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MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio Review

Rating: 6.5.

Launched last month, today we take a look at MSI's flagship RX 6900 XT graphics card – the Gaming X Trio. Unlike the company's graphics cards from the RX 5700-series, MSI has opted for a unified design approach between its AMD and Nvidia GPUs this generation, meaning the RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio looks almost identical to the RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, with a beefy triple-slot and triple-fan cooler. Let's take a closer look and see if this could be a card to consider.

The MSI RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio is the third air-cooled RX 6900 XT we have reviewed, coming after AMD's reference design and also Gigabyte's Gaming OC. It is the highest clocked of the three, with a rated boost speed of 2340MHz, which is 90MHz faster than the reference card. It's also got the largest cooler, plenty of RGB lighting as well as a metal backplate.

 RX 6900 XT  RX 6800 XT RX 6800  RX 5700 XT   RX 5700
Architecture RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA 2 RDNA  RDNA
Manufacturing Process 7nm 7nm 7nm 7nm  7nm
Transistor Count 26.8 billion 26.8 billion 26.8 billion 10.3 billion 10.3 billion
Die Size  519 mm² 519 mm² 519 mm² 251 mm² 251mm²
Ray Accelerators 80 72 60 n/a n/a
Compute Units  80 72 60 40 36
Stream Processors  5120 4608 3840 2560 2304
Game GPU Clock Up to 2015MHz Up to 2015MHz Up to 1815MHz Up to 1755MHz Up to 1625MHz
Boost GPU Clock Up to 2250MHz Up to 2250MHz Up to 2105MHz Up to 1905MHz Up to 1725MHz
Peak SP Performance Up to 23.04 TFLOPS Up to 20.74 TFLOPS Up to 16.17 TFLOPS Up to 9.75 TFLOPS Up to 7.95 TFLOPS
Peak Half Precision Performance Up to 46.08 TFLOPS Up to 41.47 TFLOPS Up to 32.33 TFLOPS Up to 19.5 TFLOPS Up to 15.9 TFLOPS
Peak Texture Fill-Rate Up to 720 GT/s Up to 648.0 GT/s Up to 505.2 GT/s Up to 304.8 GT/s Up to 248.4 GT/s
ROPs 128 128 96 64 64
Peak Pixel Fill-Rate Up to 288.0 GP/s Up to 288.0 GP/s Up to 202.1 GP/s Up to 121.9 GP/s Up to 110.4 GP/s
AMD Infinity Cache 128MB 128MB 128MB n/a n/a
Memory Bandwidth 512 GB/s 512 GB/s 512 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s
Memory Interface  256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Board Power  300W 300W 250W 225W 185W

The make-up of the RX 6900 XT GPU has many similarities to the RX 6800 XT. Still fabricated on TSMC’s 7nm process node, it uses the same Navi 21 GPU, measuring 519 mm². The key difference is that the RX 6900 XT silicon is fully populated, with 80 Compute Units (CUs) compared to 72 for the 6800 XT. This means the flagship chip has an extra 512 Stream Processors, giving a grand total of 5120 shaders.

Rated clock speed is also identical between these two RDNA 2 GPUs. Reference RX 6900 XT has a rated game clock of 2015MHz and a rated boost clock of up to 2250MHz, but MSI has pushed the rated boost clock up to 2340MHz for the Gaming X Trio.

AMD has also increased the memory capacity, with 16GB of GDDR6 memory found on the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT, while the RX 6700 XT has 12GB GDDR6. Here, the memory is clocked at 16Gbps and operates over a 256-bit memory interface for total bandwidth of 512 GB/s. However, AMD has also implemented a 128MB Infinity Cache on the Navi 21 GPU, to significantly increase effective memory bandwidth without excess power draw.

Speaking of power, the reference RX 6900 XT has a rated total board power (TBP) of 300W. MSI has increased this for the Gaming X Trio to 350W based on our testing, but we look at power draw in more detail later on in the review.

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