AMD’s new 1080p-focused RX 6600 XT launched yesterday, and shockingly, you can still pick some models up at list price. With a smaller GPU core and price that’s reasonable by the standard of most graphics cards at the moment, the RX 6600 XT seemed like an answer to the budget gamer’s conundrum.
The reality of the RX 6600 XT launch, at least in the U.S., is different. The card is almost impossible to find online despite plenty of inventory at retailers, and the price of most models is higher than the already high list price set by AMD.
The RX 6600 XT isn’t really available in the U.S.
AMD’s retailer page for the RX 6600 XT is packed with U.S. retailers, most of which aren’t actually selling the RX 6600 XT. Of the list, only Amazon and Newegg are selling the card alone online, and Newegg has reserved its inventory for its Shuffle lottery program. Otherwise, the RX 6600 XT is only available through pre-built machines online.
The only exception is Micro Center, which still has cards in stock at many locations a day after launch. That’s assuming you have a Micro Center close to you — locations are only available in 16 U.S. states — and some spare time before the cards are inevitably all bought up.
Paper launches are nothing new, especially over the past several months. The RTX 3070 Ti, for example, was nearly impossible to find at launch despite a relatively smooth rollout of the RTX 3080 Ti only a week earlier. The RX 6600 XT is in a different boat, though.
The Navi 23 core the RX 6600 XT uses is much smaller than any card from AMD’s RX 6000 range. That was, at least prior to launch, a good sign that supply wouldn’t be an issue like it has been for all of the other cards in the range.
Over the coming weeks, supply could be better for the RX 6600 XT compared to other RX 6000 cards. However, the choke on inventory that’s available online remains a roadblock to delivering graphics cards to gamers who want them.
$379 is far from the real list price
AMD said that select models of the RX 6600 XT would launch for $379 — and that’s true. A few models did launch for list price. However, some models, including the MSI Gaming X model AMD sent me for review, are listed at over $500. In parts of the world, some models are selling for even more.
The Gigabyte Gaming OC Pro is listed for $499, and the Asus ROG Strix is listed for $549. The MSI Gaming X model I reviewed — an alarming $579. These are list prices a day after launch, too. If you turn to eBay, you’ll find cards selling for over $600.
Of the 19 models listed on Newegg — none of which you can buy outright — five meet the $379 price point. Two more models are under $449, while the rest are more expensive, up to $579. There are more models selling for $500 or more than models selling for list price.
AMD said it wasn’t making a reference model for the RX 6600 XT, so I knew the prices of most board partner cards would be above $379. I didn’t know some would be $200 above that price, though. The list price is already too high, and once you factor in the actual cost of most models, the RX 6600 XT is a horrible value.
It’s important to remember the card the RX 6600 XT is replacing. The RX 5600 XT launched for $279, so even at its cheapest, the RX 6600 XT is $100 more expensive. Given the fallout from the GPU shortage, higher prices are to be expected as the cost of components has risen. Even then, it’s hard to justify a card that’s $100 more than the one it’s replacing, much less one that’s $300 more expensive.
Should you buy the RX 6600 XT?
Even a day after launch, you can still buy an RX 6600 XT if you have a Micro Center close to you. But you probably shouldn’t. It’s a card priced for the market it currently exists in, not in line with the performance it delivers. At $379, the RX 6600 XT is already more expensive than the RTX 3060 without a definitive performance improvement.
At $500 or more, it’s a card that’s getting away with what it can. Even with reports that the RX 6600 XT is great for cryptocurrency mining, the card has remained in stock for over a day, which is longer than any new card has stayed in stock for nearly a year. That underlines the poor ratio of price to performance, as well as the limited options U.S. buyers have for picking up a card.
If you’ve been patiently waiting to upgrade your graphics card, and you play games at 1080p, the RX 6600 XT is still cheaper than anything you can buy right now. Six months to a year from now, though, you might be sitting on an underperforming card that you overpaid for.