AMD has been quiet for the past few months after the launch of their RX 6700 XT, but they have still been busy in that time. Just last week they announced their RX 6600 XT. The 6700 XT was targeted at 1440p, but the new RX 6600 XT is still focused on high performance 1080p gaming which is still by far the most popular gaming resolution being used. The 6600 XT doesn’t have a reference design, so today I will checking out the MERC308 version from XFX to see how the 6600XT performs in our test suite. Is it going to be the best option for someone looking to get the best performance at 1080p? We will find out.

Product Name: XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black

Review Sample Provided by: XFX through AMD

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

RX 6600 XT

Before diving into the details on the XFX specific MERC 308 that we have on hand. I did want to take a look at the base specifications of the RX 6600 XT and go over what sets it apart from the RX 6700 XT that we previously took a look at and last generations RX 5700 XT and 5600 XT as well. For that, I have all four models broken down below. The 6600 XT comes in relatively close to the 5700 XT and 5600 XT for transistor counts, with it having 11.1 Billion compared to 10.3 and this is a lot lower than the 6700 XT. Even though it has the same manufacturing process they managed to fit the higher transistor count into a smaller die size which can help keep costs down. Especially right now when you have such a shortage on the silicon production side of things. The 6600 XT has fewer compute units at 31, but like the 6700 XT, it now adds in the ray accelerators as well which match the compute unit count. The number of stream processors is down from the last generation as well at 2048 but clock speeds are up significantly. The 5600 XT had a boost clock of up to 1560 MHz where the 6600 XT at reference speeds (our XFX card is overclocked) can reach up to 2589 MHz. That clock speed as well as architectural changes with RDNA 2 help it have a peak single precision performance of 10.6 TFLOPS which is up over the 5700 XT even with it having over 500 more stream processors. The 6600 XT has a smaller Infinity Cache of 32MB compared to the 96MB of the 6700 XT and they stuck with the 8GB of GDDR6 that both the 5600 XT and 5700 XT had where the 6700 XT has 12GB. The 6600 XT also has a much smaller memory interface which is 128-bit. Board power is just a touch over the 5600 XT at 160W and 70 watts below the 6700 XT.

Specifications

RX 5600 XT

RX 5700 XT

RX 6600 XT

RX 6700 XT

Architecture

RDNA

RDNA

RDNA 2

RDNA 2

Manufacturing Process

7nm

7nm

7nm

7nm

Transistor Count

10.3 Billion

10.3 Billion

11.1 Billion

17.2 Billion

Die Size

251 mm²

251 mm²

237 mm²

335 mm²

Compute Units

36

40

32

40

Ray Accelerators

-

-

32

40

Stream Processors

2304

2560

2048

2560

Game GPU Clock

Up to 1375 MHz

Up to 1755 MHz

Up to 2359 MHz

Up to 2424 MHz

Boost GPU Clock

Up to 1560 MHz

Up to 1905 MHz

Up to 2589 MHz

Up to 2581 MHz

Peak Single Precision Performance

Up to 7.19 TFLOPS

Up to 9.75 TFLOPS

Up to 10.6 TFLOPS

Up to 13.21 TFLOPS

Peak Half Precision Performance

Up to 14.4 TFLOPS

Up to 19.5 TFLOPS

Up to 21.21 TFLOPS

Up to 26.43 TFLOPS

Peak Texture Fill-Rate

Up to 224.6 GT/s

Up to 304.8 GT/s

Up to 331.4 GT/s

Up to 413 GT/s

ROPs

64

64

64

64

Peak Pixel Fill-Rate

Up to 99.8 GP/s

Up to 121.9 GP/s

Up to 165.7 GP/s

Up to 165.2 GP/s

AMD Infinity Cache

-

-

32 MB

96 MB

Memory

6GB GDDR6

8GB GDDR6

8GB GDDR6

12GB GDDR6

Memory Bandwidth (up to)

288 GB/s

448 GB/s

256 GB/s

384 GB/s

Memory Interface

192-bit

256-bit

128-bit

192-bit

Board Power

150W

225W

160W

230W

 

So where does the RX 6600 XT fall in AMD's product stack? Well in their presentation they broke things down nicely by resolution. The RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT are all focused on 4K which is shown by their 16GB memory. The RX 6700 XT is targeted at 1440p with its 12GB of memory, and the RX 6600 XT is focused on 1080p with its 8GB.

