The Bottom Line
- + XFX's custom Speedster MERC 310 design
- + Faster than RX 7900 XTX reference
- + DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity
- - Backplate design isn't the best
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
XFX has unleashed its custom Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 graphics card, offering a beefed-up Navi 31 GPU experience over the reference AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX. We have a superior board design, an additional 8-pin PCIe power connector, and an impressive thermal solution that keeps the card cooler than the reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX.
The company has used the same style design as its previous-gen Radeon RX 6000 series Speedster MERC family of graphics cards, with some changes to the backplate that I'm not the biggest fan of. XFX has also created a gigantic card in the process, with it measuring in at a lengthy 13.5 inches long and taking up 3 slots inside of your PC. You'll have to make sure you've got the room, as this card is a chunky unit.
Underneath, XFX has put considerable work into cooling the Navi 31 GPU and its 24GB of GDDR6 memory, with a full-length aluminum heatsink and a triple-fan cooler that keeps things chilly. The company has opted with a nickel-plated copper vapor chamber that takes care of the Navi 31 GPU and 24GB of GDDR6 memory with 20 separate thermal pads through the interior that take care of the GPU + 24GB GDDR6 memory + power delivery system, and more.
The card is also heavier than the reference AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card, with XFX throwing in a "Z support bar" that keeps sagging issues to the side.
As for pricing, XFX's new custom Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card is $100 more than the reference AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX -- so we're looking at $1099 versus $999 -- yet at the time of writing the card was on Amazon for $1556... so be careful with the pricing there.
AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card features the new RDNA 3 GPU architecture and flagship Navi 31 GPU. We have the world's first gaming chiplet GPU, with 5.3TB/sec of chiplet interconnect and up to 54% performance-per-watt uplifts over the previous-gen RDNA 2-based Navi 21 GPU.
The new flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX has 84 CUs based on the RDNA 3 GPU architecture, which works out to 5376 stream processors that have a Game Clock of up to 2.0GHz and Boost Clock of up to 2.4GHz. There's 80MB of second-generation Infinity Cache, 20GB of GDDR6 -- non-X, where NVIDIA uses the faster GDDR6X standard on its GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080 GPUs.
The 20GB of GDDR6 memory is spread out across a 320-bit memory bus which spits out 799GB/sec of memory bandwidth. AMD's new Radeon RX 7900 XT reference graphics card requires just dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors, with a TDP (total board power) of 300W to 315W
XFX steps it up with the retail packaging of its new Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card, which is a much fancier retail box experience over AMD's in-house Radeon RX 7900 series reference graphics cards. It'll look great on a retail shelf, as well as your shelves if you're a collector of boxes.
If you aren't a fan of the reference AMD Radeon RX 7900 series graphics cards, then the new custom XFX Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card should attract your eye. It looks even better in the flesh, but it's a better-looking card from the front... I'm not a huge fan of the backplate design this time around.
XFX uses a thicker design on its Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card, but it will help with keeping the thermals lower than the reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX. You can also spot the 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connector configuration, adding an additional 8-pin PCIe power connector over the reference design.
We've got some nice (but not huge) Radeon branding on the left side of the card, next to the dual BIOS switch.
A closer look at the triple 8-pin PCIe power connector setup.
XFX steps away from the reference design in terms of I/O, with AMD only including 2 x DisplayPort 2.1 connectors, 1 x HDMI 2.1 connector, and USB-C connectivity. XFX drops the USB-C connection on the Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card, providing 3 x DisplayPort 2.1 connectors and a single HDMI 2.1 port.
Test System Specs
I've recently upgraded my major GPU test bed for 2022, but I will be upgrading again soon, now that Intel has launched its new 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake" CPUs and Z790 motherboards, and AMD with its new Ryzen 7000 series "Zen 4" CPUs and X670E motherboards.
The new upgrades include the shift to the Intel Core i9-12900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, and 8TB of Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD goodness. Intel's flagship Core i9-12900K is a beast, with the Alder Lake CPU packing 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 8 Efficient cores (E-cores) at up to 5.2GHz.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
I've got that installed into the bigger-than-life ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is absolutely loaded to the brim with technologies and features that it houses everything you need. We're talking about one of the best-looking designs on a motherboard yet, PCIe 5.0 support, enthusiast-grade 10GbE networking, and oh-so-much more.
RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800
Sabrent helped out in a huge way by sending over 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory in the form of 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 modules of its new Sabrent Rocket DDR5 memory. The company also helped out in an even bigger way, supplying us with a gigantic and super-fast 8TB model of its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.
