MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review

MSI's new custom Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card is here and here are our thoughts on it. Join us as we explore it.

@anthony256
Published Sun, Jan 17 2021 3:12 AM CST   |   Updated Sun, Feb 7 2021 6:33 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: MSI (RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO)

Introduction

The first card to arrive at my doorsteps on the third day of 2021 was MSI's just fresh out of the oven Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card. I've already taken a look at AMD's own reference Radeon RX 6800 XT which is a fantastic card, and the custom XFX Radeon RX 6800 XT Speedster MERC 319 graphics card which was awesome.

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VIEW GALLERY - 69 IMAGES

MSI always impresses with its flagship graphics card, so I'm expecting the Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO to give me what the RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO did -- a kick ass card for the money, that stays nice and cool and has some overclocking headroom.

Well, MSI delivers in every department as expected but now that the new SUPRIM X brand is here the GAMING X TRIO just... I don't know, it doesn't feel as special. It's not to take away that the GAMING X TRIO isn't an awesome card, it's just that it would be great to see a Radeon RX 6800 XT SUPRIM X that follows through soon.

As for pricing, MSI has the new Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO at over $850.

Buy at Amazon

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 5700 XT

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1169.99$1249.99$848.99
* Prices last scanned on 3/2/2021 at 3:00 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Everything You Need to Know About RDNA 2

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AMD's new RDNA 2 architecture has more changes than any previous-gen GPU architecture I can remember from AMD (and even ATi) in the last 10+ years.

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There's a lot to go over here, but we're looking at an enhanced compute unit, new visual pipeline featuring Ray Accelerators, and the all-new (and very exciting) Infinity Cache (which I'll go into on the next page. We're looking at a huge 1.54x higher performance-per-watt and 1.3x higher frequency at the same per-CU power -- impressive stuff, AMD.

Ray Accelerators

One of the largest new introductions in the new RDNA 2 architecture is the high-performance ray tracing acceleration architecture known as the Ray Accelerator. AMD doesn't have NVIDIA-beating ray tracing performance, but it's here in RDNA 2.

Each Ray Accelerator is capable of calculating up to 4 ray / box intersections, and 1 ray / triangle intersection every clock. This means the RDNA 2-based Ray Accelerators can efficiently calculate the intersections of the rays with the scene geometry as represented in a Bounding Volume Hierarchy, sorts them, and returns the information to the shaders for further scene traversal or result shading.

HDMI 2.1

This is another big deal -- HDMI 2.1 connectivity.

HDMI 2.1 ushers in the worlds of 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz through a single HDMI 2.1 cable to your flashy new TV or gaming monitor. Personally I own a new CX series LG OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 that drives its 4K 120Hz, so plugging my gaming PC into my TV can only be done a single way if I want 4K 120Hz -- which I kinda do.

The introduction of HDMI 2.1 on graphics cards began with NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 30 series, and continues with AMD's new Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. All 3 of the new Radeon RX 6000 series cards -- the Radeon RX 6900 XT (coming soon), the Radeon RX 6800 XT (review here) and Radeon RX 6800 (this review) all have HDMI 2.1 output.

What Is Infinity Cache?

Now this is where things get really interesting -- Infinity Cache, which provides some kick ass memory bandwidth even with it smaller 256-bit memory bus and slower GDDR6 memory.

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NVIDIA might have a superior 320-bit memory bus, faster GDDR6X -- but it has less VRAM (10GB versus 16GB) and the Radeon RX 6800 XT still kicks ass against the GeForce RTX 3080 in all resolutions and situations. But in the right situation -- like when paired with a Zen 3 processor, like I've done preliminary with the Ryzen 9 5900X -- you can get in excess of 10% more performance when you add SAM (Smart Access Memory) into the equation.

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If you've got the right hardware -- a new RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6800 XT for example, with a Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 series -- like the Ryzen 9 5900X that I got in the days leading into the review. I will have some numbers on those tomorrow, but I needed to get these reviews out first.

The SAM results are as good as you see in these charts, and in some cases better -- it's an impressive thing to see, and I truly can't wait to see more from Smart Access Memory technology.

Detailed Look

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MSI has always got great retail packaging for their cards, so nothing is different here with the Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO. I'm sure there are only a handful of the cards in the world, but if you do see the card on the shelf then it's going to catch your eye.

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The GAMING X TRIO looks great from the front, rocking that custom Big Navi GPU underneath.

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I'm loving the backplate tweaks MSI did to the Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO versus the GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO graphics card.

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We have a near triple-slot graphics card here, so prepare for that.

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Only dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors required.

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The standard display output for RX 6800 XT cards: 3 x DP 1.4 and 1 x HDMI 2.1 output.

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Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

Sabrent sent over their huge Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD, which will be my new Games install SSD inside of my main test bed.

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I've got a new upgrade inside of my GPU test bed before my change to a next-gen test bed, where I will be preparing for NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere graphics cards and AMD's next-gen RDNA 2 graphics cards.

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Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 1165 | TweakTown.com

Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

I've recently upgraded my GPU test bed -- at least for now, until AMD's new Ryzen 9 5950X processor is unleashed then the final update for 2020 will happen and we'll be all good for RDNA 2 and future Ampere GPU releases. You can read my article here: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced.

