The AMD RX 7600 Reference card is the first GPU for Radeon to release in the RDNA 3 family since last winter’s launch of the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT. Targeting a mix of high and ultra settings at 1080p, the RX 7600 Reference card aims to be a competitive and compelling upgrade for those who are still using years-old GPUs. At $269, does the RX 7600 Reference achieve this, though?
- Architecture: RDNA 3
- Manufacturing Process: 6nm
- Transistor Count: 13.3 billion
- Die Size: 204 mm squared
- Compute Units: 32
- Ray Accelerators: 32
- AI Accelerators: 64
- Stream Processors: 2048
- Game GPU Clock: 2250 MHz
- Boost GPU Clock: Up to 2625 MHz
- Peak Single Precision Perf: Up to 21.75 TFLOPS
- Peak Half Precision Perf: Up to 43.5 TFLOPS
- Peak Texture Fill-Rate: Up to 339.8 GT/s
- ROPs: 64
- Peak Pixel Fill-Rate: Up to 169.9 GP/s
- AMD Infinity Cache: 32 MB (2nd Generation)
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- Memory Speed: 18 Gbps
- Effective Memory Bandwidth w/ AMd Infinity Cache: Up to 476.9 GB/s
- Memory Bus Interface: 128-bit
- PCIe Interface: PCIe 4.0 x8
- Recommended PSU: 550 W
- Total Board Power: 165 W
- 3 x DisplayPort 2.1
- 1 x HDMI 2.1
- Price: $269 SEP
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference - First Thoughts And Design
The AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference takes the same design language from its more expensive RDNA brothers and pares it down to a smaller package. It was refreshing to see a smaller GPU box hit the doorstep this time, and I realy love the packaging by AMD here. It’s minimalistic, fits easily on a shelf, and lifting that box and revealing the AMD GPU on a cardboard pedestal is a nice experience.
The RX 7600 Reference card has the same muted gunmetal grey body with the Radeon Red trim down the heatsink fins on the side. The GPU only sports two of the RDNA3’s fans, and it doesn’t have any of the lighting that its 7900 XTX older brother has as standard. I do like the more muted aesthetic of the 7000-series GPUs, but I do have to say I really miss the aggressive Radeon design on the 6000-series Reference cards.
It’s also fairly thin, which I and those with smaller, compact cases will appreciate in the long run. The AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference comes with just a standard 8-pin connector to the PSU, no need for fancy adapter cables and is rated for a total board power of just 165 watts. The RX 7600 also sports the I/O features of the RDNA 3 family of GPUs, from its DisplayPort 2.1 as well as HDMI 2.1a connectors. The AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference model also comes equipped with the hardware AVI encoder to give more power to content creators and streamers, and is a welcome touch.
Based on AMD’s new chiplet design, which we talk a bit more in detail in our review of the Radeon RX 7900 XTX and 7900 XT review, the Radeon RX 7600 Reference has the same 32 compute units as its more powerful siblings, sporting AMD’s second generation of Ray Accelerators to provide better ray tracing performance over its RDNA 2 cousins. Additionally, the RX 7600 Reference has access to 32MB of AMD’s second generation Infinity Cache, which AMD states that when equipped with the 128-bit memory bus on the GPU, it can deliver an effective bandwidth of 476.9 GB/s.
This will be key as AMD is only equipping the RX 7600 Reference boards with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, something that has shown to be somewhat limiting even at 1080p in today’s gaming applications. Techniques like AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution are also supported and can provide a performance uplift for games that feature the technology. This could help the GPU punch above its weight class today, and even make up some of that headroom when 8GB could start showing its age.
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference Synthetics and Gaming Benchmarks
The AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference aims to provide high-fidelity 1080p gaming and a compelling upgrade path to those using older 1080p-focused cards. We put it through its paces in a variety of tests, both with regular rasterized titles as well as ray tracing applications.
In our tests we push all the settings to the ultra preset, though it should be noted that AMD’s own reviewer’s guide benchmarks submit that in some applications to hit that 60 fps benchmark a mix of high and ultra might be needed. We push them to see what the worst-case scenario is in terms of performance and where there might be wiggle room to eke out more FPS if the highest graphics settings aren’t compelling to you as a consumer, especially at this price range.
That said, while the RX 7600 is aimed at 1080p users, we also tested the titles at 1440p to see if there was any wiggle room for pushing the resolution for users in today’s games. Our tests range from various game engines, ray tracing techniques, and more aiming to give a broad view of gaming applications.
Where we could, we used in-game benchmark tests (Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker) to provide the most consistent result possible. In games with no benchmark tool, we would play a repeatable path through the game world, attempting to push the limits of the card in as consistent a run as possible. This involved swinging through the same streets in Miles Morales, playing through the very beginning of the game, or running around Prydwyn in New World and the surrounding jungle in a circuit, fighting some of the large cats in the area to give a real-world test. For The Witcher 3, we ran a predefined path around the city of Oxenfurt, passing over the Pontar to highlight reflections, transparencies, and more.
