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AMD shows why a GPU with 12GB of VRAM is essential for gaming performance

As the new entry-level model in AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 graphics lineup, the Radeon RX 6700 XT comes with more modest specifications — but don’t let the GPU’s humble hardware fool you. The key to the Radeon RX 6700 XT‘s performance in 1440p gaming with maximum game settings is that the card ships with 12GB of VRAM — more than the amount of video memory that ships on most of rival Nvidia’s latest RTX 3000 family.

With 12GB of GDDR6 memory, AMD claims that its GPU can even handle titles that challenged last year’s high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super.

“One of the reasons RX 6700 XT is so great with modern titles is because we’ve equipped the RX 6700 XT with 12GB of GDDR6 to handle increasing texture loads and greater visual demands … at higher resolutions and Max settings,” said AMD corporate vice president Scott Herkelman as he unveiled the graphics card during a streamed presentation.

In a no-so-subtle jab at rival Nvidia’s decision to equip its flagship GeForce RTX 3080 with a paltry 10GB of video memory, Herkelman went on to show that a number of titles are already pushing up against the 10GB threshold and a few already passed that mark. For reference, while the the RTX 3080 has a more limited amount of VRAM compared to AMD’s latest GPU, it does ship with a faster G6X memory standard compared to the G6 format on the RX 6700 XT.

“Games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War in DX12 Ultra with high texture packs consume approximately 11.1GB [of VRAM] and Dirt 5 in DX12 Ultra high settings consumes 9.5GB,” Herkelman explained. “Horizon Zero Dawn in DX12 Ultimate settings can easily use 10.4GB, and my favorite, Red Dead Redemption 2 — Vulcan, Ultra 9.4GB.”

Calling the Radeon RX 6700 XT the “sweet spot for 1440p gaming,” AMD said equipping the card with 12GB of video memory will make it future-proof to handle today’s high-end titles and the AAA games that will launch in the coming months.

When compared to the modern GPU competition, AMD’s claims appear to be true, at least in the company’s own benchmarks for frame rates on titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops  Cold War, Cyberpunk 2077, Dirt 5, Gears 5, Hitman 3, and Watch Dogs: Legion.

When compared against the competing Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti with 8GB of VRAM and the RTX 3070 with 8GB of VRAM, the Radeon RX 6700 XT delivered better or similar gaming performance at 1440p.

In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, both RTX GPUs delivered frame rates in the range of 60 frames per second (fps), while the RX 6700 XT performed at a better 82 fps. In the titles listed, the RX 6700 XT outperformed its GeForce competitors in all but three games.

The RX 6700 XT outperformed the RTX 3060 Ti but fell short of the RTX 3070’s performance  in Cyberpunk 2077 and Gears 5, but it underperformed both Nvidia cards in Watch Dogs Legion.

The company also went on to highlight how some of its technologies — like Smart Access Memory, Fidelity FX, and FreeSync — will make its ecosystem very competitive against its rival when combined.

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