5 Best AMD RX 6800 Graphics Cards To Buy in 2021

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.

With that out of the way, here are the 5 best AMD RX 6800 graphics cards to buy in 2021.

1. Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 6800

Premium Offering from Sapphire

Pros

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

Cons

  • High Price

14 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 heatsink with several cooper 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.

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.

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 heatpipes 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.

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 of the 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

The ASUS Flagship Delivers Again!

Pros

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

Cons

  • Big Price Premium

10 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.

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 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.

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.

The ASUS ROG Strix is also one of the more aesthetically 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 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 demands is up to the potential buyer.

3. XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800

Great for Overclockers!

Pros

  • Good Thermal Performance
  • High Power Budget
  • Minimalistic Design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lack of Lighting

30 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 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.

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 heatpipes that serve to take the heat away from the heat-generating components and towards the long heatsink for dissipation. The copper heatpipes 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.

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 the aesthetics, the MERC319 is a long, bulky graphics card with a minimalistic design. There is not a lot of 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.

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 a card 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

An Affordable Option from ASUS

Pros

  • Decent Cooler
  • Same Axial-Tech Fans as ROG Strix
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Minimal Lighting
  • Lower Overclocking Headroom

10 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.

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 heatpipes 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.

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.

Overall, the ASUS TUF Gaming RX 6800 is a great, affordable variant of the 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

A Cheaper Barebones Alternative

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Reasonable Acoustic Performance

Cons

  • Average Cooling Performance
  • Almost No Lighting
  • Slightly Lower Clock Speeds

3 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 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 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.

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 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.

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 an excellent card 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.

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.