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Now they are targeting the 6600 XT at the high end of 1080p with high refresh gaming in mind. It also has all of the same features that the rest of the cards have like smart access memory and FidelityFX super resolution.

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I mentioned it in our opening, but it's not a surprise at all why they would still be focusing on 1080p gaming. Even in 2020 over 2/3 of gaming displays shipped at 1080p. This came as a surprise to me. I know that a majority of monitors out there would be in the 1080p range from sales in the past. But prices on 1440p and even 4k have come down a lot as a whole and especially in the “gaming” displays as they mention here those higher resolution monitors are normally what we see the most. But 1080p is sticking around for a long time to come if a majority of sales last year were still 1080p. The 1080p high refresh range of video cards are also very important because that is where a lot of professional or aspiring to be professional gaming is being down.

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Now before we get into the features of the XFX MERC308 RX 6600 XT Black I did want to mention where that specific model fits into XFX’s 6600 XT product stack. This is especially important with how tough cards have been to get. They have the MERC 3080 Black, the QICK 308 Black, and the SWFT 210 Core. The SWFT 210 is a basic 2 fan model with no overclock running the reference clocks mentioned above. Then the MERC and QUICK are both similar having the same overclock and a similar card design. They have a boost clock of 2607 MHz vs the 2589 MHz of the reference design. The difference between them is in the extra features. The MERC has the silver trim, LEDs, and all of the flair where the QICK has the same cooler and fans with a basic black fan shroud.

Also for reference, I did run GPUz on our MERC 308 to confirm that it did have the specifications listed. This also documents the BIOS revision we tested with and the driver which was the 21.8.1 driver AMD provided for the press for the launch.

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Packaging

So the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black comes in a box very similar to the higher-end 6000 series cards from XFX. They have the MERC 308 branding on the front in high white letters and their speedster branding behind all of that. The box itself is vertical which is similar to what EVGA has been doing as well but stands out a lot in the AMD market. Then the XFX branding is smaller up in the top left corner as well as the red AMD wrap-around down at the bottom. That is where you will find the Radeon RX 6600 XT model name as well as a few key features like the memory size and the 1080p focus. Around on the back of the box, they actually have a picture of the card, well two. One shows the fan size of the shroud and the other shows the backplate and both show off the top edge branding. I love that you can see what you are buying if you are shopping in person. The specifications are just basic AMD specifications, having the card dimensions and the overclock would be nice for comparison. Not that you will be lucky enough to find more than one card next to each other these days.

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The main box is all blacked out and has the FX branding embossed into the top. It opened up and right on top, you have an inch thick foam that helps protect the card. When you get that off you have the documentation which is a basic installation guide and a paper letting you know that you will need to download the driver. They have a link to one on the XFX website and from AMD which is nice as well as a number to call if you have questions. Under that is the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black itself which comes in a thick plastic bag and sits in a cut foam tray that keeps it safe.

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Card Layout and Photos

Well at first glance, if you have seen the other current-generation XFX cards like the XFX MERC 319 6700 XT and 6800 XT that I’ve taken a look at in the past the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black would look the same. It has the same styling with the golf ball like divots in its black fan shroud as well as the same silver trim around the fans and at the edge of the card. It also has the same 3 fan design but there are a few big but less obvious in picture details that set the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black apart from its brothers. That said, if you like the black and silver theme that XFX has gone with this generation you will love the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black.

