You’ve heard that PC graphics cards are almost impossible to find, or that you have to pay exorbitant amounts. But if you were hoping that the $200 AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT would change that, we have some very bad news. Reviewers are positive rip it a new one, and not just because of the cost, or the fact that it only has 4GB of VRAM – but apparently because this brand new GPU is ridiculously bad.
“[T]this is the worst GPU release I can remember, and I’ve been doing this job for over two decades,” writes TechSpot’s Steven Walton.
“AMD RX 6500 XT is worse than 2016 GPUs,” explains Gamers Nexus.
“WTF AMD!?” and “WTF does AMD think?”, Ask: Hardware Canucks and KitGuruTech respectively. “A GPU you might buy…but shouldn’t,” writes Linus Tech Tips. “Worst GPU”, explains Out of the box hardware.
Gigabyte’s RX 6500 XT Gaming OC card gives us our first bitter taste of what a ‘budget’ GPU means in 2022. PC gamer, adding “as a modern graphics card it looks like a pretty mushy sauce.”
“The year 2022 has just begun and this may seem like the most underwhelming lineup of graphics cards of the year,” concludes. Guru3D‘s Hilbert Hagedoorn.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a graphics card drag that hard.
Even relatively respectful outlets offer few compliments, with computer world‘s Brad Chacos suggests that AMD may be able to tap into “an unserved market” if it can actually hit $199 and call it “a capable budget option” for medium to high settings at 1080p. Tom’s hardware thinks However, $199 is optimistic. “If you buy at least an RX 6500 XT, you’re sure to get a brand new card, which can’t be said for the variety of used GPUs sold on eBay and other second-hand markets,” writes Jarred Walton, dooming with vague praise.
According to reviewers, the problem is multifaceted, but pretty easy to summarize: AMD cut serious corners on a GPU and failed to improve performance either. They point out that the performance is about on par with the card’s direct predecessor, the RX 5500 XT – a card that came out two years ago, for less money, with more video outputs. (Here you only get one HDMI and one DisplayPort.)
And if you look further back, like Gamers Nexus and others did, you may notice that performance hasn’t improved significantly over AMD’s RX 580 and Nvidia’s GTX 1060 – mid-range cards from 2017 and 2016 respectively (The RX 580 seems to beat it in some of the benchmarks I see – if AMD sometimes loses to a five-year-old card that originally sold for $229, that seems bad, doesn’t it?)
But things get worse if you have an older PCIe 3.0 motherboard, some point out, because AMD has reportedly decided to limit the card’s bandwidth to 4x, rather than the full 16 lanes of bandwidth, when connected to a PCIe 3.0 slot. Here’s TechSpot againspeaking of testing Shadow of the Tomb Raider using one of those older boards:
The average frame rate also dropped by 28%, taking the 6500 XT from 65 fps to just 47 fps. It also meant, although it was able to de 5500 XT when using PCIe 4.0, when installed in a PCIe 3.0 system, you are looking more at the basic GTX 1650 performance, which is worse than the RX 570.
Here are some other picks from reviewers trying to find a silver lining in the RX 6500 XT (power consumption seems to be a bright spot):
Of the six ray tracing games we tested – and admittedly, we used more demanding RT games, because the effects are otherwise largely wasted – only one qualified as even remotely playable: Fortnite. And even that was not without problems.
But the modest GPU and bizarre memory configuration mean you have to be careful with the settings you use. If you’re ramping up visuals to ultra or encountering a game with particularly high memory requirements, the limited memory capacity and bus width can result in jarring frametime spikes when your PC exceeds the 4 GB barrier and needs to use your system’s general RAM pool for staff. Don’t push this GPU any harder than it’s intended to do and you should be fine.
The new Radeon RX 6500 XT is one of the more power-friendly GPUs of the bunch. Despite offering much better performance (often than not) than the GeForce GTX 1650, the 6500 XT consumes only slightly more power. However, compared to the Radeon RX 5500 XT and Radeon RX 570, the new 6500 XT consumes significantly less power under load.
Maybe give this one a try.