ASUS Radeon RX 6800 XT STRIX OC Liquid Cooled Review - Incredible OC Potential 116

ASUS Radeon RX 6800 XT STRIX OC Liquid Cooled Review - Incredible OC Potential




The Radeon RX 6800 XT STRIX OC LC is the ASUS flagship Radeon RX 6800 XT "Big Navi" design. LC stands for Liquid Cooled, which already tells you everything this card is about. While other vendors are using air-cooling for their top dog designs, ASUS opted for an AIO watercooling solution this time around. The card comes with a 240 mm radiator attached to the card; it's pre-filled, maintenance free, and ready to go.

The ASUS Radeon RX 6800 XT STRIX OC Liquid Cooled is based on the 7 nm "Navi 21" RDNA2 silicon, which has an 80% increase in compute units over the previous-generation RX 5700 XT. Each of those compute units has one Ray Accelerator unit, which, as the name suggests, handles certain raytracing workloads. The memory amount is doubled to 16 GB, and AMD is using 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory. At 256 bit, the memory bus width has stayed the same. To make up for that, AMD devised an ingenious solution it calls Infinity Cache, which is a 128 MB on-die level 3 cache that runs at an astounding 2 TB/s, accelerating most workloads that aren't too data-intensive. Our RX 6800 XT reference-design review goes into more details on the RDNA2 architecture.

ASUS is using a triple-slot casing for the card, which houses the waterblock, a pump, and a slow-running fan that provides cooling for the minor components on the card. The VRM design has been upgraded to a 17-phase configuration, and you get a dual BIOS, too. As expected, idle fan stop is present as well. Out of the box, the ASUS RX 6800 XT STRIX OC LC ticks at a rated boost clock of 2360 MHz, which is quite an increase over the 2250 MHz reference. ASUS hasn't given us pricing yet for the RX 6800 XT STRIX OC Liquid Cooled, but it is currently listed at Caseking in Germany for €987, which includes the 16% German VAT. A few hours ago, the price was €1086, guess these are changing quite a lot. €987 including VAT is €850 without VAT, which converts to roughly US$1000 and is what I used for the charts in this review.

Update Nov 26: ASUS has provided us with pricing, it's $899, which matches the Newegg price listing that went up after our review, too. I've updated the pricing throughout this review and remade the relevant charts.

Radeon RX 6800 XT Market Segment Analysis
RX Vega 64$400 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1080 Ti$6503584881481 MHz1582 MHz1376 MHzGP10212000M11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RX 5700 XT$3702560641605 MHz1755 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070$3402304641410 MHz1620 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070 Super$4502560641605 MHz1770 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
Radeon VII$6803840641802 MHzN/A1000 MHzVega 2013230M16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit
RTX 2080$6002944641515 MHz1710 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Super$6903072641650 MHz1815 MHz1940 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Ti$10004352881350 MHz1545 MHz1750 MHzTU10218600M11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit
RTX 3070$5005888961500 MHz1725 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6800$5803840961815 MHz2105 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6800 XT$65046081282015 MHz2250 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
ASUS RX 6800
$90046081282110 MHz2360 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3080$7008704961440 MHz1710 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit
RTX 3090$1500104961121395 MHz1695 MHz1219 MHzGA10228000M24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit


Package Front
Package Back

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back
Graphics Card Front Angled

Visually, the ASUS STRIX uses a mixture of black and various shades of gray, nice shininess there indeed. The front cooler shroud is made out of plastic, while the backplate is metal.

Graphics Card Dimensions

Dimensions of the card are 28 cm x 14.5 cm.

Graphics Card Height
Graphics Card Back Angled

Installation requires three slots in your system.

The watercooling radiator is permanently attached to the card. It comes pre-filled and is ready to go, no maintenance is needed.

The cables for fan power and RGB look a little bit messy, some additional sleeving would have been nice.

On the GPU side, everything looks much cleaner, though.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity includes two standard DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.1, and one USB type-C with DisplayPort passthrough.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

The card uses two 8-pin power inputs. This configuration is rated for up to 375 W power draw.

ASUS has installed a dual-BIOS feature on the STRIX that lets you toggle from the default "Quiet" BIOS to a "Performance" BIOS, which runs higher fan speed. Clock and power limit are identical and both BIOSes have fan stop.

Two fan headers near the back of the card can be used to connect case fans to the graphics card. These fans will now run in sync with the graphics card radiator fans—stopped when idle and increasing in speed depending on the GPU temperature. Since the graphics card is the primary heat source in most computers, this makes a lot of sense and helps keep noise levels down.

Multi-GPU Area

The AMD Radeon RX 6000 series doesn't support multi-GPU.


Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

The waterblock uses a large copper baseplate that provides cooling not only for the GPU, but also the memory chips. Note the thermal pads, which indicate that VRM cooling is handled by the main heatsink. That's the reason why there's a fan installed on the graphics card, too.

ASUS has combined the pump and waterblock into one compact unit that looks great.

Not sure if you noticed in the previous pictures, but one row of memory chips is missing thermal pads. Guess someone forgot to install them at the factory. Memory overclocking works fine, though, so this doesn't seem to be having any effect.

The backplate is a very nice design that's thicker than other backplates and feels very rigid, nicely done. Note the thermal pads on the back, arranged in a memory chip pattern—is this a hint that we'll see the same cooler on the GeForce RTX 3090, too?

High-Resolution PCB Pictures

These pictures are for the convenience of volt modders and people who would like to see all the finer details on the PCB. Feel free to link back to us and use these in your articles or forum posts.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

High-res versions are also available (front, back).

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