The wait is over. Nvidia's dominance in the mobile GPU space is finally being challenged by AMD with the newly unveiled Radeon RX 6000 mobile graphics. Led by the RX 6800M, these new chips have some advantages over the ubiquitous RTX 30 graphics found in the best gaming laptops released in the past year.
Along with the new mobile chips, AMD announced today Advantage Design Framework, an engineering and marketing campaign made in collaboration with laptop vendors to ensure customers know which devices meet certain criteria. It also debuted AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, an open-source spatial upscaling technology that works with 100 GPUs (even those from Nvidia).
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AMD Radeon RX 6000 availability
AMD says the first gaming laptops with Radeon RX 6000 GPUs will arrive this month from various vendors including Asus, HP, Lenovo and MSI. The Radeon RX 6800M and Radeon RX 6600M are shipping now while the mid-range Radeon RX 6700M is "shipping soon."
AMD Radeon RX 6800M, RX 6700M and RX 6600M
|GPU Model||Compute Units/Ray Accelerators||GDDR6 RAM||Game Clock||Infinity Cache|
|AMD Radeon RX 6800M||40||12GB||2300Mhz||96MB|
|AMD Radeon RX 6700M||36||10GB||2300Mhz||80MB|
|AMD Radeon RX 6600M||28||8GB||2177Mhz||32MB|
Built on the AMD RDNA 2 architecture, the top-of-the-stack RX 6800M is said to deliver 1.5x better performance using 42% less power than the previous versions. What that means for real-world performance is the ability to play AAA games at 1440p resolution at up to 120 frames per second with ray tracing support.
Among the newly announced chips, the RX 6800M will garner the most attention for its headline-grabbing specs which include 40 compute units, game clock speeds of 2,300 Mhz, and 12GB of GDDR6 vRAM. The graphics card can supposedly run Battlefield V at 138 fps, Apex Legends at 152 fps and CS:GO at 294 fps.
Dropping down a rung, the Radeon RX 6700M comes with 36 compute cores, has a clock speed of 2,300 Mhz, and packs 10GB of GDDR6 vRAM. AMD promises 100 fps when playing games at 1440p with graphics set to High.
The most affordable option is the Radeon 6600M which is meant for 1080p gaming using its 28 compute cores, 2,177Mhz clock speeds and 8GB of vRAM. Graphics-heavy games like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla play at 62 fps whereas lightweight titles like Valorant can hit up to 334 fps. For you battle royale fans, Fortnite sits in the middle at 115 fps.
Each of these chips uses the following AMD technologies.
- AMD Infinity Cache: Up to 96MB of last-level data cache integrated on the GPU die reduces latency and power consumption.
- AMD Smart Access Memory: Enables higher performance for select laptops by providing AND Ryzen CPUs with access to the entire high-speed AMD Radeon GDDR6 memory.
- AMD SmartShift Technology: Dynamically shifts laptop power between AMD Ryzen CPU and Radeon graphics.
- AMD Radeon Chill: Power-saving feature helps save battery by regulating frame rates.
- AMD FidelityFX: Open-source toolkit to visually enhance games. SU=upported by 45 titles.
AMD Radeon RX 6000 vs. Nvidia GeForce RTX 30
What gamers really want to know is how the new Radeon RX 6000 graphics compare against Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 GPUs. If AMD can complete, Nvidia could lose a slice of the market share it has thoroughly devoured in recent years. Based on our own benchmarks and AMD's internal numbers, Team Green has some serious competition.
In our Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition review, we ran several benchmarks to test the laptop's Radeon RX 6800M GPU. It topped the RTX 3080 in a handful of games and rarely fell short of the gaming laptop average scores.
Starting with the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Strix G15 hit 88 fps, matching the Blade 15 with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, and beating the 80-fps premium gaming laptop average. The Stealth with an RTX 3080 wasn’t too far behind at 87 fps, while the Alienware (RTX 3070) only reached 77 fps.
During the Assassin’s Creed Odyssey test, the Strix G15 hit a stumbling block, hitting only 49 fps. That’s well short of the 64-fps average. The Stealth and Alienware gave 66 and 67 fps, respectively, while the Blade 15 delivered 74 fps.
The Strix G15 yielded 98 fps on the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark, cruising past the 95-fps category average and the Stealth’s 97 fps. Still, it wasn’t enough to unseat the Blade 15’s 107 fps and the Alienware’s 108 fps.
On the Metro: Exodus DirectX 11 Ultra test, the Strix G15 produced 71 fps, the same as the Stealth. That result surpassed the 68-fps average. However, the Alienware (76 fps) and Blade 15 (107 fps) performed better. Switching over to the RTX version of the benchmark, the Strix G15 put up 54 fps, which is short of the 59-fps average as well as the Alienware (66 fps), Stealth (63 fps) and Blade 15 (62 fps).
