I hadn't much hope for this generation of graphics cards ever selling for close to their manufacturer set prices. Yet lookie here, a Gigabyte Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming OC for under MSRP ($950 with rebate (opens in new tab)). What a world!
The Radeon RX 6000-series launched at exactly the wrong time: December 2020. The world was wrestling with continued disruption to just about everything due to Covid-19, and graphics cards were about to enter the worst period of shortages I've ever personally experienced. It was a real shame, too, as AMD had created a graphics architecture in RDNA 2 that could genuinely compete with Nvidia's high-end cards.
The RX 6900 XT, admittedly, wasn't the best of the bunch at the time (opens in new tab). The RX 6800 XT was a much more impressive counter to Nvidia's RTX 3080 than the RX 6900 XT was to the RTX 3090. The reference RX 6900 XT launched at $999, which felt like a massive amount of money for a GPU at the time—little did we know it would only get worse from there.
Subsequent Nvidia launches with higher prices, such as the 12GB RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti, have seen the RX 6900 XT age better than its competition, however. You can now pick up a triple-fan Gigabyte RX 6900 XT for $950, or less than the RTX 3080 12GB is often going for and under the reference MSRP. Definitely not a bad price for an ultra-high-end GPU that tears through 4K gaming like it's pong and comes with a buffet of GDDR6 memory, at 16GB total.
The ray tracing performance of the RX 6900 XT leaves a little to be desired, and it's not the quickest in every game, but it feels as much of an enthusiast-class GPU as it should for this price.
Gigabyte Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming OC | RDNA 2 architecture | 5,120 stream processors | 16GB GDDR6 | PCIe 4.0 |
$1,249.99 $949.99 with rebate at Newegg (save $300) (opens in new tab)
With the massive Navi 21 GPU at its core, the RX 6900 XT is a graphics card that doesn't often break a sweat at 4K. It's powerful, quick, and this triple-fan model is actually moderately overclocked for slightly better pace in gaming.
Perhaps one reason for the cheaper price tag of AMD's RX 6900 XT is in its rumoured imminent replacement at the top of the 6000-series stack by the RX 6950 XT. That top-tier card is reportedly coming next week, which will use the same GPU but offer faster 18Gbps GDDR6 memory for that little extra oomph in gaming.
Similarly, AMD will replace the RX 6000-series with its next-generation GPUs later this year, which will use the brand new RDNA 3 architecture. Granted, all the rumours of these next-gen chips sound pretty enticing for PC gamers, but it could still be a while before we see those arrive on the shelves.
We still have love for the RX 6900 XT. While still a pricey purchase, the relatively high cost of the cards it competes with makes the RX 6900 XT a surprisingly smart buy right now.