As anticipation grows for the upcoming release of the next (RX 7000) generation from AMD, we can finally get our hands on the previous RX 6000 generation cards. Recently, we’ve been graced by their availability and a notable drop in price. Among the best from AMD, two notable GPUs are the RX 6800 XT and the RX 6900 XT. But, how do they compare and which one should you choose?
In this 6800 XT vs 6900 XT comparison, I’ll guide you through their specs, performance, pros and cons, and other details. Hopefully, I’ll even find some good deals that I’ll link for you in this article so that you can take full advantage of the current situation. Enjoy!
6800 XT vs 6900 XT – Quick Comparison
The RX 6000 series has several tiers: entry-level, mid-range, high-end, and enthusiast. The RX 6800 XT is a high-end card, while the 6900 XT is classified as enthusiast-level, along with only two other cards from AMD. This points to the 6900 XT as the better performer of the two, but that’s not the only aspect to consider. Their prices have stopped many of us from clicking “purchase.”
|Radeon RX 6800 XT||Specs||Radeon RX 6900 XT|
|Navi 21 XT|
|GPU||Navi 21 XTX|
|PCIe 4.0 x16||Interface||PCIe 4.0 x 16|
|1,825 MHz||Base Clock||1,825 MHz|
|2,250 MHz||Boost Clock||2,250 MHz|
|16 GB GDDR6||Memory||16 GB GDDR6|
|2,000 MHz |
(16 Gbps effective)
|Memory Speed||2,000 MHz |
(16 Gbps effective)
|512.0 GB/s||Bandwidth||512.0 GB/s|
|700 W||Required PSU|
|850 W||Recommended PSU|
|1x HDMI 2.1,|
2x DisplayPort 1.4a,
1x USB Type-C
|Outputs||1x HDMI 2.1,|
2x DisplayPort 1.4a,
1x USB Type-C
|Check Price on Amazon||Price||Check Price on Amazon|
AMD started in Silicon Valley more than half a century ago. The Company has given us some of the best CPUs ever, produces motherboard chipsets and great GPUs, and is now a leader in the cloud computing industry as well. AMD struggled with high-end GPUs for a long time, giving the competition room to become dominant. However, all of this changed with the release of the RX 6000 series.
RX 6800 XT
Released in November 2020, the RX 6800 XT disappeared immediately. This was partially due to the crypto mining craze and because “scalpers” would purchase them and resell them at double their MSRPs. Thankfully, this trend has died down, and I’ve even read that AMD partners are looking to offload as much stock as possible in anticipation of the next generation.
So if there was ever a time to buy, it’s now. And what a card to buy. The 6800 XT offers 16 GB of VRAM on a 256-bit BUS, 4,608 cores that can be overclocked up to 2.8 GHz, 288 TMUs, and 72 Ray Tracing Accelerators. It supports DirectX 12 Ultimate, dominates games at 1080p and 1440p, and handles 4K very well.
- Huge GDDR6 capacity
- Solid 4K performance
- Excellent at 1080 and 1440p
- Lower price
- Fewer TMUs
- Fewer RT Accelerators
RX 6900 XT
Released one month after the 6800 XT, the RX 6900 XT shares the enthusiast-level title with two other AMD cards. It, too, disappeared immediately, with Newegg listing it “out of stock” two minutes after its release. The reasons are the same as for the 6800 XT — prices doubled, reaching $2,000 USD, and most of us who wanted one just gave up. But, our time has come again!
The RX 6900 XT also offers 16 GB of VRAM on a 256-bit BUS, 5,120 Stream Processors working at the same clock speeds as the 6800 XT (but can be overclocked more), 320 TMUs, and 80 Ray Tracing Accelerators. It also supports DirectX 12 Ultimate and dominates in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K gaming.
- Huge GDDR6 capacity
- Excellent 4K performance
- More TMUs
- More RT Accelerators
- Fewer cores
- Higher price
6800 XT vs 6900 XT: Key Specifications
Both the 6800 XT and the 6900 XT are based on the RDNA 2 architecture, which is also used in gaming consoles such as the PS5 and XBOX Series S and X. It’s safe to say it’s a gaming-focused architecture. Upon release, AMD stated that RDNA 2 would offer 65% more performance per Watt than RDNA (1).
We can attribute this performance boost to several innovations. AMD Infinity Cache was introduced, offering higher bandwidths at low latency and low power. Another introduction was the resizable BAR, also known as Smart Access Memory. This allowed your CPU to access your entire VRAM instead of the 256-bit blocks accessible in previous generations.
Clock Speeds & Overclocking
Clock speed is the frequency at which your GPU, CPU, or (V)RAM operates. Surprisingly enough, both the 6800 XT and the 6900 XT operate at the same speeds, with a 1,825 MHz base clock speed and a 2,250 MHz boost clock speed. Boost speeds are activated whenever your card needs a bit more juice.
These speeds can be surpassed through overclocking (manually tweaking GPU settings). A lot of third-party cards are sold factory-overclocked, with several of them working at boost clock speeds of 2,525 MHz (6900 XT) and 2,360 MHz (6800 XT). The highest reported clock speed reachable through overclocking these cards is 2.8 GHz.
|RX 6800 XT Variants||Boost Clock||RX 6900 XT Variants||Boost Clock|
|ASRock RX 6800 XT Taichi X OC||2,360 MHz||ASUS ROG STRIX LC RX 6900 XT GAMING TOP||2,525 MHz|
|ASUS ROG STRIX LC RX 6800 XT GAMING OC||2,360 MHz||GIGABYTE AORUS RX 6900 XT Xtreme WaterForce WB||2,525 MHz|
|Dataland RX 6800 XT Ares X||2,360 MHz||Sapphire TOXIC RX 6900 XT Extreme Edition||2,525 MHz|
|PowerColor Liquid Devil RX 6800 XT||2,360 MHz||XFX Speedster ZERO RX 6900 XT WB||2,525 MHz|
|Sapphire NITRO+ RX 6800 XT||2,360 MHz||XFX Speedster MERC319 RX 6900 XT Limited||2,495 MHz|
You can send your card into dangerous territory through overclocking, as higher clock speeds come hand-in-hand with hotter working temperatures. If you choose to overclock your GPU you can use dedicated software such as MSI Afterburner (read our guide) and be sure to raise fan speeds to dissipate heat as much as possible. Recently, I overclocked my own card and witnessed it lose half its clock speed for no apparent reason, so be careful!
