Best RX 6800 Graphics Cards

Picking the best RX 6800 graphics card variant from the dozens that are available on the market is not an easy task. The RDNA2 based Radeon RX 6000 series from AMD was one of the most anticipated product launches of the year. AMD finally lifted the covers from the first three RX 6000 series graphics cards on October 28th, 2020. The new graphics cards from AMD, the Radeon RX 6800, the RX 6800 XT, and the RX 6900 XT were built upon the new and improved RDNA 2 architecture. AMD has improved the older RDNA architecture in many respects to create this new design and that allowed the new RX 6000 series to compete head-to-head with the best that Nvidia had to offer.

The Radeon RX 6800 is currently the least powerful and the most affordable RX 6000 series graphics card out there. That does not mean, however, that the RX 6800 is slow by any stretch of the word. In pure gaming benchmarks in rasterized rendering, the RX 6800 is often about 8-12% faster than the GeForce RTX 3070. This impressive graphics card from AMD has an expected MSRP of $579, however, due to current stock problems and low availability issues the prices have been inflated. This guide is supposed to be a reference for future buyers when the stock and pricing situation finally normalizes.

Best RX 6800: Our Top 5 Recommendations

#PreviewProduct NameAwardDetails
1Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800Best Overall RX 6800
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2ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OCBest Looking RX 6800
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3XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800Best Overclocking RX 6800
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4ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 6800 OCBest Value RX 6800
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5Gigabyte Gaming OC Radeon RX 6800
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#1
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Product NameSapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800
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#2
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Product NameASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC
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#3
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Product NameXFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800
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#4
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Product NameASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 6800 OC
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#5
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Product NameGigabyte Gaming OC Radeon RX 6800
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Last Update on 2021-10-19 at 08:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The RX 6800 is a higher-end graphics card for those who want to get extraordinary performance at an ordinary cost. With an MSRP of $579, it’s not exactly cheap but a good runner-up option when stacked against the likes of RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT. At a shiny price point and amazing performance, it goes head to head with the RTX 3070 Ti and even the RTX 3080.

1. Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800

Best Overall RX 6800

Pros

  • Impressive Cooling Performance
  • Tasteful RGB Implementation
  • Quiet Operation
  • High Boost Clock
  • Sizeable Power Budget

Cons

  • High Price
  • Case Compatibility Issues

16 Reviews

Stream Processors: 3840 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1700/2190 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

The Nitro+ from Sapphire has always been one of the top partner models for any AMD card and this one is no exception. The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 6800 features a big bulky heatsink for exceptional cooling performance while being one of the best-looking RX 6800 cards on the market. The card also features a really high boost clock of 2,190 MHz out of the box which is the highest of any RX 6800 model.

For the cooling system, Sapphire has gone with a really big GPU cooler with several copper pipes and a unique design to keep the temperatures down. The card actually features multiple heatsinks for the different heat-generating components like the GPU die, memory modules, and VRM components. The heatsink features a unique wave-shaped fin design with V-shaped cutouts to improve heat dissipation.

Best RX 6800
Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800

Acoustic performance has always been one of the strongest points of Sapphire’s Nitro+ series and the trend carries on with the RX 6800. Sapphire has gone with 3 fans on the fan shroud that feature an interesting design. The fan design is actually a hybrid of an axial fan and a blower fan which gives you the quietness of an axial fan combined with the higher airflow of the blower fan. This keeps the noise levels low while also increasing the heat dissipation ability of the card even under load. You can read more about downdraft, vapor chamber, and blower-style coolers in our opinion piece as well.

Sapphire has also included a triple BIOS with the Nitro+ RX 6800 which is great news for overclockers. The TDP of the GPU is also fairly high which will help achieve more stable overclocks as well. The additional cooling on the memory and the VRMs via the extra heatsink and heat pipes is also a great step in this process. The power delivery system of the Nitro+ is fairly robust, so overclocking on this card should be really fun.

Helpful Roundup: 5 Best Airflow Case Options to Buy in 2021

Aesthetically, Sapphire has gone with a sleek industrial design that looks fairly modern and minimalistic at the same time. The main fan shroud is metallic silver while the backplate features a somewhat aggressive design. RGB is also plentiful while also being tasteful, and any lighting on the card can be controlled fairly easily via the TriXX software from Sapphire.

