- NVIDIA’s RTX 4080 performs better than the AMD RX 6950 XT in many areas, including better clock speeds, process performance, GPU cores, Cuda cores, transistors, and memory speed.
- RX 6950 XT uses RDNA 2.0 architecture, whereas the RTX 4080 uses ADA Lovelace architecture. Some of AMD’s latest cards use RDNA 3.0, so buying an RX 6950 XT may not be as future-proof.
- While AMD RX 6950 XT has more RT Cores, ideal for ray tracing and specific AI workloads, the RTX 4080 has more Tensor Cores, which are suitable for AI, deep learning, and dedicated inference tasks.
Never before have we seen such a spectacular showdown between two revolutionary graphics cards. On one side, we have the RTX 4080 from NVIDIA; on the other, AMD’s RX 6950 XT. Both offer incredible performance and stunning visuals. Answering the question of which is the better buy can be tricky, but no matter how you slice it, one must come out on top.
AMD’s RX 6950 XT, built on 7 nm process technology, launched on May 10th, 2022, and was priced at a whopping $1,100. In November of the same year, NVIDIA launched the RTX 4080, built on 4 nm tech, for a hefty $1,200. The price difference can be negligible in some cases, but this can be a deciding factor for those on a budget.
So, to better decide which is the better buy, we took a closer look at their overall features and performance. We’ll discuss how these beasts perform in a few gaming scenarios and try to help you decide on the right buy, so buckle up! Let’s ride.
RTX 4080 vs RX 6950 XT: Overview
RTX 6950 XT was rushed to the party, no lie. We say so because AMD currently incorporates RDNA 3 architecture in its 2023 line of GPUs like the RX 7600M XT, whereas the 6950 XT still runs on RDNA 2. Despite being an outdated architecture, it brings innovative features like AMD’s infinity cache technology and ray tracing capabilities.
With the RDNA 3 architecture, you’d get AI acceleration, improved shading performance, and 2nd gen hardware-accelerated ray tracing capabilities. AMD had its reasons for the early launch, but we’d have seen a completely different product if it had waited.
NVIDIA’s RTX 4080, on the other hand, packs a mean punch with its Ada Lovelace architecture. AI-based neural graphics and ray tracing capabilities are no longer just a dream with this bad boy. You also get AV1 encoders, which are 40% more efficient and faster than H.264, and an AI-based DLSS 3 Ultra performance boost.
To match the software optimization effectiveness of the RTX 4080’s AI-based features, AMD RX 6950 XT must use hardware brute force. It’s not a bad thing per se, but we all know that software optimization beats hardware optimization any day, any time.
RTX 4080 vs RX 6950 XT: Side-by-Side Comparison
|RTX 4080||RX 6950 XT|
|Release Date||November, 16th 2022||May, 10th 2022|
|Architecture||ADA Lovelace||RDNA 2.0|
|Process Size||4 nm||7 nm|
|Base Clock (MHz)||2,205||1,860|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||2,505||2,310|
|Memory Speed (Gbps)||22.4||18|
|Memory Capacity||16GB GDDR6X||16 GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||716.8 GB/s||576 GB/s|
|Memory Clock||22.4 Gbps||18 Gbps|
|Cuda Cores||9728||Stream Processors: 5120|
|Transistors||45,900 million||26,800 million|
RTX 4080 vs RX 6950 XT: What’s the Difference
From the above table, it’s easy to notice that the RTX 4080 has better specs in most categories. But how do these paper stats translate to performance? Let’s find out.
Architectural Differences: Ada Lovelace vs. RDNA 2.0
The RTX 4080 runs on the latest Ada Lovelace architecture, whereas the RX 6950 XT uses a slightly older RDNA 2.0 architecture.
Ada Lovelace is built from the ground up for ray-tracing and AI. It supports real-time ray tracing, DLSS 3.0, and other features that make gaming more immersive and realistic. Packed with fourth-gen tensor and third-gen RT cores, this architecture will increase throughput, making it more than five times faster than the previous generation.
On the other hand, RDNA 2.0 touts enhanced compute units and first-gen ray-tracing accelerators. It also offers improved performance and efficiency over the previous RDNA 1.0 architecture. Enough of the technical mumbo jumbo – let’s talk about how these architectural differences affect gaming performance.
