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AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT review

The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT is a fine 1080p card, but at this price, there's not much reason to buy it

An AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT is a perfectly respectable refresh of the RX 6600 XT with some faster clocks which gives a modest improvement in performance, but someone priced this card way wrong, making it only worth buying if can't get an RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3060.

Pros

  • +

    Faster clock speeds

  • +

    Good 1080p gaming performance

  • +

    Good cooling

Cons

  • -

    Priced the same as a graphics card that is much more powerful

  • -

    Not great for creative work

AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT: two minute review

The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT would be a perfectly good 1080p graphics card that would be great for a budget gaming PC build for a younger sibling or as your child's first gaming PC. You could even make an argument for it to be a good budget esports graphics card where the graphics quality isn't as important as the performance. 

But honestly, somebody messed up and set this card's MSRP at the same price point as the RTX 3060 Ti, and it seriously undercut's the rationale for buying this card. Unless it's the best option avalable to you, or you have a burning hatred for Team Green and you've sworn off buying their products entirely. In that case, we guess you do have to buy something, so the RX 6650 XT is an good option when nothing else is.

We will dive into its specs and performance benchmarks and percentage gains over the RX 6600 XT in a bit (and there will be plenty of charts). And we'll also talk about – and show you – how the Asus ROG Strix RX 6650 XT model we received for review is a really well designed graphics card that looks great and has some great design features.

It's just a shame that it doesn't really matter, because other than the RX 6600 or last-gen AMD cards, the modest performance bump over the RX 6600 XT (which will no longer be produced, though existing stock will continue to be sold until its gone) in itself isn't enough to justify the much higher MSRP to begin with. 

But the RX 6650 XT is priced at the exact same MSRP as a card that is much more powerful and has a host of important features that the RX 6650 XT doesn't have. We noted in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti review that the RTX 3060 Ti was the best graphics card on the market for most people right now, and that's even more true now than it was when that card was released. That is the RX 6650 XT's competition and AMD throws away its historic advantage over Nvidia by pricing this card so high.

Now, we know more than most what the state of the graphics card market over the last few years has been, and that nothing has been normal and MSRP is just a number someone made up somewhere that has no actual bearing on those looking to buy the best cheap graphics card they can get. But even the RX 6650 XT's third-party cards are priced way higher than they should be for what they can actually do, and in most cases a little bit more will get you an overpriced RTX 3060 Ti, since the price of the RX 6650 XT is already getting you a substantial part of the way there anyway.

Which is, again, a real shame. We need more budget-conscious graphics cards out here in times like these, but this isn't that. Given the state of card restocks and inventories and supply chains, we can totally see customers simply not having the choice between an AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT and even just a plain old RTX 3060, a card that has some slightly worse performance than the RX 6650 XT in some workloads, but is more than 20% less expensive at MSRP.

In those cases, if you need to buy a new graphics card and this is your best option available, then it will absolutely serve you well. And gamers coming from a GTX 1060 or an RX 480 are going to look at me like I've lost my mind because it's not like this card doesn't do a great job pushing 1080p at good framerates.

It does, but other cards in this price range can simply do it better. This card's MSRP needs to be much closer to the RX 6600's for this card to be worth considering, all things being equal. Honestly, this could have been a great graphics card for budget builders and esports fans, but given that you lose literally nothing by going for an RTX 3060 Ti (at MSRP, mind you) over this card, we can't really recommend this card except on a case by case basis. If you can't find anything else at this price, definitely consider it, but just make sure you double check prices on other cards before committing.

AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT: Price and availability

An AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much is it? MSRP starting at $399 (about £319, AU$575)
  • When is it out? It is available now
  • Where can you get it? You can buy it in the US, UK, Australia, and elsewhere. 

The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT is available now in the US, UK, and Australia, as well as other regions around the world.

AMD lists its suggested MSRP at $399 (about £319, AU$575). This is obviously just a suggested price, Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, and all the rest are free to build up more features and cooling solutions to whatever price they want. You will rarely, if ever, see a third-party manufacturer underprice its card against AMD or Nvidia reference cards oor suggested MSRPs, so it's safe to consider this the price floor for the time being.

How the graphics card market will progress as we head into the next generation of hardware is anyone's guess, but it's probably a good thing that the RX 6650 XT launched so late in the generation cycle, because it might not be too long before the next-gen becomes current-gen and AMD RDNA 3 cards cause RDNA 2 to fall in price. 

For some RDNA 2 cards, like the model in our AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT review, the expected price drop will make those cards a real bargain. The RX 6650 XT will probably just drop down to what it should have been at the start, however, but if it ever falls to around the $300/£240/AU$420, then it will definitely be worth giving it another look.

  • Value: 1.5/5

AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT: Design and chipset

An AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card

(Image credit: Future)
  • Excellent design
  • Onboard OC switch
  • Excellent cooling

So, let's talk about what the card actually does well. The model we reviewed is the Asus ROG Strix AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT, which looks great, especially when compared to the boring AMD reference card design.

Asus ROG Strix AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT key specs

GPU: Navi23
Stream Processors: 2,048
Ray Accelerators:
32
TGP: 176W
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
Bandwith:
280.3 GB/s
Outputs:
1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
Power connector: 
1 x 8-pin
Recommended PSU: 650W

It doesn't take a whole lot of risks with the design, and is fairly straight forward aesthetically, but it has enough character that it'll fit in well with your rig.

The biggest design win here though is the metal backplate on the card. In addition to helping protect the PCB, it also helps radiate off excess heat, which thanks to the two large 100mm fans on the front, this card does very well. 

