If you’re looking for a graphics card for 1080p and perhaps even 1440p gaming, the best place to start is by comparing the 6600 XT vs 3060.
NVIDIA’s 40-series GPUs have launched, but its 30-series cards and AMD’s competing cards are still worthy options as their prices have come down significantly.
This means if you’re gaming at 1080p or even 1440p, AMD’s RX 6600 XT and NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 are still great choices and should be for some time. Both are priced low enough that they’re almost budget graphics cards, and yet they give cracking framerates at lower resolutions in pretty much any modern game.
So, if you’re looking for a current-gen GPU that doesn’t break the bank and can easily handle lower resolutions, the 6600 XT and 3060 have you covered.
To see which is best, we need to compare not just their specs but how they perform in real-world benchmarks and how they stack up against other GPUs.
What is the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT?
The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is a graphics card that launched in August 2021.
It’s a lower-midrange, sub-$400 card targeted at high refresh rate 1080p gaming, which might appeal to competitive FPS gamers. It can also handle 1440p gaming, but not at such stellar framerates as at 1080p.
The 6600 XT competes most closely with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti, but also with the ‘refreshed’ AMD RX 6650 XT, which is essentially an overclocked RX 6600. The 6650 XT will probably replace the 6600 XT, but the difference is small and there’s still plenty of 6600 XT stock around.
What is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060?
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is a graphics card that hit the market in February 2021, a few months before AMD’s 6600 XT.
Like the 6600 XT, it’s a lower-midrange, sub-$400 card targeted at high refresh rate 1080p gaming, but it can also handle 1440p gaming, especially with DLSS enabled.
Read More: RTX 3060 vs 3060 Ti: Which GPU is Better?
Its major competitors are the 6600 XT, 6650 XT, and 3060 Ti.
NVIDIA vs AMD Features
The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT is designed by AMD and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is designed by NVIDIA, so the two GPUs have different feature sets.
Although both manufacturers’ cards features are similar, the differences are big enough to give them distinct pros and cons.
1. GSync and FreeSync
One of the most important differences for many gamers between AMD and NVIDIA GPUs is their GSync vs FreeSync Capabilities.
These two technologies adapt your monitor’s refresh rate to sync with your rendered frame rate to stop screen tearing. NVIDIA GPUs can use GSync and FreeSync (on compatible monitors), but AMD GPUs can only use FreeSync or GSync Compatible technology.
2. DLSS and FSR
Apart from variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies, the next big thing most gamers will care about when deciding between an AMD and NVIDIA card is the difference between NVIDIA DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and AMD FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution).
These technologies allow you to render games at a lower resolution and use machine learning to upscale it to your native resolution. They should, in theory, give you close to the graphical fidelity of traditional rendering at your native resolution, but with a much lower performance cost.
NVIDIA cards can use DLSS, while AMD cards must use FSR instead. FSR tech is developing quickly, but most think that DLSS is better on average. Also, more games currently support DLSS than FSR.
3. DLDSR and VSR
Unlike with DLSS and FSR, which both upscale your resolution, NVIDIA’s DLDSR and AMD’s VSR do the opposite: they downscale it.
Downscaling should, in theory, make game details appear clearer with less jagged edges, just like with antialiasing. There doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut winner between the two technologies at present, though.
4. NVIDIA Reflex, NULL, and AMD Anti-Lag
NVIDIA Reflex, NVIDIA Ultra-Low Latency (NULL), and AMD Anti-Lag attempt to reduce input lag, allowing for quicker reactions in-game.
Read More: What is NVIDIA Reflex?
Anti-Lag and NULL try to reduce the game’s render queue to decrease your system latency (the time between your mouse click and the game action happening on screen).
NULL doesn’t work with DirectX 12. NVIDIA Reflex, on the other hand, works with DX12 but game developers must implement it in-game. It works by telling the game what it’s going to render before it renders it, allowing the game to process everything ‘just in time’, cutting down system latency.
Also Read: What is Input Lag & How Can You Fix/Test It?
AMD Anti-Lag now works with DX12, but NVIDIA Reflex usually decreases input lag much more than Anti-Lag and NULL.
6600 XT vs 3060 Price
The AMD RX 6600 XT has an MSRP of $379, but there isn’t a reference version of this card, so prices vary. In practice, you can find 6600 XT cards retailing for between $330 and $430 at the time of writing.
The NVIDIA RTX 3060 has an MSRP of $329, making it $50 cheaper than the 6600 XT at recommended pricing. But, like the 6600 XT, this card has no Founders edition. At the time of writing, you can usually find 3060s retailing for between $370 and $500.
