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

The performance, features, power, and aesthetics for these RX 6800 XT cards doesn't do much good if you can't actually buy the product, unfortunately. That's where we find ourselves right now. Theoretically, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is a good product, particularly if you're not as concerned about ray tracing performance. It's also theoretically slightly less expensive than the competing GeForce RTX 3080. In practice, however, it's all for naught.

As bad as the supply is on GeForce RTX 30-series cards, it might be even worse on AMD's alternatives. It's difficult to ascertain exactly how many of any of the cards are actually being shipped and sold, though, and both feel like ghost products right now. Tell someone you actually saw any of the latest GPUs in stock and they're liable to put you away. Which makes reviewing these cards a bit weird, but such is the way of the tech world right now.

The problem is that it's not just one thing causing the shortages. COVID plays a big role, and that impacted worldwide shipping as well. More people working and schooling from home, or just wanting to play games, means more demand. And in the case of the AMD RX 6800 XT, AMD uses TSMC's N7 process, which is in high demand from other companies as well. In the latest TSMC news, you can see that TSMC only does about 55-60 thousand wafers per month. How many of those go to Apple and Nvidia, and how many are for AMD? And of the AMD wafers, there will be Zen 3 CPUs, PS5 and XSX console APUs, and RDNA2 GPUs.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Suppose AMD gets one-third of TSMC's N7 production. That's perhaps 20K wafers. However, the PS5 and XSX consoles probably use up 75 percent of the allotment, meaning only 5K wafers for GPUs and CPUs. And right now, the Zen 3 CPUs are more lucrative (smaller chips means more per wafer, and higher profit margins). It's entirely possible that AMD is only doing a few thousand (or less) Navi 21 wafers per month. With a 520mm square die size, that's at best around 100 GPUs per wafer. Even that might be optimistic, as based on what we've seen it seems like less than 100K RX 6800 XT cards exist. Or maybe demand is simply so much higher than the supply that even with hundreds of thousands of cards, it wouldn't be enough.

If you want an RX 6800 XT and can find one of these cards in stock at a price you're willing to pay, have at it. The same applies to most of the other recent GPU launches. What everyone really wants to know is when these cards will be readily available at anything close to the launch price of $650-$700. Sadly, we don't know. Maybe in a few months, but we heard multiple companies at CES 2021 suggest that graphics card shortages are likely to continue until June at least. And if Bitcoin and Ethereum prices stay high, that would only make the situation worse, plus tariffs are also impacting prices in the United States.

It's annoying, and that's putting it nicely. In July, I wrote that it was a terrible time to buy a graphics card and updated that article after the new cards launched and immediately sold out. In retrospect, if you bought a previous-gen RTX 20-series or RX 5700-series GPU at MSRP or below right before the new cards launched, that was a smart buy. An even better buy would have been purchasing an RTX 20-series card back in 2018 because you'd then have over two years of enjoyment from it, and you could probably still sell it at close to the original price.

The winner of the current GPU battle will be whichever company can produce the most GPUs first and ship them at reasonable prices, with features, performance, and all the other aspects being secondary concerns. If we take the RX 5700 XT and the RTX 2060 Super as $400 graphics cards for our baseline, the RX 6800 XT is around 75 percent faster than the 5700 XT and 90 percent faster than the 2060 Super. That means we could reasonably accept prices of $700-$800. Anything more than that and we recommend waiting and searching for a better deal.

We know for certain that, just as the 2017 GPU shortages eventually came to an end, the current shortages will also pass into history at some point. Hopefully, that happens sooner rather than later.

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  • Makaveli
    Canadian pricing for these cards. Asrock from newegg.ca and the last two from canada computers.

    ASRock Radeon RX 6800 XT Taichi Gaming $1499

    SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 6800 XT $1149

    ASUS ROG STRIX LC Radeon RX 6800 XT $1299

    And for the money Asus is asking for this card, they could have alteast sleeved those fan cables its mess. For $1000+ asking price kinda of a slap in the face.
    Reply
  • Jobeker
    Your testing methodology is flawed.
    The memory should not be overclocked in these cards.
    These cards show much better results once you push the GPU to the max & leave the memory at stock.
    It seems that you & all the other testers I have come to respect in almost 2 decades of reading tests & benchmarks , have become fixated on maxing the mem to the point of "no crush" without even comparing the results.
    I hope you still have at least one of the cards at hand to make 1 more test, you will see that stock mem@2000mhz + GPU@2600mhz gets much better results than mem@2140mhz + GPU@2600mhz .

    I am active on a different language forum & a local system builder/fine tuner corroborated these results with several different 6800XT cards.
    ( he is the one that Identified this issue , I don't own such a card at the moment)
    He is now testing a 6900XT .

    As a bonus , once you leave the memory at stock you get a few extra watts for higher gpu oc.

    I don't care that much about the actual value of the specific cards ( definitely not at current pricing ) it is however very important for me to make sure you testing methodology isn't flawed.

    I seriously hope you still have one of the cards for one more test .
    Reply
  • chalabam
    Nice cards. Unfortunetely, they are useless for Tensorflow.

