AMD announced the mid-range offering of their Radeon RX 6000 series of graphics cards on March 3rd, 2021. The announcement was met with a lukewarm reception from the media outlets and consumers due to the ongoing graphics card stock shortage. The RX 6700 XT has a “hypothetical” MSRP of $479 which is only $20 less than the GeForce RTX 3070 from competitor Nvidia. AMD’s own closest offering is the $579 Radeon RX 6800, a card that costs $100 more, so it is best to compare the RX 6700 XT with the RTX 3070 if you want to gauge the value proposition.
The RX 6700 XT aims to undercut the RTX 3070 by offering similar performance at a slightly cheaper price, however, it might not be that easy to get the upper hand over the RTX 3070. The Nvidia card still has the advantage of much stronger Ray Tracing performance due to its mature RT Cores, and AMD still has no answer to Nvidia’s impressive DLSS technology that takes advantage of the dedicated Tensor cores. AMD does claim that the DLSS competitor is coming soon, although it should have ideally launched with the 6000 series in the first place. Nevertheless, the stock is going to sell out quickly anyway due to the graphics card shortage, so finding the better value proposition is not the best course of action right now.
With that out of the way, here are the 5 best AMD RX 6700 XT graphics cards to buy in 2021, when the stock levels return to normalcy.
1. PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 6700 XT
Stream Processors: 2560 | Base/Boost Clocks: 2321/2633 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
PowerColor is one of AMD’s best exclusive partners and their Red Devil series has always been one of the most popular and most well-built aftermarket graphics cards lineup. The PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 6700 XT is no exception to this rule as it combines beautiful looks with an exceptional thermal and acoustic performance.
The Red Devil has always been an exceptional performer in thermals and that trend carries on with the Red Devil RX 6700 XT. The card features a massive heatsink with a triple-slot design that dwarfs any other card in its class. The huge heatsink spans the entire length of the card and contains seven heatpipes for efficient heat transfer. The card also features a large copper base plate to maximize the contact of the heatsink with the GPU die and other heat-generating components.
Acoustic performance is also exceptional with this variant of the 6700 XT. The card features 3 fans blowing downwards on the metal heatsink, with the outer 2 fans being 100mm ones and the central fan being 90mm in order to maximize the airflow through the heatsink. The fans turn off at temperatures below 60 degrees Celcius and are exceptionally quiet when put under load as well.
Aesthetically the card might not be for everyone as it is striking and unique with an aggressive design language. One of the best-looking features of the card is the RGB implementation which spans the side of the card as well as the front and back. There are several thick prominent RGB strips on the right end of the card that make their way to the front of the fan shroud as well to provide a really unique and aggressive look. PowerColor’s Devil Zone RGB software can be used to synchronize and control the RGB effects of the card.
There are several great additional features of the Red Devil including the Dual BIOS support and the high power budget that makes it an exceptional overclocking card as well. Overall, the Red Devil RX 6700 XT is one of the finest AIB variants of the RX 6700 XT and you should jump on the chance should you find one in stock.
2. Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6700 XT
A Premium Option from Sapphire
- Minimalist Design
- Powerful Cooling Performance
- Impressive Acoustics
- Decent RGB Implementation
- High Price
Stream Processors: 2560 | Base/Boost Clocks: 2321/2649 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin, 1xPCIe 6-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
Sapphire is a fan-favorite when it comes to AIB partners of Radeon graphics cards. Their Nitro+ variants have always been extremely popular with the AMD fan-base due to their superb performance and excellent build quality. This launch is no exception as the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 6700 XT makes the list as one of the finest RX 6700 XT partner cards on the market.
The major improvements with the Sapphire Nitro+ variant are evident in the card’s exceptionally high boost clocks and thermal performance of the card. The Nitro+ can boost up to 2649 MHz out of the box which is a pretty high figure even for the RX 6700 XT. Furthermore, the card has an exceptional power delivery design and high TDP which enables it to be an overclocking champion. Sapphire has offered a unique Triple-BIOS feature with the RX 6700 XT variant as well.
