Two newly leaked images suggest that AMD considered building an extreme flagship for its Big Navi family featuring a liquid cooling system and called Radeon RX 6900 XTX. The Navi 21 GPUs already rank near the top of the best graphics cards, and also place high on our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. Adding liquid cooling to the mix, similar to what's been done in the past with the RX Vega 64 Liquid, R9 Fury X and R9 295X2, would allow AMD to reach higher clocks and performance.
A member of the Chiphell forums published two pictures claiming to be the reference design of AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XTX graphics card. The images were then republished by a Weibo user. The images show a board with a large heatsink with the letter "R" on its shroud, hiding a waterblock underneath.
But unlike the 6900 XT, the so-called Radeon RX 6900 XTX does not have a backplate (not that it is particularly surprising for a pre-release product). The board also appears to come with a 120mm radiator and one fan.
While AMD has not yet released a Radeon RX 6900 XTX product, it has worked to deliver the ultimate version of the 6900 XT with 5,120 stream processors and very high clocks. AMD Recently started supplying partners with its "unlocked and unleashed" Navi 21 XTXH silicon that can boost all the way to 2.73 GHz on Sapphire's Toxic Radeon RX 6900 XT Extreme Edition, and to about 2.50 GHz on AIBs by ASRock and PowerColor (up from 2.25 GHz recommended by AMD).
Assuming AMD did play around with a RX 6900 XTX card, it'd be interesting to know how far it was willing to push the GPU. Some of the extreme cooling systems designed by AMD's partners seem more capable than its liquid cooler at first glance.
In general, while the Radeon RX 6900 XTX speaks the same design language as AMD's reference Radeon RX 6800 and 6900-series graphics cards, it's unclear if the card in the images was meant to be a commercial product, a sample for game developers, or a one-off prototype.
AMD is not new to liquid cooling. The company offered the Radeon R9 Fury X and Radeon Vega 64 Liquid Cooling boards with a closed-loop liquid cooling system. Ultimately, the company moved to a triple-fan cooler with a large heatsink as a more practical cooling solution.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Sapphire Toxic Radeon RX 6900 XT EE||PowerColor Liquid Devil Ultimate RX 6900 XT||ASRock RX 6900 XT OC Formula||Radeon RX 6900 XT|
|Base||?||?||2,125 MHz||1825 MHz|
|Game||2,375 MHz||2,305 MHz||2,165MHz||?|
|Boost||2,500 MHz||2,375 MHz||2,295 MHz||2250 MHz|
|Performance Game||2,525 MHz||2,480 MHz||2,365 MHz||-|
|Performance Boost||2,730 MHz||2,525 MHz||2,475 MHz||-|
|Cooling System||Hybrid||Custom LCS||Triple-fan||Triple-fan|
While we still don't have hard proof of a 6900 XTX under consideration or in the works, it would make sense for AMD to allow its partners to release extreme specced Radeon RX 6900 XT SKUs that could push the Navi 21 silicon even further, especially with rumors of Nvidia planning to announce a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti in the near future.
Nvidia's flagship GeForce RTX 3090 nearly always outperforms AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT, but a heavily factory-overclocked Navi 21 XTXH can successfully compete against a slightly cut-down GA102 that carries 'only' 12GB of memory. Whether either card will be available for purchase at reasonable prices this year is another matter entirely.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.