Best RX 6800 XT Graphics Card

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

The RX 6800, a $579 contender against NVIDIA’s RTX 3070. The RX 6900 XT, a $1000 contender against NVIDIA’s $1500 RTX 3090. But, the most interesting release was and still is the RX 6800 XT. For just $650 it hits hard 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 in games that don’t have any ray tracing features.

It is the obvious choice for many people, but what is not obvious is which aftermarket RX 6800 XT is the leader in performance and cooling. Should you go for ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, or Sapphire?

There are a lot of choices out there and to help you out, we have created 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 one of those names that you wouldn’t regularly hear or see when it comes to graphics cards. Mostly because ASRock is popular for their motherboards and because the company finally became AMD’s AIB partner in 2018.

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

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

Pricing

The reference design of the RX 6800 XT is $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 put on a completely different price level. The MSRP is $830. That is $180 more than what 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 status of the GPU market. Keep in mind, the situation might be different at the time you are reading this, so the Taichi X might be a more attractive offer.

Design

The design of the Taichi X has been updated compared to the previous generation. It is not as aggressive, but it still has a daring style on the front.

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

Of course, it gets the standard triple-fan treatment and the fans are transparent. That is something that we don’t see regularly in the industry these days.

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

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

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 goes over 2360 MHz during heavy 3D loads. The clocks spike up to 2450 MHz but then they stabilize back at about 2400 MHz.

Looks pretty good for the youngest AIB partner, right? Well, ASRock didn’t stop there. The OC headroom leaves a good impression too.

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

Thermals

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

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

By enabling the “Quiet BIOS”, the average temperature still stays the same, but the noise levels drop down considerably. 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 handful. The RX 6800 XT Speedster Merc 319 Black. Not exactly the best naming decision.

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 got a lot of strong criticism for their lack of quality control of the THICC. Because of this, XFX revised their custom card twice which ultimately led to the final version, THICC III. The last version finally performed well as it should.

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

Pricing

It’s priced $150 above the official price of the RX 6800 XT, coming at $800. A pretty big price hike, but considering the Taichi X’s pricing and some of the other custom cards on the market, it’s nothing too unexpected.

Keep in mind, no one should support this kind of price inflation, but if you are in dire need of a GPU, you won’t have a choice but to just buy one.

Design

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

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

Nothing too interesting on the front of the GPU. Just three fans with minimal visuals on the shroud.

On the side, there’s “Radeon RX 6800 XT” branding and an XFX logo. All of this is backed up with RGB lighting which is a nice addition.

There is huge “MERC” writing slapped on the backplate which is a bit overkill, but at least it’s white-colored. 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 over the reference card.

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

Just like the Taichi X, 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 than that.

Thermals

Again, 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 go any more than 31 dBA.

The temperatures are not ideal, but that’s not on the AIB brands because the RX 6800 XT 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 GPU manufacturing partner Sapphire is yet again back with Pulse and Nitro+ variants, but this time for the RX 6000 series. The RX 6800 XT Nitro+ takes a spot on this article because it is overall a better option than the Pulse variant even though it is more expensive.

Because of all the positive user and professional reviews for the RX 6800 and RX 6900 XT Nitro+, good performance is expected with this one as well.

Pricing

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

If you are into more RGB, you also have the option to get the Special Edition of the Nitro+ which comes with RGB fans. That is going to cost you $30 more.

Overall, 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+ isn’t something to ignore. A triple-fan GPU with silver accents in all the right places. Nothing too flashy like you would see from a STRIX or AORUS card, but it looks great.

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

You get a bit of RGB on the side and on the back too. 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 out of the ordinary happens when you give it a heavy gaming task to handle. Clocks do jump up to 2500 MHz but they quickly stabilize back at around 2380 MHz which is very close to the advertised clock speeds.

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

The in-game real performance gains may not be worth it because both temps and noise levels will increase considerably. Keep in mind, 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 now. Fortunately, this time, Sapphire finally adds 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.

It 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 for a 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 article. The RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio is 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 that may not be the case this time around. 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.

With these prices in mind, the Sapphire Nitro+ quickly becomes the more attractive option, but first, let’s see what MSI has to offer.

Design

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

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

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

Nothing too notable on the back except a logo of the infamous 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. 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 offers, but which of those is the best one for you?

Well, if you are looking for good price-per-performance, the Sapphire Radeon RX 6800 XT Nitro+ is the obvious choice. Easily grabbing the Best Value award. It’s cheaper while 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 since it performs well in every aspect. A solid factory overclock, the best cooling solution we’ve seen, good RGB lighting, and an 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, so if any of these two catch your eye, 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.