Best RX 6900 XT Graphics Card

best overall

MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio

MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio
  • Solid performance
  • Acceptable RGB
  • Quiet
premium pick

ASUS RX 6900 XT STRIX OC LC

ASUS RX 6900 XT STRIX OC LC
  • Best-in-class cooling
  • Lots of room for overclocking

For the first time, after ten years or more, AMD finally comes up with a contender to NVIDIA’s flagship consumer GPU.

Not only does this contender perform on the same level as NVIDIA’s RTX 3090, but it also undercuts it for $500. That’s right. The RX 6900 XT comes with an MSRP of $1000 while the RTX 3090 is at $1500.

Of course, AMD’s flagship isn’t perfect in every segment either. It lacks in ray tracing performance and it doesn’t have a DLSS equivalent. DLSS is a must nowadays, especially for 4K gaming because it can bring a performance uplift up to 50%.

The RX 6900 XT is still a great GPU and it offers much better performance per dollar than the 3090.

Either way, you are here because you have already decided which GPU you want. All that is left is to pick the right AIB model.

Fortunately for you, we have already made extensive research on all the variants of the RX 6900 XT, so here is a list of the best options.

The Pros:

  • Solid factory overclock
  • Plenty of OC headroom
  • Decent RGB
  • Quiet and cool

The Cons:

  • No deal-breaking disadvantages

MSI’s Gaming X Trio has proved to be one of the better aftermarket designs for most GPUs. A lot of reviewers and users are talking that MSI’s cooling solution, Tri-Frozr is solid for RTX 3090s, 3080s, 3070s, RX 6800 XTs, RX 6800s, and any other card that uses that same triple-fan setup.

It is expected that the MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio will perform just as well in every aspect. Let’s delve deeper into every aspect individually.

Pricing

There is no official information about the MSRP of the Gaming X Trio from MSI.

The reason for that is because, at the time of writing, the GPU market is a bit hectic. Since it is impossible to obtain such information, we can only guess.

The price is probably somewhere between $250 and $350 over the reference card. So, around $1350. A premium price tag for minimal gains.

However, this is something expected from most of the RX 6900 XT AIBs. This same kind of pattern can be seen for the costly RTX 3090.

It is difficult to say whether this pricing is fair or not. To get the full picture, it is vital to look at all the other alternatives, compare them in terms of performance and pricing.

Design

First things first, this is a massive graphics card. It is 324 mm long. Many might find out that this is a trouble one they realize they cannot fit it into their PC case.

But, if people are prepared to pay $1300+ for a GPU, they are probably prepared to buy a big enough PC case.

Design-wise, MSI has made a few updates compared to the previous Gaming X Trio generation. The front-face of the GPU is a bit flatter. All the visual elements are not as prominent and everything seems to flow together much better.

A few plastic silver accents have been added around the three fans and there are a few slits between the fans that are dedicated to RGB lighting.

On the side, there’s MSI and GEFORCE RTX branding. The GEFORCE is a sticker while the MSI logo is supported with RGB lighting.

Above the logo, there is a stripe across the edge of the card to bring a bit more RGB to the table.

The backplate is made out of metal and it does have good contact with the PCB thanks to the thermal pads located under it.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

MSI advertises a boost clock of up to 2340 MHz which is about 90 MHz higher than the reference card. Nothing too impressive. But, in-real performance shows a different outcome. During long-gaming sessions, this RX 6900 XT can boost up to 2500 MHz, although once it settles, the clocks average around 2380 MHz.

However, things do get interesting if you are a fan of custom overclocks.

By pushing the power limit, OC enthusiasts have managed a maximum overclock of 2760 MHz. That is much better than what the reference card can do (around 2450 MHz).

Thermals

The RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio pulls in a lot of power. Makes sense considering that you have to connect it with three 8-pin connectors. The power consumption during gaming is about 350 W.

A beefy heatsink is needed to cool that kind of power.

Fortunately, MSI’s solution with this GPU is pretty good. This beast of GPU averages between 67 °C and 70 °C. Not bad. It is even better when you consider that the noise levels never get over 30 dBA.

Of course, if you don’t care about noise levels and you just want lower temperatures, you can always ramp up the fan speed.

The Pros:

  • Affordable
  • The design fits in any PC case

The Cons:

  • Loud cooling solution

This time around, Gigabyte has released two variants for AMD’s flagship GPU. The AORUS MASTER and Gaming OC. The former being the flagship and more expensive option.

But, at the time of writing, the AORUS MASTER was simply too expensive to even consider it as an option.

The RX 6900 XT Gaming OC might not have as much RGB as the AORUS MASTEr and has a smaller heatsink, but it is still a much better deal.

Pricing

The original price of the RX 6900 XT Gaming OC is not clear. There are no official details about the MSRP of this card. Some sources suggest that the MSRP is £1,079.99 which roughly translates to $1,500. But, those same sources claim that the MSRP of the reference card is about $1,250. So, take all of this with a grain of salt.

Since this isn’t Gigabyte’s flagship card, the price premium shouldn’t be more than $200. But, with the price of Gaming X Trio in mind, it seems like anything is possible in the modern GPU market.

Design

This one is a bit smaller than the Gaming X Trio. The entire GPU is only 286 mm long. That is almost 3 cm shorter. This is expected because the flagship model usually gets the beefier heatsink.

We have seen this same design used for other AMD GPUs such as the RX 6800 and the RX 6800 XT, but this is a much more powerful card. So, maybe the heatsink won’t be able to keep up with the demand? We will talk about that later, for now, let’s see what the design has to offer.

As most of the time, there is a triple-fan setup and a pretty basic black shroud surrounding the fans. Nothing too interesting to report on the front or on the side either.

