+ Excellent thermals
+ Lots of RGB
+ Great if you want an AIO
- Higher price thanks to the AIO
- Requires 240mm radiator mount
- Negligible performance increase
Asus has traditionally stayed away from the AIO graphics card market, but that changes with the ROG Strix LC. Not only does it come with an AIO (all-in-one) liquid cooler, but it includes a relatively large 240mm radiator. Some people will love that option, but it comes at a higher price and can be cumbersome to install — for someone like me that swaps GPUs regularly, AIO cards are more trouble than they're worth.
The external radiator adds a lot of bulk to the package, with the card plus radiator weighing in at 2166g. That's about as much as the RTX 3090 Founders Edition, but the good news is the x16 motherboard slot only has to deal with a 1340g card, with the rest of the bulk secured to the PC chassis. Thanks to the large radiator, the Strix LC can also get by with a traditional 2-slot thickness and a single blower fan on the main card, and the blower doesn't really have to work that hard.
The main graphics card measures 277x131x43.6mm, but the radiator is an additional 276x120x51.7mm. Make sure your case has a good mounting location before taking the plunge. If you're also using a 240mm or larger AIO for CPU cooling, speaking from experience, you'll definitely want to verify both coolers will fit properly before buying.
The ROG Strix line is known for being Asus's top offering, and the Strix LC takes that one step further. Besides the RGB lighting on the graphics card, the two radiator fans also have RGB lighting. The above photos don't really show the RGB properly, but if you have a reasonably dark room and the radiator mounted in a case, there's plenty of RGB to go around. As with many other graphics cards, however, the RGB on the front of the card will end up facing the bottom of your PC in most builds, which sort of defeats the purpose.
Asus lists a relatively tame PSU requirement of 750W, which is technically sufficient based on our testing, but we recommend at least 850W. Actually, with most of the high-end graphics cards, you can make a legitimate argument for 1000W power supplies. PSUs often hit peak efficiency with a load of around 50 percent, and in a high-end PC build, that means the entire PC will consume close to 500W (depending on CPU and other factors) while gaming. If you do plan on using a lower wattage PSU, make sure it's a high-quality offering because the Asus card can hit power draws of over 400W when overclocked.
The big selling point with the Strix LC is, of course, the liquid cooling, and what that does for thermals. Despite having a similar power use and clock speed relative to the other two cards, thermals are far lower even with a modest fan speed. At stock, the Asus card has an excellent temperature of just 53C in FurMark, and that didn't change with our overclocked settings (though fan speeds did have to go up). Temps and fan speeds are even better when playing games, which are generally not as demanding as FurMark when it comes to power. Overall, the Asus card runs 15-20C cooler than the other two custom cards, with the same level of performance, and it delivers a bit more headroom for overclocking.
Speaking of overclocking, you can use Asus's GPU Tweak II (and GPU Tweak III) software suite in addition to the built-in Radeon Software options. By default, like many of Asus's graphics cards, the 6800 XT ROG Strix LC will run at 'gaming' clocks, and you need to install GPU Tweak II and select the OC profile to unlock the full potential. We did this for our testing, though the difference between 'gaming' and 'OC' modes is pretty minimal.
Is the Strix LC worth the price, though? Originally released with a $900 MSRP, Asus is one of several companies that has recently increased prices due to US tariffs and other factors. The Strix LC 6800 XT now shows a price of $1,080 at the Asus store, and it's still out of stock. It's hard to recommend spending that much money on a GPU that has a nominal price of $650, but then again, that nominal price is nowhere to be found. Maybe we'll eventually see RX 6800 XT cards selling at $700 or less, but for now, they're more commonly in the $1,000+ range. By the time supply improves, we might have other GPUs that represent a better overall value.
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