Final words and conclusion
Here, Powercolor has created an excellent little devil that is speedy and agile. Having said that, it's clear that this product will occupy a very small niche. That is, even if manufacturers can obtain a sufficient quantity of GPUs, they will remain scarce to purchase. What can we say, this is the state of the market in 2021, and it is likely to continue for some time. Everything and anything is determined by the price, performance, and, of course, the rendering quality of the game. If we remove price from the equation, we see a product that offers about 3% maybe 4% greater performance (depending on workload and resolution) than the reference card, but with increased power consumption and a price tag that is likely a third more compared to that same reference product. Thus, that is a difficult sell in my book when it comes to rational purchasing decisions. Having said that, we do enjoy our share of premium products, and the 6900 XT Red Devil OC unquestionably falls into that category. We applaud its mere presence for that reason.
Cooling & noise levels
The 6900 XT Red Devil delivers excellent results in even the most demanding settings, owing to the cooler, of course. You're unlikely to noticeably hear the card, and that is the truth. And with a GPU capable of outputting so much heat under the hood, that's quite an accomplishment. We're looking at 36 (silent mode) and 38 DBa (performance mode) values under load and temperatures in the 70 Degrees C area, both are quite acceptable. Additionally, all important components are cooled in some way. FLIR imaging demonstrates that the card is barely losing heat. In general, we are rather content with what we observe. Again, even the Performance mode remains at really good acoustics, so IMHO that's the only configuration you should opt as the silent mode does forfeit on the power limiter a notch.
Energy consumption and heat output are inextricably linked, as (graphics) processors and heat might be regarded as a 1:1 relationship; 300 Watts of energy consumption equals close to 300 Watts of heat production. This is the fundamental tenet of TDP. AMD lists the flagship models at 250 to 300 (6800/6900 XT) Watts, which is fair for a flagship graphics card in the year 2021 at this performance level. We measure numbers that pass the reference values. Around 330 Watts is a common power consumption rate while gaming; this is total board power, not TGP. You'll receive an additional 15% on the power limits for tuning, so that's roughly 380 Watts once activated.
The 6900 XT Red Devil much like any other card these days, does exhibit coil squeal, but we found this to be only very slight amounts of it. Is it annoying? Well, it's certainly at a level you can hardly hear it. In a closed chassis, that noise would fade away in the background. However, with an open chassis, you can hear coil whine/squeal. Graphics cards all make this in some form, especially at high framerates; this can be perceived.
I believe I have previously stated enough about it; however, you can anticipate pricing ranging between 1350 and 1500 USD, depending on availability. It's the kind of price level that causes you to vomit a little into your mouth and then swallow it back in, bitter yet sweet. We may possibly comprehend and justify your purchase up to 1500 USD; anything above that, simply is a no. The reference design cards are silent, perform slightly poorer than the reference design cards, but offer far more value for money, and that is true yet unobtainable. Of course, we recognize that this is the premium area of graphics cards, where prices are always quite low.
AMD does enforce limits on the memory subsystem, limiting your GDDR6 memory overclock. We don't like that as we feel we could have gone a notch further. Results will vary per board, brand, and even card due to cooling (GDDR6/GPU/VRM). GPU tweaking wise we'd reach a really proper 2750 MHz on AMD's finest and biggest enabled GPU. That's without anomalies and crashes whatsoever. Please do understand this; depending on load, game/app, and board assigned power, you will see the dynamic clock frequency hovering in the 2500~2700 MHz range. The tweaked value is never a constant. All that tweaking and extra energy consumption will bring you a max of ~5% extra performance at best, but seen from reference, you just gained roughly 10% perf in Ultra HD gaming accumulated. Also, and let me reiterate this, for an overclock to be successfully listed here, it needs to pass 4 game runs (different games) in Ultra HD to be deemed stable.
While any Radeon RX 6900 XT is fantastic, the Red Devil is premium and unique in various ways. This demon pours fire back at you in the form of majestic cooling, dignified acoustics, and, with a little tweaking, noble gaming performance. We adore producers who go beyond the box and share our admiration for superior products, however, it has a price tag that is simply impossible to stomach. PowerColor executed everything perfectly in terms of hardware and production. They are extracting as much as possible from this GPU using a well-constructed PCB board that meets all of our wants and specifications, which you should appreciate. I will say this; factory-tweaked performance can be disputed and debatable these days; after all, if you gain perhaps 3 maybe 4% in performance, does it justify the price premium? Many of you will object, while others will have no problem with it. If you find this product to be prohibitively expensive, you can purchase a reference card or even downgrade it to the 6800 XT if your preferred color is red. Apart from the pricing point, we're quite impressed with this product. Without regard for pricing, this normally would have been a top pick. However, prices force it to be just recommended.
- Hilbert, LOAD"*",8,1.