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Radeon RX 6900 XT Review

 



Half a month back, we had the option to show you AMD's Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6800 XT in real life, across a variety of games and applications, in two unique frameworks, with and without Smart Access Memory empowered. In that piece, we reached the resolution that AMD's most recent top of the line gaming GPUs is commendable foes for their NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 arrangement partners – the GeForce RTX 3070 and 3080. Today, nonetheless, we will move as far as possible up the stack and show you Big Navi's, Big Daddy, the Radeon RX 6900 XT, which AMD cases can clash with NVIDIA's ground-breaking GeForce RTX 3090. 


On the off chance that you review, the Radeon RX 6900 has more process units than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, more finishing execution, and a unique binned GPU AMD called "the best of best" to guarantee the greatest productivity and higher continued tickers. You wouldn't know it upon the main examination, however, in light of the fact that the Radeon RX 6900 XT looks precisely like the Radeon RX 6800 XT, yet underneath its recognizable outside, the 6900 XT includes a completely empowered Navi 21 GPU. 


Here's a snappy correlation between AMD's top-end GPUs from the last couple of ages of 7nm items, to give you all the 10,000-foot see. Take a look at the velocities and feeds and afterward, we'll dive in somewhat more profound to discover what is the issue here.




AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT





Before we delve into the low down, we firmly propose looking at our Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6800 XT dispatch article. In that piece, we give extra insights about the Navi 21 GPU and the RDNA2 engineering at the core of the Radeon RX 6000 arrangement. We talk about the new Infinity Cache and the GPU's new store chain of importance, the new Compute Units (CU) and their coordinated Ray Accelerators, and Smart Access Memory (SAM), among numerous different parts of the item. In the event that you'd like the extra specialized detail, you'll see it all there – we won't reiterate it again here.




As we’ve mentioned, the Radeon RX 6900 XT built around a fully-enabled Navi 21 RDNA 2-based GPU, which is manufactured on TSMC’s 7nm process node. The GPU is comprised of roughly 26.8 billion transistors and has a die size of 519mm2. That’s a much bigger chip than what powers the current Radeon RX 5700 XT, which is 10.3 billion transistors with a relatively paltry 251 square millimeter die. It’s bigger than the 13.2 billion transistor Vega-based Radeon VII too.

According to AMD, the overarching goal of its RDNA 2 architecture was to boost performance and efficiency and help push AMD back into a competitive position at the high-end of the gaming GPU market. To pull it off, RDNA 2’s compute units offer double the performance (or more) of the CUs in the original Navi-based Radeon RX 5700 XT, with an approximate 50% performance-per-watt uplift. In addition, RDNA 2 offers a leading-edge feature set that includes support for DirectX 12 Ultimate and all that comes with it, including Variable Rate Shading, Mesh Shaders, Sampler Feedback, and ray tracing. Microsoft’s DirectStorage API, for faster game loading direct from SSD to GPU memory, will be supported as well, though it will take a while before support for DirectStorage arrives in PC games.


The full configuration of the Navi 21 GPU powering the Radeon RX 6900 XT features 80 CUs. The Radeon RX 6800 and Radeon RX 6800 XT have the same physical GPU at their core, but scaled down to address lower price points.

The Radeon RX 6900 XT stands alone at the top of AMD’s gaming GPU stack. Like its little brothers, the 6900 XT features 128MB of Infinity cache and 16GB of GDDR6 memory attached to the GPU over a 256-bit interface, offering up to 512GB/s of peak memory bandwidth. With its 80 CUs, the GPU has a total of 5,120 stream processors – up from 72 CUs and 4,608 stream processors in the 6800 XT. The Radeon RX 6900 XT also features 128 ROPs.



The Radeon RX 6900 XT’s game and maximum boost clocks are similar to the 6800 XT’s. Its game clock should hover around 2,015MHz and the Boost clock 2,250MHz. AMD claims that they’ve binned the GPUs on the 6900 XT, however, to ensure they’re using the best-of-the-best and that they’ll operate at a more aggressive frequency / voltage curve. Although it has more CUs and the card should maintain somewhat higher clocks across the curve, it does so at slightly lower voltages. As such, though it's more powerful, the Radeon RX 6900 XT has the same rated board power as the 6800 XT. The additional CUs also mean increased compute performance over its siblings, to the tune of 23.04 TFLOPS of single-precision compute performance (46.08 TFLOPS half-precision).