The Nitro+ is an exceptional performer in the thermal and acoustic categories as one might expect. It has a massive heatsink with an improved wave fin design that reduces turbulence and lets air flow smoothly which improves both thermal and acoustic performance. The heatsink is also responsible for dissipating the heat from the memory and VRM components which it does a great job of. The Nitro+ is certainly one of the coolest aftermarket RX 6700 XT graphics cards on the market.
Coming to the front of the fan shroud we find 3 fans that direct air straight down through the heatsink in order to dissipate the heat from the card. The fan design is improved from the previous Nitro+ model with the new 12-blade hybrid fan system that pushes large volumes of air while keeping the quiet axial fan design, the card can now provide better cooling without becoming too loud.
In terms of looks, the Nitro+ is also one of the better-looking RX 6700 XT cards out there, as it pairs a sleek design with subtle RGB implementation to make a really clean-looking card. All in all, the Nitro+ RX 6700 XT is one of the best variants of the RX 6700 XT both in terms of performance and aesthetics. Any potential buyers should be on the lookout for this variant as it delivers some of the best features of any aftermarket RX 6700 XT.
3. XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6700 XT
- Ridiculously Powerful Boosting Behaviour
- Huge Heatsink
- Industrial Look
- Lack of Lighting
- Very Expensive
Stream Processors: 2560 | Base/Boost Clocks: 2321/2622 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
XFX has really hit the nail on the head with the XFX Speedster MERC319 variants of the RX 6000 series this time around. Measuring in at a whopping 340mm with a 2.9-slot profile, the XFX MERC319 is one of the largest gaming graphics cards ever released. It is certain that case clearance will be a real issue with this card so potential buyers should make sure if they have the space to accommodate this card in their cases beforehand.
All that heft and weight is certainly put to good use by XFX. The MERC319 is one of the best performers in terms of clock speeds and overclocking headroom among all the RX 6700 XT variants. The MERC319 comes with the standard 2321 MHz base clock, but it can boost all the way to 2622 MHz and it has the potential to go way higher than that. The MERC319 RX 6700 XT should be able to overclock over 2.7 GHz quite easily.
Of course, the massive cooling system of this card also helps in achieving these high overclocks. The MERC319 features two 100mm fans on either side and a central 92mm fan which helps to direct air directly downwards and through the massive heatsink. The heatsink runs through the entire length of the card and features seven heatpipes which help a lot in heat dissipation. The aluminum backplate also features a vent for air to pass straight through the card and out the back in order to maximize the cooling performance of the card. This is also an exceptionally quiet card due to the massive heatsink and really quiet fans.
The MERC319 is an amazing overclocker due to its high power budget and solid power delivery system. The card features a fairly high TDP which helps in overclocking and XFX has also equipped this card with the Dual-BIOS feature. There is no RGB in the card which can be a negative for some buyers, however, it may also be a positive point for those looking for minimalistic builds. XFX has opted for an industrial design and the MERC319 really does look great with that design goal in mind.
The XFX MERC319 is an exceptional AIB variant of the RX 6700 XT and overclockers should especially keep an eye out for this variant. Not only does it have great overclocking headroom, but it also has a good out-of-the-box performance which is a plus point for regular consumers.
4. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6700 XT
The Premium ASUS Offering
- Impressive Thermals
- Very High Boost Clocks
- High Power Budget
- Extremely Pricy
- Quite Hard to Find
Stream Processors: 2560 | Base/Boost Clocks: 2321/2629 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a
The ASUS ROG Strix has always been the most premium variant that ASUS has offered to consumers. Not only does the Strix have exceptional performance in terms of cooling and noise, but it is also one of the best-looking graphics cards out there. It often does come at a hefty premium, but buyers are willing to pay for the quality that the Strix brings to the table.