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So the biggest and most obvious difference between this card and the previous cards we have had in the office from XFX is the overall size. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black is 10.79 inches long or 274mm, 4.49 inches tall or 114mm tall, and 1.97 inches thick or 50mm thick. For reference here are the sizes of this and the 6700 XT and 6800 XT MERC models. You can see both the 6700 XT and 6800 XT were much larger, in fact, the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black is back down to a normal-sized card, which is rare these days. That includes the thickness where it is almost a normal 2 slot card though it is still a little past a 2 slot making it officially a 2.5 slot and it hardly sticks up past the top of the PCI bracket.

XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black

274 x 114 x 50

XFX MERC 319 6700 XT

323 x 132 x 51

XFX MERC 319 RX 6800 XT

340 x 139 x 57

 

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So some of you might have noticed that the 6700 XT and 6800 XT were both MERC 319’s but this is a 308. That is because with the smaller card size this doesn’t have the same fan layout as the previous two which had two 100mm fans and one smaller fan. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black has three 80 mm fans of equal size. They all still have the same triangle-shaped sticker on the fan center section with the new XFX X. They have 9 blades and a traditional axial blowing design that blows down into the aluminum finned heatsink below the fans. The heatsink has a horizontal fin layout which means air blows up and down except for on the end fan which goes past the end of the PCB and can blow through.

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The top of the card is the biggest area where we see the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black set itself apart from the QICK model. In addition to the silver trim and stylized fan shroud, up on top XFX has included some backlit branding on the most visible edge of the card. Normally I would hate on having backlit branding, but they also did exactly what I love. The top of this card actually tells you the model name and even THAT is backlit with LED lighting as well. So the Radeon RX 6600 XT logo is lit up in which and red for the RX section as well as the XFX logo.

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The top edge of the card also has two more important things to keep in mind. It has the power connection which like what AMD listed for their “reference” design it uses a single 8-pin power connection. Then beside that XFX has also slipped in a BIOS switch. For the launch cards, they only have one mode included so we aren’t able to compare the differences. But I would expect XFX to have a second mode which they have done in the past that has the same clock speeds but a different fan profile and potentially a different power profile.

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Looking around at the top, bottom, and end edges of the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black confirms a lot of what we saw even just looking through the fans. That includes the horizontal heatsink layout which means the air will be blowing out the top and bottom of the card. We can also see that the heatsink is formed well around components on the PCB and utilizes the space well. The heatsink has a nickel-plated copper GPU and memory cold plate which is where the four 6mm heatpipes all join together. They then run out both directions to pull the heat out away from the hottest area and up closer to the fans. XFX is also has a full digital PWM with a 6+2 phase design.

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The back of the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black has a thick aluminum backplate, not a thin sheet metal or even plastic backplate like a lot of cards have been going to. The backplate has a black finish and if you look closely you can see the MERC branding on it in a different but still black finish. The backplate has the XFX logo cut out of it as well holes from the center to the back of the card where it also has a large hole for the blow-through design.

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The PCI bracket hasn’t changed at all. It has the XFX logo cut out in it like XFX has been doing for a long time now along with a few other smaller holes. It isn’t a big part of the cooling though with most air going to the top and bottom of the card, not the ends. Then they have the standard display connection layout which is three DisplayPorts and one HDMI. The finish is a tinted metal and I might sound like a broken record, but I still think a nice black finish would look more premium and better match the card overall with its black and silver theme.

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Before getting into testing I did have to check out the lighting. Like I said before, the XFX logo as well as the Radeon  RX 6600 XT branding is all backlit. It isn’t RGB, just simple white backlighting that light up the white and red in the logo. I don’t really dig backlit branding overall for the reason you can even see on our test bench where the motherboard, video card, memory, and even AIO all have to have their logos shown off and it starts to look like times square. But the exception to that is when we can actually see the model like on the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black.