It's power draw isn't insignificant, but it's modest as far as graphics cards go, and so the design of the card from front to back does a good job at keeping things relatively cool. The fans also aren't obnoxiously loud, which everyone can appreciate.

There is a switch on the back that allows you to set the card to performance mode or quiet mode, depending on your needs, and mercifully, you only need your standard 8-pin connector to provide the necessary power.

The RX 6650 XT has enough ports to output to up to four displays, and the RGB along the card's spine in the Asus ROG Strix logo is enough to add some personalization without being a distraction.

All in all, it's a decent enough looking card and it's got some objectively good features that really recommend it.

As far as the chipset goes, this card features a budget-oriented Navi23 GPU, which has 32 streaming multiprocessors, split further into 2,048 stream processors, and includes 32 Ray Accelerators. This is identical to the GPU in the RX 6600 XT, though the clock speeds on the RX 6650 XT are slightly higher.

The base clock on the RX 6650 XT is about 6.2% faster than the RX 6600 XT, with the boost clock running about 3.33% faster than the RX 6600 XT. On the memory side, the RX 6650 XT's memory speed of 2,190 MHz beats out the RX 6600XT's memory speed of 2,000 MHz by about 9.5%, which increases the overall memory bandwidth by roughly that same amount.

By comparison, the RTX 3060 Ti's GPU features 38 streaming multiprocessors (SMs), which in turn add up to 4,864 CUDA cores. While it's very hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison between Nvidia's CUDA cores and AMD's Stream Processors, the RTX 3060 Ti has about 20% more SMs to process integer and floating-point calculations, and in the end it's performance is at least that much better across nearly every workload we've tested.

Add in the 152 tensor and 38 ray tracing cores in the RTX 3060 Ti, the former of which perform advanced matrix, multidimensional multiplication that greatly speeds up some critical calculations, the RTX 3060 Ti simply has more to offer in terms of baseline hardware.

  • Design: 3.5

AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT: Performance

An AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card

(Image credit: Future)
  • Good 1080p performance
  • Creative workflows aren't so good

The AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT is an improvement over the card that its replacing, the RX 6600 XT, coming with some slightly faster clock speeds across the GPU and memory, and this does translate into a boost for performance.

Test system specs

This is the system we used to test the AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
CPU Cooler: Corsair iCue H150i Elite Capellix 360mm AIO
RAM: 32GB Corsair Vengeance LED DDR4-3200
Motherboard: Gigabyte Aorus Master X570 (BIOS F36c)
SSD: Samsung 980 Pro 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Corsair AX1000
Case: Praxis Wetbench

Let's just get out of the way upfront that the creative benchmarks were not impressive, so if you're a creative you really do need to be looking at the best Nvidia GeForce graphics cards right now. The issue is AMD cards don't have tensor cores, and tensor cores are the part of a GPU that perform very advanced matrix multiplications and which are heavily utilized in things like rendering, ray tracing, and applying filters to an image.

Without tensor cores, the RX 6650 XT isn't even in the same league as the lowest level RTX GPU on the creative side.

Against other AMD cards, the RX 6650 RT loses out to the RX 6700 XT pretty handily, and is more or less within the margin of error with the RX 6600 XT in terms of synthetic benchmark scores. When it comes to gaming, there just isn't an appreciable difference at 1080p between the RX 6650 XT and the RX 6600 XT. And this, fundamentally, is the problem.

AMD is getting rid of the RX 6600 XT in favor of the RX 6650 XT, but those slightly improved clock speeds just dont translate to much of anything in practical terms. You're still going to pay more for the privilege though, and it really does make it hard to justify this card's existence this late in the generation and given the current state of the graphics card market.

  • Performance: 3.5/5

Should you buy an AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT?

An AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT graphics card

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

It's the best card you can find
The RX 6650 XT is overpriced, but that doesn't mean it isn't excellent at what it does. Other cards in this price range simply offer more value, but if you can't find any of those, the RX 6650 XT is a decent card if you don't mind overpaying for it.

You want solid 1080p performance
The RX 6650 XT does an admirable job of pushing out 1080p graphics at good framerates.

Don’t buy it if…

You can get an RTX 3060, RTX 3060 Ti, or better
These two graphics cards have included some egregious pricing before, and might be much more expensive than the RX 6650 XT at some retail outlets. But if you can buy an RTX 3060 or better instead of the RX 6650 XT, we'd lean you towards that rather than buy this one.

You need to run creative workloads
Creative workloads will run on the RX 6650 XT, but they won't run very well, making the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti a much better value for creative workload performance.

Also consider

(opens in new tab)

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti isn't the most powerful graphics card out there, but its price-to-performance ratio is outstanding. It might be harder to find than the RX 6650 XT though, even if it is ultimately worth the wait.

Read the full Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti review (opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)

AMD Radeon RX 6600
If you're looking for a much more reasonably priced (MSRP) graphics card, the AMD Radeon RX 6600 is about as good as you're going to get for a card that works well at 1080p.

Read the full AMD Radeon RX 6600 review (opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is a good bit more expensive than the RX 6650 XT, but you get a lot more for that price as a result. If you are willing to drop an entire paycheck on a new GPU (especially if you're on a tight budget – but want it to actually be decent – the RX 6700 XT is much more worth investing in.

Read the full AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT review (opens in new tab)


First reviewed in May 2022

John Loeffler
John Loeffler

John (He/Him) is the US Computing Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 


Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn


Currently playing: EVE Online, Elden Ring.