All of the cards in AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series have similar designs, with a stylized cooler featuring triple axial fans, mounted inside a die-case aluminum shroud. A die-cast aluminum frame and backplate add some structural rigidity and help aid in cooling as well. That shroud sits atop a massive vapor chamber that runs the entire length of the PCB. The only difference between the coolers on the cards in the Radeon RX 6000 series is their height – the Radeon RX 6800 is two-slots wide, while the Radeon RX 6800 XT and 6900 XT you see here are two-and-a-half slots. The heatsink fins and shroud are simply taller on the higher-end cards, to add some additional surface area. All of the cards are the same length and height (267mm x 120mm), however.

The Radeon RX 6900 XT is built on a 14-layer PCB, with four 2oz copper layers, and 15 power stage phases – two of which are dedicated to the memory. The cards feature dual, standard 8-pin PCI Express power connectors and built-in RGB lighting controls. Although perhaps not quite as elegant as the cooling solution on GeForce RTX 30-series Founders Edition cards, the Radeon RX 6900 XT is easily the most premium graphics card AMD has produced to date in our opinion.

When we first got our hands on the Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT, the software for controlling the latter’s built-in RGB lighting wasn’t quite ready for prime time. We did get the software in time for the launch of the Radeon RX 6900 XT though...



AMD’s Radeon RGB controls are clean and straightforward. Users can choose from and array of lighting modes, and pick any color in the rainbow. The individual Red, Green, and Blue channels can be altered, along with the brightness and speed of any effects.


We should also mention an addition to the Radeon RX 6900 XT’s bundle. Although the boxes look similar, save for the model number branding, the Radeon RX 6900 XT comes wrapped in a slick, oversized Radeon mousepad. Underneath the lit pack, there’s a Radeon “R” Cherry MX compatible keycap included too.

Ports on the Radeon RX 6000 series include a single HDMI 2.1 out with Fixed Rate Link (FRL) support, dual full-sized DisplayPorts (1.4), and a USB Type-C connector. FRL is part of the HDMI 2.1 spec and enables higher uncompressed resolutions above 4K60, in addition to peak bandwidth of up to 48Gbps.


AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT: Compute, Rendering And Synthetic Benchmarks

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards represented in this article on a MSI X570 Godlike motherboard, equipped with a Ryzen 9 5950X and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR4 RAM clocked at 3,200MHz. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" defaults, then we disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory's clock was dialed in to its optimal performance settings using its XMP profile and the solid state drive was then formatted and Windows 10 Professional x64 was installed and fully updated. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed all of the drivers, games, applications and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests. For all of the standard tests, the Radeon RX 6000 series cards were tested using their "Balanced" performance profile. "Rage" mode was enabled for a sampling of tests present in the overclocking section of this article, however. The new Radeons were also tested with and without Smart Access Memory enabled, in an attempt to paint the most complete picture of performance.




HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i9 Powered
Hardware Used:
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
(3.4GHz - 4.9GHz, 16-Core)

MSI X570 Godlike (AMD X570 Chipset)
16GB G.SKILL DDR4-3200

Samsung SSD 970 EVO
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 FE
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 FE
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6800
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT
Relevant Software:
Windows 10 Pro x64 (v2004)
AMD Radeon Software v20.8.3
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v457.30

Benchmarks Used:
IndigoBench v4
LuxMark v4_alpha0
SiSoft SANDRA 2020
VRMark
3DMark (Time Spy, Fire Strike, Port Royal, DXR)
Unigine Superposition
Crytek Neon Noir
Metro Exodus
Red Dead Redemption 2
Gears Tactics
F1 2020
FarCry: New Dawn


SiSoft SANDRA 2020
Scientific Analysis And Image Processing OpenCL Performance Tests
SANDRA's GPGPU Image Processing benchmark runs through an array of filters on its reference data and offers up an aggregate score, derived from a multitude of individual results. The Scientific Analysis benchmark runs though an array of General Matrix Multiply (GEMM), N-Body Simulations (NBDY), and Fast Fourier Transformation ops and reports the overall speed in FLOPs. CUDA and OpenCL code paths are available in these tests, but we used OpenCL on all cards to keep the playing field level. Previously, using the CUDA code path with NVIDIA GPUs resulted in better performance, but OpenCL actually outperforms it in these tests now...





The Radeon RX 6900 XT led the pack in SANDRA's GPGPU image processing benchmark, besting the Radeon RX 6800 XT by a little over 8% and the GeForce RTX 3090 by over 33%.






