If you want maximum graphics power on your PC, you have two options—the AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti. You may think AMD users should get the AMD GPU, while Intel users must pick Nvidia. However, it's not that simple.

Manufacturers go out of their way to ensure that their chips are compatible with the widest possible market. So, to get the best possible graphics performance out of your PC, you have to look at the GPU itself.

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To help you with that, let's compare the 6950 XT and 3090 Ti today.

RX 6950 XT vs. RTX 3090 Ti: Compare the Hardware

As with any comparison, you should start with the basics: look at the spec sheet. These are what the respective cards are packing on their printed circuit boards.

GPUAMD Radeon RX 6950 XTNvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti
ArchitectureRDNA 2.0Ampere
Process Size7 nm8 nm
Base Clock (GHz)1.91.6
Boost Clock (GHz)2.31.9
Shaders5120 Stream Processors10752 CUDA Cores
VRAM16GB GDDR624GB GDDR6X
Memory Bus256-Bit384-Bit
Bandwidth576 GB/s1,008 GB/s
Ray Tracing Cores8084
Tensor Cores-336
L3 Cache (MB)128MB-
Pixel Rate (GP/s)297.5 GPixel/s208.3 GPixel/s
Texture Rate (GT/s)743.7 GTexel/s625.0 GTexel/s
FP32 (Float) Performance (TFLOPS)23.8040.00
Bus InterfacePCIe 4.0 x16PCIe 4.0 x16
Graphics Card Power Requirement (Watts)335450
Slots1x HDMI 2.1, 2x DisplayPort 1.4a1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
Launch Date10 May 202227 January 2022
SRPUS$ 1,099.00US$ 1,999.00

On paper, the two cards are neck and neck. AMD has a marginally better GPU processor, with a smaller process node and higher clock speeds, thus resulting in better pixel and texture rates. But Nvidia's 3090 Ti has more than 100% more shaders, 50% more VRAM, and double the memory bandwidth. This lets it handle more TFLOPs, allowing it to catch up with AMD's superior processor.

But if you look at their prices, you'll find that the 3090 Ti is almost double the price of the 6950 XT. So, will the performance difference justify the former's price premium?

RX 6950 XT vs. RTX 3090 Ti: Real-World Performance

Of course, all the numbers mean nothing if the GPU can't translate that into FPS. So, let's compare their actual gaming benchmarks. TechSpot ran both the RX 6950 XT and RTX 3090 Ti with a Ryzen 7 5800X3D and 32GB Dual-Channel DDR4-3200 CL14 on an Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme motherboard.

When looking at the numbers, you'll see the RX 6950 XT's faster processor marginally beats Nvidia when working with 1080p Full HD resolutions, with a 4% performance gain over the latter. But since 1440p has 78% more pixels than 1080p, while 4K uses 400% more data, you'll see the RTX 3090 Ti's larger and better memory overtake the former.

Game TitleSettingsAverage Frame Rate (FPS)Performance Difference
AMD Radeon RX 6950 XTNvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction1080p, Very High309302-7%
1440p, Very High20622216%
4K, Very High9812527%
Watch Dogs: Legion1080p, Very High168148-20%
1440p, Very High147131-16%
4K, Very High8886-2%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider1080p, Highest201191-10%
1440p, Highest153149-4%
4K, Highest87947%
The Outer Worlds1080p, Ultra2132163%
1440p, Ultra15717316%
4K, Ultra8610519%
F1 20211080p, Ultra High18420016%
1440p, Ultra High13915415%
4K, Ultra High779215%
Average Performance1080p215211.4-4%
1440p160.4165.85%
4K87.2100.413%
Overall Average154.2159.25%

RX 6950 XT vs. RTX 3090 Ti: Power Consumption

Nvidia's top-end offering uses 115 more watts than AMD's competitor. This difference is substantial, with the 6950 XT requiring an average of 2.17 watts per frame, compared to the 3090 Ti's 2.83. The AMD GPU is far more efficient, allowing you to use a PSU with a lower rating.

Nevertheless, if you're upgrading from the last generation top-end cards, namely the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, you still might have to upgrade your PSU. That's because both these cards only require around 250 watts, which is far less than AMD's 335- and Nvidia's 450-watt requirement.

When you look at each card's price, you'll see that Nvidia charges a thousand-dollar premium over the RX 6950 XT. It's 80% more expensive than the AMD GPU and requires 25% more electricity, making it more expensive to run. But, it only delivers a paltry 5% average performance gain.

Nevertheless, actual prices usually differ from what the manufacturer suggests. Even though cryptocurrency crashes have made GPUs far more accessible and affordable than in the previous two years, they're still mighty expensive.

If you look at Newegg, you'll find the Asus TUF Gaming AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT OC Edition priced at $1,645.41, which is nearly 50% higher than suggested. However, the Asus TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti OC Edition is now available at $1,949.99—$50 less than SRP. The crypto crashes probably brought this price drop, so let's hope the RX 6950 XT's price follows soon.

Nevertheless, looking at current prices, the 3090 Ti is still 18% more expensive than the 6950 XT, which is still a disappointment considering it only gives 5% more FPS.

Is 5% Worth $900?

The massive price difference between AMD and Nvidia makes the 6950 XT the sensible choice. But if you have an unlimited budget and only want the best, you should go for the 3090 Ti. Its massive memory advantage will give the best possible performance, especially as we get screens with 8K resolution and more.

Nevertheless, when you're only working with a specific budget and want to get other expensive parts and peripherals, the 6950 XT is definitely more than enough for most gamers' needs.