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AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT GPU ships Aug. 11, starting at $379

The company's latest graphics card targets would-be GeForce GTX 1060 upgraders for high-frame rate 1080p gaming.

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ASRock

I'm starting to think of AMD's Radeon RX 6000 series and Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3000 series GPUs as the lost generation: By the time shortages ease and you're actually able to buy any of the cards announced over the past year, chances are both companies will be ready to release their next generational round of cards. But that hasn't stopped either of them from lobbing new models at us. This time it's AMD's Radeon RX 6600 XT, a desktop graphics card intended for high frame rate play in 1080p. It's expected to ship on Aug. 11 from add-in board makers like Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and others with prices starting at $379 and in prebuilt systems soon after.

$379. HAHAHAHA.

The cryptocurrency mining crackdown in China and regulatory smackdown in Europe may lessen the demand for GPUs, but we're still in the middle of a silicon supply crunch that affects many components of graphics cards, and that's expected to last at least until the end of the year. So it's bound to keep availability low, middlebots busy and prices high. Based on current markups for available cards, I suspect the real price over the next months will start closer to $850. 

AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT

Memory 8GB DDR6/32MB Infinity Cache
Memory bandwidth (GB/sec) 256
GPU clock (GHz, typical/boost) 2.359/2.589
Memory interface 128-bit
Compute Units and Ray Accelerators 32
Stream cores 2,048
TGP/min PSU (watts) 160/500
Bus PCIe 4.0 x 8
Size 2 slots, length varies
Price Starts at $379
Ship date Aug. 11

But let's take a break from reality and discuss it as if you will be able to get it and prices will start at $379. Add-in board manufacturers will have dual- and triple-fan models, with dual-fan versions fitting comfortably into entry-level gaming systems: Its 160-watt rated power draw means you can put it into a system with a 500-watt power supply and they should be able to work in 8-bit PCI slots. Both of those sync with AMD's target market of lagging upgraders still poking along on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060.

Like Nvidia, AMD stresses how well the card performs -- competitively with the RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti its price is sandwiched between -- as long as you turn on all the algorithmic magic available to the GPU. In AMD's case, that means Radeon Boost (which selectively renders scene elements at a lower resolution, based on visibility, for higher frame rates), Radeon Anti-Lag (reduces latency by lightening the load on the CPU), FidelityFX Super Resolution (upscaling from lower-resolution textures to achieve faster frame rates, a la Nvidia DLSS) and Smart Access Memory (AMD's Resizable BAR implementation, in which the CPU can store game-related data in GPU RAM rather than system RAM so the GPU doesn't have to traverse the system bus to retrieve it).

 AMD is less reliant on developer support than Nvidia for much of its acceleration, but it's not entirely driver-based. SAM only works on systems equipped with a modern AMD Ryzen CPU, for example. Because I'm a glass-half-empty kinda gal who's seen way too many BSODs in the past week, I tend to approach these claims as "Will games still be playable if I have to disable everything?" rather than "Wow, it gets great frame rates with everything enabled!"

And now back to your regularly scheduled shortage.