Best RX 6800 XT Graphics Card

Looking for a good high-end graphics card? The AMD RX 6800 XT is a great GPU with a lot to offer. Here's a guide showing the best RX 6800 graphics card.

During the last quarter of 2020, AMD released three very competitive high-end graphics cards onto the market.

The RX 6800, a $579 contender against NVIDIA’s RTX 3070. The RX 6900 XT, a $1000 rival to NVIDIA’s $1500 RTX 3090. However, the most interesting release was and still is the RX 6800 XT. For just $650 it competes against the RTX 3080, which is priced at $700.

Overall, the card is pretty good and it beats the 3080 in terms of raw rasterization. It is a clear win while playing games that don’t have any ray tracing features.

It is the obvious choice for many people, but less obvious is which aftermarket RX 6800 XT is the leader for performance and cooling. Should you choose ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, or Sapphire?

There are several choices out there and, to help you out, we have compiled this list of the best RX 6800 XT graphics cards.

Related:Best RX 6900 XT Graphics Card

Table of ContentsShow

The Pros:

  • New design style on the market
  • One of the best overclocking RX 6800 XTs

The Cons:

  • Unjustified price premium

ASRock is a name that you will rarely hear or see when it comes to graphics cards. This is mainly because ASRock is popular for its motherboards and the company only became AMD’s AIB partner in 2018.

In comparison, brands such as ASUS, MSI, and Sapphire have been working with AMD (previously ATI) for decades.

However, just because ASRock is the youngest member does not mean they can’t deliver a good product. Who knows, perhaps the RX 6800 XT Taichi X might be the best of the bunch.

Pricing

The reference design of the RX 6800 XT costs $650. That is a pretty good deal, considering that it easily trades blows with the $700 RTX 3080.

However, the RX 6800 XT Taichi X is placed on a completely different price level. Its MSRP is $830, $180 more than AMD originally specified for this card.

This is unacceptable. However, ASRock has slapped this kind of price premium on their flagship 6800 XT because of the current state of the GPU market. Keep in mind that the situation might have changed when you are reading this, so the Taichi X could be a more attractive option.

Design

The design of the Taichi X has been updated from the previous generation. It is less aggressive but still has a daring style on the front.

The first thing you might notice with this card is the fact that it is huge. It’s both long and wide.

It receives the standard triple-fan treatment and those fans are transparent. That is something that we don’t see often in the current industry.

The middle fan is surrounded by a silver cogwheel-like element. This cogwheel visual is something that you can see regularly on ASRock products. The middle fan is also the only one that has RGB lighting.

The side has some unique RGB lighting, which is nice to see. Not your typical RGB logo.

There is nothing too interesting on the backplate in terms of design. It’s black without any over-the-top branding. It’s also metal and there are thermal pads under it.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

The advertised boost clock is 2360 MHz, but that is not what the benchmarking and gaming results have shown. The Taichi X comfortably exceeds 2360 MHz during heavy 3D loads. The clocks spike up to 2450 MHz but then stabilize back to about 2400 MHz.

So far, this looks pretty good for the youngest AIB partner. Well, ASRock didn’t stop there. The OC headroom also leaves a good impression.

Users have comfortably pushed above the 2650 MHz threshold which is something only a few other models have accomplished. It is one of the better RX 6800 XT OC cards. If you are an OC enthusiast, the Taichi X may be your best bet.

Thermals

The thermals don’t look too bad either. In fact, they are pretty competitive.

With the default BIOS active, temperatures hover around 73°C. To put that into perspective, the alternatives from Sapphire, XFX, and PowerColor are either at the same level or above it.

By enabling the “Quiet BIOS”, the average temperature stays the same, but the noise levels drop considerably. There is only 31 dBA max system noise with the “Quiet BIOS”.

The Pros:

  • Balanced pricing
  • Okay cooling

The Cons:

  • Might not fit in every case considering the 340 mm length
  • Unnecessary branding on the back

XFX is one of AMD’s older AIB partners and they have been pretty consistent with their products throughout the years.

This is XFX’s flagship card and the name is a bit of a mouthful: the RX 6800 XT Speedster Merc 319 Black. Not exactly the easiest name to remember.

The Merc is a successor of the RX 5700 XT THICC III that was released back in 2019.

The original version of the THICC lacked in every aspect. XFX received a lot of strong criticism for its lack of quality control with the THICC. In response, XFX revised their custom card twice which ultimately led to the final version, THICC III. The last version finally performed as well as it should.

As this RX 6800 XT Merc is based on that final version, good cooling is expected.

Pricing

It’s priced at $150 above the official price of the RX 6800 XT, coming in at $800. This is a pretty big price hike but, considering Taichi X’s pricing and some of the other custom cards on the market, it’s not too unexpected.

Nobody should support this kind of price inflation. However, if you are in dire need of a GPU, you might have no other choice but to buy one.

Design

The design is pretty similar to the THICC III, but it is a bit simpler. It’s still pretty chunky. It’s 340 mm long and weighs over 1800 grams.

The major difference is that the shroud around the fans is made of metal instead of cheap-looking plastic. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will improve cooling, but metal instead of plastic is always nice to see. It suggests higher quality.

There is nothing too interesting on the front of the GPU, just three fans with minimal visuals on the shroud.

On the side, there is “Radeon RX 6800 XT” branding and an XFX logo. All of this is enhanced by RGB lighting, which is a nice addition.

There is huge “MERC” writing slapped on the backplate which is overkill, but at least it’s white-colored and doesn’t look too out of place.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

The factory boost clock is rated at 2340 MHz which is pretty similar to the ASRock variant and almost 100 MHz above the reference card.

This is nothing too crazy but, once you start demanding heavy loads on this GPU, it starts pushing toward 2500 MHz. Although it never quite reaches the 2.5 GHz mark, the peaks do approach that. Once it heats up, the frequency stabilizes at around 2450 MHz.

