XFX Speedster RX 6800 XT MERC319 Review
Published: 25th November 2020 | Source: XFX | Price: |
The past few months have revolutionised the GPU market, whether it's the impressive performance and pricing Nvidia's cards RTX 30 series products, or staggering performance leap that AMD has achieved with their recently launched RDNA 2-powered RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT GPUs. Whatever else might be wrong in the world, and Britain in particular, there has never been a better time to be a consumer in search of a new powerhouse GPU to make the most of the upcoming games or even push the sliders on your current favourites.
It has long been said that 'stock'/'reference' manufacturer GPUs are designed to give gamers a good idea of what a new GPU architecture is capabilities of, but that it also takes custom partner cards to really unleash their true potential. In recent times this opinion has been chipped away as reference GPUs have been shipped higher-end coolers, which do more than merely ticking the bare minimum of boxes when it comes to functionality and cooling potential. So how does a custom design like XFX's Speedster RX 6800 XT MERC319 far when compared to AMD's reference design?
To put things in their simplest terms, the XFX Speedster RX 6800 XT MERC319 proves this beyond doubt that custom designs still have what it takes to surpass AMD's reference models. XFX has taken an already impressive GPU and has cranked it up to 11. While the XFX Speedster RX 6800 XT MERC319 is still an RX 6800 XT, it is a model which has been tweaked to near perfection. Think of it like this, how your body would look after a year at the gym? The Speedster RX 6800 XT is still an RX 6800 XT, but though some hard work and engineering, XFX has unlocked the GPU's potential.
Graphics cards can always be split into performance and aesthetics, so let's get the performance out of the way first. As you could see from our graphs, the RX 6800 XT MERC319 is a capable graphics card. We can see excellent performance in all of our tests, whether you're letting it handle the overclocking duties itself or you're squeezing every last frame from it with a manual overclock. The extra cooling headroom blends well with the improved power phase performance to really push the RDNA 2 architecture harder than we saw on AMD's vanilla/reference cards. If the AMD card was tempting you, then this should have you reaching for your wallet.
Looks are more subjective, but it will come as no surprise to regular readers, or people with eyes who can see the colour of the OC3D brand, to know we love the white and red looks on the side of the MERC. That's before we've even taken into account the gorgeously smooth rounding on the cooler shroud itself which reminds us of the THICC cards we previously reviewed; and loved. Perhaps you might argue that full RGB would be better, but we love a clear, tasteful font and lighting, and the XFX ticks all of our pleasurable boxes. Mmm.
XFX has been a fixture of the Radeon vendors for years, and all that experience and know-how has been poured into this latest entry, and takes an already great card like the RX 6800 XT and pushes it to new heights, winning our Enthusiast and Aesthetic awards in the process.