Skip to main content

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Review: Powerful and Pricey

A small step up from RX 6800 XT performance, a bigger step up in price.

AMD Radeon 6900 XT
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The RX 6900 XT has the same 300W TBP (Total Board Power) rating as the RX 6800 XT. Using our Powenetics equipment, we've logged power, GPU clocks, temperatures, and fan speeds while looping Metro Exodus at 1440p ultra five times (without ray tracing or DLSS). We also test with FurMark running at 1600x900 in a window using the stress test mode.

Separate from the power testing, we also check noise levels at a distance of 15cm from the graphics card (in an open case). At idle, our PC’s noise floor is 46.0 dB — that's with the GPU fans not spinning, in Zero dB mode. After running Metro for 15 minutes, the RX 6900 XT noise levels were 47.7 dB. That's actually slightly quieter than the RX 6800 XT, which, as we'll see in a moment, appears to be due to differences in the default fan curve.

Clock speeds, temperatures, fan speeds, and power are all interrelated. Drop the clocks, and you reduce the power and temperature. Raise the fan speed, and you reduce the temperature and maybe even power use, potentially allowing for higher clocks. We used AMD's built-in Radeon Settings utility to adjust the fan speeds and other settings on the overclocked card, for example, producing the results seen here.

Image 1 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Like several of Nvidia's latest GPUs, the RX 6900 XT uses just a bit more power than the official TDP rating. Overclocked, it's right up with the RTX 3090 and actually surpasses it in FurMark (by a whole 4W). It's not a big deal, and we suspect a lot of users buying the 6900 XT will end up using Rage Mode since it's basically a free overclock that just raises the power limits.

Image 1 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As we saw with the RX 6800 and 6800 XT, AMD has now started to be a bit more conservative in its official boost clock figures. All of the RX 6000 GPUs have exceeded their boost clocks in our Metro Exodus testing, and we definitely noticed other games going above 2250 MHz. Overclocked, the card even managed a cool 2.5 GHz, which is pretty freaking awesome. We can't wait to see what the extreme overclockers fare with liquid nitrogen.

Image 1 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 1 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 2 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 3 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
Image 4 of 4

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Temperatures for the RX 6900 XT are okay, though it does end up at the top of our range in stock operation. What's interesting is that the fan speed is actually lower than the RX 6800 XT (see below), so AMD has apparently applied a different fan profile here that favors low noise levels over temperatures. Our overclocking tosses that out the window, of course, and the 6900 XT goes from being one of the quietest but warmest GPUs to having the highest fan speed and lowest temperatures.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: GPU Benchmarks

MORE: All Graphics Content

Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton's (Senior Editor) love of computers dates back to the dark ages, when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • Makaveli
    i'm confused is this an old review that was reposted?

    It mentions AMD's need a competitor to DLSS like FSR isn't already out, then there is mention of the 3080ti like it hasn't been confirmed yet.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    Makaveli said:
    i'm confused is this an old review that was reposted?

    It mentions AMD's need a competitor to DLSS like FSR isn't already out, then there is mention of the 3080ti like it hasn't been confirmed yet.
    Yeah. For various reasons, our reviews were initially done as a single page in a different template (that doesn't show scores and other minor differences). One of the managing editors at Tom's Hardware is going back through some of my recent graphics card reviews and switching them to the review template. The text and content hasn't been changed, but I guess it posts with the new date.
    Reply
  • dunkyboy
    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    Yeah. For various reasons, our reviews were initially done as a single page in a different template (that doesn't show scores and other minor differences). One of the managing editors at Tom's Hardware is going back through some of my recent graphics card reviews and switching them to the review template. The text and content hasn't been changed, but I guess it posts with the new date.
    Wow. You are a tech website and you can't work out how to change the date of a post. This really doesn't do good things for your credibility.
    You also then end up spamming my news feed with old irrelevant articles.
    Reply
  • NeoMorpheus
    Thanks for the review.

    I honestly wish that sites would stop being scared of nvidia marketing dept and place a disclaimer that all nvidia tech is really a lame way to lock the customer to their hardware, as proven by AMD FXR and the anti-consumer crap called dlss.
    Reply
  • Howardohyea
    dunkyboy said:
    Wow. You are a tech website and you can't work out how to change the date of a post. This really doesn't do good things for your credibility.
    You also then end up spamming my news feed with old irrelevant articles.
    one thing, coding and hardware isn't the same at all. Secondly, if you don't like their articles then go read another publisher's. Don't complain about it in the comments.

    Personally I like the formatting where it's divided into different pages, makes finding benchmarks easier.

    Now here's my thoughts on the 6900XT: absolute joke, just like the 3080Ti and 3090.
    If literally all you care about is gaming the 3080 and 6800XT are excellent cards (at normal pricing), and like the article pointed out, there's literally nothing different between the 6800XT and 6900XT except the cores. Memory and everything else is the same. Might save 50% price for 10% performance.

    At least with 3090 you get 24GB of VRAM so content creators will love that. Plus it's faster than the 6900XT so people looking for the "absolute best" will go for the 3090 instead of AMD.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    JarredWaltonGPU said:
    Yeah. For various reasons, our reviews were initially done as a single page in a different template (that doesn't show scores and other minor differences). One of the managing editors at Tom's Hardware is going back through some of my recent graphics card reviews and switching them to the review template. The text and content hasn't been changed, but I guess it posts with the new date.
    I actually went through and reread the old review, then updated sections that were no longer correct and/or relevant. So, for example, FSR is now out, the RTX 3080 Ti is also here, prices are still fubar. But the review as it stands now should be generally correct in light of the current market situation.
    Reply
  • Kamikazekerr
    Personally Nividia is hitting it's marks there simple but effective I've had a 3090,80,70oc,3060ti and a 3060 junk and Personally I only play warzone prior to the dlss for cards like the 3070 even on custom cooling it struggled badly even turning it right up.with custom cooling, the 3080 vram took a big hit and aswell my personal favorite 3090 vram gauge looked like you threw 5 bucks in a Lincoln continental. LOL......Fast forward a few months I get an ASUS LC 6900XT it ran fine but warzone cranked up his hard on any card while the 6900 remained cool with all the buttons and dials and lack of software I found the card did not perform to my liking and sold it and jumped back into a rog 3070...but then I go and buy a refence amd 6900xt because of the look and ekwb water block. Getter plugged in and bam 100 degrees at the junction while I wait for my water block I've got 3 arctic fans force feedijg this thing air and still to high 80's and 90s which I do not like not to mention artifacting outta the box using only amd oc settings...so I pull it apart today no thermal anything under backplate..add my own from ekwb....then scrape the pad off the cooler side of the chip then watch the stock thermal pads almost Disintegrate under there own weight... replace them and repaste went from
    92 temp and 95 plus junction temp down to 75 to 82 ish temp and still a steady junction temp about 92 when working but still force feeding it air all around disappointment and the artifacting concerns me it's hit or miss now hopefully it comes around with the water. BUT all in all I would not recommend anything amd gpu related at this time...I hope to change that in the future but as of right now I'd take my Rog 3070 onwater over this 6900xt in performance for my needs and user friendly software and settings
    Reply