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:
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.