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AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Roundup: ASRock, Asus, and Sapphire Reviewed

ASRock Taichi RX 6800 XT

Pros

+ Large and powerful cooler

+ Plenty of RGB bling

+ Quiet

Cons

 - Large and heavy

- Requires a spacious case

- Only one RGB fan?

- Old style fans

ASRock's Taichi brand is generally used for the company’s top-of-the-line products, and the RX 6800 XT Taichi is no exception. It's big and bold, with one of the largest coolers we've seen on a third party card, plus a copious amount of bling. Meanwhile, performance is as you'd expect: right in line with the other top-tier solutions from competing cards.

The 6800 XT Taichi is a massive card, dwarfing the reference model 6800 XT and tipping the scales at 1.75kg (3.85 pounds). ASRock actually lists the weight at 1815g, but my scale disagreed by about 65g. The dimensions are 330x140x56mm, and the cooler occupies 2.8-slots, which in today's single GPU market isn't much of a problem. The Taichi is also one of the longest cards we've seen — 13 inches long — so you'll definitely need a spacious case if you want this card to fit.

For a while, most high-end GPUs tried to stay close to a 2-slot thickness so that you could add a second (or even third) card for CrossFire or SLI, but multi-GPU support in games has seriously declined in recent years, so it's now less of a consideration. The most common use case for multi-GPU these days is cryptocurrency mining, but since coin miners just build custom mining chassis with PCIe extension cables, size isn't much of a factor there either. That means manufacturers are more willing to create cards that effectively block off the two expansion slots adjacent to the GPU.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

ASRock's Taichi brand is generally used for the top-of-the-line products from the company, and the RX 6800 XT Taichi is no exception. It's big and bold, with one of the largest coolers we've seen on a third party card, plus a copious amount of bling. Performance meanwhile is as you'd expect: right in line with the other top-tier solutions from competing cards.

The 6800 XT Taichi is a massive card, dwarfing the reference model 6800 XT and tipping the scales at 1.75kg (3.85 pounds). ASRock actually lists the weight at 1815g, but my scale disagreed by about 65g. The dimensions are 330x140x56mm and the cooler occupies 2.8-slots, which in today's single GPU market isn't much of a problem. The Taichi is also one of the longest cards we've seen — 13 inches long — so you'll definitely need a spacious case if you want this card to fit.

For a while, most high-end GPUs tried to stay close to a 2-slot thickness so that you could add a second (or even third) card for CrossFire or SLI, but multi-GPU support in games has seriously declined in recent years and so it's now less of a consideration. The most common use case for multi-GPU these days is cryptocurrency mining, but sice coin miners just build custom mining chassis with PCIe extension cables, size isn't much of a factor there either. That means manufacturers are more willing to create cards that effectively block off the two expansion slots adjacent to the GPU.

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AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Roundup

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AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Roundup

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ASRock provides plenty of RGB lighting, with the center fan lighting up along with the top Taichi logo and the surrounding light strip, and there's another Taichi icon on the back of the card as a final RGB option. I sort of wish the company had gone whole hog and used RGB on the other two fans, but that would make for a very bright card. Also of note is that in a traditional PC case, the 'front' fans on the graphics card will often end up facing the bottom of the case. That means you won't even see the fans unless you use a case that supports a vertically mounted GPU (which would also need to be able to handle a triple slot thickness, or you'd obstruct the fan intakes).

There are some Taichi elements that haven't been updated to match the competitive landscape, and here I'm looking specifically at the fans. Most of the latest generation RTX 30-series and RX 6000-series GPUs now have fans with an integrated 'barrier rim' around the outside of the fan blades. This ring helps improve static pressure and airflow, improving cooling capabilities while potentially reducing fan noise. Meanwhile, ASRock has traditional fan blades like what we've seen for many years. It's a small thing, but we'd like to see the latest technology utilized on a premium card.

ASRock doesn't specify a TDP for the Taichi, though it does recommend a PSU wattage of 800W or more. The card also requires three 8-pin PEG power connectors, which in theory can deliver 450W of power, giving the card a peak power delivery of 525W when combined with the 75W of the x16 PCIe slot. (It didn't come close to hitting that mark, though maybe an adventurous overclocker with LN2 could do so.) In our testing, the Taichi used a bit less power than the other custom cards. It averaged 332W in Metro Exodus (still 10 percent more than the reference 6800 XT) and 352W in FurMark. Overclocking pushed power use up to 344W in Metro and 400W in FurMark. That means there's still potential for higher overclocks, but we generally seem to hit a similar limit with all of the 6800 XT cards of around 2.5GHz.

Digging into the overclocking specifics, for now, we're still somewhat restricted in what utilities we can use on RX 6000 cards, as MSI Afterburner doesn't fully support the new GPUs yet. AMD's own Radeon Software seems the best option, and we used it to increase the power limit by 15 percent, set the GPU to a maximum clock of 2580 MHz, and bumped the GDDR6 speed up by 150 MHz (to 17.2 Gbps). Combined with a more aggressive fan curve, we reached a stable OC where clocks in Metro Exodus averaged 2529 MHz, compared to 2391 MHz at factory stock settings. That's a 6 percent increase in GPU clocks and 7.5 percent on VRAM clocks, which improved performance in our test suite by 4-5 percent overall. 

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AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Roundup

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ASRock offers its Tweak software for tuning, which is sufficient for modest overclocking but doesn't really do much more than AMD's own Radeon Settings. You can see the default power limits (289W, or 317W in OC mode), but that's just for the GPU power — the VRAM, VRMs, and other components will also use power. Ultimately, we didn't see much reason to install the custom ASRock Tweak software, since the core functionality is already present with AMD's drivers.

Technically, the ASRock Taichi ended up as the slowest of the three custom cards, but that's very much splitting hairs. It’s within 0.5 percent of the other two cards at stock, and it's within 1.5 percent of the faster Asus card when overclocked. Performance when overclocked is also basically tied with the stock RX 6900 XT. It's also up to 2 percent faster than the reference 6800 XT.

Frankly, performance and even pricing are sort of a non-issue for now, as none of the cards are readily available for purchase. If you want a 6800 XT and can find the Taichi in stock somewhere, and you're willing to pay $900 or more for it, be our guest. Our general advice is to wait for supply to improve and hopefully for prices to end up closer to MSRP. With the recent tariffs on graphics cards further impacting pricing, however, it could be a long and painful wait.

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Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He 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.