Formula One cars are some of the fastest things with wheels on the planet, so you'd expect the ASRock Radeon RX 6900 XT Formula OC to set some records — and it does. The AMD Navi 21 GPU beating at the heart of the Formula currently ranks third in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy while powering some of the best graphics cards. As an interesting change of pace, you can actually find the ASRock RX 6900 XT Formula in stock at Newegg right now… currently "on sale" for $1,700. That's basically scalper pricing, and we've seen it at $1,900 as well, but we're not sure if that's ASRock's MSRP or Newegg just inflating the price.
We originally thought the RX 6900 XT felt too expensive at $1,000 when it launched in late 2020, but the past year of GPU shortages requires us to reevaluate things. When RTX 2060 cards sell for $600 or more, an RX 6900 XT for $1,700 doesn't seem out of the question. Seriously, though, it's still a terrible time to buy a graphics card, and our GPU price index shows just how overpriced most models are.
Back to the matter at hand, the ASRock RX 6900 XT Formula OC takes AMD's fastest GPU and then adds a massive air cooler and overclocks the boost speed up to 2475 MHz — 10% higher than the reference model's 2250 MHz. It also cranks the power limits to 357W when you load up ASRock Tweak and select the OC mode, which increases the power limit by 10% compared to factory stock and sets the maximum boost clock to 2659 MHz. Yeah, the way AMD reports things with maximum boost clocks is a bit odd, but it's basically like Nvidia where the boost clock is more of a conservative estimate, while the maximum boost clock is only listed in software. Basically, the ASRock Formula has a very high clock speed, and the card also draws way more than 357W, even without the OC mode.
Regardless, we used the OC mode for our testing, though the extra OC only made for about a 1–2% improvement over stock performance. Here are the specs, compared to the reference AMD RX 6900 XT:
|Graphics Card||RX 6900 XT ASRock Formula||RX 6900 XT|
|GPU||Navi 21||Navi 21|
|Process Technology||TSMC N7||TSMC N7|
|Die size (mm^2)||519||519|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||2475 (OC Mode)||2250|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||16||16|
|VRAM Bus Width||256||256|
|TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)||25.3||23|
|TDP (watts)||325 (357 OC)||300|
Better cooling and a 10% overclock, combined with a 10% boost to the power limit, should all result in a decent bump to performance. We're still looking at the same Navi 21 GPU, and real-world clocks matter more than the theoretical numbers on the specs sheet. Take the power rating as an example. In our in-line power testing, we measured 383W while running Metro Exodus at the default clocks, and 415W with OC mode enabled. The GPU clocks were also about 50MHz higher than the 2475MHz figure, and OC mode increased clocks an additional 60MHz.
Of course, the same was true of the RX 6900 XT at launch. It averaged over 2300MHz during our gaming tests, despite a 2250MHz "maximum" boost clock that's not actually the maximum. But we prefer having AMD underpromising and overdelivering on clocks to the old way of doing things. ASRock also recommends at least a 1000W power supply for the RX 6900 XT Formula OC, and while a good 850W PSU should still suffice, we'd take the recommendation to heart.
The one thing we'd really have liked to get with a card like the Formula is something we rarely see: a good factory overclock on the memory. AMD released the special liquid-cooled version of the RX 6900 XT to system builders, and it comes with 18Gbps GDDR6 memory. We did poke around at overclocking on the ASRock card and were able to boost the base clock by about 140MHz (17.12Gbps effective speed), but that's basically the same speed we hit with every other Navi 21 card we've tested — even the lowly RX 6800.
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