The scales tipped in favor of NVIDIA in SANDRA's Scientific Analysis tests, however. Here, the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT trails the GeForce RTX 30-series cards across the board -- by large margins. It only manages to pull ahead of the Titan RTX in the N-Body simulation, but even then, it's my the slimmest of margins.


LuxMark v4.0_alpha0
OpenCL Benchmark

LuxMark is a cross-platform, OpenCL-accelerated 3D rendering benchmark. It's a tool based on the open source LuxRender physically-based spectral rendering engine, which accurately models the transportation of light and supports high dynamic range. LuxRender features a number of material types to allow rendering of photo-realistic and artistic scenes. LuxRender is free software, licensed under the GPL, that offers plugins for packages like Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D and 3DS Max.




The Radeon RX 6900 XT's performance in LuxMark 4 was a bit of a mixed bag. AMD's latest flagship was able to outpace the GeForce RTX 3080 when rendering the more complex Food model, but it trailed slightly with the Hall Bench model. The GeForce RTX 3090 finished well ahead at the top.


IndigoBench
GPU Rendering Performance
IndigoBench is based on Indigo 4's advanced rendering engine, which uses physically-based material models, ray tracing, and spectral color throughout, and offers both CPU and GPU rendering modes for its two built-in models. The standalone benchmark is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux and outputs results in M/Samples per second.



The Radeon RX 6900 XT's performance was mixed in IndigoBench as well. Here, the Radeon RX 6900 XT puts up the best score of the bunch with the more complex Bedroom model, but it ends up trailing the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti with the Supercar model, not to mention the higher-end NVIDIA GPUs, which jumped out to some big leads.


Unigine Superposition
Pseudo-DirectX / OpenGL Gaming
Superposition is a relatively new benchmark from Unigine, powered by the UNIGINE 2 Engine. It offers an array of benchmark modes, targeting gaming workloads as well as VR, with both DirectX and OpenGL code paths. There is an extreme hardware stability test built-in as well. Unigine Superposition uses the developer’s unique SSRTGI (Screen-Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination) dynamic lighting technology, along with high quality textures and models, to produce some stunning visuals. We ran Superposition in two modes using the DirectX code path – 1080p Extreme and VR Future -- to compare the performance of all of the graphics cards featured here.





UL VRMark
Testing Rift And Vive Readiness
UL's VRMark is designed to test a PC’s readiness for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. The benchmark does not, however, require that one of the headsets is attached to the PC to run and it uses an in-house graphics engine and content to ensure comparable results between different platforms. We ran the "Blue Room" VRMark test at defaults settings here, which is currently the most taxing test offered by the tool.



Futuremark VRMark






Starting to see pattern yet? Our results with VRMark look very much like Unigine's VR Future benchmark above. AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT clearly outpaces the GeForce RTX 3080 (and everything below it), but the GeForce RTX 3090 remains the king of the hill.


UL 3DMark Time Spy
Direct X 12 Performance

3DMark Time Spy is a synthetic DirectX benchmark test from UL. It features a DirectX 12 engine built from the ground up to support bleeding-edge features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multithreading. Time Spy is designed to test the DX12 performance of the latest graphics cards using a variety of techniques and varied visual sequences. This benchmark was developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of the UL Benchmark Development Program, to showcase the performance and visual potential of graphics cards and other system resources driven by close-to-the-metal, low-overhead APIs.


3DMark Time Spy





In the DX12-based 3DMark Tme Spy benchmark, the Radeon RX 6900 XT once again outpaces every other card we tested, save for the pricier GeForce RTX 3090.


UL 3DMark Fire Strike
Synthetic DirectX Gaming
3DMark Fire Strike has multiple benchmark modes: Normal mode runs at 1920x1080, Extreme mode targets 2560x1440, and Ultra mode runs at a 4K resolution. GPU target frame buffer utilization for normal mode is 1GB and the benchmark uses tessellation, ambient occlusion, volume illumination, and a medium-quality depth of field filter. The more taxing Extreme mode targets 1.5GB of frame buffer memory and increases detail levels across the board. Ultra mode is explicitly designed for high-end and CrossFire / SLI systems and cranks up the quality even further. GT 1 focuses on geometry and illumination, with over 100 shadow casting spot lights, 140 non-shadow casting point lights, and 3.9 million vertices calculated for tessellation per frame. GT2 emphasizes particles and GPU simulations.