6600 XTs are currently cheaper than 3060s on average. But prices do vary thanks to the residual effects of the global GPU shortage, the release of RTX 40-series graphics cards, and the upcoming release of AMD 7000-series GPUs.
If you’re looking for a cheap GPU that should perform roughly as well as the RTX 3060 or RX 6600 XT, there are a couple of options.
The closest-performing previous-generation alternatives are the RX 5700 XT, RTX 2070, and RTX 2070 Super. If you can find one of these cards going for much cheaper than the 6600 XT or 3060, they might be worth picking up, but only if you’re okay with foregoing some of the technologies supported only by the latest generation cards.
Graphics Card Specs
|RX 6600 XT||RTX 3060|
|CUDA Cores / Stream Processors||2,048||3,584|
|RT Cores / Ray Accelerators||32||28|
|Stream Multiprocessors / Compute Units||32||28|
|Memory||8GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR6|
|Clock speed (base/boost)||1.97GHz / 2.59GHz||1.32GHz / 1.78GHz|
|Power connector||1x 8-pin||1x 8-pin|
Current-gen AMD GPUs tend to have fewer shader cores but higher clock speeds than current-gen NVIDIA GPUs, which bears true with the 6600 XT vs 3060.
The AMD GPU has 2,048 shader cores compared with the NVIDIA GPU’s 3,584. But the 6600 XT’s boost clock–which should matter more than its core clock for gaming–is 2.59GHz compared to the 3060’s 1.78GHz.
The two GPUs’ memory configurations are very different. The RX 6600 XT has 4GB less GDDR6 VRAM than the RTX 3060, and its memory bus is only 128-bit compared to the 3060’s 192-bit bus, giving the 3060 a wider memory bandwidth. AMD’s card, however, tries to make up for this with its higher memory clock and faster memory speed.
Ultimately, the 6600 XT has a less powerful memory configuration than the 3060. While 12GB VRAM isn’t necessary today–especially for 1080p gaming–it adds a level of futureproofing for the 3060 that the 6600 XT lacks. And the higher bandwidth should help in games with large texture sizes and such.
The 6600 XT requires slightly less power to run. With a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of just 160W, AMD recommends a 500W power supply to run the 6600 XT, whereas NVIDIA recommends a 550W PSU to run the 170W 3060.
The RX 6600 XT and RTX 3060 are targeted at 1080p gaming, but that doesn’t mean they’re useless at 1440p or 4K. In fact, both can make for fine 1440p graphics cards, depending on your gaming requirements.
The performance differences change at different resolutions, so we need to look at game performance for each resolution individually.
We’ve compared the results of a few different online benchmarks, such as those from TechRadar, TechSpot, TomsHardware, and PCGamer, averaging these framerates out to give a broad picture of the two cards’ performances across resolutions.
The 3060 and 6600 XT are both marketed as graphics cards for 1080p gaming. Both have excellent performance at this resolution.
At 1080p, both cards should net you over 60fps in pretty much any game on maximum settings. Both should also get you above 100fps in all but the most demanding of games at high, if not max, settings.
In less demanding games they should net well over 150fps on average, making them great for 1080p competitive gaming.
Averaging out online benchmarks from different sites, we see that the 6600 XT gets about 10% higher framerates than the 3060 on average at 1080p. In more demanding games, this might be the difference between 54fps and 60fps, and in less demanding games, it might be the difference between 150fps and 165fps.
While actual differences are very game-dependent, most reviews show the 6600 XT performing better than the 3060 across the board. (TechRadar is an exception, as their benchmarks show a narrower average framerate delta and show the 3060 performing marginally better in some titles).
The 3060 and 6600 XT are both surprisingly capable at 1440p. Although they’re targeted at the 1080p gaming market, the GPUs don’t struggle at this resolution.
At 1440p resolution, both cards should get you 60fps on average in most demanding games if you drop your settings below max. At max settings, more demanding games will be closer to 40fps than 60fps, but if you drop down to medium or high settings, you should get over 60fps.
Also Read: Is 1440P Worth it for Gaming?
In less demanding titles, both GPUs should get you well over 60fps on average even at max settings at 1440p, and they should even surpass 100fps in some titles. If you’re playing less demanding competitive shooters, both cards are viable even for high refresh rate gaming at 1440p.
At this resolution, however, the gap between the 6600 XT and 3060 narrows, although the 6600 XT still maintains a significant lead. Averaging out benchmark results, we see that the 6600 XT nets framerates about 6.6% higher than the 3060. (Again, TechRadar shows a much narrower gap of 1.9%, with even more games slightly favouring the 3060.)
However, if you just want to play the occasional 4K title, or if you only play less graphically intensive games, the 3060 and 6600 XT can pull off 4K in a pinch. You’ll struggle to hit 60fps at max settings in most modern titles, but if you drop your settings down to high, you should hit 60 in most of them. And less demanding titles should average just above 60fps even on max settings.
