MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT Gaming X18th February, 2021
Price$500 US+ (TBC)
MSI's Radeon RX 6700 series custom graphics cards are finally here and I got the chance to test out the Radeon RX 6700 XT Gaming X. While MSI offered its Gaming X Trio cooler on the Big Navi GPUs, the Navi 22 variants will be receiving the Twin Frozr Gaming X coolers. The cooler while compact, is a fully loaded design that retains great cooling performance and has a custom-built PCB that offers a lot of overclocking potential.
The sample I received featured a factory overclock of 2634 MHz but the average clock rates peaked around 2.7 GHz. You can further push the card through manual overclocking and gain an additional 5% performance boost along with SAM that adds an average 7.5% performance gain in several titles that I tested.
As for the cooling solution, the new Gaming X design does a pretty good job keeping the card just slightly above 60C even in stress tests. For gaming, the average temperatures were around 55C while pushing the fan speeds to 100% led sub-50C temps which are quite impressive at the cost of more noise output. The power consumption of the Radeon RX 6700 XT Gaming X is slightly higher than the GeForce RTX 3070 custom models but it does offer more performance in general.
The card isn't that bulky and should fit inside most cases with relative ease and the dual-fan solution comes with 0db fan technology which unless or until you're touching 60C won't spin at all. This allows lower noise levels when you're not doing any graphics-intensive tasks. MSI went all the way by including a full metal backplate on the card.
The RGB is not overdone and the Mystic Light cuts on the front and sides provide really good aesthetics of the card itself. MSI would be charging a premium for its Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card. That is surely a hefty premium but considering that all AIBs have raised the MSRPs of their cards, MSI is just following the train.
The RX 6700 XT generally tends to perform better and run cooler than the GeForce RTX 3070 and even manages to offer faster performance than the RTX 2080 Ti in a few titles however, there are also titles in which the RX 6700 XT performs on par with the RTX 3060 Ti. It also lacks the RTX and DLSS features that give NVIDIA a huge edge. SAM is a feature worth looking at if you're using an AMD Ryzen 5000 or Ryzen 3000 CPU platform. But until AMD gets its DXR performance fixed and introduces its own AI super-resolution (FiedilityFX) technology, RDNA 2 will lack behind the first generation DXR cards from NVIDIA (RTX 20 series).
The mainstream AMD Radeon graphics cards have definitely seen a huge price bump. Gone are the good old days of the Polaris-based offerings which set you back for $199-$299 US. The RX 6700 XT is AMD's most expensive mid-range GPU offering but it's also due to the high cost of TSMC's 7nm process node and the use of GDDR6 memory which is short in supply. The MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT Gaming X offers a fully loaded package with a compact & stunning design, great cooling, and a very powerful PCB design. It's the pricing and availability of the card that will ultimately decide if it can go against the RTX 3070 or see a similar fate as its competitor which is hard to get hands on these days.