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Test Rig and Procedures

 

Test Rig

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3900X

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair VIII HERO WiFi

Memory: G.Skill Trident Z Royal 3600MHz 16-16-16-36

Storage: Corsair MP600 2TB

Cooling – Corsair H100i RGB Pro XT

Power Supply - Corsair AX1200w

Case - Primochill Wetbench

OS - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

 

Our Testing Procedures

3DMark

The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark using the Fire Strike benchmark in normal, extreme, and ultra settings. Tests are also run in the DX12 focused Time Spy benchmark as well as the Time Spy Extreme test. Port Royal is also used on video cards that support DirectX Raytracing

Unigine Superposition

1080p Medium, 1080p Extreme benchmarks along with the VR Maximum and VR Future tests, both done at the Vive resolution

VRMark

Cyan and Blue rooms tested, use Average FPS for the result

Borderlands 3

Built-in benchmark testing with the ultra detail setting and medium detail setting, done at full screen with default settings at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k.

Metro Exodus

Using built-in benchmark, testing at ultra and normal details at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k.

The Division 2

Built-in benchmark at Ultra detail with V-Sync turned off at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k resolutions.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

Built-in benchmark using the Battle Benchmark setting. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k at both Medium and ultra detail settings

World War Z

Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k in both Medium and Ultra Detail using the built-in benchmark.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Built-in benchmark, tested using the Medium texture setting and again at the highest texture detail setting. Both tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Far Cry 5

Built-in benchmark, tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with the Ultra and Medium detail settings

Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War III

Built-in benchmark, Image and Texture settings set to the maximum setting and V-Sync turned off. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Watch Dogs: Legion

Built-in benchmark testing at ultra and high details. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Built-in benchmark, tested using the Medium texture setting and again at the highest texture detail setting. Both tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Far Cry 5

Built-in benchmark, tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with the Ultra and Medium detail settings

Passmark Performance Test 9

Test using the GPU Compute Score inside of Passmark’s Performance Test 9

Blender

Using the new Blender Benchmark with the Quick Benchmark setting set to use the GPU, not the CPU. The result is in total seconds the test took, lower is better. All cards tests were done using the 2.90 build for compatibility with the latest cards

Basemark GPU

GPU tests were done using the OpenGL and DirectX12 APIs

Power Usage

Results come from a Kill-A-Watt hooked up in line to the power cord for the test rig. Two tests are done, one using the AIDA64 Stress Test and the second uses the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark on the Performance setting using the combined test.

Noise Testing

Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 18 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test at both 50% and 100% fan speeds. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in-game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot. Under load testing is also done, measuring the noise levels of the card when under load in AIDA64 over a half hour. This is done using a Protmex PT02 Sound Meter that is rated IEC651 type 2 and ANSI S1.4 type 2. Tests are done set weighted to A and set to a slow response using the max function. The ambient noise level in the testing area is 33.3 decibels using the test settings.

Temperature Testing

Using AIDA64, the GPU stress test is run for 30 minutes or until the result has leveled off. The test is run twice, once with the stock fan profile and a second time with 100% fan speed.

 


Synthetic Benchmarks

As always I like to start my testing with a few synthetic benchmarks. 3DMark especially is one of my favorites because it is very optimized in both Nvidia and AMD drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about it being favored too much either way and the repeatability of the results makes it a nice chance to compare from card to card, especially when comparing with the same GPU. Right now the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black is the only 6600 XT that we have to compare. But I’m especially curious to see how it compares to last generations 5600 XT, 5700 XT, and of course the RTX 3060 so I will be focusing on those especially at 1080p and 1440p resolutions when possible.

The first round of tests were done in the older Fire Strike benchmark which is a DX11 test. There are three detail levels, performance, extreme, and ultra. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black did well in the first Fire Strike test, the performance setting where it came in at 28481 and just behind the RTX 3060 Ti. This was well ahead of the RX 5700 XT as well. On the extreme detail, we see it drop a little down the list but was still just behind the 1080 Ti which is still a powerful card. The 6600 XT was 628 points ahead of the 5700 XT and the RTX 30360 was far down the chart here. Then for the ultra detail setting the 6600 XT dropped a touch more and this time was right with the overclocked RX 5700 XT.