The cooling system implemented in the ROG Strix RX 6700 XT is a really premium one that combines a large finned heatsink with some powerful and quiet fans. ASUS has installed a 2.9 slot thick heatsink in the ROG Strix that maximizes the surface area for heat dissipation. An array of heatpipes is also present in the heatsink that allows the heat to be carried from the heat-generating components to the heatsink itself. The card also features a precision-cut baseplate with a large surface area that carries away the heat from the GPU die, the memory modules, and the VRM heatsink.
In addition to that, the ASUS ROG Strix is also one of the quietest aftermarket RX 6700 XT graphics cards due to its exceptional fan design. ASUS has installed 3 fans in the ROG Strix that use the Axial-tech fan design and are thus optimized for quiet operation. The fans feature 11 blades on the auxiliary units, while 13 blades are present in the central fan. The central fan spins opposite to the other fans in order to minimize turbulence. ASUS has optimized the fans for silent operation and thus they turn off under 55 degrees Celcius.
Aesthetically, the ASUS ROG Strix is also one of the most impressive cards on the market that stands out immediately from the bunch. It features a slightly muted metallic finish on the shroud, while the side of the card features a huge RGB bar that spans the entire length of the card and almost spills to the front as well. The RGB on this card is truly beautiful, and it can be controlled via the Aura Sync software. This card will look great if it is installed on a vertical mount.
All in all the ASUS ROG Strix RX 6700 XT is another premium variant of the RX 6700 XT but it does offer some significant improvements over the reference model. However, it is also an extremely pricy variant, and, especially for AMD cards, it is nearly impossible to find a ROG Strix variant in the current situation.
5. Gigabyte Gaming OC Radeon RX 6700 XT
A More Reasonable Option
- Decent Cooling Performance
- More Affordable
- Lack of Lighting
- Lower Power Budget
- Slightly More Noisy
Stream Processors: 2560 | Base/Boost Clocks: 2321/2622 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin, 1x PCIe 6-pin | Outputs: 2x HDMI 2.1, 2x DisplayPort 1.4a
Not everyone is looking for the most premium variant of a certain GPU. If you are looking for an affordable RX 6700 XT graphics card on a tight budget, then the Gigabyte Gaming OC RX 6700 XT might be the card for you. Although it is the base model offered by Gigabyte for this generation, only that does not necessarily mean it is a bad card. It may not possess the highest factory overclock or the coolest operating temperatures, but it does deliver a well-built RX 6700 XT graphics card at an affordable price.
Gigabyte has opted for a simple yet effective cooling solution in the Gaming OC. It includes three 80mm fans that spin in opposite directions in order to reduce turbulence in the airflow. The main heatsink of the card spans across the entire length of the card and has a big contact plate for efficient heat transfer. The large metal baseplate contacts the GPU die, the memory modules, and the VRM of the card directly, and therefore transfers that heat to the heatsink. There are 5 copper heatpipes present in the cooling solution as well for optimal heat transfer, while additional dedicated heatpipes also cool the VRAM. The fans of the card turn off when the GPU is idling or consuming less power.
The Gigabyte Gaming OC RX 6700 XT is not an exceptional performer out-of-the-box, giving mediocre base and boost clocks of 2321 MHz and 2622 MHz respectively. The card does feature a Dual-BIOS mode which can switch between performance and quiet modes. There is not a lot of overclocking headroom in the card due to its limited power budget and mediocre power delivery system. However, the Gaming OC is still a good bargain for stock operation.
The Gaming OC is unexceptional in terms of looks as well. It features a fairly unremarkable fan shroud with a metal backplate that has a few vents in it for airflow. The lighting on the card is next-to-none, with the only lighting being limited to the Gigabyte logo on the side of the card. The logo lighting can be controlled via the RGB Fusion 2.0 software from Gigabyte. Safe to say that there is nothing particularly remarkable over the card’s looks, but that is to be expected.
Sure, it might not have the fanciest design or the highest boost clocks, but it is an excellent card for stock operation at an affordable price target. Users who want to experience the power of the RX 6700 XT without breaking the bank should consider this variant over the reference model. The Gigabyte Gaming OC is certainly one of the better cards that are aimed at the “hypothetical” MSRP of $479.