MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio Review 34

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio Review



MSI Logo

MSI sent us the Radeon RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio, its flagship custom-design graphics card based on the RX 6800 XT "Big Navi" that shook things up in the discrete graphics card market this November. This card sees MSI pull out its very latest generation Gaming X board design that debuted with its RTX 30-series products. Unlike the previous generation, the company used consistent cooler visuals between its NVIDIA and AMD products, including innovations such as its Tri Frozr 2 cooling solution, TorX 4 axial-flow fans, and a graphene-treated backplate.

The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT introduces the new RDNA2 graphics architecture to the PC platform. This architecture powers both of the latest-generation game consoles and has been scaled up for the PC. This is important as game engine developers optimizing for the console end up optimizing for RDNA2. The architecture offers full DirectX 12 Ultimate support, including real-time raytracing.

Real-time raytracing is the hottest new feature in consumer graphics. While pure raytraced rendering is still some time off, it's possible to combine conventional raster 3D graphics with certain raytraced visual elements, such as lighting, shadows, and reflections, to improve realism. Even this requires enormous amounts of compute power. AMD approaches this by significantly increasing the SIMD power of its graphics architecture with a combination of a doubling in shaders over the previous-generation RDNA, a near-doubling in engine clocks, and using fixed-function hardware called Ray Accelerators to compute the ray intersections.

The Radeon RX 6800 XT also comes with a doubling in memory amount to 16 GB, using the fastest JEDEC-standard 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory. The memory bus width is still 256 bit. AMD shored up memory bandwidth by deploying a new component called Infinity Cache, an on-die 128 MB L3 cache that runs at extreme bandwidths. Based on the 7 nm "Navi 21" silicon, the Radeon RX 6800 XT features 72 RDNA2 compute units, working out to 4,608 stream processors, 72 Ray Accelerators, and 288 TMUs. The chip also features 128 ROPs and a 256-bit GDDR6 memory interface.

MSI has given the Radeon RX 6800 XT its highest state of tune, with the engine boost frequency stepped up to 2285 MHz. As mentioned earlier, the RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio features the company's latest Gaming X Trio non-reference design. The Tri Frozr 2 cooling solution features a chunky triple-slot heatsink and lavish use of RGB LED lighting. MSI is pricing the RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio at "at least $850," which is a $200 premium over the $650 AMD baseline price, or more. In this review, we take the card for a spin.

Radeon RX 6800 XT Review 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
MSI RX 6800 XT
Gaming X Trio
$850+46081282110 MHz2285 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3080$7008704961440 MHz1710 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit
RX 6900 XT$100051201282015 MHz2250 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-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

The MSI GeForce RX 6800 XT Gaming X Trio is a large piece of hardware. We've seen the massive cooler design on several other MSI cards before, both for AMD and NVIDIA. Unlike past generations, the bulk of the card's RGB bling has been moved towards the top-edge of the card, near the backplate, as those parts of the card are more readily visible to you in a typical windowed case than the front end with the fans. There are still some ARGB streaks near the fans.

Graphics Card Dimensions

Dimensions of the card are 32 x 14 cm, and it weighs 1549 g.

Graphics Card Height
Graphics Card Back Angled

Installation requires three slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity includes three standard DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.1.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

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

Multi-GPU Area

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


Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

MSI's heatsink is huge, the main component provides cooling for the GPU and memory chips. Six heatpipes quickly move any heat away from the GPU core and to a large array of fins, where it is dissipated in the airflow of the three fans.

Once the main heatsink is removed, three additional components become visible. A metal reinforcement bar is run along the top edge, which helps prevent sagging. Two additional heatsinks provide cooling for the VRM circuitry.

The backplate is made out of plastic and protects the card against damage during installation and handling. MSI claims it's a graphene composite, which basically means plastic mixed with carbon—this is not real graphene. Thermal properties are still fine, and the added thermal pads help more than whether the backplate is made out of plastic or metal.

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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