The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT officially launched on August 11, 2021, and we’re looking at the Sapphire Radeon RX 6600 XT Pulse today. Initial supply, at least for overseas markets and some brick and mortar stores like Micro Center, was better than we’ve seen for other new GPU launches during the past year. If supply could keep up with demand, even at a higher starting price of $380, it could be one of the best graphics cards. A card in hand is worth two in the virtual shopping cart, after all. But indications are that supply isn’t keeping up with demand, even on these ‘lesser’ GPUs.
That’s despite the fact that initial demand was quite a bit lower for the RX 6600 XT. After all, it’s only about the same level of performance as the previous generation RX 5700 XT, for about the same price as well — in theory, anyway; the RX 5700 XT generally sells for about twice its launch price right now. That’s because it can do over 50MH/s in Ethereum mining, while the RX 6600 XT can only do about 32MH/s, and while they both hit similar levels of mining efficiency after optimizing mining settings, deploying fewer cards at higher hashrates is generally preferred by miners.
Anyway, on to the story at hand, the Sapphire Radeon RX 6600 XT Pulse. This is, for all intents and purposes, a reference model RX 6600 XT. It does come with a modest factory overclock, but the power use does adhere to AMD’s 160W TDP, unlike the ASRock card we received for the initial launch review. Here’s a quick look at how the specs compare, and we’ll also have a Gigabyte RX 6600 XT Eagle in the charts (with a separate review coming soon).
|Graphics Card||Sapphire RX 6600 XT||Reference RX 6600 XT||ASRock RX 6600 XT||Gigabyte RX 6600 XT|
|Architecture||Navi 23||Navi 23||Navi 23||Navi 23|
|Process Technology||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7||TSMC N7|
|Die size (mm^2)||237||237||237||237|
|Infinity Cache (MB)||32||32||32||32|
|Game Clock (MHz)||2382||2359||2428||2359|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||16||16||16||16|
|VRAM Bus Width||128||128||128||128|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||9.76||9.66||9.95||9.66|
|PCIe Slot Interface||x8 Gen4||x8 Gen4||x8 Gen4||x8 Gen4|
The Sapphire Pulse comes with a very modest 23MHz factory overclock, compared to the reference specs. That’s a one percent overclock that should basically end up as noise in the benchmarks. The Gigabyte card actually uses the reference clock, so we can at least make some comparisons there, though differences in cooler design and other elements come into play.
Overall, though, we’re looking at a potential 3% factory overclock on the ASRock card, while the other two RX 6600 XT samples are lower. There are also higher clocked RX 6600 XT cards, but they cost quite a bit more — like the Phantom Gaming. The Sapphire and Gigabyte 6600 XT cards we have for testing and review actually come with a theoretical MSRP of $380, while the ASRock Phantom costs over 30% more. The only place you’re likely to see such a price is at Micro Center, at least in our experience, but the Pulse at least looks a lot better than the $550 MSRPs we’ve seen on a few other models, especially since end-user overclocking can mostly close the gap.
Something else worth noting is that, now that we have almost two weeks of data to draw on, the average selling price of the RX 6600 XT on eBay right now sits right around $640. If you’re willing to deal with eBay, you could get lucky on an auction and pay less than that, but in general, we’re looking at a 50% or higher markup on the RX 6600 XT. About 15% of that goes to eBay, so the scalpers aren’t the only ones taking their pound of flesh. Our advice, as usual, is to avoid eBay if at all possible.
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