Our test system
We’re in the process of moving to a new AMD Ryzen 5000-series test rig to be able to benchmark the effect of PCIe 4.0 support on modern GPUs, as well as the performance-boosting AMD Smart Access Memory and Nvidia Resizable BAR features (which are both based on the same underlying PCIe standard). Currently, we’re testing it on an open bench with AMD’s Wraith Max air cooler; in the future, we’ll both moving the setup into a case and adding an NZXT Kraken liquid cooler to the mix. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the storage ourselves.
- AMD Ryzen 5900X, stock settings
- AMD Wraith Max cooler
- MSI Godlike X570 motherboard
- 32GB G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4 3800 memory
- EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($352 on Amazon)
- 1TB SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD
We’re comparing the $570 XFX Merc 319 against the $480 reference version of the Radeon RX 6700 XT, of course, as well as the step-up $580 Radeon RX 6800 and last-generation’s $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT. On the Nvidia front, we’ve included results for the $500 GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition and reference-spec’d $330 EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming. We unfortunately had to lean on the premium, overclocked EVGA FTW3 Ultra for our results of the ostensibly $400 RTX 3060 Ti because our Founders Edition card wasn’t immediately available for testing.
This review will stick to standard gaming benchmarks at 1440p and 1080p resolution, the target audience for the RX 6700 XT. It’s not an ideal 4K gaming option, though it’s definitely capable of playing at that resolution, especially if you don’t mind reducing visual settings a bit. If you want to see how well it handles real-time ray tracing and the performance uplift possible with Smart Access Memory, be sure to check out our original Radeon RX 6700 XT reference card review, which contains detailed information about those extra features.
We test a variety of games spanning various engines, genres, vendor sponsorships (Nvidia, AMD, and Intel), and graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, and Vulkan). Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or DLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, along with any other vendor-specific technologies like FidelityFX tools or Nvidia Reflex. We’ve also enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.
Gaming performance benchmarks
Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the first games to debut on next-gen consoles. Ubisoft upgraded its Disrupt engine to include cutting-edge features like real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS. We disable those effects for this testing, but Legion remains a strenuous game even on high-end hardware with its optional high-resolution texture pack installed.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Yep, PlayStation exclusives are coming to the PC now. Horizon Zero Dawn runs on Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine, the same engine that powers Death Stranding.
Next page: gaming benchmarks continue