For ray tracing applications, we tested every resolution using reconstruction as the vast majority of users will not run ray tracing without some sort of image reconstruction going on. This means our tests include numbers for both DLSS 2 and DLSS 3 for Nvidia cards, AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution and Intel’s XeSS.
While many users will be upgrading from either a GTX 1060 or RTX 2060 GPU, which are highly popular cards on the Steam Survey, we, unfortunately, did not have those in our bench that we could test. As such, we tested the 30-series Nvidia cards, the RX 6600 family of AMD, and the Intel A750 Limited Edition GPU.
The AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference can also theoretically benefit from using AMD’s Smart Access Memory when paired with a compatible Ryzen CPU. Our bench, however, is equipped with an Intel CPU so this is not something we can test on our end. It should be noted that it has been proven to boost performance when utilized. For more information, check out GamersNexus’ coverage here.
For more details about our bench, check out our full article breaking it down.
You can check out our full post about our test bench and the various parts we’ve chosen to put GPUs and other PC hardware through their paces. Here it is broken down for quick reference:
- CPU: Intel i9-13900K
- Motherboard: MSI MPG Carbon Wifi Z790
- RAM: XPG DDR5 32GB RAM @ 5200Mhz
- Cooling: Corsair H150i Elite LCD 360mm Liquid Cooler
- Storage: Intel 760p 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD; Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
- PSU: Gigabyte P1200 80+ 1200W Platinum
- Case: ASUS ROG Strix Helios
Nvidia Cards Included:
- EVGA Nvidia RTX 3060 XC Black
- Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founder’s Edition
- Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti 8GB Founder’s Edition
A note on our testing: During the course of our testing of the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference card, we experienced some weird results that didn’t quite make sense. Speaking with AMD over the weekend, we determined it might have been partly due to a corrupted driver installation, or driver files not fully being cleaned from our bench when we would use DDU to uninstall and replace the GPU.
As a result, we did a fresh install of Windows 11 on our machine, as well as a reinstall of the beta driver for the 7600. This rectified the issue, however, Hitman 3 still experienced strange results that we are attempting to diagnose with AMD. As such, we removed those results from our testing until we can have the same confidence and repeatable verified results consistent with the rest of our test suite. We’ll update this review if and when we hear back from AMD.
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference Synthetic Benchmarks
We used 3DMark’s suite of synthetic tests to push each GPU in DirectX 11, DirectX 12 and ray tracing workloads.
In Firestrike’s 1080p DX11 test, we see the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference card take a solid position over its RDNA 2 cousins, as well as sitting atop the Ampere-based Nvidia competition. The more expensive Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti 8GB Founder’s Edition only beats it out here in its overall score, but only by 7% for 48% more money.
TimeSpy’s DX12 workload sees the RX 7600 take fourth place here, with both the Nvidia 4060 Ti and 3060 Ti beat it out, while the Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition takes a solid second place among the results. The RX 7600 shows improvement compared to RDNA 2 cards, though.
But synthetic tests don’t tell the whole story. How does the RX 7600 fare in gaming workloads?
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference Gaming Benchmarks
Positioned as a 1080p performer, the RX 7600 bears that out quite well here. In each of our tests we’re seeing frame rates above 60fps when maxing out settings as far as we can, including in demanding titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition.
In our testing we even see the $269 RX 7600 take top billing at 1080p in Miles Morales, seeing an average of 140fps in our benchmarking pass compared with Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti 8GB’s 121fps average - a 15% increase for the cheaper RDNA 3 card.
Compared with the AMD 6600-series of GPUs in our bench, we see why AMD is positioning this against the entry-level RX 6600 instead of the more powerful RX 6600 XT. While the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference still comes out on top with both cards, the results are closer between the 6600 XT and the 7600 itself.
While not positioned as a 1440p card, we took a look at how 1440p performance here scales on the RX 7600 Reference board. And it also fares pretty well in most games, sitting at a 66fps average across all of the titles we tested. However, this is where we start to see some issues, especially as graphics are tuned as high as they can.
However, despite it not being a 1440p-marketed card, the Radeon RX 7600 Reference still sees a respectable 54fps average in Cyberpunk 2077, the most demanding game in our bench. Final Fantay XIV: Endwalker sits at 101fps average, 27% faster than the PowerColor AMD Radeon RX 6600 Fighter in our suite. However, the RTX 3060 Ti Founder’s Edition claws a small victory on average across the board, sitting 2% faster than the RX 7600 on average across our 1440p tests, while the RTX 4060 Ti 8GB has a larger margin at 18% faster across the board.
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference Ray Tracing Synthetic And Gaming Benchmarks
While AMD is careful to not really position the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference as a ray tracing powerhouse, it does have the capability to leverage ray tracing workloads should you decide to do so.
In our Port Royal test in 3DMark, the RX 7600 Reference is the top of the AMD stack, but falls short of the RTX 3060 Ti, as well as Intel’s A750 Limited Edition GPU - a $239 card right now on the market.
In our ray tracing tests, the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference does hold an edge at 1080p over its RDNA 2 cousins. The RX 7600 with its second generation of ray accelerators on the RDNA 3 chiplet GPU see the newer card hold an 11% edge over the PowerColor RX 6600 Fighter on average, while the lead is cut a smidge over the MSI RX 6600 XT Gaming X to just 6%.
