AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Cooled launched earlier this week, and in theory it should place near the top of our GPU benchmarks and earn a spot on our list of the best graphics cards. It has a one significant advantage when compared both to the company's air-cooled reference design as well as custom graphics boards from board makers: faster memory. Unfortunately, DIY enthusiasts will not be able to get this card as it is a limited edition product that will only be supplied to select system integrators.
Unlike all AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics cards that are on the market (including those based on the so-called Navi 21 XTXH silicon with no clock-speed limits), AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Cooled uses 18Gbps GDDR6 memory, up from the 16Gbps GDDR6 used on regular boards. With a memory bandwidth of 576 GB/s (up from 512 GB/s on standard cards), AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Cooled will offer higher performance in high resolutions and in rich scenes.
Besides the 12.5% increase in memory clocks, the RX 6900 XT LC also appears to have higher GPU clocks and a 10% increase in TDP. That should help performance as well, though we suspect the memory speed will be the bigger factor, particularly at 4K.
Sadly, AMD's Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Cooled isn't just limited to specific pre-built systems, but it's also a limited edition product. We expect only a handful of such boards will be made. We received the following statement from AMD about the product:
"AMD will be making a limited number of Radeon RX 6900 XT liquid cooled reference design graphics cards available to select system integrators. System integrators are a critical part of the gaming ecosystem and offering this this model through their channels helps ensure that as many of these products as possible get into gamers hands."
AMD has not disclosed how many Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Cooled units will be made, but we are probably talking about thousands of units at best, which is hardly anything on a global scale.
Of course, there are numerous factory-overclocked Radeon RX 6900 XT offerings from companies like ASRock, PowerColor, and Sapphire. Yet, AMD's own Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Cooled has a unique advantage that will not be available to many users. Since it's only availble to system integrators, AMD also has not disclosed pricing, though we'd expect it to come at a decent jump from the already high $999 MSRP for the standard air cooled model.
Not that MSRP has any meaning, with our GPU pricing index showing a typical going rate on eBay of nearly $1,900. Still, GPU prices are trending downward now. Hopefully in the coming months, we'll see graphics cards selling for more reasonable prices.