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The next two were both based on the Time Spy benchmark. One is the standard test and then there is the extreme detail level. For the Time Spy tests, the Nvidia cards do a lot better than on Fire Stike so you see the 6600 XT drop down a little farther in the chart but it still does well. It came in below the 2070 SUPER and above the 1080 Ti. This was 663 points or a 7.4% improvement over the 5700 XT and 9% over the overclocked RTX 3060’s! For Time Spy Extreme the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black was below the 2070 SUPER and again above the 1080 Ti. The RTX 3060’s were much closer on this test but still 3.3% behind.

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I also took a look at ray tracing performance using 3DMark’s Port Royal benchmark now that Radeon cards have support. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black came in at 4446 points which is behind the original RTX 2070 and above the RTX 2060 and over 12% behind the RTX 3060.

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The last test was using the Unigine based Superposition benchmark and I tested at 1080p with medium detail and again at 1080p with the extreme detail setting. In the extreme detail setting the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black came in behind the 2070 SUPER and right with the Radeon VII. This put it out in front of the RTX 3060’s by a good margin and 603 points over the 5700 XT as well.

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VR Benchmarks

As for Virtual Reality, I love it but it is more demanding than traditional gaming. This is partially because of the resolutions needed to render for two eyes and because they render more than what is immediately visible. But also because of post effects to get the proper “fisheye” effect for it to look proper in your eyes with the HMD. You also have to have much higher expectations for frame rates in VR, skipping frames or lower FPS can cause motion sickness in VR. Because of that, I ran a few tests.

My first test was again in Superposition. This time I tested the VR Maximum and VR Future tests using the Vive resolution. Here the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black was a touch behind the 1080 Ti on the more demanding VR Future test and a few FPS ahead of the RTX 3060’s. The VR Maximum test had similar results as well with a hard line between the 6600 XT and the cards with more memory.

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My second round of VR testing was in VRMark which has two tests that are similar to the VR tests in Superposition. One is future-looking and extremely demanding and the other (cyan room) is more like modern VR games. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black was right with the 5700 XT for the more demanding blue room test. But the cyan room benchmark was a different story. It was running up in the same range as the 2070 SUPER and out ahead of the RTX 3060’s.

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In-Game Benchmarks

Now we finally get into the in game performance and that is the main reason people pick up a new video card. To test things out I ran through our new benchmark suite that tests 9 games at three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4k). Most of the games tested have been run at the highest detail setting and a mid-range detail setting to get a look at how turning things up hurts performance and to give an idea of if turning detail down from max will be beneficial for frame rates. In total, each video card is tested 48 times and that makes for a huge mess of results when you put them all together. To help with that I like to start with these overall playability graphs that take all of the results and give an easier to read result. I have one for each of the three resolutions and each is broken up into four FPS ranges. Under 30 FPS is considered unplayable, over 30 is playable but not ideal, over 60 is the sweet spot, and then over 120 FPS is for high refresh rate monitors.

So how did the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black do? Well at 4k, there weren’t any surprises. It was able to handle things enough to make all but two of the tests playable. But 13 out of 14 of those were in the 30-60 FPS range with just one over 60 FPS. 1440p on the other hand the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black did really well. Everything I threw at it was playable and most were over 60 FPS. Then at 1080p, you see everything over 60 FPS, and just under half of our results were up over 120 FPS. This isn’t bad at all considering that none of the titles tested are less demanding esports titles. These are all a+ titles running at medium and ultra-high detail.

