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AMD Radeon RX 6800 and the RX 6800 XT are out today

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Today, AMD are bringing out the big guns with the formal release of their next generation desktop GPUs with the AMD Radeon RX 6800 and the RX 6800 XT. Announced back in late October, these cards are AMD's first to come with hardware accelerated Ray Tracing support. Although for Linux, we're still waiting on The Khronos Group to formalise the cross-vendor Ray Tracing Vulkan extensions for that.

Here's a reminder of the specifications:

  RX 6900 XT RX 6800 XT RX 6800
Compute Units 80 72 60
Process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
Game clock (MHz) 2,015 2,015 1,815
Boost clock (MHz) 2,250 2,250 2,105
Infinity Cache (MB) 128 128 128
Memory 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6 16GB GDDR6
TDP (Watt) 300 300 250
Price (USD) $999 $649 $579
Available 08/12/2020 18/11/2020 18/11/2020

For running them on Linux, the driver situation isn't the best. AMD have put out the Radeon Software for Linux version 20.45, which adds support for the Radeon RX 6800 Series but that driver only officially supports Ubuntu 20.04, RHEL/CentOS 7.9 and RHEL/CentOS 8.2. For Mesa drivers, you're going to need Linux Kernel 5.9, Mesa 20.2 (or newer) and also LLVM 11.0 which means most normal distributions will be missing out unless you're prepared to do major manual upgrades. So, unless you really know what you're doing with everything, you will likely want to hold off.

If you do manage to find one because, as expected, most places are sold out and you get everything it needs setup - expect to see some incredible performance. We don't get sent any hardware from AMD, so we're going by what others have been cooking up. It seems Level1Linux on YouTube are very happy with it, and the Phoronix benchmarks show them doing well too. From a price point of view, the performance does seem pretty amazing considering how close it appears to be with the NVIDIA 3080 and if you prefer the open source side of things it doesn't get better than this.

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Valck 20 Nov, 2020
Quoting: iskaputtgood availability [...] 500 Euros
Not going to happen if the lowest model comes at USD 580.-. Usually that directly translates to €580.-, so I doubt you'll see anything below 600 Euros, and much less five hundred, anytime soon. Add to that the bot resellers, and you're in for a long wait.
iskaputt 20 Nov, 2020
Quoting: Valck
Quoting: iskaputtgood availability [...] 500 Euros
Not going to happen if the lowest model comes at USD 580.-. Usually that directly translates to €580.-, so I doubt you'll see anything below 600 Euros, and much less five hundred, anytime soon. Add to that the bot resellers, and you're in for a long wait.

You are very likely right, sadly.

Will continue to use my Vega 56 which I bought for 400 and is serving me well. An upgrade would be nice for 4K, but no way in hell am I going to pay 50% more for my next card.
CFWhitman 20 Nov, 2020
I've been using AMD video cards for a while now, and it doesn't seem like too much hassle to me. I am running an Ubuntu variation, and I use a Liquorix kernel repository and an up-to-date Mesa repository, and that works. If I had an RX6000 series card already, the firmware would make that more of a hassle, but I don't expect that to be the case much longer.

If you want to run Debian, I suggest that you don't run a video card newer than the version of Debian you wish to run. If you stick to that rule, AMD on Debian is pretty easy. You don't really have to do anything except enable non-free repositories and install the linux-firmware package, which you're probably going to have to do in any case. There are ways to run newer cards on Debian, but it is always a hassle to run anything newer than what came with Debian plus whatever happens to be in backports.

Just to be clear, I run Debian in a lot of places, just not on my main desktop to game. I use it on all my servers both at work and at home, and I use it for older or underpowered machines.
Shmerl 20 Nov, 2020
Updating amdgpu firmware from upstream on Debian is not hard. Seriously.

Here is an example how you can do it:



mkdir -p "$base_dir"
cd "$base_dir"

git clone git:// $firmware_dir
cd $firmware_dir
git pull --rebase --prune

sudo cp -v amdgpu/*.bin /usr/lib/firmware/amdgpu/
sudo chown root:root /usr/lib/firmware/amdgpu/*.bin

sudo update-initramfs -u

Last edited by Shmerl on 20 November 2020 at 8:36 pm UTC
Avehicle7887 20 Nov, 2020
Quoting: ShmerlUpdating firmware from upstream is not hard. Seriously.

My Debian 9 dinosauric OS is ready

Kernel 5.9.9
Mesa 20.2.2
Firmware added

Bonus: Also have Mesa 20.3 configuration ready, rc2 working fine but I'll wait for the official release.
Shmerl 20 Nov, 2020
Quoting: Avehicle7887My Debian 9 dinosauric OS is ready

Yeah, I'm now waiting for Sapphire Pulse RX 6800 XT to come out and actually be in stock. It might take some weeks or even months though.
stan 20 Nov, 2020
  • Supporter
Do we already know when less power-hungry cards will be announced/available?
Shmerl 20 Nov, 2020
They didn't announce lower end cards yet. But I'd guess next year.

Last edited by Shmerl on 20 November 2020 at 9:04 pm UTC
omer666 21 Nov, 2020
Fedora's linux-firmware package with support for RX 6800 series is now stable.
14 22 Nov, 2020
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: slaapliedjeYou almost need to be running a rolling release like Arch to be able to just pop the card in and have it go.
Sounds like a plan to me. Rolling release is where it's at when you're a PC gamer. Or, you can wait, I guess, and watch not only Windows gamers enjoy their AMD cards sooner but also other Linux gamers. You don't have to go hardcore and compile every package like Gentoo or run the Arch installation gauntlet; you can get rolling right away with Manjaro or EndeavorOS boot-able, graphical installers.

My struggle is PS5 versus 6800/XT. My choice right now is the PS5 but, man PC games are crisper and faster than consoles when you don't have to fiddle around with troubleshooting and hope compatibility layers don't break.
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