- Powered by the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (16 GB) graphics processing unit (GPU) with a 2.51 GHz boost clock speed
- PCI Express 4.0 and earlier PCI Express 3.0.
- Offers compatibility with a range of systems
- 9,728 NVIDIA CUDA Cores, 2.51 GHz Boost Clock, Dedicated Ray Tracing Cores
- Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan RT APIs
Although AMD has more RT cores (80) than NVIDIA (76), the RTX 4080 has 304 tensor cores, whereas the RX 6950 XT doesn’t. The role of tensor cores is to facilitate AI and machine learning processes. So when it comes to ray-tracing and AI, the RTX 4080 will outperform its AMD rival.
Ada Lovelace facilitates the use of Artificial Intelligence for DLSS3.0 upscaling. The results are more intuitive and realistic images, with none of the blurriness that can occur with lower-quality upscaling algorithms.
In a basic sense, it inserts more frames and smooths out image transitions, so gaming looks smooth and realistic. On the other hand, the hardware-oriented RDNA 2.0 architecture relies on the FSR 2.0 upscaling algorithm, which is good but not as advanced as DLSS3.0.
Memory and Bandwidth
The role of memory and bandwidth is to make sure that the GPU doesn’t bottleneck. For instance, if the GPU is processing data faster than the memory can keep it in the VRAM, there will be a bottleneck that wastes performance.
For a long time, NVIDIA has held the lead in terms of memory and bandwidth. The RTX 4080 comes with 16 GB GDDR6X VRAM, which offers 716GB/s of memory bandwidth, compared to the RX 6950 XT’s 16 GB GDDR6 VRAM and 576 GB/s bandwidth. The difference between GDDR6X and GDDR6 is that the former offers higher speeds and efficiency.
There’s no comparable difference between the memory capacity of both cards, but the RTX 4080’s higher bandwidth allows it to keep up with its faster memory. The bus width is the same across both cards: 256-bit. So it’s really the speed and efficiency of GDDR6X that gives the RTX 4080 an advantage.
If you’ve ever compared CPUs and GPUs, you’ll know that the size of the transistors matters. Smaller transistors mean better performance, less power consumption, and more efficiency. The RTX 4080 has 4 nm transistors compared to the RX 6950 XT’s 7nm. This difference may seem negligible, but it can significantly affect performance and power draw.
For instance, the RTX 4080’s 4 nm transistors will produce less heat than the RX 6950 XT’s 7 nm, which means you can overclock the card to higher levels without worrying about its temperature. RTX 4080 has 45,900 million transistors, while the 6950 XT has 26,800 million. Increased transistors mean more computational power, which translates to better performance.
Speed: Core, Boost, and Overclocking
A vital factor to consider when comparing two GPUs is their base and boost speeds. The RTX 4080 has a base clock of 2,205 MHz and a boost clock of 2,505 MHz. The RX 6950 XT runs at a 1,860 MHz base and 2,310 MHz boost.
- Video Memory: 16GB GDDR6
- Stream Processor: 5120
- Game Clock: 2226 MHz (OC) / 2116 MHz (Silent)
- Boost Clock: 2435 MHz (OC) / 2324 MHz (Silent)
- Memory Clock: 18.0 Gbps
In terms of raw speed, the RTX 4080 is ahead by a fair margin. It’s also worth noting that both cards have relatively ample overclocking headroom. If you’re willing to take the time and effort, you can push them close to their theoretical maximum speeds. Remember, though, that overclocking can be risky and should only be done if you’re confident in your abilities.
There’s also the matter of thermal design power (TDP). The RTX 4080 requires 320W, while the RX 6950 XT needs 335W. Now, this isn’t only about your electricity bills. It’s also about the cooling setup you’ll need to get the card running correctly. The lower TDP of the RTX 4080 means it will run cooler and quieter than its AMD counterpart.
Another critical factor when comparing GPUs is their CUDA core count. CUDA core counts help determine how many calculations the GPU can handle at once, ultimately affecting its performance. NVIDIA’s RTX 4080 has 9728 CUDA cores, while the RX 6950 XT stream processor count stands at 5120.