There’s Gigabyte branding on the side which is RGB.

The back doesn’t show anything noteworthy. Just some Gigabyte branding and that’s about it. Overall, it’s nothing too amazing, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad. For those that only care about performance or are looking for any black GPU to fill up space in their computer, this could be a great option.

But, before we can justify this is a good option, let’s have a look at the performance.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

The advertised boost clock for the Gaming OC is 2285 MHz which is nearly the same as the reference RX 6900 XT. Only 35 MHz higher. Although, when you fire up benchmarks, rendering tasks, or a demanding video game, the clocks can jump up to 2500 MHz.

The clocks are not able to stay that high for an extended period, but they do stabilize at around 2350 MHz.

Even though this is one of the cheaper variants of the RX 6900 XT on the market, the heatsink can handle a bit of overclocking.

Some reviewers have managed an average core clock of 2650 MHz. That is about a 5% higher frequency than the stock overclock.

Thermals

As previously mentioned, this is a heatsink that is almost 3 cm shorter than the Gaming X Trio. So, naturally, the temperatures will be higher.

With the “Silent BIOS” enabled, the RX 6900 XT Gaming OC averages around 76°C. It is a bit hot but still cooler than the reference card. Unfortunately, it does get a bit loud. The noise levels jump up to 36 dBA.

If you don’t care about the noise levels and you just want lower temperatures, try switching to the default BIOS. With this BIOS, you’ll drop to 73-74°C. It isn’t a huge improvement, but it still something.

The Pros:

  • Unique liquid cooling design
  • Remarkable overclocking headroom
  • Lowest temperatures achieved on an RX 6900 XT

The Cons:

  • Radiator takes additional space

When buying an ASUS GPU, there are usually about two or three choices. After 2020, it is mainly STRIX or TUF.

However, this time, ASUS has to offer something unique. Something that we rarely see on the market. The RX 6900 XT STRIX OC LC, a factory liquid-cooled card. Very similar to the AIO coolers used for CPUs.

Liquid cooling usually results in much lower temperatures, quiet running and better overclocks. So, what kind of performance can this kind of premium RX 6900 XT bring?

Pricing

Uniquely designed PC tech always comes with a price premium, especially when it is an ASUS product.

This liquid-cooled GPU has an MSRP of $1550. That is about $550 over the reference card. A lot of money. For $1550, you could probably get a completely different GPU. A 24GB VRAM RTX 3090, for example.

Nevertheless, most people would be paying that kind of money for the benefits of liquid cooling. Let’s check out those benefits.

Design

It is safe to say that ASUS has a lot of other brands beat with this one. The only other liquid-cooled GPU on the market right now is the Sapphire RX 6900 XT Toxic which comes with a 360mm radiator. Still, ASUS takes the cake this time.

The card has the traditional blower design that we used to regularly see back in the day. Not so much these days. Since there is only one fan, the other side of the front is completely free. Allowing ASUS to add some RGB goodness.

The side that faces the opposite of the motherboard is where the tubes come out. These lead directly to the radiator. For a bit more RGB, ASUS has added an RGB ROG logo right next to where the tubes come out.

The radiator comes with two black ROG RGB fans with white and translucent blades. Nothing special to report about it. It is similar to any other AIO dual-fan radiator.

Naturally, the radiator can end up on the back, top, or on the front of the case. Depends on the clearance.

The only mediocre part about this product is the backplate. It doesn’t have any unique features which is sad to see considering that the back is often the main element of the GPU in every PC case. Except those with a vertically-mounted GPU.

Performance and Overclocking Capabilities

With stock options, the RX 6900 XT OC LC has a boost clock of 2365 MHz which is higher than the Gigabyte and MSI variant.

However, that’s not all. ASUS’s product regularly goes over 2500 MHz when in-game. I assume that this is all thanks to the incredibly efficient cooling solution.

That cooling performance brings a lot more to the table. It opens up even more OC headroom than what you would usually get.

Some OC enthusiasts have reported a successful core clock of 2700 MHz. That is almost 10% higher than the custom overclocks on other models. Pretty incredible.

Remember, your mileage may vary. It is always possible to win the “silicon lottery” which would allow you to push to or over 2750 MHz.

Thermals

During long and demanding gaming sessions, the RX 6900 XT OC LC sits at a comfortable average of ~53°C. Low temperatures are usually expected from liquid cooling, but this is remarkable. That’s more than 15 degrees Celsius lower than MSI’s Tri-Frozr cooling solution. It is not even comparable.

Keep in mind, these results were obtained with the performance BIOS enabled.

By switching to the other (silent) BIOS, temperatures jump up to 56 °C. Still much cooler than most of the alternatives out there.

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Verdict – Which RX 6900 XT Is The Best?

The list of the most popular RX 6900 XTs is probably about six to seven models.

After thoroughly gathering information and researching, we successfully cut down this list to just three different variants.

However, that still leaves you to make a difficult decision. So which one of these models is the best?

The MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio is the clear winner here and takes the award for Best Overall. It has a great factory core overclock, it’s quiet and cool without having to pay a massive price premium over the reference card. You can’t go wrong with this one.

The ASUS RX 6900 XT OC LC is incredibly expensive, but it is also one of the more unique GPUs the industry has seen. Thanks to the liquid cooling, it is also the coolest and fastest RX 6900 XT out there. This is why the OC LC deserves the Premium Pick award.

Honorable mentions:

  • Gigabyte RX 6900 XT Gaming OC Affordable, a basic design, and average cooling. The only major downside – it can be noisy at times.
  • Sapphire RX 6900 XT ToxicA good alternative to ASUS’ OC LC. A liquid-cooled GPU with a 360 mm radiator.

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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.