The Strix G15 had some redemption on the Red Dead Redemption 2 test, scoring 70 fps, matching the Blade 15 and pushing past the 62-fps category average and the Alienware (69 fps). The Stealth just beat the G15 with 71 fps.
Running the Far Cry New Dawn test, the Strix G15 reached 81 fps, which is slightly below the 89-fps premium gaming laptop average. The Alienware scored 10 frames higher at 91 fps, while the Stealth notched 93 fps with the Blade leading the pack with 95 fps.
When we ran the Borderlands 3 benchmark, we saw the Strix G15 reach 79 fps, crushing the 74-fps average. However, the Alienware, Stealth, Blade 15 all scored higher at 85, 84 and 81 fps, respectively.
AMD says the Radeon RX 6800M outperforms the GeForce RTX 2070 GPU by 1.4x to 1.7x when playing games like Assassin's Creed: Valhalla and Resident Evil: Village at 1440p max settings. Keep in mind, however, that the test was done with an undisclosed "gaming laptop" with Nvidia graphics and an ROG Strix with the new Radeon chip.
But that isn't really a fair comparison considering the RTX 2070 was released in 2019. What we want to know is how Radeon RX 6000 fares against RTX 30. AMD's internal benchmarks show that the RX 6800M with 12GB of vRAM, when operating on battery, pushes between 1.14x and 1.39x more frames per second than the RTX 3080 with 8GB of vRAM. Specifically, the RX 6800M performs 1.4x better than the RTX 3080 playing Dirt 5 and 1.12x better in Fortnite.
When you look at actual frame rates, AMD says the RX 6800 hits 84 fps on Dirt 5 whereas the RTX 3080 does better at 85 fps but the RTX 3070 lags behind at 79 fps. On Borderlands 3, the RX 6800M hits 75 fps, this time ahead of both the RTX 3080 (72 fps) and RTX 3070 (65 fps).
AMD Advantage Design Framework
Also announced today is AMD's Advantage Design Framework, a program consisting of gaming laptops that combines RX 6000M graphics, Radeon software, and Ryzen 5000 mobile processors with exclusive AMD tech. You can think of it as being similar to Intel Evo, a marketing campaign that awards systems for hitting certain criteria. AMD says Advantage Design Framework laptops will be arriving this month.
When you see a laptop with AMD Advantage certification, you know it will use Radeon 6000M graphics and Ryzen 5000 CPUs, along with FreeSync-certified displays, fast NVMe storage and thermals that keep the laptop at a comfortable temperature. They also come with AMD SmartShift and AMD Smart Access Memory to improve gaming performance and hit 100 fps on the latest titles.
Apart from using AMD components, Advantage Design Framework laptops must deliver all-day battery life of 10+ hours (using AMD's benchmarks, mind you), have displays with 144Hz+ refresh rates with at least 300 nits of brightness, and thermals capable of cooling the systems when gaming.
"Discerning gamers want the combination of great performance, great display, and quality design to deliver a great experience," said Pat Moorhead, the principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "But researching and choosing the right gaming laptop is a confusing endeavor to many. WIth the AMD Advantage design framework, I believe gamers will save time researching and lower their purchase risk> AMD can architect the most effective framework as it has its own gaming processor, graphics and software stack."
Laptops already certified for AMD Advantage include the ROG Strix G15 and G17 Advantage Edition which use AMD Radeon RX 6800M graphics and Ryzen 5900HX CPUs. They are expected to arrive in June at Best Buy and other online retailers. There is also the HP Omen 16 with a Radeon RX 6600M GPU and Ryzen 9 5900HK CPU; it will arrive soon at JD.com. AMD says gaming rigs from Lenovo and MSI will be released later this year.
AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution
Revealed alongside the new GPUs is a new technology called AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, which is designed to improve performance and image quality across a broad range of graphics cards.
This spatial upscaling technology is similar to Nvidia's DLSS in that it improves frame rates, in this case, by up to 2.5x (in performance mode) on certain titles, and is meant to bring the highest resolution experience. It gives gamers four quality settings to pick the best balance of performance and graphics for their needs.
The tech will be used by more than 10 game developers who will integrate FSR into their releases in 2021 with the first games arriving later this month. What makes FidelityFX Super Resolution so compelling is that it works for all modern processors and GPUs, even those made by Nvidia. AMD claims 100 CPUs and GPUs can benefit from the upscaling technology.
FSR is an open-source technology, meaning developers can integrate the technology into their old and new games. AMD will give more details about FSR on June 22.
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Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.