Enlarge / AMD’s RX 6500 XT.

AMD

AMD will begin selling its newest budget GPU, the Radeon RX 6500 XT, on January 19th The retail price is $ 199. But the ongoing GPU shortage, caused in part by cryptocurrency miners and scalpers snapping up every card they can get, has largely made it impossible to get any Graphics card at last year’s list price.

Whether it will be any different with the 6500 XT depends in part on the offer, but AMD apparently also designed the card to be deliberately less attractive to miners while retaining its usefulness as an entry-level graphics card. Speaking to journalists at a press roundtable earlier this week, AMD Radeon VP Laura Smith spoke about how the 6500 XT has been “optimized” for gaming (a transcript of an apparently deleted PCWorld article has been preserved here).

“We’ve really tweaked this game to play first in that target market,” said Smith. “And you can see that in the way we configured the part. Even with the four gigs framebuffer. That’s a really nice framebuffer size for most AAA games, but not particularly attractive when you’re doing blockchain-type activities or mining activities. “

Indeed if you are the Data sheet of the 6500 XTYou will notice a few things that stand out compared to the RX 5500 XT of the last generation. For starters, there isn’t an 8GB version of the 6500 XT. The 6500 XT also uses a 64-bit memory interface, which is extremely rare in modern GPUs – you will sometimes find it in lower-end, dedicated laptop GPUs like the one GeForce MX 450, but discrete GPUs that have hit the market in the past few generations have mostly stuck to at least 128-bit memory interfaces. Both decisions make the 6500 XT bad, especially for Ethereum mining, as it requires more than 4 GB of video RAM and really likes memory bandwidth.

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

Nvidia has also taken steps to limit the mining capabilities of its GPUs, especially when it is reissued “LHR” (or Low Hash Rate) versions of the RTX 3000 series cards Mid-2021. But the underlying hardware remains capable of better hash rates, and determined miners have used everything from alternative BIOSe to special software to faulty drivers to restore all or part of the mining performance of these maps. The 6500 XT shouldn’t have these issues – it is generally not possible to hack more video RAM into a graphics card. It remains to be seen whether the design choices that make the 6500 XT sub-optimal for mining Also make it suboptimal for gaming.

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