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Of course, I have all of the actual in game results as well for anyone who wants to sort through the wall of graphs below. One of the things that stood out to me when sorting through the results was just how many times the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black came within just a few FPS of being bumped up to the next category in the sorting above. There were multiple that were in the 119/118 range at 1080p and even 1440p. A little more of an overclock and the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black would have looked even more like a high refresh monster. Beyond that, I was curious if the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black was outperforming the RTX 3060 in game like it was in a lot of the synthetic benchmarks. The first results from Watch Dogs Legion might look deceiving, but only because they are sorted by 1440p results (1080p sorting can get a little weird on the higher-end cards due to CPU limitations making the graphs a little weird). The RTX 3060 handled 4k better than the 6600 XT but at 1440p on the ultra detail they were equal and at the high detail the 6600 XT was out ahead. Then at 1080p, the 6600 XT was out ahead on both. That carried on through most of the results with the 6600 XT doing a little worse at 4k compared to the RTX 3060 but was out ahead at 1440p and 1080p with a few exceptions.

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Compute Benchmarks

Now some people don’t need a video card for gaming, they need the processing power for rendering or 2D/3D production, or in some cases people who game also do work on the side. So it is also important to check out the compute performance on all of the video cards that come in. That includes doing a few different tests. My first test was a simple GPU Compute benchmark using Passmark’s Performance Test 9 and the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black fell right between the 5700 XT and all of the RTX 3060’s.

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In Basemark I test with the DirectX12 setting and again with OpenGL. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black struggled with OpenGL just like all of the AMD cards have been. But it didn’t do too bad at Direct X 12 where it was in between the reference clocked and overclocked RTX 3060’s.

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Blender is always my favorite compute benchmark because the open-source 3D rendering software is very popular and it isn’t a synthetic benchmark. Here I render two scenes and combine the total time it takes. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black took 231 seconds to complete the two renders. This was over 10 seconds faster than the Radeon VII and 20 seconds faster than the fastest RTX 3060. The next closest card was the RTX 2070 SUPER.

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Cooling Noise and Power

For my last few tests, rather than focusing on in game performance, I like to check out other aspects of performance. These are also the most important ways to differentiate the performance between cards that have the same GPU. To start things off I took a look at power usage. For this, I use our Kill-A-Watt hooked up to the test bench to record the total wattage of the system. I ran two tests with the first using 3DMark Fire Strike to put the system under a load similar to normal in game performance. Here our test system with the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black pulled 335 watts which was right with the reference clocked RTX 3060 XC Black, not bad for an overclocked 6600 XT. In the AIDA64 stress test, the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black moved up into the middle of the pack, pulling 287 watts, and was around 20 watts higher than the RTX 3060’s. I did also check out the GPUz reading for peak power draw at the chip which was spot on for the 145 watts.

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My next round of tests were looking at noise levels. These are especially important to me because I can’t stand to listen to my PC whirling. Especially when I’m not in game and other applications are using the GPU. For my testing, though I first tested with the fan cranked up to 100% to get an idea of how loud it can get, then again at 50% to get an idea of its range. The XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black came in at 56.9 decibels on the 100% fan speed test which put it in the bottom half of the chart. For reference, the larger MERC319 6800 XT and 6700 XT ran up in the 65-decibel range so this was a significant improvement over the noise that the larger cards were capable of. This is about where I would expect to see the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black and it was only a little higher than where the RPM results at 100% put the card. The more important test is the under load results where I run the AIDA64 stress test until the temperatures level out and then measure where the fan noise is at. Those results were a lot better than expected, especially for a 3 fan design at 34.4 decibels which is in the bottom ¼ of all cards tested.

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To finish up my testing I of course had to check out the cooling performance. To do this I ran two different tests. I used AIDA64’s Stress Test run for a half-hour each to warm things up. Then I documented what temperature the GPU leveled out at with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans cranked up to 100%. With the stock profile, the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black ran at 71c which isn’t exactly cool but also isn’t hot. Given how quiet this card performed when doing this test, I would say that XFX did a great job of finding a happy medium with the stock fan profile. The overclocked XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black. I did also run this same test with the fans all cranked up to 100% and you can see that the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT Black did drop down in the charts, running much cooler at 50c. The delta between the two is 21c which is a big delta and shows that XFX is focusing a lot on overall noise with this profile but if you want the additional cooling the capabilities are there.

