Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?

JT JT 18 November
Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?

AMD says their new Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card  competes with the Nvidia RTX 3080 for less money. I’m going to put this claim to the test  by comparing both in 14 games at 4K,   1440p, and 1080p resolutions and content creator  workloads to see what the differences are.

Spec Differences

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Let’s start with the spec differences, I think the  main thing to note is that the 6800 XT has 16gb of   memory, more than the 10 in the 3080, though the  3080’s memory is faster. The 6800 XT costs $50   less than the 3080 though, but it will also  be interesting to see if they will have   issues keeping it in stock like Nvidia has had.

Test PC Setup

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?This is the system that I’m using to test out  both graphics cards, it’s got an overclocked   i9-10900K at 5.2GHz with 32gb of DDR4-3200 CL14  memory in dual channel. This should keep things   fair for each GPU, however Radeon 6000 series  GPUs can get a boost with an AMD processor,   but that’s a topic for another time.  We’ll first dig into the gaming results,   then check out cost per frame, power draw,  and content creator workloads afterwards.

Gaming benchmarks

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested  in the Sydney landing challenge,   and there’s a trend here that appeared  throughout a lot of the games tested,   where the 6800 XT was ahead at 1080p, but  then the 3080 started pulling ahead as we   move up to higher resolutions, despite the  6800 XT having a higher memory capacity. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games  benchmark tool. This time the 3080 was just   straight up ahead regardless of resolution, though  not by large margins. The 6800 XT was 5% slower   at 1080p, but then 12% slower at 4K, so again  the 3080 is doing better at higher resolutions. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode  by running through the same mission on both   graphics cards. Both were hitting the 200  FPS cap at 1080p so that’s not too useful.   At 1440p the 6800 XT was reaching 14% higher  average FPS when compared to the 3080, then at 4K   both are doing basically the same, with a little  more of an edge in 1% lows to the 6800 XT. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the  games built in benchmark. This was another of   the games where the 6800 XT was ahead at lower  resolutions, but then at 4K the 3080 was 4% ahead,   which in this case was just 3 FPS,  so only small differences either way. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Watch Dogs Legion was also tested  with the games benchmark tool. The   6800 XT was 8% faster than the 3080 at  1080p, at 1440p they’re about the same,   but then at 4K the 3080 was almost 10% faster  in average FPS with a 7% higher 1% low. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?For Control I’ll start with ray tracing  off results. The RTX 3080 was ahead at   all resolutions in this one, and at 4K and  1440p resolutions the performance difference   was the largest out of all titles that  I’ve tested, but even so I still found   4K on the 6800 XT quite playable, and 100  FPS at 1440p is still a respectable result.Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End? I’ve tested ray tracing with the high  profile enabled. No DLSS was used here,   as that’s an Nvidia only feature, however that  would also be an advantage to the Nvidia platform   in the games that support it. Anyway the 3080 was  much further ahead compared to most of the other   games tested when looking at ray tracing,  not too surprising I guess given it’s been   made with the Nvidia implementation in mind as  that’s what’s been available for two years now. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Dirt 5 on the other hand was a massive  win for the 6800 XT. Full disclosure,   AMD provided a key for this game and I wasn’t  sure if I’d add it in as I knew it was clearly   going to favour them, but hey it is a new  game people will play,Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End? and the ray tracing   results are in contrast to what we just saw  before in Control which I thought was worth   discussing. As this title was developed for ray  tracing on RDNA 2, we’re seeing pretty much the   opposite of control with ray tracing enabled  where Nvidia had an above average lead there,   so basically it seems to depend on the  specific game and how it’s optimized   rather than just a blanket statement that  one’s better than the other in ray tracing.Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End? I’ve tested Metro Exodus with the game's  benchmark tool. This was another win for   the 6800 XT at all resolutions, though the  differences are much smaller this time,   only one to two frames different in the  averages so kind of margin of error stuff,   though there was a bit more of  a difference noted in 1% lows. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?The Witcher 3 had one of the smallest differences  out of the games tested in average FPS, as you can   see it’s quite close at 1080p and 1440p, though  the difference at 4K was a little bigger, it’s   less than 4 FPS. The 6800 XT was however notably  better in 1% lows across all three resolutions. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Speaking of small differences, death  stranding was in a similar boat,   at least in terms of average FPS. The 6800  XT was slightly ahead in the averages,   however this time the 3080 had the  advantage in 1% lows at 1440p and 1080p. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was tested with  the games benchmark tool. The 6800 XT had   a much more obvious lead in this one,  regardless of the resolution in use.   It was 8% faster than the 3080 at  4K, but then at 1440p it’s now 21%   faster, and then 29% faster at 1080p, the second  largest difference out of the 14 games tested.Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End? Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was also tested with  the built in benchmark, I tested this before   Valhalla came out so figured I’d include it  as I’ve got the data. The results here are   apparently the opposite of many other games I’ve  tested, where the 3080 was doing better at 1080p,   but then at higher resolutions the 6800 XT was  in front, with a 12% lead at 1440p and 7% at 4K. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in  campaign mode. Like a lot of other games,   only minor differences here. Basically  the same average FPS at 4K and 1440p,   while the 6800 XT was almost 5% better at 1080p.Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End? Rainbow Six Siege was tested using  the games benchmark tool with Vulkan.   I feel like I’ve said this enough times  already, but once more the 6800 XT was   doing better in average frame rate at 1080p, but  then the 3080 takes the lead at 1440p and 4K.   The 3080 was just 2% faster at  1440p and 6.5% faster at 4K.