Overall the Nitro+ is a really fantastic aftermarket variant and the best overall RX 6800. It does come at a price premium, but the robust cooling and great performance make it a worthy investment.

2. ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC

Best Looking RX 6800

Pros

  • Massive Heatsink
  • Low Temperatures
  • Beautiful Aesthetics
  • High Overclocking Headroom
  • Low Noise Levels

Cons

  • Really Expensive
  • Case Compatibility Issues

11 Reviews

Stream Processors: 3840 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1700/2190 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

One of the most premium variants of any graphics card on the market has always been the ASUS ROG Strix. 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. A similar Strix model was also included in our roundup of the best RTX 3060 graphics cards.

The cooling system implemented in the ROG Strix RX 6800 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 heat pipes 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.

Best RX 6800
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC

The ASUS ROG Strix is also one of the quietest aftermarket RX 6800 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.

More AMD GPUs: Best 5700 XT Graphics Cards

The ASUS ROG Strix is also one of the best looking RX 6800 GPUs 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 via any PCIe Riser cables on the market.

All in all the ASUS ROG Strix RX 6800 is another premium variant of the RX 6800 but it does offer some significant improvements over the reference model. Whether or not those improvements are worth the premium that this card demand is up to the potential buyer.

3. XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800

Best Overclocking RX 6800

Pros

  • Good Thermal Performance
  • High Power Budget
  • Great Overclocking Headroom
  • Minimalistic Design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lack of Lighting
  • Long Shroud

32 Reviews

Stream Processors: 3840 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1850/2190 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

One of the best variants for the RX 6000 series cards we have seen in this generation comes from XFX with their flagship Speedster MERC319 variant. This is a card that is built with high performance and stable overclocking in mind and it tries to set itself apart by presenting an industrial design with fewer frills than normal. The MERC319 RX 6800 is no exception as XFX tries to offer a card that combines both high performance and low noise levels with high overclocking headroom.

Related Roundup: Best 1440p Graphics Cards

Under the extremely long fan shroud, we find an extensive heatsink that spans the entire length of the card. The MERC319 is one of the longest gaming graphics cards ever released at 340mm and XFX had utilized that length by installing a long heatsink as well. The heatsink also features an array of 6 heat pipes that serve to take the heat away from the heat-generating components and towards the long heatsink for dissipation. The copper heat pipes are connected to a large base plate which makes direct contact with the GPU die, the memory modules, and the VRM components. There are several vents in the backplate of the card that allow a large amount of air to pass straight through the card to help in the heat dissipation.

Best RX 6800
XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800

The fans of the MERC319 are also well-built and optimized for silence. XFX has gone for the same 13-blade fan system as their other flagship models, and that is great news for those looking for a silent GPU. These fans are exceptionally quiet even under load and they turn off when the GPU is idle or performing a low-intensity workload. The fans also contribute a lot to the aesthetics of this card by giving a really solid industrial look to the fan shroud. Speaking of aesthetics, the MERC319 is a long, bulky graphics card with a minimalistic design. There is not a lot of RGB lighting on the card which may be a deal-breaker for some enthusiasts, however, the card does have the potential to fit stealthy builds quite nicely. The only lighting on the card is limited to the lettering on the side of the shroud.

Related Roundup: Best RX 580 Graphics Cards

The MERC319 is an exceptional performer out-of-the-box with a really high 1850 MHz base clock. This gives it a major performance boost at stock settings, while the higher TDP and exceptional cooling make it a prime candidate for overclocking as well. The card also features a 10+2 phase VRM design and Dual BIOS support which are features that are great to have for overclocking. This is definitely the best overclocking RX 6800 variant that overclockers should consider if they have the case clearance for it and can afford its premium price tag.

4. ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 6800 OC

Best Value RX 6800

Pros

  • Decent Heatsink
  • Same Axial-Tech Fans as ROG Strix
  • Affordable
  • Good Thermal Performance

Cons

  • Minimal Lighting
  • Plain Design
  • Lower Overclocking Headroom

20 Reviews

Stream Processors: 3840 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1780/2190 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4a

The TUF Gaming series from ASUS is one of their more affordable line of partner graphics cards that still perform reasonably well in all departments. The TUF Gaming RX 6800 follows the same trend as it tries to bring some of the better features of the Strix line to a more competitive price point. It does not have all the bells and whistles of the ASUS ROG Strix RX 6800 but it does have some good core features. A similar ASUS TUF variant was also included in our selection of the best RTX 3090 models.

The cooling system of the TUF Gaming RX 6800 is also one of the best among any partner cards on the market. It is a 2.9 slot thick card that has a big, hefty heatsink with a large number of fins that increase the surface area of the card’s cooling solution for better heat dissipation. A large metal baseplate makes direct contact with the heat-generating components such as the GPU die, VRAM chips, and the VRM components. Several copper heat pipes direct the heat away from the baseplate and towards the big heatsink where the heat is dissipated with the help of airflow from the fans.

Best RX 6800
ASUS TUF Gaming Radeon RX 6800 OC

ASUS has included the same Axial-tech fans with the TUF line as are present in the much more expensive ROG Strix variant. The fans feature an 11/13-blade fan design depending on the position of the fan which helps to direct the airflow directly downwards and through the heatsink. The central fan also spins in the opposite direction as compared to the other fans and that reduces the turbulence of the airflow. The TUF Gaming turns off its fans when the GPU is idle or using less power which makes the card silent at that time. The fans are also exceptionally quiet under load which is a nice feature of this variant.

The ASUS TUF RX 6800 is certainly not the best-looking card among our group roundup today but that is to be expected at this price point. The card features a rugged and industrial design which is synonymous with the “TUF” branding of the card. There is almost no lighting on the card except a little zone on the edge of the card around the TUF logo. Lack of lighting might be a big deal-breaker for some enthusiasts, but it also might be a positive thing for those who are looking for a stealthy build. The backplate of the card is also relatively plain, although it should be noted that the card is not bad-looking at all.

More AMD GPUs: The Best RX 5600 XT Graphics Cards

Overall, the ASUS TUF Gaming RX 6800 is a great, affordable variant as the best value RX 6800. It might not have all the bells and whistles of the ASUS Strix variant but it does have the essentials like great performance and excellent cooling with quiet fans.

5. Gigabyte Gaming OC Radeon RX 6800

Best Budget RX 6800

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Reasonable Acoustic Performance
  • Decent Design

Cons

  • Average Cooling Performance
  • Almost No Lighting
  • Slightly Lower Clock Speeds
  • Minimal Overclocking Headroom

4 Reviews

Stream Processors: 3840 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1700/2150 MHz | Memory: 16GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 16 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 2x HDMI 2.1, 2x DisplayPort 1.4a

If you are looking for an affordable RX 6800 graphics card on a tight budget, then the Gigabyte Gaming OC RX 6800 might be the card for you. Although it sits at the bottom of the stack for Gigabyte’s offering for this generation, only that does not necessarily mean it is a bad card. It may not possess the highest factory GPU overclock or the coolest operating temperatures, but it does deliver a well-built RX 6800 graphics card at an affordable price.

In terms of cooling, 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 heat pipes present in the cooling solution as well for optimal heat transfer, while additional dedicated heat pipes also cool the VRAM. The fans of the card turn off when the GPU is idling or consuming less power.

Best RX 6800
Gigabyte Gaming OC Radeon RX 6800

Gigabyte Gaming OC RX 6800 is not an exceptional performer out-of-the-box, giving mediocre base and boost clocks of 1700 MHz and 2150 MHz respectively. The card does feature a Dual-BIOS mode which can switch between performance and quiet modes. There is not a lot of safe 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. We also included a similar Gaming OC variant in our selection of the best RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards.

Aesthetically, the Gaming OC is unexceptional. 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.

The Gigabyte Gaming OC is not the best performer in terms of boost clocks or overclocking headroom, but it is the best budget RX 6800 for stock operation at an affordable price target. Users who want to experience the power of the RX 6800 without breaking the bank should consider this variant over the reference model.

