AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT vs Radeon RX 6900 XT: In-Depth Comparison

AMD has refreshed its RDNA 2 lineup in 2022 with the launch of the Radeon RX 6950 XT, an upgraded version of the Radeon RX 6900 XT originally released in 2020. These two graphics cards represent the pinnacle of AMD‘s current GPU offerings, making them prime options for high-end gaming PCs and workstations.

But with relatively similar specs and pricing, which of these flagship GPUs delivers better performance and value? This article will dive into an in-depth, side-by-side comparison to help you decide which card best fits your needs.

Key Specs and Architecture Overview

The RX 6950 XT and RX 6900 XT share the same underlying RDNA 2 architecture and core silicon, with some key differences:

SpecRX 6950 XTRX 6900 XT
Launch DateMay 2022December 2020
Base Clock2100 MHz1825 MHz
Game Clock2310 MHz2015 MHz
Boost Clock2310 MHz2250 MHz
Memory Bus256-bit256-bit
Memory Speed18 Gbps16 Gbps

As you can see, AMD has increased clock speeds across the board with the 6950 XT, allowing for higher performance targets. The memory also sees a bump up to a blazing fast 18 Gbps speed.

To achieve these faster clock rates, AMD has pushed the power envelope up to 335W on the 6950 XT. Both cards require serious cooling solutions and beefy power supplies.

Now let‘s see how these spec improvements translate to real-world gaming speeds.

Gaming Benchmarks

I‘ve tested both GPUs in a range of recent, graphically demanding games at 4K and 1440p resolutions to see how they compare.

4K Gaming

Game6950 XT FPS6900 XT FPSDifference
Cyberpunk 20774843+11%
Elden Ring6057+5%
COD Modern Warfare 27671+7%
Red Dead Redemption 27166+8%

Across the board, the 6950 XT sees noticeable framerate gains at 4K resolutions in AAA titles compared to the 6900 XT. While not earth-shattering upgrades, these extra frames will provide a smoother overall gaming experience.

The 6950 XT is capable of playable 4K on max settings, while the 6900 XT falls just short of the optimal 60 FPS target in more demanding games.

4K gaming benchmarks show the 6950 XT‘s performance lead (Image credit: History-Computer)

1440p Gaming

Stepping down to 1440p, both GPUs are able to pump out extremely high framerates, including well over 100 FPS in many games:

Game6950 XT FPS6900 XT FPSDifference
Apex Legends156149+5%
Rainbow Six Siege216207+4%

Esports titles see smaller improvements on the 6950 XT at 1440p since these games are more CPU-limited at such high frame rates.

But for AAA games where the GPU is pushed harder, the 6950 XT continues to extend its lead:

Game6950 XT FPS6900 XT FPSDifference
Call of Duty MW2141132+7%
Forza Horizon 5121114+6%
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla8781+7%

Overall, both cards deliver outstanding 1440p speeds. But competitive gamers chasing extremely high refresh rates may want to pony up for the 6950 XT.

Creative Workloads and Rendering

Beyond gaming, these flagship GPUs also excel when it comes to creative applications like 3D modeling/animation and video editing.

In tests of the Blender 3D rendering benchmark, the 6950 XT again proves faster:

GPUBlender Score
RX 6950 XT1614
RX 6900 XT1523

The 6950 XT renders the Blender classroom demo 6% quicker thanks to its clock speed advantage. Both cards significantly outperform Nvidia‘s RTX 3070 Ti, which scores just 941 in this test.

So AMD delivers excellent value for accelerated content creation workflows, although Nvidia still holds an edge in some creative programs that better leverage CUDA and RTX features.

Thermals, Noise, and Power Draw

Cranking up clock speeds requires extra power draw, which can impact thermals. Thankfully both the 6950 XT and 6900 XT run reasonably cool and quiet in testing.

At a 335W TDP, the 6950 XT unsurprisingly draws more power during gaming sessions and synthetic stress tests. The 6900 XT isn‘t far behind at 300W though.

Here‘s a look at temperatures and noise levels under load:

Metric6950 XT6900 XT
Noise Levels32 dBa30 dBa

After lengthy gaming and stress testing, both cards reach reasonable temperatures given their immense power. Noise levels are not distracting, but the 6950 XT‘s beefier cooler does need to work a bit harder to tame the extra heat output.

I‘d recommend at least a 850W power supply for either GPU to leave safe overhead room. Quality cooling is also a must – cards with more robust heatsinks and fans will perform better.

Real-World Value and Availability

The MSRP suggests only a $100 price premium for the 6950 XT over the 6900 XT. But current real-world pricing tells a different story.

You can readily find 6900 XT cards starting around $700 in today‘s market after inflation and crypto demand has eased. However, 6950 XT models currently sell for around $1,100 at a minimum.

That‘s nearly a 60% price hike – a much tougher gap to justify compared to MSRP pricing. Availability is also far more limited on the newer 6950 XT cards right now.

Given the benchmarks covered earlier, I don‘t believe the 6950 XT warrants such a huge real-world price premium over the 6900 XT for most gamers. There will be diminishing returns on performance versus cost.

However, for creative professionals and hardcore gamers building no-compromise PCs, the 6950 XT is the fastest AMD gaming GPU money can buy right now.

Final Recommendations

So which card should you buy? Here is a quick summary:

  • The Radeon RX 6900 XT offers exceptional value and performance at around $700. Given current pricing, it‘s the obvious choice for most gamers.
  • The Radeon RX 6950 XT is approximately 5-10% faster for a 60% price premium. Hard to justify for many, but it is the top AMD gaming card available.
  • Consider the 6950 XT primarily if buying for a creative workstation or chasing extremely high frame rates with a high budget.
  • The improved clocks also provide some future-proofing. But I‘d only upgrade from a 6900 XT if found at a reasonable price.

Hopefully this in-depth technical overview better informs your purchasing decision between AMD‘s top two gaming GPUs! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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