3DMark Fire Strike



Radeon RX 6900 XT Fire Strike Ultra Details


Score one for AMD. In the DX11-based Fire Strike Ultra 4K benchmark, the Radeon RX 6900 XT outperformed every other card we tested, including the GeForce RTX 3090.


UL 3DMark Port Royal
DXR Ray Tracing Benchmark
Port Royal was released earlier this year as an update to UL’s popular 3DMark suite. It is designed to test real-time ray tracing performance of graphics cards that support Microsoft DirectX Raytracing, or DXR. Although DXR is technically compatible with all DX12-class GPUs, the graphics card must have drivers that enable DXR.



3DMark Port Royal



Radeon RX 6900 XT Port Royal Details


3DMark's Port Royal benchmark is a stark reminder that the Radeon RX 6000 series is AMD's first foray into real-time, hardware accelerated ray tracing. While the Radeon RX 6900 XT is clearly able to outrun the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 3070, the high-end GeForce RTX 30-series cards are significantly faster.

We also experimented with the recently released 3DMark DirectX Ray Tracing Feature test, but the results were even less kind to AMD...



Radeon RX 6900 XT DXR Feature Test Details



The Radeon RX 6900 XT just barely edges out the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti here, but ends up trailing the GeForce RTX 3070 (which has a 50% lower MSRP). The GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 simply crushed the Radeon RX 6900 XT here.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT: DirectX And Vulkan Game Benchmarks

Crytek’s Neon Noir demo was created with an advanced version of CRYENGINE’s Total Illumination technology, which is used in Crysis Remastered to enhance the game’s visuals. Neon Noir was developed on a customized version of CRYENGINE 5.5., and is both API and hardware agnostic. It enables ray tracing to run on virtually any modern GPU, however, future integration of the technology will be optimized for the latest GPUs and APIs like Vulkan and DX12...


Crytek Neon Noir
API Agnostic Ray Tracing Test


Crytek Neon Noir



The Radeon RX 6900 XT performed well relative to its Big Navi-based peers with Crytek's proprietary ray tracing workloads here, but couldn't hang with the high-end Ampere-based GeForces. The GeForce RTX 3090 outruns the Radeon RX 6900 XT by over 37%, and the RTX 3080 finishes over 1,000 points ahead.


Metro Exodus
With And Without RTX / DLSS
Metro Exodus is based on author Dmitry Glukhovsky's series of Metro novels that started with Metro 2033 back in 2005. The first installment in the series was Metro 2033, which was then followed by Metro Last Light (and later, Last Light Redux). Like other games in the series, Metro Exodus follows a post-apocalyptic story line that takes place in the former Russian Federation. The game features advanced graphics and visuals and also supports NVIDIA’s RTX and DLSS technologies.


Metro Exodus



Radeon RX 6900 XT @4K Ultra Details






Using the Ultra quality preset in Metro Exodus, the Radeon RX 6900 XT outpaces every other card we tested -- at both resolutions -- except for the GeForce RTX 3090.



Radeon RX 6900 XT @4K w/ Ray Tracing Details


When using the RTX preset (which enables DXR ray tracing effects) in this game, the Radeon RX 6900 XT drops down a few rungs and ends up trailing the top-end GeForces by wide margins. 


Red Dead Redemption 2
DirectX Gaming Blockbuster
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 is the third entry in the Red Dead series. The game’s storyline is set in 1899 and follows outlaw Arthur Morgan of the Van der Linde gang in a fictional wild-west type setting. The game features rich, detailed graphics, which can be taxing on high-performance GPUs, when cranked up to maximum image quality.


Red Dead Redemption 2


Enabling SAM in Red Dead Redemption 2 not only gave the Radeon RX 6900 XT a boost in average framerate, but also significantly improved its minimum framerate. Overall though, we saw more of the same in this game. The Radeon RX 6900 XT is blazing fast, but it can't quite catch the GeForce RTX 3090.


Gears Tactics
DirectX Tactical Shooter
Gears Tactics is a turn-based tactical game spun-off of the popular Gears of War franchise. Technically, Gears Tactics is a prequel to the first game, but it was just recently released. Like Gears 5, Gears Tactics features a wide array of graphics options that can be tweaked and tuned to optimize performance on a given system.


