AMD Says RX 6500 XT Is ‘Optimized’ To Be Good For Gaming And Bad For Mining

AMD's RX 6500 XT.
Enlarge / AMD’s RX 6500 XT.

AMD

AMD will start selling its latest budget GPU, the Radeon RX 6500 XT, on January 19. Its retail price is $ 199. But the current GPU shortage, caused in part by cryptocurrency miners and scalpers scavenging any cards they can get, has made it nearly impossible to obtain. any graphics card at list price in the past year.

Whether the 6500 XT is different depends in part on supply, but AMD also apparently designed the card to deliberately make it less appealing to minors while still retaining its usefulness as an entry-level graphics card. Speaking to reporters at a roundtable with the press earlier this week, AMD Radeon vice president Laura Smith explained how the 6500 XT was “optimized” for gaming (a transcript of an apparently deleted PCWorld article is retained here).

“We’ve really optimized this one to be the first in the game in this target market,” Smith said. “And you can see it with the way we set up the room. Even with the four GB of frame buffer. That’s a pretty good frame buffer size for the majority of AAA games, but it doesn’t. is not particularly attractive if you are doing blockchain-type activities or mining activities.

Indeed, if you look at the 6500 XT datasheet, you will notice a few things that stand out in relation to the Latest generation RX 5500 XT. For starters, there is no 8 GB version of the 6500 XT. The 6500 XT also uses a 64-bit memory interface, which is extremely rare in modern GPUs. GeForce MX450, but the discrete GPUs released in the last two generations have mostly been limited to at least 128-bit memory interfaces. Both of these decisions make the 6500 XT bad for Ethereum mining in particular, as it requires more than 4 GB of video RAM and really like memory bandwidth.

To compensate for the slower memory interface and to help the card compete with the RX 570 class cards that AMD wants it to replace, AMD has increased the clock speed of the RX 6500 XT. Its maximum amplification frequency is 2815 MHz, compared to 1845 MHz in the RX 5500 XT. Even the top-tier 6900 XT only boosts up to 2250MHz – it just has a lot more GPU hardware and a lot more memory bandwidth to work with in the first place.

Nvidia has also taken steps to limit the mining capabilities of its GPUs, notably when it re-released the “LHR” (or Low Hash Rate) versions of the RTX 3000 series cards in mid-2021. But the underlying hardware is still capable of better hash rates, and determined miners have used everything from Alternative BIOS at special software at buggy pilots to restore all or part of the mining performance of these cards. The 6500 XT shouldn’t have these issues – it’s usually not possible to hack more video RAM on a graphics card. It remains to be seen whether the design decisions that make the 6500 XT suboptimal for mining Also make it sub-optimal for games.

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