Is the Radeon RX 6950 XT worth buying in this Holiday Season?

The RX 6950 XT reference card (Image via AMD)
The RX 6950 XT reference card (Image via AMD)

The Radeon RX 6950 XT is currently AMD's latest and greatest, that is, until the upcoming Radeon RX 7900 XT and the 7900 XTX hit the market later this month.

This 6950 XT is a slightly bumped-up version of the RX 6900 XT from 2020. It shares the GPU and similar overall specs. However, it is a significantly overclocked version of the original flagship since the refreshed RDNA 2 lineup is entirely based on binned chips. This OC gives the 6950 XT a significant performance advantage.

The Radeon 6950 XT has been significantly discounted from its launch MSRP of $1,099. Currently, it can be picked up for as low as $800, which makes it an option worth considering.


The Radeon RX 6950 XT is a great graphics card but there is a catch

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The Radeon RX 6950 XT is an awesome graphics card for the price. In most scenarios, it beats or gets dangerously close to the much costlier RTX 3090.

In TechPowerUp's performance aggregation, the 6950 XT was ranked only 1% slower than the RTX 3090 and on par with the similarly priced RTX 3080 Ti. Thus, undoubtedly, it is a great deal for any price below $1,000.

However, gamers should make an informed decision and keep in mind that there are some trade-offs with the RDNA 2-based RX 6000 series.


The biggest drawbacks of AMD Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs

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First off, AMD's ray tracing entered its first generation with RDNA 2. Thus, like the Turing-based RTX 20 series cards, they have far weaker hardware-accelerated ray-tracing performance as compared to the Ampere-powered RTX 30 series cards.

AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) is also comparatively newer than Nvidia's DLSS. For an AI-powered tool, age matters a lot. The longer the upscaling technology is trained, the better it gets at its job.

Although with the FSR 2.0 update, AMD's upscaling technology has gotten much better, it is still far behind the near-perfect results Nvidia's DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) can pump out. Gamers can easily notice shimmering and texture glitches in numerous games.

For professionals, AMD's OpenGL is beaten by Nvidia's CUDA across most software suites, including Adobe, Blender, Autodesk, and more. Thus, creators and 3D artists should choose an Nvidia RTX card over the AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT any day.


However, in terms of pure rasterization performance, the Radeon RX 6950 XT is a true monster. The graphics card is more than enough for an average gamer, especially after considering that the most popular GPU, according to the Steam Hardware Survey, is still a six-year-old GTX 1060.

Thus, users who are looking to game on their GPU can easily consider the RX 6950 XT. Most games are easily playable on this GPU in 4K, and if gamers are willing to turn down the resolution, it will perform even better. Looking at the sheer power of the RX 6950 XT, it will remain relevant for years to come.

For anybody other than gamers, from professionals to hobbyist content creators, the Nvidia RTX GPUs are a better option. However, it is worth noting that the 6950 XT is not a bad content-creation graphics card by any standard.

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Edited by Sohan Dasgupta