Interestingly, you’ll notice some unexpected differences in ray tracing cores. The RTX 4080 has 76 RT cores, compared to the RX 6950 XT’s 80. However, tensor cores are different, with the RTX 4080 holding the lead with 304 vs. the RX 6950 XT’s 0 cores. The RTX 4080 will perform better in tasks requiring ray tracing and AI, such as DLSS3.0.
So, how do these cards compare in gaming performance? You first need to realize that these are high-end GPUs, so any tests you run should be 4K resolution at ultra settings. You want to push the cards to their maximum capabilities and get an accurate representation of the performance.
Mark PC on YouTube benchmarked these two cards with different games, and the results are pretty interesting.
- God of War: When playing God of War at 4K Ultra 2160p, the RTX 4080 maintained an FPS above 100. The RX 6950 XT didn’t manage to keep up, but it still delivered playable FPS with drops below 78 FPS. Low 1% results were a bit more dramatic, with the RTX 4080 maintaining 93 FPS versus the RX 6950 XT’s 24 FPS.
- Cyberpunk 2077: Cyberpunk 2077 is a resource-intensive game on even the best GPUs, and these two cards are no exception. The RTX 4080 managed highs of 80 FPS and lows of 63 FPS. The RX 6950 XT couldn’t exceed 60 FPS but still delivered playable frame rates. Low 1% results were an average of 55 FPS for the RTX 4080 and 8 FPS for the RX 6950 XT.
- Assassins Creed Valhalla: Again, the RTX 4080 came out on top in this game. Highs were over 95 FPS with lows of about 84, and low 1% results were an average of 2 FPS. The RX 6950 XT couldn’t keep up, with highs of only 75 FPS and lows of 64. Low 1% results were an average of 2 FPS. Similar to the RTX 4080.
Overall, these two cards offer excellent gaming performance, but with a slightly different balance of power. The RTX 4080 maintains a higher average frame rate than the RX 6950 XT, but performance can vary depending on the title.
Eventually, we have to talk about pricing. The launch price of the RTX 4080 was $1,200, while the RX 6950 XT launched at $1,100. The current price on Amazon is $1,365 for the RTX 4080. The Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT is available for around $877.
RTX 4080 vs RX 6950 XT: 7 Must-Know Facts
- RTX 4080 uses AD103-300 GPU, while RX 6950 XT uses the NAVI 21 GPU.
- The architecture of RTX 4080 is ADA Lovelace, a step up from Turing, while the architecture of RX 6950 XT is RDNA 2.0, a lower iteration of the current RDNA 3.0.
- RTX 4080 has 9728 CUDA cores and 304 Tensor Cores, while RX 6950 XT has 5120 stream processors with no Tensor Cores.
- RTX 4080 has a total video memory capacity of 16 GB GDDR6, while RX 6950 XT has 16 GB GDDR6.
- RX 6950 XT holds the lead when it comes to Ray Tracing Cores, boasting 80 versus the RTX 4080’s 76.
- In gaming performance tests, the RTX 4080 maintained higher frame rates than the RX 6950 XT. It also had fewer drops in Low 1% results.
- The memory speed for the RTX 4080 is 22.4 Gbps, while RX 6950 XT has 18 Gbps.
RTX 4080 vs RX 6950 XT: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?
There is a slight difference in pricing between the RTX 4080 and RX 6950 XT, so the RX 6950 XT might be the better choice. Regarding performance, the RTX 4080 beat the RX 6950 XT in all comparable specifications and gaming benchmarks. If you are looking for a card with high-end performance that can handle 4K gaming, the RTX 4080 is the best choice.
It can easily handle the most demanding games at high settings and has features like Ray Tracing and AI-accelerated DLSS, which are not available on the RX 6950 XT. You’ll also get the advantage of NVIDIA’s driver updates, which can help optimize performance.
The RX 6950 XT saves you some money. However, its RDNA 2.0 architecture is a step behind the current RDNA 3.0 and lacks features like AI-based upscaling and Ray Tracing. It also has no Tensor Cores, which are essential for AI-accelerated performance.