PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil Review 57

PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil Review



PowerColor Logo

PowerColor Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil "Big Navi" made landfall today. The Red Devil brand represents PowerColor's most premium custom-design AMD Radeon graphics cards and builds on the legacy of the well-praised RX 5700 XT Red Devil. It launches today alongside the cost-effective Red Dragon series and numerous other custom-design RX 6800 series cards by AMD's board partners. "Big Navi" came out earlier this month as an AMD reference design, today we're reviewing the custom-design cards. The RX 6800 XT and RX 6800 bring AMD's new RDNA2 graphics architecture to the PC platform, which debuted earlier this year on consoles such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. On the PC, it introduces full DirectX 12 Ultimate readiness, including support for real-time raytracing.

The RDNA2 graphics architecture is built on the philosophy of enormous amounts of compute power to accomplish real-time raytracing. While the most compute-intensive part of ray-tracing, ray intersection, is processed by fixed-function hardware, quite a few aspects, such as denoising, are handled via compute shaders. That's why AMD doubled the SIMD resources over the previous-generation RDNA, coupled with a new high-clock-speed silicon design. A side-effect of this approach is an enormous performance uplift with traditional raster 3D rendering performance. As it stands, it will still be some time before we have pure raytraced graphics, and both NVIDIA and AMD are stuck with having to combine raster 3D graphics with certain real-time raytraced elements. AMD in its launch event claimed that the RX 6800 XT performs in the same league as NVIDIA's flagship RTX 3080, and the RX 6800 goes against the RTX 2080 Ti (or RTX 3070), which should mark AMD's return to the high-end segment on the back of this performance uplift.

PowerColor's Radeon RX 6800 XT Red Devil is based on the new AMD 7 nm "Navi 21" RDNA2 silicon and armed with 4,608 stream processors, an 80% increase over the RX 5700 XT and 100% increase over the RX 5700. Each of the chip's 72 RDNA2 compute units has one Ray Accelerator unit. AMD also doubled the memory amount to 16 GB and uses the fastest JEDEC-standard 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory. The memory bus width is narrower than that of the RTX 3080, at just 256-bit, but AMD found a solution to its memory sub-system bottlenecks in the form of Infinity Cache, an on-die 128 MB L3 cache running at 2 TB/s, which accelerates memory access. Our RX 6800 XT reference-design review takes an in-depth look at the RDNA2 architecture.

The PowerColor RX 6800 XT Red Devil in this review introduces a large triple-slot cooler paired with a vast aluminium fin-stack heatsink. There are also certain cosmetic touches that cleverly use RGB LEDs to give the card the appearance of red-hot metal, which looks very Metal. Bringing it all together is a strong VRM solution supporting factory-overclocked speeds of 2340 MHz (compared to 2250 MHz reference), and premium features, such as dual-BIOS and external ARGB headers. PowerColor hasn't provided us with a price for the Radeon RX 6800 XT RED Devil, citing "market conditions." Their logic is that since retailers will be marking up the price anyway due to limited stock, they rather give no guidance on pricing at all instead of an unrealistic price. Considering the positioning of this card and that PowerColor declared it a limited edition of 1000 pieces, $800 seems appropriate, which I've used throughout this review. Once actual pricing is known, I'll update this review, of course. Apparently there's also a non-Limited Edition Red Devil, with fewer bundled accessories, but that's all we know.

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
PowerColor RX 6800
XT Red Devil
$800?46081282090 MHz2340 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

The PowerColor RX 6800 XT Red Devil is a beastly custom-design implementation of "Big Navi." A design focus appears to be on minimizing the aesthetic bits, such as the cooler shroud, and letting its large triple-fan heatsink breathe easy, so the Red Devil isn't afraid to lay bare its guts.

Graphics Card Dimensions

Dimensions of the card are 32 x 13.5 cm.

Graphics Card Height
Graphics Card Back Angled

Installation requires three slots in your system.

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

No fancy power inputs here as you get two 8-pin PCIe power connectors right where you want them—at the top edge. Here, you can also see the serial number of our card; PowerColor is making the Red Devil a limited edition with just 1000 pieces.

Our PCB photos on the next page show that this design is ready for triple 8-pins; the PCB has the silkscreen for it. I guess this will be used on the RX 6900 XT Red Devil.

The card comes with a dual-BIOS feature, which lets you select between a performance-focused OC BIOS (default) and a low-noise focused "silent" one.

AMD "Navi 21" relies on an external USB 3.2 controller for the USB-C port, supplied by Cypress Semiconductor and labeled "CYPD5137-40LQXI." This controller puts out 10 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort passthrough, and 27 W power delivery.

Multi-GPU Area

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


Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

The main heatsink provides cooling for all components on the card: GPU, memory, and VRM circuitry

PowerColor uses five fat heatpipes to keep the card cool.

The backplate is made out of metal and protects the card against damage during installation and handling. There are no hot components on the reverse side of the PCB, so no thermal pads are to be found. There is, however, an LED-illuminated PowerColor Red Devil logo.

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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Jul 1st, 2022 10:53 EDT change timezone

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