of 12-pin, 2 x 8-pin, and 2 x 6-pin connectors (depending on the third-party manufacturer).

Winner: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Also Read: Can You Use Nvidia GPU With AMD CPU?

TDP

TDP refers to three terms: Thermal Design Power, Thermal Design Point, and Thermal Design Parameter, and these all mean the same thing. Most commonly, we’re talking about Thermal Design Power or the maximum power a subsystem is allowed to draw from the PSU as well as the maximum heat the component can handle.

The 6800 XT uses more power (300 W), while the 3070 uses less (220 W). The 6800 XT’s heat averages at around 73 degrees Celsius (163.4F) while the 3070 averages at 75 degrees Celsius (167F), both at max load. This differs depending on actual load, clocking settings, PC case ventilation, and so on, but not by much.

Overclocked third-party manufacturers’ versions go above these temperatures, as do their power consumptions, meaning you need to pay attention before purchasing so that you have the correct PSU to handle them.

Winner: Draw

Design and Build

6800XT Design and Build
6800XT Design and Build

Choosing a graphics card is never about style, yet the design and build do come somewhat into play. The Founder Edition 6800 XT has no ventilation shafts on its rear end, so its three fans will deposit all of its heat into your case. Thankfully, not many (Founders Editions) are left on the market, and you’ll probably have to settle for a third-party manufacturer.

GeForce RTX 3070 side
GeForce RTX 3070 side

The RTX 3070 Founders Edition has two fans positioned on the bottom when placed into the PCIe slot. This system sucks air into the card and vents it through the back of your PC case. Since it’s almost impossible to find one, you’ll have to settle for a third-party manufacturer here as well, but these can vary a lot.

Also Read: GPU Fans Not Spinning: Common causes and how to fix!

6800XT vs 3070: Standout Features

Ray tracing cores definitely stand out when we compare AMD and Nvidia. As mentioned, Nvidia introduced ray tracing with their RTX cards, and while AMD trots along with its Ray Accelerators, it’s just not the same thing.

6800XT vs 3070: Pricing & Availability

The Founders Edition 6800 XT was priced at $649 when it came out and has skyrocketed since then. Not a lot of these are available on the market, so if this is your choice, grab it while you can here. The market is overflowing with third-party manufacturers, ranging from ASUS, MSI, and GIGABYTE, to many others.

The Founders Edition 3070 debuted at a significantly lower MSRP of $499. Third-party manufacturers such as ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, and others are readily available for purchase, but their prices, specs, and sizes vary.

Conclusion

When I compare the 6800 XT vs 3070, there is no doubt that AMD wins. It’s just the better card, which is understandable as the 6800 XT is more comparable to Nvidia’s 3080. Nevertheless, if you’re on a bit of a budget (if you can call $500+ for a GPU a budget), the 3070 will handle almost everything you throw at it.

Both cards allow you to max out settings, but if you’re looking for higher FPS, the 6800 XT is your best bet. And both will keep you satisfied for a long time to come, though the 6800 XT is more future-proof than the 3070 due to its better specs.

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

Leave a Comment

Previous

Slack vs Teams: Which collaboration tool is better for you?

AMD RX 6700 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080: Which GPU is best?

Next