Just like the Taichi X, the RX 6800 XT Speedster Merc 319 Black can be overclocked up to 2650 MHz. That’s probably the average of what this GPU can achieve with custom OC. If you are lucky, you might go even further beyond that.

Thermals

Again, this is pretty similar to the Taichi X. With either BIOS, the GPU stabilizes at around 73-75 °C. Maximum system noise at full load doesn’t exceed 31 dBA.

These temperatures are not ideal, but that isn’t on the AIB brands because the RX 6800 XT already runs at that temperature overall. However, the noise levels seem pretty good. The fans rarely spin up over 1200 RPM which is always great to see.

The Pros:

  • Best cost per frame
  • Solid cooling and noise levels
  • Only 310 mm long

The Cons:

  • No major cons

AMD’s longest-running GPU manufacturing partner Sapphire is back yet again with Pulse and Nitro+ variants, but this time for the RX 6000 series. The RX 6800 XT Nitro+ earns a spot on this list because it is overall a better option than the Pulse variant even though it is more expensive.

Given all the positive user and professional reviews for the RX 6800 and RX 6900 XT Nitro+, good performance is also expected from this one.

Pricing

The RX 6800 XT Nitro+ enters the market at a cost of $770. That’s $120 higher than the reference card but still a bit lower than the Speedster Merc and Taichi X.

If you want more RGB, you also have the option to choose the Special Edition of the Nitro+ which comes with RGB fans. That will cost you $30 more.

Overall, the pricing seems better than other offers on the market, but let’s see if saving $30 over the Speedster or $60 over ASRock’s variant is worth it.

Design

The design of the Nitro+ can’t be ignored: a triple-fan GPU with silver accents in all the right places. This is nothing as flashy as you would see from a STRIX or AORUS card, but it looks great.

The cooler shroud is made of plastic. That’s a trend we see frequently these days, but using plastic cuts down on the overall weight (and cost) of the GPU, so it makes sense. Either way, a metal shroud wouldn’t change much in terms of cooling.

You get some RGB on the side and also on the back. There’s also an ARGB header on the backplate. You can use this to synchronize the graphics card with all the other ARGB LEDs in your case.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

The rated boost clock is 2360 MHz with the default BIOS. If you don’t care about the few extra frames from the factory OC, you can switch to the other (quiet) BIOS that has a frequency of 2285 MHz.

Nothing unusual happens when you give it a heavy gaming task to handle. Clocks do jump up to 2500 MHz but they quickly stabilize back to around 2380 MHz which is very close to the advertised clock speeds.

Fortunately, there is some headroom to push the core clock even further. With the power limit increased, it’s possible to hit an average of 2600 MHz or more.

The in-game performance gains might not be worth it as both temps and noise levels will increase considerably. Keep in mind that this applies to any RX 6800 XT model.

Thermals

For some reason, previous Sapphire graphics cards didn’t have the “Fan Stop” feature that many other brands have been offering for years. Fortunately, Sapphire has finally added that feature to their Pulse and Nitro+ lineup.

Temperatures look pretty good, averaging around 75°C with the default BIOS and 76°C with the quiet BIOS. Total system noise stays at around 30 dBA.

This is a few degrees hotter than the XFX and ASRock variants, but the Nitro+ is still pretty quiet. If you want lower temperatures, you can always play around with the fan curve.

The Pros:

  • Superior cooling
  • Good factory overclock
  • Nice RGB solution

The Cons:

  • Huge price premium

MSI GPUs seem to end up on almost every “Best aftermarket cards” article and with good reason. Their Gaming X Trio cooling solution works perfectly for any GPU. It’s quiet and very efficient at cooling, allowing for better factory overclocks.

Again, MSI wins a spot on this list. The RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio looks promising, so let’s see what it can offer to PC enthusiasts.

Pricing

Usually, MSI’s Gaming X Trio cards don’t come with a huge price premium over the reference card, but it looks like that may not be the case this time around. There is no official information regarding the MSRP, but reviewers are claiming an $850 price tag.

That makes it the second most expensive RX 6800 XT AIB model in this article.

Considering these prices, the Sapphire Nitro+ quickly becomes a more attractive option. First, let’s see what MSI has to offer.

Design

The Gaming X Trio is 324 mm long, making it just a little shorter than Taichi X and the Speedster Merc. That’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, MSI’s design choices are pretty good. It uses a triple-fan setup with a couple of silver accents on the shroud.

There is an RGB stripe across the edge of the GPU and an RGB logo under it.

There is nothing too notable on the back except a logo of the famous MSI dragon.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

Ignoring the advertised 2285 MHz clock speed, the GPU reaches an average of 2340 MHz in demanding games such as Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, etc.

The overclocking headroom is pretty similar to most of the other AIB models. Expect an OC of around 2.6 GHz.

Thermals

This is where the RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio beats the competition. Temperatures drop down to 67°C with a max system noise of 32 dBA. This is about six degrees cooler than the Taichi X, which is the second-coolest card on this list.

Which RX 6800 XT Is For You?

The four GPUs listed above are all great cards, but which one is the best for you?

Well, if you are looking for good price-to-performance, the Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT Nitro+ is the obvious choice. It easily secures the Best Value award. It’s cheaper while still offering the same level of cooling and overclocking as any other RX 6800 XT variant.

For those that are looking for the best performance, get the MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio. It deserves the Best Overall award as it performs well in every aspect. It has a solid factory overclock, the best cooling solution we’ve seen, good RGB lighting, and acceptable OC headroom.

Of course, both the Speedster Merc and ASRock’s Taichi X are great cards, which is why they belong on this list. If either of these two catches your eye, you should go for it.

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.