SSD: 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2
We're talking about 7.5GB/sec+ (7500MB/sec) from a single M.2 SSD, along with a gigantic 8TB of capacity. The 2TB drives aren't big enough for all of our game installs for GPU testing... the 4TB is much better, but the 8TB gives us room to move into 2023 without worrying about installing multiple games that are 200GB+ in size.
Some glory shots, of course.
Displays: ASUS ROG Strix 43-inch 4K 120Hz
ASUS has been a tight partner of TweakTown for many years, with the fine folks at ASUS Australia sending over their ROG Strix XG438Q and ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors for our GPU test benches. They're both capable of 4K 120Hz+ through their DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity.
I will be upgrading these in the near future, over to some DisplayPort 2.0-capable panels and some new HDMI 2.1-enabled 4K 165Hz panels in OLED form of course...given that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner, there has been no better time to upgrade your display or TV.
I've been working on this system for a while now, but now we're stretching its legs with the newly-released PC port of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered. Not just in 1080p or 1440p, not even in just 4K... but at 8K with a native resolution of 7680 x 4320. I've run through some of the very fastest GPU silicon on the planet.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: CORSAIR iCUE H150i ELITE LCD Display (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Sabrent Rocket 64GB DDR5-4800 (4 x 16GB) (F4-3600C18Q-32GTZN) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A1000G Gaming Power Supply 1000W (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame 2.0
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro x64 (buy from Amazon)
- Display: ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ (4K 120Hz) (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - Synthetic
Benchmarks - 1080p
Benchmarks - 1440p
Benchmarks - 4K
Temps & Power Consumption
XFX's new custom Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card runs at a cool 56C or so GPU temperatures under benchmarking and gaming loads, while GPU hotspot sits at around 80C. Better than the reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX across the board.
What's Hot, What's Not
- A few FPS faster than reference RX 7900 XTX: If the performance of the Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference graphics card made you happy, XFX squeezes out a few more FPS across the board with its custom Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card.
- RDNA 3 GPU architecture: The next-gen RDNA 3 GPU architecture is finally here, featuring some rather technology spooling inside of it. We have the first gaming chiplet GPU design, 5.3TB/sec of chiplet interconnect, RDNA 3 CUs and RT + AI accelerators, and a huge up to 54% performance per watt uplift over the previous-gen RDNA 2 GPU architecture.
- First consumer GPU chiplet tech: Yeah, the first consumer chiplet GPU is pretty awesome to see from AMD.
- 24GB GDDR6 memory: You might not need 24GB of GDDR6 memory, but it's something AMD needed to do to keep up with the Joneses, and in this case, the Joneses are NVIDIA. 16GB would've been nice, 20GB would've sufficed, but 24GB is great to see.
- 4K 120FPS+ gaming: 4K 120FPS+ gaming is where I live and breathe, nothing else comes close to it... especially on a tasty huge 4K 120FPS-capable OLED TV or gaming display.
- DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity: NVIDIA really missed the boat with NOT including DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity on its new Ada Lovelace GPU architecture, but AMD has it here with RDNA 3 and it will truly come into play in 2023 and beyond as next-gen gaming displays hit the market.
- Not the best-looking backplate: This isn't a huge downer on the card, but it is something to consider because you'll probably see the backplate more than the front of the card most of the time.
AMD set the stage with its new RDNA 3 GPU architecture and flagship Navi 31-based Radeon RX 7900 XTX, with XFX taking everything it can and dialing everything up to 11 with the Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card. It has everything that makes the RX 7900 XTX spin along, with improvements along the way in virtually all areas.
It runs quieter, cooler, and has a distinct style that makes the XFX Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black step up from the reference AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card. If you wanted the Navi 31-powered Radeon RX 7900 XTX but didn't like the reference design from AMD for whatever reason, XFX is here to win your heart.
We're looking at around 400-420W of power consumption or so, another 70W+ on top of the reference Radeon RX 7900 XTX -- with the XFX Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black rocking a third 8-pin PCIe power connector.
Performance-wise, the custom XFX card is a few FPS faster than the reference RX 7900 XTX in virtually everything, with some wiggle room through overclocking. You won't squeeze too much more out of the XFX Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black, but there is some room to play.
Wrapping up, if you've already decided to go Team Red this generation and didn't want the in-house AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX reference card, the custom XFX Radeon RX 7900 XTX MERC 310 Black graphics card is a great choice. If you love the design, feel easy pulling the trigger... just be careful how much you pay for it. $1099 is a $100 premium over the reference, but then you're getting closer to GeForce RTX 4080 territory, too.
XFX has a great custom Radeon RX 7900 XTX on its hands, with a beautiful design and impressive thermals. If you're wanting Team Red, this should be on your list.