AMD has risen to the challenge posed by Nvidias’ RTX 3080 with the Radeon RX 6800 XT. This powerful GPU uses the latest RDNA2 architecture to bring true 4K performance to the table, and challenge Nvidia’s top gaming graphics card at the $700-$800 price point. Using a 7nm core, and pairing it with 16Gb VRAM this card is well placed to see you enjoying top performance for years to come. AMD has used a number of neat features to boost performance, such as ‘Infinity Cache’ to speed memory access for frequently used data, and ‘smart access memory’ on compatible hardware to allow for higher performance.
All RX 6800 XT’s boast the same core specifications, like 16Gb of VRAM rated at 16Gbps, and 4608 Stream Processors. There’s also hardware ray tracing support with 72 ray tracing accelerator cores, although performance is still a little way behind Nvidias Ampere GPUs. The RX 6800 XT draws 300 Watts and a 750W power supply is recommended. The cards are also physically large with 3 fan, 3 slot designs prominent, so make sure you’ve got enough power supply and case space to fit them. They offer an excellent alternative to the Ampere GPUs with top tier performance at 1440p and 4k resolutions. You can be sure they will offer a premium gaming experience for years to come.
Let’s look at some of the specific models and make some recommendations of the best RX 6800 XT aftermarket cards based on your priorities.
Best RX 6800 XT Cards – Our Recommendations
Best Value RX 6800 XT Card
Whilst it’s not the cheapest RX 6800 XT on offer, we do consider the Sapphire Pulse to be the best value RX 6800 XT aftermarket card. It has a number of features that mark it out from the competition. It has a robust 3 fan cooler design with separate VRM and Memory cooling heatsinking, keeping temperatures low. There’s a dual BIOS switch that allows you to flick between a quiet low fan noise version for quiet operation, and a high performance overclocking mode. More than this you can flash the BIOSes individually, allowing you to experiment with upgraded BIOS revisions without risking the operation of the card for a while. Sapphire provides support and software for you to do this. It also has quick-change fans that swap out with a single screw and a special connector, meaning you can easily clean and service this card yourself and swap a fan should one fail. It’s no slouch in the performance department either with a boost clock of 2310MHz, on a par with some of the upper-tier cards. Sapphire has long since been primary board partners with AMD and their customer service and support is excellent. That’s an important consideration, and part of the reason we feel the Sapphire Pulse offers the best value amongst the 6800 XT’s.
Quietest RX 6800 XT Card
ASUS TUF Gaming RX 6800 XT. Asus has redesigned their TUF gaming cards for high-end GPUs, and this same cooler design appears on both the 6800 XT and the RTX 3080 where it has to cope with an additional 40W of heat loading. The Three fan design and thick fin stack have been praised for whisper-quiet operation even under load, whilst separated cool plates and heatsinking solutions for VRAM, VRMs and the GPU core itself ensure everything stays as cool as can be. There’s a thick expanse of fins with seven heat pipes cooled by three fans. The fans are a special ‘linked blade’ design, with the centre one contra-rotating to reduce turbulence and thus noise. These move air more efficiently and so can turn slower, making less noise. Under idle conditions, they stop completely. There’s also a metal backplate and extensive reinforcement for the PCB to prevent GPU sag – though a bracket may be advisable with all of these cards as they are heavy. The boost clock remains high at up to 2340MHz so performance isn’t sacrificed. We recommend the TUF Gaming 6800 XT as one of the quietest models you can buy.
Best Performance RX 6800 XT Card
If you’re looking for the best performance amongst 6800 XT’s then the Sapphire RX 6800 XT Nitro+ is worthy of strong consideration. This GPU boasts one of the highest quoted boost clocks at 2360MHz showing Sapphires confidence in the quality of the GPU core they put into this card along with the supporting circuitry they add. Sapphire has made complete redesigns of a number of their cooler features for the Radeon 6000 series including the fan, heat sink fins, and thermal pads. Design features like an all-metal backplate, custom cooler design with separate VRAM and VRM cooling components, and that large 3 fan, 3 slot thick primary cooling stack ensure the card runs cool even when pushed to the limit. Dual BIOS allows you to switch between a quiet and performance mode but also lets you flash to a new BIOS for increased performance without the risk of rendering the GPU unusable. Sapphires ‘Trixx’ software also assists you in overclocking and tweaking the GPU for best performance, or you can use AMD’s own ‘Adrenaline’ software if you prefer. Overall the Sapphire Nitro+ is a top tier version of the card without the excessive expense and will let you extract the maximum performance out of the RDNA2 platform.
Best Compact RX 6800 XT for SFF Builds
‘Compact’ is of course a relative term when no manufacturer offers a card with fewer than 3 fans, or even in a true 2 slot thick form factor. However, the Reference/Founders Edition Design, as made by Asus, Gigabyte, ASRock, and Sapphire is the most compact of the designs currently available at 267mm in length. There are still three cooling fans and a shroud that protrudes past the 2 slot backplate. The PCB is to reference specification meaning you will have a choice of custom water blocks to fit these GPUs if you wish. Beyond that being reference specification means you’re guaranteed the full RX 6800 XT experience as AMD intended it, with 300W power consumption, up to 2250MHz boost clock, 16GB GDDR6 VRAM and all the additional RDNA2 features such as ‘rage mode’ and hardware ray tracing. They also have a USB C port to the rear, two DisplayPort, and one HDMI port, whilst most partner cards do away with the USB C port. They’re also the cheapest models, so if you can find one at RRP they represent fantastic value.
Best Enthusiast RX 6800 XT Card
XFX is another long time board partner specialising in AMD GPUs. The Speedster 319 Merc is their high end 6800 XT offering and goes above and beyond the base specification in a number of areas. This GPU has a 14+2 Phase VRM, exceeding the 12+2 Phase specification of AMD, and uses high-quality components for a power delivery capacity equivalent to the PowerColor Red Devil – the most extreme version of the RX 6800 XT. There’s a number of other features like additional power filtering capacitors and advanced cooling solutions that exceed the basic specification which means higher stability and lower temperatures when overclocked. The comprehensive cooler has 7 heat pipes and a ‘through PCB’ cooling design to extract heat as efficiently as possible, along with an aluminum backplate to actively shed heat. The Speedster Mercury also has the normal high-end features of an AMD card such as a dual BIOS switch to easily enable ‘rage mode’ and zero fan mode for silent operation with the fans only spinning when the card is under load. It also ships with a 3-year warranty for your peace of mind. This Card has a solid basis for an enthusiast to explore the potential on offer in an RX 6800 XT with the confidence that the underlying hardware is well equipped to support overclocking.