At 4K resolution, the gap between the two cards decreases even further. Averaging out benchmarks, we see that there is a 0.9% difference between the average framerates of the two cards at 4K. And this time the difference favours the RTX 3060 instead of the 6600 XT.
These numbers differ depending on the review site in question, though. PCGamer, for instance, has the 6600 XT performing 4.8% better than the 3060 at 4K, while TechSpot has it performing 6.7% worse. On average, though, benchmarks show there being little difference between the two cards at 4K, and all sites show the relative performance of the 6600 XT dropping as the resolution increases.
Ray Tracing and Upscaling
Neither the RX 6600 XT nor the RTX 3060 will perform well with ray tracing enabled at higher resolutions, but at 1080p ray traced games should be playable with a 3060 if not with a 6600 XT.
The 3060 has a definite advantage over the 6600 XT for ray tracing. NVIDIA’s ray tracing technology is more mature, and this shows in benchmarks. Benchmarks show that the 3060 gives us almost twice the ray tracing performance of the 6600 XT, and it even beats the 6700 XT on this front.
NVIDIA’s DLSS upscaling technology also allows systems containing a 3060 to enable ray tracing with almost no performance hit, all while maintaining close to native resolution’s graphical fidelity. AMD has its own upscaling solution (FSR) which works well, but the consensus seems to be that DLSS is, again, a more mature technology that performs a little better than FSR, even considering FSR 2.
Overall, performance differences across benchmarks show that AMD’s Radeon RX 6600 XT outperforms the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. While performance varies depending on the game, on average, the 6600 XT outperforms the 3060 by a fair margin at these resolutions.
At 4K, however, the two GPUs perform roughly the same, meaning game-to-game performance variations become more important. However, neither GPU is targeted at 4K gaming, and if 4K is your goal, you’d be better opting for a high-end graphics card.
But while NVIDIA’s card loses to AMD’s card in raw rasterization performance, the 3060 makes up for this with its ray tracing and DLSS performance. Even if you don’t enable ray tracing, enabling DLSS should give you significantly higher frame rates for a very minimal fidelity cost. AMD’s FSR can do this, too, but it’s not currently supported in as many games, and DLSS arguably looks slightly better than FSR in most supported titles.
More Performance Comparisons
Are the 6600 XT and 3060 Still Good?
It might seem like a strange time to opt for either an RTX 3060 or RX 6600 XT, given that NVIDIA has released some 40-series cards and AMD should release its 7000-series cards sometime soon.
However, there’s still a place for these GPUs in the market. NVIDIA isn’t releasing lower-end 40-series cards for a while, and next-gen prices look to be more expensive than current-gen 30-series or 6000-series offerings.
Also, graphics tech hasn’t progressed so far that these GPUs are obsolete. An RTX 3060 or 6600 XT should be perfect for most 1080p and even some 1440p gamers today. If you want a solid 60fps or 75fps in most triple-A titles at 1080p on max settings, or if you’re into high refresh rate gaming in less demanding competitive titles at 1080p or 1440p, both cards should serve you well.
6600 XT vs 3060 Verdict: Which Graphics Card is Worth It?
When AMD’s 6600 XT hit the market, it was a lacklustre release because it was priced $50 higher than the RTX 3060.
While it beat the 3060 in rasterization performance at lower resolutions, this performance increase wasn’t worth the extra cost considering the 3060’s proprietary feature perks like DLSS and RT Cores and its better memory config.
Now, however, there’s a better case to be made for the 6600 XT–while prices remain low, at least. Now, for the same price or cheaper than a 3060, you can get a card with unquestionably better performance at 1080p and even 1440p.
This makes the 6600 XT a perfect stopgap for those waiting for a high-end next-gen card or just a great GPU for those who want to do some high refresh rate competitive gaming at 1080p or even 1440p.
On the other hand, if you want a card that will allow you to keep playing triple-A games on high or max settings for years to come, the 3060’s better memory configuration, ray tracing performance, and DLSS technology might make it worth it over the 6600 XT. But if that’s your use case, you might be better off spending the extra on an RTX 3060 Ti, which outperforms the 3060 by a significant margin.
In conclusion, now that prices have dropped, the RX 6600 XT seems like better value than the RTX 3060 if you want the highest framerates possible at lower resolutions. However, if you want more longevity and a 3060 Ti is beyond your budget, an RTX 3060 might be a better option. Whichever GPU you choose, both are fantastic at 1080p and surprisingly capable at 1440p if you’re on a budget. The performance differences are slim enough that either is card a great buy.