Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti vs. AMD RX 6900 XT: 4K gaming compared

AMD’s RX 6900 XT and Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti are two of the best graphics cards you can buy today. Both are excellent for 4K gaming, but only one can win in this comparison. I threw both cards on my test bench to see how they stack up so you can find the best 4K GPU for your next gaming PC.

If you want to go deeper, be sure to read our RTX 3080 Ti review. We also have a rundown of the best GPU deals every month, so be sure to check that page to score a deal on any of these graphics cards.

Specifications:

RTX 3080 Ti RX 6900 XT
GPU GA102-225 Navi 21 XTX
Couple PCIe 4.0 x16 PCIe 4.0 x16
CUDA Cores/Shading Units 10.240 5.120
Tensor Cores 320 N/A
RT Cores/Accelerators 80 80
Basic clock 1,365MHz 1,825MHz
boost clock 1.665MHz 2.250MHz
Memory 12GB GDDR6X 16GBGDDR6
Memory Speed 19 Gbps 16 Gbps
Bandwidth 912GBps 512GBps
Memory bus 384-bit 256-bit
TDP 320W 300W
List price $1,199 $999

Prices and availability

GPU prices are dropping every day, which means we can finally make a fair comparison between the RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT. The RTX 3080 Ti was launched in mid-2021 for a suggested retail price of $1,200. It exploded in price due to the GPU shortage, but you can now find it below list price. For example, the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Ti Gaming OC costs about $1,100.

That is on the low side. Some overclocked RTX 3080 Ti models scale up to about $1,350, and if you want a top end model you could spend close to $1,500. Still, several models are available at or below list price. On the used market you can find models for around $1,000, which will save you a few hundred dollars if you don’t mind a used card.

The RX 6900 XT is older and will be launched in late 2020, so it will sell for less. The card has been released for $1,000, but the vast majority of models are available for less than that. For example, the MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio — the model I tested for this comparison — is available for around $900. You can save around $100 on the pre-owned market, but you’ll have to look for a deal.

A big reason why the RX 6900 XT is so much cheaper is that AMD recently released the RX 6950 XT. This model is slightly faster and comes with a slightly higher price tag – about $1,100 for most models.

It doesn’t matter if you look at list price or current prices, about $200 separates the RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT. Even if you find a deal on the RTX 3080 Ti, you’ll spend more for it than average for the RX 6900 XT.

Game achievements

Average performance for RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT.

I tested the RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT in a slew of titles in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. All my testing was done with a Ryzen 9 5950X and ReBAR or Smart Access Memory (SAM) enabled. These are both 4K graphics cards, but at that resolution there is little difference. The RX 6900 XT has a small 1.8% lead, which is hardly noticeable.

It pulls forward at lower resolutions. AMD’s card was 8.7% faster at 1440p and 13.7% faster at 1080p, which mainly shows the power of SAM. Even the best gaming processors limit your GPU at lower resolutions, so I recommend checking out our list of the best 1080p graphics cards if you don’t plan on playing at 4K.

While it may seem like a clear win for the RX 6900 XT, the devil is in the details. There are two titles where the RX 6900 XT has a dominant edge: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Forza Horizon 5, where the RX 6900 XT shows a lead of 19% and 28.9% respectively. These games usually prefer AMD graphics cards and their performance is boosted even further by SAM.

4K benchmarks for RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT.

The RTX 3080 Ti leads in the other four games I tested, but the benefits aren’t as great. The biggest lead came in Rainbow Six Siege – I ran it with Vulkan instead of DirectX – where the RTX 3080 Ti shows a 10% lead. As is typical of AMD vs Nvidia, performance comes down to whether you want a big advantage in some games or a small advantage in most other games.

Assuming you’re playing at 4K, the RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT are nearly identical in gridded performance. However, if you play a lot of different games and use an Intel processor instead of an AMD processor, Nvidia’s card is the better option.

Raytracing Performance

Raytracing performance for the RTX 3080 Ti and RX 6900 XT.

Ray tracing is where AMD and Nvidia cards show the biggest differences. The RTX 3080 Ti comes with dedicated ray tracing cores, while the RX 6900 XT packs a “ray accelerator” into each compute unit. The result is much lower ray tracing performance on AMD’s RX 6000 graphics cards.

You can see that in action in Cyberpunk 2077 and Metro Exodus above (two of the best PC games with ray tracing). Nvidia’s card leads 21.6% Metro Exodus and a massive 46.2% in Cyberpunk 2077. Upscaling techniques help improve RT performance on both cards, but that’s another important area where they differ.

DLSS and FSR

AMD RX 6800 graphics card.

For ray tracing you need a supersampling solution. The RTX 3080 Ti comes with Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), which uses the Tensor cores on the card to upscale the image from a lower resolution. DLSS is excellent, but it only works with RTX graphics cards.

AMD has FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), which works with any graphics card. However, it doesn’t look nearly as nice as DLSS, and you won’t find it in that many games. DLSS is still a major reason to buy Nvidia graphics cards, especially if you want to use ray tracing in demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077.

However, as you can read in our FSR vs DLSS comparison, AMD has a second version of FSR in the works that looks excellent. For now, stick with the RTX 3080 Ti for DLSS and ray tracing. In the future, the RX 6900 XT could provide some serious competition.

RTX 3080 Ti vs RX 6900 XT: The Verdict

A close-up view of Nvidia's RTX 3080 Ti graphics card.

Overall, I would recommend the RX 6900 XT for most people. It’s cheaper, offers comparable performance to the RTX 3080 Ti, and can shred games with one of the best AMD processors. However, that doesn’t mean the RX 6900 XT is the best choice for everyone.

The RTX 3080 Ti may be more expensive, but DLSS and ray tracing performance is worth the price of admission. It depends on the games you want to play, but the RTX 3080 Ti is better positioned to handle the latest, most demanding games on PC, even if it lags behind the RX 6900 XT in some titles.

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