1080p Game Results

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?At 1080p on average over all 14 games tested  the 6800 XT was 5% faster than the RTX 3080 in   average FPS. Dirt 5 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla  are definitely boosting the overall average,   but even if we remove these as outliers the  6800 XT was still slightly ahead on average.

1440p Game Results

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?Stepping up to 1440p and although the difference  in Dirt 5 is still the biggest out of the games   covered, the gap isn’t as large now when  compared to some of the other titles.   The 6800 XT is around 4.6% faster  than the 3080 on average here.

4K Game Results

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?At 4K the 6800 XT was 1.4% slower on average than  the 3080, and again without dirt 5 it was closer   to being 3.4% slower, so a bit of a difference  that one game can make, but at the end of the   day there’s still not a huge difference  between these graphics cards on average.

Which For Gaming?

On average though I don’t think the performance  differences are enough to make a noticeable   difference either way, as many of the games  are performing quite closely together,   though there are of course outliers. If you  mainly play titles that do one way or the other,   then it might make sense to pick one  for say Dirt 5 or another for Control,   but for the most part in the  selection of games I’ve tested,   it’s really difficult to go too wrong with  either, as both offer great performance.

Cost Per Frame

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?So with performance being somewhat  close together on average, the 6800 XT   ends up offering better value as it’s $50 cheaper  than the 3080, and this was the case at all three   resolutions tested. It will be interesting to  see if Nvidia does anything to counter this.

Power Draw

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?The power draw results were interesting. The  system with the 3080 installed was only drawing a   little more power in this test, 4% higher wattage  in Control at 4K with RTX off, but if you recall   the 3080 was also performing a fair bit better  here with a 17% higher average frame rate in   the same test, granted this game did see the best  result on the 3080 out of the titles tested at 4K,   it just happens to be the game I’ve been  using to compare power draw with recently.

Performance Per Watt

Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?In terms of performance per watt, when  looking at the results from all 14 games,   the 6800 XT is able to get more  done with the same amount of power,   as again on average the frame  rates aren’t too different.

Content Creator Workloads

This might sound crazy, but there’s more than just   gaming out there. I’ve also compared  both in content creator workloads. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?I’ve tested DaVinci Resolve with  the Puget Systems benchmark,   and the 3080 was scoring around  27% higher than the 6800 XT,   so a much bigger difference when compared  to most of the games covered previously. I   should note that the results on the 3080 were far  more consistent, whereas I had to run the test   7 times on the 6800 XT to arrive at this average,  as I was getting scores between 813 and 979. Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End?I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export one of my  review videos at 4K, and the 3080 was faster   in this one too, again the difference was  more so when compared to most of the games.   I’m not sure if both of these software suites  need to be updated for the RX 6000 series though.Radeon RX 6800 XT vs Nvidia RTX 3080 - AMD Competitive at High End? Blender was tested with the Open Data benchmark.   Interestingly the 3080 was only completing the  classroom test a second faster than the 6800 XT,   but in the shorter BMW test the 3080  was 46% faster, so quite a difference.  

Conclusion

In general it would appear that the  3080 has the edge outside of gaming. So all things considered, the Radeon RX 6800  XT is looking like a compelling option. It’s   coming in cheaper than the Nvidia RTX  3080, and in many of the games tested   the performance differences just aren’t that  big, though this does of course vary by game. Combined with the fact that the 6800 XT has more  VRAM, I’m expecting it to last longer and so   better at higher resolutions years from now, that  will definitely be worth revisiting in future.

Driver Stability and Availability

The fact that AMD is even competing at  RTX 3080 level now is pretty impressive,   but it will be interesting to see how  things like driver stability go over time,   as that was a pretty big issue with Radeon  graphics cards last generation. I did actually   have some game crashes on the 6800 XT, both in  red dead redemption 2 and metro exodus, but to   be fair I had both of those same games crash  on a recent Nvidia based laptop just last week.

I’m just a small sample size of one,  we really need to wait and see what   happens once people start getting  these products into their hands   and get them running in more and  different hardware configurations. Likewise it’s also going to be interesting to see  how much stock is available, if it’s hard to buy   on launch for months like the RTX 3080 then that’s  not going to be a great experience for customers.

In addition to the XT model, I’ll also be  comparing the non XT version against other   graphics cards.

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