Gears Tactics



Radeon RX 6900 XT Gears Tactics @ 4K Details


AMD's Smart Access Memory doesn't provide much benefit in this particular game. Regardless, even with a slight performance boost, the Radeon RX 6900 XT isn't able to catch the high-end GeForce RTX 30-series cards here, at either resolution. 


Far Cry New Dawn
The Dunia Engine Lives On

Next up, we’ve got some benchmark scores from Far Cry New Dawn, the latest installment in the storied franchise. Like its predecessors, Far Cry New Dawn is a fast-action shooter set in an open world environment with lush visuals and high graphics fidelity. The game takes place in a fictional county in Montana, where a cult has taken over control of the area. We tested all of the graphics cards here at multiple resolutions using Ultra Quality settings to see how they handled this recently-released AAA title.


FarCry New Dawn



Radeon RX 6900 XT FarCry New Dawn @ 4K Details






FarCry New Dawn was mostly CPU limited at 1440p, so there's not much to separate the high-end cards at that resolutions and we saw some wonky trends. With the resolution cranked up to 4K, however, the Radeon RX 6900 XT scores a first place finish, outpacing every other card we tested.


F1 2020
DirectX 12 Gaming Performance
F1 2020 is Codemaster’s latest Formula One racing simulation, and like previous version of the game, it sports impressive visuals. This latest addition to the franchise supports DirectX11 or DirectX 12, and it incorporated support for a number of AMD's FidelityFX technologies -- though we didn't enable any of them to keep the playing field level. We tested the game with its Ultra High graphics preset with TAA enabled at a couple of resolutions to see what the graphics cards could do.



F1 2020





The pecking order in F1 2020 looks just like FarCry New Dawn at 1440P, with the Radeon RX 6900 XT finishing on top. With the resolution increased to 4K, however, the GeForce RTX 3090 comes roaring back to finish in the lead -- by a measly 1 FPS.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT: Overclocking, Power, Noise And The Verdict

We spent some time overclocking the Radeon RX 6900 XT using the various performance and tuning tools built into AMD's Adrenaline Edition 2020 drivers. Like previous-gen Radeons, when the GPU powering this card is boosting, frequencies and voltages dynamically scale up or down, based on the GPU's workload and thermal threshold at the time. That frequency and voltage curve, however, can be altered to increase performance, save power, or sometimes both...



With the tuning options built into AMD's driver suite, users have multiple ways to tweak a Radeon RX 6900 XT's performance. Users can manually alter frequencies, memory timings, voltages, fan speeds, and the max power target using percentages or finer-grained numerical sliders, or they can opt to use various preset modes or auto-tune a number of characteristics, including GPU and memory frequencies as well as GPU voltage, including under-volting.



Radeon RX 6900 XT Default Settings Hardware Health Data

With previous-generation Radeons, though the GPUs had multiple sensors built-in, a single sensor had been used to determine the GPU temperature and data from that lone sensor was used to control the card's thermal profile. With newer GPUs, like the Navi 21-based Radeon RX 6900 XT, AMD has incorporated a network of multiple thermal sensors at strategic locations across the die. Data gathered from the sensors is used to determine what AMD is calling the "Junction Temperature", and it's the Junction Temperature that is used to tune the card's power and thermal profiles (the Junction Temperature is effectively the hottest part of the GPU die at any given time). AMD claims the increased resolution and accuracy from the additional thermal sensors allows it to increase overall sustained performance, because throttling based on the Junction Temperature is more reliable and effective.



The tuning options built into AMD's Radeon Software suite offer manual controls, along with automatic under-volting and automatic GPU and Memory overclocking. Finding the lowest stable voltage and highest stable memory and GPU clocks, at the lowest voltage possible, while simultaneously increasing the max power target and keeping temperatures low, will yield the best overall overclocking results. If you'd rather not muck around though, you could simply enable Rage Mode, which essentially increases the power target and fan speeds, to increase the game / boost clocks, and eek out a bit of extra performance.



Radeon RX 6900 XT Manually Overclocked

At its stock settings, we saw the GPU clock typically hovering in the 2,250 - 2,350MHz range while gaming (give or take) with our particular Radeon RX 6900 XT sample. With a little tweaking we found that we could easily max-out the memory clock on our card to 2,150MHz (17.2Gbps) with Fast memory timings enabled, and with a mild under-volt to 1,160mV, a max frequency set to 2,775MHz, and +15% to the power target, we typically saw a wider-range of real-world game clocks, commonly in the 2,400MHz - 2,500MHz range, though it occasionally spiked higher. The junction temperature while overclocked peaked in the mid 80°C range with these settings, with a slight bump to the fan curve into the 2,200-ish RPM range.