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Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

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3DMark TimeSpy

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Heaven - 1080p

Heaven benchmark

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

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Benchmarks - 1080p

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4014 | TweakTown.com
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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 111 | TweakTown.com
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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 117 | TweakTown.com

1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

MSI comes out with some strong numbers in both stock and manual OC abilities with its custom Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card, with Assassin's Creed: Valhalla cranking along with 125FPS average at 1080p when overclocked -- 1FPS faster than the RX 6900 XT.

MSI's overclocked Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO also kills it in Metro Exodus with performance that is 2FPS off the RX 6900 XT at stock, but 4FPS better when overclocked. Not too bad at all.

Benchmarks - 1440p

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 110 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 119 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 113 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 116 | TweakTown.com

1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

MSI is edging over 100FPS average at 1440p in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla with the RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO when overclocked, while Shadow of War runs at 152FPS average overclocked -- the same as the stock Radeon RX 6900 XT.

Metro Exodus hits 84FPS average beating the stock RX 6900 XT with its 80FPS, beating the RTX 3080 with its 77FPS average at 1440p.

If you're gaming @ 1440p then the RX 6800 XT is perfect if you want to go Team Red.

Benchmarks - 4K

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 109 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 118 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 112 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 115 | TweakTown.com

4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

This is where things get serious, with the overclocked MSI RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO hitting 65FPS in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla -- 1FPS above the RX 6900 XT and 6FPS more than the stock performance @ 59FPS average.

Shadow of War @ 4K sees the MSI RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO at 108FPS average -- once again 1FPS faster than the RX 6900 XT. Metro Exodus is very similar, with 57FPS average on the overclocked card against 55FPS on the RX 6900 XT.

Overclocking

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Out of the box the MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO runs at around 2310-2330MHz and at 67C, the GPU hotspot sits at just under 90% while the fans are at 45% or 1600RPM or so.

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I thought I'd be able to squeeze 2650MHz+ out of the MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO, but my sample was pushing just over 2600MHz on the Big Navi GPU without an issue. With the fans cranked up to 100% the card wasn't running too hot at all, sitting at just 53C under full 100% load for over an hour.

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 806 | TweakTown.com

I could get the MSI RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO upwards of 2600MHz but not much higher -- the XFX RX 6800 XT Speedster MERC 319 has a little bit more juice ready for OC fun. But, the performance is so close between those speeds in games that you'd never notice.

Power Consumption & Temps

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MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 808 | TweakTown.com

What's Hot, What's Not

What's Hot

  • GAMING X TRIO design: The triple-fan cooler on the GAMING X TRIO looks mean, and keeps the Radeon RX 6800 XT nice and cool even when overclocked. The card runs virtually silent, all while providing great performance and looking mean AF in the process.
  • MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 510 | TweakTown.com
  • Powerhouse Big Navi performance: You can achieve 1080p and 1440p at 120-165Hz on a high-end gaming monitor with the MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO, and easy 4K 60FPS gaming as well. There's some OC fun to be had here as well, so there's some more performance ready to go under the hood.
  • 53C under load + 100% overclock: Even when overclocked to the max, the fans @ 100% really keep the card cool. If you like to see temperature numbers that are lower than ever, then you have one of the coolest-operating custom Radeon RX 6800 XT cards here with MSI's new RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO.
  • Dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors: There are custom Radeon RX 6800 XT solutions with triple 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and I'm not a fan of those unless you're pulling 400W+ from it and have LN2 cooling keeping it cool. For the most part, you should only need 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors for your Radeon RX 6800 XT.

What's Not

  • Not the fastest custom RX 6800 XT card: I am a couple of weeks behind with reviews thanks to getting a very, very bad bout of food poisoning + the middle of Christmas -- so I haven't completed all of my reviews that I have stacking up. But MSI doesn't have the fastest RX 6800 XT card with its GAMING X TRIO -- but it's definitely up there. ASRock's custom RX 6800 XT is faster, but I need more time with that to see what I can pull out of it yet.

Final Thoughts

MSI fills out its GAMING X TRIO family with some RDNA 2 technology, and it does it in a great way. Just like MSI displayed with the GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO -- the new Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO offers some of the best custom Big Navi performance with some great style, and great thermals.

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If you need a new graphics card for a high refresh rate 1080p or 1440p gaming monitor, then the MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO has your back. You can handle 4K 60FPS without an issue, where you might want to tweak some details in games like Cyberpunk 2077 which are punishing to all silicon in your PC.

AMD provides 16GB of GDDR6 memory with all of its Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards, so you have a bit more VRAM than the RTX 3080 competitor -- while MSI has the card for $850+ if you can find it. Big Navi finds a nice Big New Home with MSI and its new Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card.

Performance

95%

Quality

95%

Features

90%

Value

90%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

MSI crafts yet another great custom GAMING X TRIO, with the new Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO offering some stellar performance and AMD features.

TweakTown award
93%

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 5700 XT

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1169.99$1249.99$848.99
* Prices last scanned on 3/2/2021 at 3:00 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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