Also Read: How to Undervolt your CPU and GPU Safely
GPUs are parallel processors, as is your CPU. The difference is that GPU cores count in the thousands. The 6800 XT has 4,608 cores, or Stream Processors, as AMD calls them. The 6900 XT offers slightly more, with 5,120. I’m not that good at math, but I’ve read that equals 11% more. The same 11% more than the 6900 XT has in advertised Fps performance against the 6800 XT.
Winner: Radeon RX 6900 XT
VRAM & Memory Specs
AMD opted for the same memory configuration in the 6800 XT and the 6900 XT. Both cards have 16 GB connected using a 256-bit memory BUS, working at a fixed 2,000 MHz memory clock speed (not overclockable). Their effective speed is 16 Gbps, and both have a bandwidth of 512 Gb/s. It’s my opinion that this doesn’t justify the initial price difference between these cards.
Also Read: RAM vs VRAM: What are the key differences?
Shaders, Ray Tracing, and TMUs
Both the 6800 XT and the 6900 XT offer a boastful amount of Ray Tracing Accelerators and TMUs, with the shader counts equally boastful, as they are counted equivalent to the number of cores a GPU has. The 6900 XT has slightly higher numbers, with 320 Texture Mapping Units (TMUs) compared to 288 in the 6800 XT and 80 Ray Tracing Accelerators compared to 72 in the 6800 XT.
Shaders are generic programs that leverage GPU cores to create light, shadows, colors, characters, and many other aspects critical to video game rendering. While TMUs and shaders are crucial, Ray Tracing Accelerators are not, as we have yet to see an influx of games that require using this tech to the fullest. Regardless, the 6900 XT offers more of each, earning it a winner’s badge in this segment.
Winner: 6900 XT
In theoretical performance, the 6900 XT wins right off the bat with higher texture rates but the same pixel rate. Its Fps performance is rated 11% better (on average) than the 6800 XT, but user benchmark tests have it at 24% above (on average). In my opinion, the number 24 justifies their initial price difference better than the number 11.
These results are based on tests conducted by between eight and ten thousand users. These same results say that lighting and shadows, reflections, and average Fps are much better when using the 6900 XT. It’s also the better overclocker, offering even better results in peak lighting and reflections as well as in other aspects.
If you choose to turn on ray tracing and FSR, Fps drops by anywhere from 43% to 72% with medium ray tracing enabled, depending on the game you play, but it doesn’t drop that much (or at all) if FSR is turned on at high or ultra ray tracing, again, depending on the game. Some games have been developed to work better with AMD cards. You can find a list of them here.
Winner: 6900 XT
Also Read: 4K vs 1080p Resolution – What’s the difference?
Both cards offer the same in terms of connectivity with one HDMI port, two DisplayPorts, and a USB-C post. Both use a 1x 8-pin PSU connector for the additional power they require. Third-party variants come in all shapes and sizes and with varying connection options. Some ditch the USB-C port, adding a second HDMI port instead or a third DisplayPort. The 8-pin connector is present in all variants.
TDP can mean three things, but most commonly, it refers to Thermal Design Power or the amount of power a subsystem is allowed to draw from your PSU. Everything is level between these cards here as well, with both having a TDP of 300 W (Founders Edition), requiring at least a 750 W PSU to function properly. Some third-party variants differ in this area, with slightly higher TDPs due to their overclocked settings.
Design and Build
I’m not talking aesthetics here, but design and build are important. The 6900 XT is a triple-slot card with a length of 10.5 inches (267 mm). Some third-party variants stretch up to 13.6 inches (345 mm) long—certainly, something to keep in mind when choosing. A few versions are dual-slot, but that design cuts back on fans, heatsinks, and thermal pads—a no-no in my book.
The same goes for the 6800 XT, with the Founders Edition being a dual-slot, 10.5-inch long card and some third-party variants stretching up to 13.4 inches (340 mm). Thankfully, most of them have been redesigned into triple-slot cards, boasting additional fans and larger cooling systems.
6800 XT vs 6900 XT: Pricing & Availability
The 6800 XT launched at an MSRP of $649, while the 6900 XT launched at $999. These prices soared to double and even above in some cases. Thankfully, that’s behind us now, and prices are beginning to drop though they’re still above the MSRP for some variants.
The 6800 XT Founders Edition is still above the MSRP, but you can grab an XFX version or an ASUS TUF variant below the MSRP or a GIGABYTE variant slightly above it. A couple of months ago, you’d have to give an arm and a leg to pay for one of these.
The 6900 XT Founders Edition is still 50% above the release MSRP, but you can find an XFX variant (with one of the best user benchmark results) for far less (below MSRP) or an ASUS TUF for a bit more than the XFX version.
This 6800 XT vs 6900 XT comparison offers a very clear result in favor of the 6900 XT. Even though a lot of components are the same in these two cards, the 6900 XT offers a noteworthy performance advantage at a very similar price to that of the 6800 XT (if you choose wisely). So, choosing between them is pretty straightforward, and I know which one I’d choose in 2022 — the 6900 XT.