    What a wasted potential.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    Jobeker said:
    Your testing methodology is flawed.
    The memory should not be overclocked in these cards.
    These cards show much better results once you push the GPU to the max & leave the memory at stock.
    It seems that you & all the other testers I have come to respect in almost 2 decades of reading tests & benchmarks , have become fixated on maxing the mem to the point of "no crush" without even comparing the results.
    I hope you still have at least one of the cards at hand to make 1 more test, you will see that stock mem@2000mhz + GPU@2600mhz gets much better results than mem@2140mhz + GPU@2600mhz .

    I am active on a different language forum & a local system builder/fine tuner corroborated these results with several different 6800XT cards.
    ( he is the one that Identified this issue , I don't own such a card at the moment)
    He is now testing a 6900XT .

    As a bonus , once you leave the memory at stock you get a few extra watts for higher gpu oc.

    I don't care that much about the actual value of the specific cards ( definitely not at current pricing ) it is however very important for me to make sure you testing methodology isn't flawed.

    I seriously hope you still have one of the cards for one more test .
    Define "much better results" for me, please. The overclocking is not supposed to be the major focus, because silicon lottery and other elements come into play. Frankly, I wouldn't bother overclocking most GPUs -- it's just not enough of a gain to warrant the added power and potential stress on the hardware. Anyway, a 7.5% memory OC isn't much, and neither is the 3-7% increase in performance I measured with the 'max' OC I achieved.

    Dropping the memory OC and trying for a slightly higher core OC is totally within the parameters of what can be done, and may improve performance more than what I've shown. More effort on tuning voltages, fan speeds, etc. could also improve performance. Without physically modding the cards, though, I strongly doubt you'll see more than a 5% improvement over what I achieved, which is a 10% potential total improvement. In practice, I'm sure it would be far less than that -- probably only a 1-2% difference from my max core + max RAM OC results. And there's a very good chance that, despite what you're positing, overclocking the memory actually does improve performance.

    Let me give you just one example, because based on this I see no reason to bother retesting anything more.


    SettingAsus Strix LC RX 6800 XT OCAsus Strix LC RX 6800 XT OC StockRAMAsus Strix LC RX 6800 XTMetro Exodus1080p Ultra
    125.09
    123.2
    119.46

    1440p Ultra
    105.43
    103.69
    99.77

    4k Ultra
    69.44
    68.52
    64.81

    So, in at least one game, using the same card in all three cases (the Asus Strix LC), dropping the RAM OC but leaving the GPU at the same 2600 MHz setting reduced performance by 1-2%. So much for my "flawed" methodology.
    Reply
  • shady_021
    The only thing I see here is all 6800 XT are equal or slightly ahead of a 6900 XT... so except for the price difference what's the point of having a 6900XT?
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    shady_021 said:
    The only thing I see here is all 6800 XT are equal or slightly ahead of a 6900 XT... so except for the price difference what's the point of having a 6900XT?
    The overclocked RX 6800 XT cards match the stock RX 6900 XT. If I overclocked the 6900 XT as well, it comes out a bit ahead again.

    This is something I pointed out in the RX 6900 XT review: it has identical clocks, TDP, and VRAM, so the only difference is 80 CUs instead of 72 CUs. That means at most an 11% advantage for the 6900 XT, but because of VRAM being the same it is usually more like 4-5%. So it's not really worth the extra $350, except none of the 6800 XT cards cost $649, and none of the 6900 XT cards cost $999 -- and in fact, neither of those really exists in any meaningful quantity AFAICT. Tens of thousands of cards worldwide perhaps, but that's a drop in the proverbial bucket.
    Reply
  • Jobeker
    JarredWaltonGPU , Thank you for taking interest in my comment & performing the relevant tests.
    I've ( we actually ) been fed with a lot of information in the past 2 weeks that led me to believe the claim I made .
    I apologize that it came out rude.
    I trust your findings better .
    Thank you.
    Reply
  • HC1Gunner
    Admin said:
    We've rounded up multiple Radeon RX 6800 XT cards to see how the various models stack up. Higher factory overclocks, liquid cooling hybrids, massive coolers, and increased pricing are the general trend while GPUs continue to be in short supply.

    AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Roundup: ASRock, Asus, and Sapphire Reviewed : Read more
    Question, how is this a round up, when other manufactures like Gigabyte weren't included?
    Kind of stupid to do these reviews, when you can't find any of these cards for retail sale.
    Reply
  • pbergonzi
    Admin said:
    We've rounded up multiple Radeon RX 6800 XT cards to see how the various models stack up. Higher factory overclocks, liquid cooling hybrids, massive coolers, and increased pricing are the general trend while GPUs continue to be in short supply.

    AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Roundup: ASRock, Asus, and Sapphire Reviewed : Read more
    Thank you for your thoughtful testing and article.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    HC1Gunner said:
    Question, how is this a round up, when other manufactures like Gigabyte weren't included?
    Kind of stupid to do these reviews, when you can't find any of these cards for retail sale.
    A roundup isn't every card or manufacturer possible; it's a roundup of the cards we were sent. So rather than three individual 6800 XT reviews, you get a roundup of three cards plus the reference model.
    Reply