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No-one can agree if AMD's RX 6800 XT can really beat the RTX 3080, but it's going to be close

AMD RX 6000 series graphics card
(Image credit: AMD)
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Multiple leaks purported to be for the unreleased AMD Radeon RX 6800XT graphics card have appeared online—although the results are far from definitive. Claiming to show performance for a high-end RDNA 2 graphics card, multiple sites and leakers are reporting the AMD RX 6800XT toppling the RTX 3080 (opens in new tab) in 3DMark test, Firestrike, while falling behind in ray-traced workloads.

These figures are all unverified at this time, and it's unlikely we'll receive any concrete information regarding the RX 6000 series graphics cards until AMD's announcement stream on October 28, 2020. Beyond that, it'll be down to whenever the review embargo is up.

Until then, we can at least paw over these preliminary results. 

Results from Igor's Lab (opens in new tab) (collated over at Videocardz (opens in new tab)) claim to show Nvidia's RTX 3080 falls some 18.2% slower than AMD's RX 6800 XT (an unconfirmed SKU as of today, but likely) in 3DMark Firestrike Extreme running at 4K and not its default 1440p. WCCFTech (opens in new tab) confusingly reports the same percentage difference for FireStrike Ultra, which is a native 4K benchmark, reporting a score of 12,871 for the AMD card and 10,531 for the RTX 3080.

Either way, it sounds like both have received similar information for the most part, purported to be from an AIB partner testing an engineering sample (EVT stage), and likely one with the Navi 21 XT GPU within.

Both also suggest the RX 6800 XT leads the way in the DX12 benchmark, Time Spy Extreme, also at its default 4K setting.

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It's hardly an open and shut case, however. CapFrameX (opens in new tab) on Twitter suggests much closer scores at FireStrike Ultra, with Big Navi at 11,500 and the RTX 3080 at 10,600—a difference of nearly 9% in favour of an RDNA 2 GPU. It has been suggested that newer drivers are causing the significant uplift between these scores and the aforementioned results.

Further benchmarks have also been put forward by Twitter leaker KittyYYuko (opens in new tab) once again suggesting a Navi 21 XT GPU lead in Fire Strike Ultra, although this time reporting slower performance in Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme. 

What appears to be fairly consistent across results is that AMD's RDNA 2 architecture will fall short of Ampere in ray-traced workloads, which isn't all that surprising considering Nvidia's focus on the burgeoning rendering tech. 

It's certainly going to be interesting to see how Radeon's ray tracing solution shapes up in the final shipping product, however. What's perhaps more important will be the impact AMD's adoption of the tech may have on ray tracing development and adoption.

It's all a little confusing, to say the least. What is promising is that AMD next-gen card is trading blows with the RTX 3080 in rasterised gaming workloads—which makes up the bulk of your GPU's day-to-day efforts—and that's a great sign for a competitive GPU market to come. AMD has already confirmed strong performance in a handful of 4K games at high settings, over 60fps in the results offered, and that means we should be looking at much more attainable 4K gaming across the board with the latest graphics cards—even if these exact numbers don't end up coming to pass.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.