Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT GAMING OC 4G (Tech) Review

If only it had more GDDR6, this would be a solid budget GPU option for 2022…
Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT GAMING OC 4G

AMD’s Radeon RX 6500 XT GPU is a conundrum of a device. It really shouldn’t exist. In fact, AMD themselves were quoted as saying “Competitive products at a similar entry level price-point are offering up to a maximum of 4GB of VRAM, which is evidently not enough for today’s games.”. That quote can still be viewed right here and unfortunately for them, the 4GB VRAM aspect is factually correct if you want to run every single modern game on ultra settings with high framerates. 

Games these days are very demanding, especially when you’ve cranked up the settings to ultra. There’s so many gorgeous visuals on offer in modern titles and you really do need the additional raw GPU power to display these visuals at high frame rates. Currently, the Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Gaming OC however falls into a market that’s desperate for GPUs. This is due to the ongoing supply chain crisis the world is facing. Consumers will be lucky to even find a decent GPU anywhere close to the MSRP quoted by manufacturers. We fully expect this AMD GPU to sell out quite quickly though given the desperation in some markets. The Gigabyte AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Gaming OC also looks great and features a triple fan cooling design that’s both eye-catching and useful. There’s no RGB lighting on this card because it’s a “budget” $199 GPU.

How does it stack up compared to other GPUs that are available on the market though? The answer to this depends on your level of desperation and we’ll explain why shortly. First up, are the GPU’s technical specifications:

  • Graphics Processing: Radeon™ RX 6500 XT
  • Core Clock: Boost Clock* : up to 2825 MHz (Reference card: 2815 MHz)
  • Game Clock*: up to 2685 MHz (Reference card: 2610 MHz)
  • Stream Processors: 1024
  • Process Technology: 6 nm
  • Memory Clock: 18000 MHz
  • Memory Size: 4 GB
  • Memory Type: GDDR6
  • Memory Bus: 64 bit
  • Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec): 144 GB/s
  • Card Bus: PCI-E 4.0
  • AMD RDNA 2 Architecture
  • Digital max resolution: 7680×4320
  • Multi-view: 2
  • Card size: L=282 W=114 H=40 mm
  • PCB Form: ATX
  • DirectX: 12 Ultimate
  • OpenGL: 4.6
  • Recommended PSU: 400W
  • Power Connectors: 6 pin*1
  • Output: DisplayPort 1.4a *1, HDMI 2.1 *1
  • Radeon FreeSync Technology
  • Premium Quality Backplate
  • Triple Fan Cooler
  • Accessories: Quick guide
  • Note: * “Boost Clock” is the maximum frequency achievable on the GPU running a bursty workload. Boost clock achievability, frequency, and sustainability will vary based on several factors, including but not limited to: thermal conditions and variation in applications and workloads.
  • * “Game Clock” is the expected GPU clock when running typical gaming applications, set to typical TGP (Total Graphics Power). Actual individual game clock results may vary.

From a technical viewpoint, Gigabyte’s AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT GAMING OC 4G is a decent piece of modern hardware. It sports AMD’s RDNA 2 Architecture 6nm Navi 24 XT GPU as well as GDDR6 memory and thus is a lot more compact than AMD’s older cards using the older processes. It also features a 64 bit memory bus with a bandwidth of 144 GB/s and 18GHz memory clock. This essentially means that this is not a bad card at all since it has quite a lot of raw processing power even though it only has 4GB of GDDR6. If this card had 8GB of GDDR6, it honestly would be doing incredibly well and would come across as a solid recommendation that would last you a few good years. 

However, the 4GB GDDR6 aspect truly hampers this GPU and the results below will show you why. We used our test system with a Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X Motherboard, Intel i5-12600k, Gigabyte P1000GM PSU, Aorus Waterforce 240 Cooler and 16gb HyperX 3200Mhz RAM to benchmark this GPU.

In 3D Mark, we ran both the normal Timespy benchmark and the Timespy Extreme benchmark. The results obtained were as follows.

3D Mark Timespy Results
3D Mark Timespy Temperatures
3D Mark Timespy Extreme Results
3D Mark Timespy Extreme Temperatures

Next up, we ran Back 4 Blood with all settings maxed out and obtained the following result.

Back 4 Blood Ultra with Fidelity Super Resolution Enabled

After this we ran Ghostrunner with all settings on ultra with Raytracing disabled.

We enabled Raytracing and this instantly dropped the frame rate to unplayably bad levels which fluctuated drastically during gameplay.

We then ran Watch Dogs Legion’s built in benchmark test and got some rather interesting results with the Ultra preset, High preset and Medium presets. You can see these results below in order.

Watch Dogs Legion Ultra Preset
Watch Dogs Legion High Preset
Watch Dogs Legion Medium Preset

We also ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s benchmark with 3 different presets (Settings can be viewed in the screenshots) and obtained the following results.

Lastly, since Monster Hunter Rise just launched a few days ago on PC, we played this and recorded our in-game frame rate. This was surprisingly quite high with every setting maxed out despite the game warning us that there’s not enough VRAM available for our settings. The frame rate in this game however did take a slight dip every time something intense happened on screen. 

From the above results, it’s quite clear that the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6500 XT GAMING OC 4G is still a GPU that can hit 1080p/60 FPS but with users having to play around with graphical settings in games. You certainly won’t be able to run every single game on Ultra, and more graphically demanding video games, such as Watch Dogs Legion and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, will have to take a visual quality hit for you to maintain an acceptable framerate. 

The RX 6500 XT did a great job of remaining cool and Gigabyte’s triple fan system kept temperatures rather chill at around the 57 degree mark throughout our testing. This may however vary for users slightly depending on their PC chassis, ambient temperatures and cooling setup. The lack of more GDDR6 memory also severely hampers the card’s recording capabilities and AMD’s own Radeon software suite for recording and streaming isn’t available to it. This makes sense because if the card is already struggling to output enough frames at high settings during gameplay, it will definitely struggle trying to record gameplay too at the same time. The lack of AV1 decode and H.264/265 encoding is also disappointing, especially when companies such as Netflix are already using AV1 encoding. The fact that the card is PCI-E 4.0 also limits it’s full potential to users that are running motherboards and CPUs which support PCI-E 4.0. You can run the RX 6500 XT in a PCI-E 3.0 motherboard but it will deliver slightly lower performance.

Therefore, if you’re planning on buying this GPU, the only way we can recommend it is if you are absolutely desperate for a GPU and need one immediately to play games. If you can hold out for a little while longer or can save up a bit more money, it’s definitely worth looking into alternative options such as AMD’s RX 6600 or RX 6700 XT or Nvidia’s RTX 3060 or RTX 3060Ti. Those cards will give you far more longevity over the next 3 years especially when video games are becoming more and more graphically demanding.

With all that said though, this graphics card is definitely going to sell out. AMD lowering the GDDR6 memory to a paltry 4Gb isn’t going to stop consumers from scooping up all the stock given the current market conditions. So if you’re in dire need of a GPU and have no other options, this is at least something to consider though you honestly really should not if you can avoid it.

5/10
Total Score
  • Performance
    6/10 Normal
  • Value for money
    4/10 Passable
  • Longevity
    5/10 Neutral

The Good

  • It can run some modern games at 1080p/60FPS
  • Uses the new AMD RDNA 2 Architecture
  • Good cooling system

The Bad

  • Not enough VRAM
  • Pricing may vastly differ from MSRP
  • No AV1 decoding
  • No H.264/265 encoding
Total
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