In games like Miles Morales, it maintains a 61fps average while using the highest preset and FSR 2.1 Performance. However, both the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti beat it out on average, with the 12GB EVGA RTX 3060 Black XC seeing a 34% increase in performance (82fps vs 61fps), while the RTX 3060 Ti Founder’s Edition enjoys an 8% increase in performance on average in the webslinging game.
Compared to the RTX 4060 Ti 8GB’s third generation of ray tracing performance, the more expensive GPU, with frame generation turned off, still enjoys a 45% performance uplift on average at 1080p versus the RX 7600.
At 1440p, the limitations bear out a bit here, with none of our titles at max settings hitting a 60fps average. However, compared with cards like the Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition, we see a 106% increase in performance on average, and the gap for the RX 6600 widens to 37% in favor of the new RDNA 3 board.
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference Thermals and Acoustics
Despite the card not pushing a ton of power through the board, the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference got pretty warm under load. In our testing, the RDNA 3 board reached a peak temperature of 78 degrees Celsius in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. While not dangerously high in GPU terms, it’s a bit hotter than I think I expected to see, especially since we’re not pushing pixel counts through the roof on the card.
However, like RDNA 2 before it, the latest architecture by AMD can push clock speeds up quite high, higher than its rated boost GPU clocks. In our Miles Morales 1080p RT pass we saw a peak clock speed of 2923MHz - much higher than the rated boost clock of up to 2625 MHz.
In these moments too, the RX 7600 became noticeably loud, even through my Sennheiser HD58X headphones. Radeon Chill helps to calm this down, especially in-game menus when framerates can ramp to uncomfortable levels, but during gameplay, it was noticeably loud for a card of this size.
AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference Final Thoughts And Conclusion
So what do we make of all this? On average, the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference performs well at 1080p, which fits the bill AMD is trying to sell. In their review materials, they claim that the newer card is 29% faster on average at 1080p native raster compared to the RX 6600 - and our testing bears that out pretty much exactly.
Compared to the competition, though, the results are bit more mixed. The RX 7600 is about 20% on average faster than the EVGA RTX 3060 Black XC in our bench, but it only holds a 1.9% edge over the RTX 3060 Ti - well within the margin of error.
However, it’s impressive compared to the newly released and more expensive RTX 4060 Ti 8GB Founder’s Edition, which only holds an 8% lead on average for 48% more money.
Compared to the less expensive Intel card in our suite, the RX 7600 also comes out looking good with a 28% on average lead over the A750 Limited Edition.
At 1440p, the card still fares pretty well, though that 28% lead over Intel shrinks to a 12% edge. However, the AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference still holds quite the edge over the RX 6600, siting about 24% faster despite costing less at launch.
Ray tracing applications start to show the weaknesses of the Radeon RX 7600 in our bench. Here we see Nvidia take commanding leads across the board, while the RX 7600 is only 6% faster than the RX 6600 XT and 11% faster than the RX 6600.
The 8GB VRAM limit also cannot be ignored here. While AMD makes a point to remind users that many players are gaming on older GPUs that have either 8GB of VRAM currently or lower, part of the reason is that there just haven’t been very many cards targeting 1080p that have been released with more VRAM.
That said, in our testing of the RX 7600 Reference, I noticed throughout some of the telltale signs that 8GB might not be feasible long term, especially as the ultra graphics of today become more middling graphic presets of games in a few years.
In Miles Morales especially, since this is a bench that I have to control, I noticed more frequent stutter during gameplay, as well as textures that just failed to load, causing large swathes of New York to look like a blurry mess at times.
Ray tracing applications are also hogs of VRAM as the game uses it for its BVH structures. Those BVH structures request the same amount of VRAM regardless of render resolution - whether you’re playing at 1080p or 4K.
As a result, while the RX 7600 might be good enough for the most part right now, I do question how feasible it’ll be for gamers three years from now. Given that many gamers don’t upgrade their GPUs every year, especially with this price range, there could be issues for those who look to upgrade now down the road.
That said, the price feels right for the performance, especially if the higher GPU prices of this generation have been keeping you holding onto that GTX 1060 or RX 5600 GPU from yesteryear. If max settings are the most compelling thing either, this card has some legs, even with ray tracing.
For the science, I ran the same Cyberpunk 2077 benchmark, but instead with console-grade RT settings, which the RX 7600 Reference netted over 60fps. Tweaking some settings further could net even more gains - and I think that is key here.
The AMD Radeon RX 7600 Reference isn’t being marketed as a card that can do purely max settings gaming at its target resolution in all applications - and I think that’s the right approach. That mix of high and sometimes ultra settings helps the sub-$300 card really perform, and while I’m not the biggest fan of the image quality of FSR 2, it does help smooth out framerates even more to give more gains.
All in all, the AMD RX 7600 Reference is a solid 1080p performer that feels priced well enough to consider that upgrade if you’ve been hanging onto old RDNA cards or even Nvidia counterparts. While I have questions about its long-term life with its 8GB of VRAM, it’s a solid upgrade path for those looking for an option under $300.