AMD Ray Accelerators vs. Nvidia RT Cores – Differences

AMD has entered the Ray Tracing race with their RX 6000 series and with that, they have also introduced a few key elements to the RDNA 2 architectural design that help with this feature. To improve the Ray Tracing performance of AMD’s RDNA 2 GPUs, AMD has incorporated a Ray Accelerator component into its core Compute Unit Design. These Ray Accelerators are supposed to increase the efficiency of the standard Compute Units in the computational workloads related to Ray Tracing. You can learn more about Ray Tracing in our detailed comparison piece which goes through the differences between Ray Tracing and Rasterized Rendering.

On the other hand, RT or Ray Tracing Cores are Nvidia’s dedicated hardware cores that are specifically designed to handle the computational workload that is associated with Real-Time Ray Tracing in games. Having specialized cores for Ray Tracing offloads a lot of workload from the CUDA Cores that are dedicated to standard rendering in games so that performance is not affected too much by the saturation of core utilization. RT Cores sacrifice versatility and implement hardware with a special architecture for special calculations or algorithms to achieve faster speeds.

The biggest difference that is immediately obvious while comparing the RT Cores and the Ray Accelerators is that while both of them perform their functions fairly similarly, the RT Cores are dedicated separate hardware cores that have a singular function, while the Ray Accelerators are a part of the standard Compute Unit structure in the RDNA 2 architecture. Not only that, Nvidia’s RT Cores are on their second generation with Ampere with a lot of technical and architectural improvements under the hood. This makes Nvidia’s RT Core implementation a much more efficient and powerful Ray Tracing method than AMD’s implementation with the Ray Accelerators. Moving on to our last phase of the best rx 6800 guide, let’s take a look at all the frequent questions.

FAQs About RX 6800

Should I get an RX 6800 or 6800XT?

The AMD RX 6800 line of GPUs is a high-end gaming GPU lineup with two main offerings, the RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT. The two GPUs are separated by a $70 price difference at MSRP, but the performance difference is a bit more favorable to the RX 6800 XT. If given the choice at MSRP, it would be wise to get the RX 6800 XT by paying the extra $70 due to the incredible performance that it offers. The RX 6800 is no slouch either, and it comfortably goes head to head with Nvidia’s RTX 3070 Ti.

Is RX 6800 better than RTX 3070?

Objectively, yes the RX 6800 is a little bit better than the RTX 3070 in most gaming benchmarks if we go for raw rasterization performance. However, there is more to the story in 2021 than just rasterization numbers. The RTX 3070 has a much more powerful Ray Tracing process which gives it the lead in most RTX titles, as well as support for the incredible DLSS 2.0 technology. Moreover, the RTX 3070 is quite a bit cheaper (in theory) than the RX 6800, so the value proposition tilts more to the side of the RTX 3070 in this scenario.

Can RX 6800 handle 4K?

The RX 6800 is primarily ideal for 1440p gaming even at high refresh rates, but it can certainly handle 4K gaming as well. You should be able to play competitive multiplayer games, eSports titles, and older AAA titles at 4K with good framerates at the highest settings. For modern AAA titles, however, you might be better off playing at 1440p instead, or you might want to lower your graphical settings a bit to attain a perfect 4K gaming experience if you want to go with that resolution.

Can RX 6800 do Ray Tracing?

Indeed, the RX 6800 does support Ray Tracing as well. AMD introduced their version of Ray Tracing with the AMD RX 6000 series, and the RX 6800 can do a pretty good job of it in modern titles that support it. The Ray Tracing engine inside the RX 6000 series graphics cards is not as refined as the one found in RTX 3000 series cards from Nvidia, but still, there is not a lot to complain about in terms of performance. The addition of a DLSS-like technology from AMD would be a huge boost to this feature, however.

This was appuals guide for the best RX 6800, for similar guides, check out our Graphics Card section.

Usman Saleem
Usman is a hardcore tech enthusiast and hardware geek with a passion for PC Gaming and the PC Hardware industry. What started with flash games in a browser window, led to an undying love for the technology behind PC Gaming and the hardware that drives it.