While we had the card overclocked, we saw some nice performance boosts. Rage mode provided a slight bump in performance, but with the manual overclock, the Radeon RX 6900 XT stretched its legs and was able to overtake the GeForce RTX 3090 in FarCry New Dawn and F1 2020.

Considering how well our card overclocked with the stock cooler, we're eager to see what these cards can do with more exotic cooling. The Radeon RX 6900 XT still has some gas in the tank, should AMD want to further tweak its power and frequencies going forward.


Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet
We'd also like to cover a couple of final data points regarding power consumption and acoustics before we wrap up. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored noise output and tracked how much power the GPUs were consuming using the NVIDIA PCAT device included with the company's GPU Reviewer Toolkit. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each GPU used while idle and also while under a heavy workload. These power numbers were captured over the entire duration of a 3DMark Fire Strike run, including the full demo, and are indicative of the GPU alone -- not the entire system...



Our power consumption numbers didn't reveal any surprises. The Radeon RX 6900 XT consumed more average and peak power than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, but less overall power than the GeForce RTX 3090. The power numbers are essentially in-line with the cards' aggregate performance if you go back and look through all of our numbers. What this does tell us is that AMD could have cranked things up a bit further by default, still kept power consumption slightly below the 3090 and perhaps nabbed a few more first place finishes in the benchmarks.


GPU Acoustics
Measuring Noise Output

Although the Radeon RX 6900 XT is more power efficient and features more capable cooling solutions than previous-gen Radeons, it is still somewhat louder than competing NVIDIA solutions...



In our real-world setup (we tested the GPUs inside a chassis), the Radeon RX 6900 XT technically produced the highest sound pressure level, but we would not consider the card loud by any means. The default fan curve is a little more aggressive than some other cards, but in a PC case, with other moving parts and fans, we doubt anyone would be put off by the Radeon RX 6900 XT's acoustic profile.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Summary And Verdict

The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT has an MSRP of $999, which firmly places it at the ultra-high end of the gaming GPU market. In comparison to the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090, the Radeon RX 6900 XT seems like a relative value (we use that term loosely), if you're not playing many ray tracing-enabled games. With traditional rasterization, the Radeon RX 6900 XT and GeForce RTX 3090 are fairly nip and tuck, and trade victories depending on the title, though the RTX 3090 does have the overall edge. Turn on Rage mode and things tighten up a bit. Do some overclocking and the battle gets even more fierce. With ray tracing enabled, however, the NVIDIA cards have a clear advantage. For the most part, the Radeon RX 6900 XT compares favorably to a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in ray tracing-enabled titles, but versus the GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3090, NVIDIA has a significant lead. Power consumption is surprisingly similar between all of the high-end cards, and though technically a bit louder, there aren't any wild acoustic concessions to make either. If consumers could actually buy any of these newest, current-gen GPUs, there are great options up and down the stack right now, that are massive upgrades over the previous-gen.



But, what's the bottom line? The AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT rocks. Is it the fastest card across the board? No. But it is an immensely powerful and capable GPU, with a beefy 16GB of memory, a leading-edge feature set, and obvious synergy with current-gen game console architectures, which should bode well for game development and optimizations moving forward. The XBox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Radeon RX 6800 series all share the same GPU architecture, so game developers should be able to wring every ounce of performance and leverage many of the GPU's features without having to re-invent the wheel. The Radeon RX 6900 XT is also highly tunable. We've only had the card on hand for about a week, and even with a minimal amount of experimentation, some decent overclocks were possible. We're eager to see what AMD's board partners do with the 6900 XT, when more aggressively tuned custom boards arrive. We think extreme overclockers are going to hit some insane clocks with these cards.

The Radeon RX 6900 XT propels AMD back into a competitive position in the ultra high-end GPU space. It's fun, it's fast, and although it's pricey, it is well-positioned relative to competing offerings from NVIDIA. 

  
PowerColor Red Devil AMD...


  • Strong Performance
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Best-Built AMD GPU Yet
  • Leading Edge Feature Support
  • Power Efficient
  • Highly Tunable
  • Ryzen 5000 Platform Synergy
  • Ray Tracing Performance Trails NVIDIA
  • Not As Cool And Quiet As GeForce 30 Cards
  • Doesn't Definitively Beat Competition 

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