Our test configuration for the hardware and software remains unchanged from other recent reviews. We're using an 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K running stock clocks, but with DDR4-3600 memory and the XMP profile enabled. The CPU generally runs at 4.7GHz during our gaming benchmarks, though the slightly older Coffee Lake architecture can be a bit of a bottleneck at lower resolutions.
We're also still running Windows 10 21H1; we plan to update to Windows 11 in the near future and see how that impacts performance — which will also require retesting a bunch of GPUs, so we're not looking to jump on the preview builds just yet.
We limit testing on third-party cards to our standard 13-game test suite, running at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p at ultra (or equivalent) settings. We compare the review card, ASRock Formula in this case, against reference design GPUs from both AMD and Nvidia. Since we just reviewed the Asus ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti and it goes after a similar extreme performance market, we've included results from that card as well.
Each test setting gets run multiple times, to ensure the consistency of our results. We're also skipping ray tracing benchmarks, though you can see a full suite of tests for the reference models in the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT review. We expect to see similar performance scaling relative to the reference RX 6900 XT, with or without ray tracing, which means the ASRock RX 6900 XT Formula should still fall behind the RTX 3080 in ray tracing performance, particularly in games that use multiple RT effects.
The supply of AMD's Big Navi GPUs has been pretty bad since the launch last year, and the RX 6900 XT tends to be even more difficult to find. This is the first custom RX 6900 XT card we've received for review, and based on what we've seen in our GPU price index as well as the Steam Hardware Survey, there simply aren't that many cards to go around. At least according to Steam, RX 6900 XT currently makes up 0.08% of all surveyed PCs from last month — slightly more than the RX 6800's 0.05% but less than the RX 6800 XT's 0.10% and the RX 6700 XT's 0.13%. It's also less than every RTX 30-series GPU, including the RTX 3080 Ti that only launched in June and already accounts for 0.16% of surveyed PCs.
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