AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT vs. Radeon RX 5700 XT: Should you upgrade?

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT SE Crop
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT SE Crop (Image credit: AMD)

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is the latest entrant in the RX 6000 series of Radeon GPUs. It's not a bad GPU per se, bringing in a solid 30% performance increase over its predecessor, the RX 5700 XT. However, there are a couple of things holding it back: the base pricing itself is not the best value for money and the jump from RX 5700 XT is not easy to justify. You should hold on to that RX 5700 XT for now. Here's why.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT vs. Radeon RX 5700 XT specs

Amd Radeon Rx 6800 Asus Tuf Rgb

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and RX 5700 XT aren't very different when it comes to specifications. The RX 6700 XT is based on the RDNA 2 architecture, coming from the RDNA architecture on the 5700 XT. The fabrication process stayed the same — TSMC's 7nm. The architecture upgrade means the RX 6700 XT gets a transistor count of 17.2 billion, up from the 10.3 billion of the RX 5700 XT. Let's take a better look at the specifications of the two cards.

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CategoryAMD Radeon RX 6700 XTAMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
Stream processors25602560
Core Clock2424MHz1755MHz
Boost Clock2581MHz1905MHz
Memory12GB GDDR6
192-bit bus width
256-bit bus width
Memory Clock16Gbps14Gbps
Memory Bandwidth384GB/s448GB/s
Texture Units160160
Compute Units4040
Transistors17.2 billion10.3 billion
NodeTSMC 7nmTSMC 7nm
ArchitectureRDNA 2RDNA
TDP230 W225 W
PortsHDMI 2.1
DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC
1 x HDMI 2.0
DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC
Power Connector1 x 8 pin, 1 x 6 pin1 x 8 pin, 1 x 6 pin

Note: Some specifications of the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and the RX 5700 XT may vary as per AIB models.

The AMD RX 6700 XT carries some improvements over the RX 5700 XT. While the fabrication process remains the same, the 6700 XT has a larger die size, which means a higher transistor count and reflects in performance despite the core configurations remaining the same. However, the performance gap can't really justify going for this single-generation upgrade. Let's take a better look at real-world performance of the two cards.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT vs. Radeon RX 5700 XT real-world performance

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT Reference

Source: AMD (Image credit: Source: AMD)

The real-world performance of the RX 6700 XT is quite better than that of the RX 5700 XT. The 6700 XT is clocked higher, and is able to give better performance figures while consuming lower power thanks to the RDNA 2 improvements. Hardware Unboxed tested the two cards at the same clock speed of 1.8 GHz, and found that the framerates were near identical. However, the 6700 XT is better quipped to handle games at its default configuration, especially moving forward. Here is a different benchmark between the ASRock Radeon RX 6700 XT Challenger 12GB and the ASUS ROG Strix AMD Radeon RX 5700XT 8GB, courtesy of the YouTube channel Benchmark.

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GameRadeon RX 6700 XT (avg. FPS, 1440p)Radeon RX 5700 XT (avg. FPS, 1440p)
Cyberpunk 20775741
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla8158
Shadow of the Tomb Raider11376
Watch Dogs: Legion6854
Hitman 313090
Red Dead Redemption 29661
Horizon Zero Dawn8975

While the performance at identical clock speeds is quite close, these benchmarks show exactly how much better the RX 6700 XT does at 1440p. The performance gains are respectable for a generational upgrade, especially since this card will hold up better in the more intense titles in the coming future.

However, the price to performance ratio of the 6700 XT is not great, and when you consider it as an upgrade to the 5700 XT, there are even fewer reasons to upgrade. If you have an overclockable variant of the 5700 XT, you should be able to catch up to the performance of the 6700 XT, which means there is very little that should leave you wanting this single-generation upgrade.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT vs. Radeon RX 5700 XT: Should you upgrade?

No. The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is not a bad card to buy by itself, but when considered as an upgrade to the 5700 XT, it makes very little sense. The price-to-performance ratio when you consider the base price of the 6700 XT isn't great, but when you consider the insane prices the card is being sold at right now, just like any of the best graphics cards out there, the ratio gets diluted even further.

Basically, you will be paying a lot of dollars for not enough of a performance jump if you switch from the 5700 XT to the 6700 XT. Additionally, since overclocking the 5700 XT could get you enough of a performance boost to get by, there is really no reason you should consider this small of an upgrade. This is especially true considering that the higher-end cards in the RX 6000 series of GPUs, like the RX 6800 XT, offer better value for money if you're looking for an upgrade.

On the other hand, you might want to buy an RTX 30 series GPU instead, given that the ray tracing performance of AMD GPUs still lacks a bit in comparison to its Team Green counterparts. The RX 6700 XT is placed to compete with the 3060 Ti, which delivers similar performance for the most part while having a considerably lower base price. However, if you're coming from the 5700 XT, you might want to look a bit higher for your next GPU, or hold on to your card until the GPU market stabilizes a bit. In any case, make sure to not overpay for a new graphics card. Happy gaming!

Palash Volvoikar