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While running the stock fan profile testing I also took the time to get a few thermal images so we could see what is going on. The reading with a red dot is the hottest spot in each picture. I also added a few additional readings for reference. So like on the fan side, we can see just how much hotter the air that is blowing up and on to the power cable is compared to the readings through each of the fans. You can see that all of the fans are cooler up in the top half of the card and then the middle fan has the most heat overall with the GPU directly behind it. Up on the top edge the hottest spot is up on the power cable which tells us that the card is doing a good job pushing the air up and out, the readings at the PCB level are 20c cooler than the air blowing out. Then on the backplate, the hottest spot is right in the middle of the XFX logo which is where the backplate is open and the flir can get a reading right on the PCB. Up at the top in the center, the same can be seen but overall the backplate is at least transferring some of the heat out as it is running around the same temperatures as the PCB on the front side.

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Overall and Final Verdict

With today's launch, AMD is filling in an important portion of their GPU lineup with the Radeon RX 6600 XT. Up until now, the 6000 series cards have been focused on 4k and 1440p and this is the first with 1080p in mind and that is an important step. I know everyone gets excited about the latest and greatest GPUs. But as things get stepped down and focused on 1080p, it is getting focused on the mainstream gamers. While the current market might say different, there are a LOT of people who can’t afford to spend a fortune on a video card to upgrade their PC, even when gaming is a big focus. The 6600 XT falls in a nice spot performance wise because it can handle 1080p with a focus on high refresh rates but at least from my experience, there is a little wiggle room for 60 FPS 1440p gaming as well. So if you upgrade to 1440p later or aren’t looking to gaming at 1440p 144Hz you can pull off the 6600 XT there as well. In the end, in our testing, it came in a little faster than the always popular RTX 3060 and behind the 3060 Ti at 1440p and 1080p.

I’m also digging what XFX has going with the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT. This card is much smaller than their MERC 6700 XT and 6800 XT which were just huge. That isn’t to say that the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT is small, but it is more in line with what you would expect a video card to be size-wise just a few years ago before things started getting crazy. It has the same styling that their other MERC lineup has with the black with silver trim, subtle dimples for styling, and the actual model name up on top. In a perfect world, I think I might drop the silver trim like the QICK model does, but still, keep the lighting. But overall it’s a good looking card and XFX isn’t trying to make it look like every other card out there with a generic angular design and dark grey. Going with a blacked-out PCI bracket would be a nice touch as well if I could make any changes.

As for performance, the overclocked card did well in our testing. This was especially true in the noise testing where it was very quiet when under load. The card is capable of being noisy if you crank the fans up, but the current stock fan profile will keep things quiet. Of course, they do trade off on the cooling for that as it does run warmer with the stock fan profile. But there is a lot of headroom left in the cooler if you would prefer to make your own fan profile.

Now I do have to mention the current market situation because it plays a big role in pricing and card availability. Things have calmed down slightly from the wild west that scalping and card sales were. But availability is still an issue and while I’m writing this before launch we have to expect that the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT and really all 6600 XT’s are going to be snatched up instantly when they list up for sale. AMD has the MSRP of the 6600 XT starting at $379 which in a perfect world where every card is available and easy to get would be a touch high. The 3060 had a launch MSRP of $329 and the 3060  Ti was at $399 and is a step above the 6600 XT. That said, frankly, I’m more worried that right now even the $379 price point will be hard to find with there not being a reference card available directly from AMD this time around. XFX isn’t going too crazy with their pricing, however, though it remains to be seen if retails will end up doing it. I’m told the XFX MERC 308 RX 6600 XT should be hitting retailers between $409 and $419. Which isn’t bad at all.

fv5recommended

Live Pricing: HERE

 

 

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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