The Radeon RX 6650 XT is a pretty respectable 1080p card. It is perfect for the budget builder or anyone interested in esports, where graphics are not very demanding. But, where AMD has really stumbled, and fallen down HARD, is with the price and release date.
With Nvidia giving us their RTX 3060ti at a similar price point but with much better performance, why would you consider an RX 6650 XT… Let’s find out.
Design & Chipset
ASUS ROG Strix has always been some of the best-looking cards no matter the variant, and this RX 6650 XT is no different. The card is a two-fan setup, so it is a smaller form factor than some of the newer cards, primarily 3-fan form factors. The design here is straightforward, ASUS has added the metal backplate and a very minimal approach to RGB. Some of the Nvidia cards from ROG feature a long strip along the edge whereas the RX6650XT only has a ROG logo along that spline which I personally think is enough RGB for this card.
The added backplate does not only protect the PCB but it also helps radiate more heat away from the board via two 100mm fans on the front side of the card.
The ASUS ROG Strix RX 6650XT does not have the biggest power draw when it comes to graphics cards, coming in at a mere 176W at full tilt and the fans do a good job of keeping it cool while not being excessively loud. Much like many of the ROG cards, this one also has the switch to switch between P mode (performance mode) and Q mode (quiet mode) if you so desire. Power to it comes from only a single 8-pin connector.
On the output side, the RX 6650 XT can do 4 outputs, 3 DisplayPort 1.4a, and a single HDMI 2.1.
When you start looking at the chipset, the NAVI23 GPU has the exact same processors as what you might find in the RX 6600 XT but the clock speeds are just turned up ever so slightly for a boost of around 6%.
Stream Processors: 2,048
Ray Accelerators: 32
Base clock: 2,192 MHz
Boost clock: 2,694 MHz
VRAM: 8GB GDDR6
Memory speed: 2,190 MHz
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Interface: PCIe 4.0
Bandwidth: 280.3 GB/s
Outputs: 1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
Power connector: 1 x 8-pin
Recommended PSU: 650W
Something that needs to be mentioned before we even begin to look at how the RX 6650 XT performs and compared to its rivals, is the fact that if you are looking for a card to use for creative purposes, then you are better off looking at any, even a lower spec RTX card. Radeon cards do not have tensor cores which are heavily used in matrix multiplications and work really well with rendering and ray tracing, hence the RX cards do not do well for creativity.
The RX 6650 XT replaces the outgoing RX 6600 XT we mentioned before and with that, it gets a slight clock speed boost across the GPU as well as the memory. This directly translates to a performance bump.
When it comes to gaming, the RX 6650 XT is marketed as a 1080p card and for that reason, I didn’t even take it to games that I currently play at 1440p on my daily workhorse RTX 2080. Using the RX 6650 XT in 1080p sees it perform respectfully in most titles and admirable framerates. where it really shines is in esports titles.
We jumped into a few titles, not even testing them at 1440p as the RX 6650 XT does not tote itself as a 1440p card but is a great performer at 1080p.
Horizon Zero Dawn – 1080p ultimate quality
Horizon Zero Dawn is a masterpiece and with the graphics turned up to the max it really is a treat to the eyes. The RX 6650 XT does a respectable job with an average FPS of 113 compared to the slightly better 117 of the RTX 3060Ti
Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 1080p highest settings
Shadow of the Tomb Raider has become synonymous with being one of the best games to really test a GPU thanks to the vast amount of tweaking that can be done. The RX 6650 XT does a decent job producing a respectable 112fps average while the RTX 3060Ti narrowly outperforms it with 128 fps.
Test System Specs
- CPU: Intel 12700k I7
- AIO: Aorus Waterforce 360
- Mobo: Gigabyte Z690 Gaming X
- RAM: 32Gb Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR4
- PSU: Fractal Design 860W platinum
- Monitor: Philips 32″ 1440p 165Hz
The RX 6650 XT is a strange card as it’s neither here nor there. It doesn’t have a significant performance increase over the outgoing RX 6600 XT nor has it got any noteworthy features that make you WANT to pick it over something like the RTX 3060 or RTX 3060Ti. But what it does feature is some of the nifty features that AMD is cramming into their cards. Many of these features even benefit Nvidia users that are using GTX range cards. AMD FidelityFX is one of these features. FidelityFX is AMD’s answer to DLSS, it uses clever upscaling tricks to give you massive fps boosts.
Radeon Anti-Lag is AMD’s answer to Nvidia reflex, it keeps your GPU clock speeds up high even when, for that very instance, it is not needed. By doing so it allows the smallest of delays between input and what you experience onscreen, thus decreasing input lag as much as possible.
From the ASUS side, the GPU tweak 11 software allows you to tweak and monitor your GPU to your heart’s content, while Quantum cloud utilizes some of the spare computing power of your GPU to generate passive income.
Lastly, the ASUS ROG Strix RX 6650 XT features Aura Sync, meaning that if you have other hardware that is Aura Sync compatible, you can use a single software program to manage and customize your RGB lighting across these hardware items.
ASUS ROG Herculx GPU holder
ASUS was kind enough to send their latest GPU support for this review. It is called the ASUS ROG Herculx, and with the way that newer GPUs are going, with them getting bigger and heavier with each generation, it only makes sense that you need to help and support your poor PCIe slots.
The Herculx has a toolless installation which is great compared to many other which can take up a PCIe slot. Thanks to its strong build and precise adjustment it can fit perfectly and support to the correct height. The height can be adjusted from 72mm to 128mm. Thanks to the long arm it can support your GPU along nearly the whole front edge, ensuring that there will be significantly less stress and sag on your PCIe slot.
When you need to adjust or take the Herculx out, the simple, one-button release system makes it quick and easy to do. Thanks to the added magnetic spirit level, you can easily ensure that your GPU is level and perfectly aligned.
Lastly, it would not be a ROG product if it did not support RGB. Plugging it into your RGB header, you can control the brilliant RGB lighting via the trusty Armoury Crate from ASUS.
With Nvidia being able to provide cards like the RTX 3060 and RX 3060Ti for around the same amount as what you would pay for the RX 6650 XT while outperforming the 6650 XT it is almost a no-brainer as to why you should rather go team Green in this case. But if you have your mind set on an AMD RX 6650 XT, it will deliver a good 1080p gaming performance. This is what it is designed for and it delivers on that promise respectably.
If you want to get a card that can do work and play, then that is even more of a reason to rather go for Nvidia. The RX 6650 XT will do creative workloads but not very well, it is a card designed for 1080p gaming and nothing more.
If you have your heart set on an AMD card and the only thing in your budget is the RX 6650 XT, then going for the ASUS ROG Strix edition would be first prize. Being one of the most reputable brands, and ROG being their flagship emblem, you are sure to get the best-looking and performing version of the RX 6650 XT when you choose this one.
Thanks to ASUS for supplying the review products