We're well over a year removed from the launch of AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT, and the graphics cards are still selling for well over MSRP. You can chalk this situation up to the ongoing global chip shortage, which is forcing gamers to pay up to twice the MSRP from third-party sellers to get their hands on the cards. Even though existing RX 6800 XT/6900 XT SKUs are hard to obtain, MSI is pushing forward with refreshed versions that could land on our best graphics cards list.
First up is the refreshed Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming Z Trio 16G, where MSI swapped out the X for a Z. It sees its game clock rise from 2045MHz to 2065 MHz, a mere 20 MHz uplift. Likewise, the maximum boost clock climbs to 2310 MHz, up from 2285 MHz. These slight clock increases mean that MSI hasn't altered the TDP of the card, which still stands at 300 watts.
Next, we have the Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming Z Trio 16G. This card receives an even greater performance boost, with the game clock increasing from 2105 MHz to 2235 MHz. MSI also cranked the boost clock from 2340 MHz to a heady 2425 MHz, making this one of the fastest cards in the Radeon RX 6900 XT kingdom. Like its RX 6800 XT Gaming Z counterpart, the RX 6900 XT Gaming Z holds the line with a 300-watt TDP.
While the previous Gaming X graphics cards featured a graphene-reinforced backplate, the new Gaming Z offerings use a stronger aluminum counterpart. You'll still find a Tri Frozr 2 cooling system with triple Torx 4.0 fans, precision-machined core pipes, and the ability to stop the fans when the GPU isn't under load, which goes a long way towards lowering acoustics. And for the RGB fanatics out there, Mystic Light support is naturally available.
All other specs remain the same, including 4,608 stream processors (5120 for the Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming Z), 16GB of 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit memory bus, three 8-pin power connectors, three DisplayPort 1.3 ports and one HDMI 2.1 port.
At this time, there is no information on pricing or availability for the new Gaming Z cards. However, no matter what MSRP these cards carry, we'd imagine that the actual street prices will continue to be highly inflated for the foreseeable future.