SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition Review

It has been nearly 10 years since the last TOXIC graphics card from SAPPHIRE, and boy -- what a release! Fastest RX 6900 XT ever.

@anthony256
Published Thu, Feb 18 2021 8:05 AM CST
Rating: 100%Manufacturer: SAPPHIRE (SAPPHIRE TOXIC RX 6900 XT Limited Edition)

Introduction

The last SAPPHIRE TOXIC graphics card review on TweakTown was back in October 2013 with the Radeon R9 280X 3GB TOXIC graphics card -- but today, SAPPHIRE unleashes the fastest custom Big Navi graphics card ever.

Introducing the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card.

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VIEW GALLERY - 91 IMAGES

SAPPHIRE has put a considerable amount of engineering effort into the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition, with its closest competitor being ASUS ROG Strix LC RX 6900 XT (which I haven't reviewed yet) and on the NVIDIA side of things the EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 KINGPIN Hybrid graphics card that costs $2000 and also uses a hybrid AIO cooler + fan on the graphics card itself.

SAPPHIRE cherry picks the Navi GPU for its highest overclocking and stability, offering through its TriXX Software and TOXIC BOOST mode some one-click OC goodness that pushes nearly 10% more performance over the reference Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card.

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But where SAPPHIRE does things a little different is that it not only boosts up the GPU clock, but also drives up the GDDR6 memory clocks from 16Gbps to 16.8Gbps... every little bit counts. Another thing that SAPPHIRE does is that it makes good use of the incredible cooling technology and huge AIO cooler to drive up to 400W through the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition.

Meanwhile, the card will never get too hot and it will barely make a peep.

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It is truly a beast of a custom Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card -- perfectly matched with a high-end Zen 3-based Ryzen 9 5900X or Ryzen 9 5950X processor in an all-AMD gaming PC.

For the purposes of the review, I've run the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition through the usual benchmark run not 2 times but 3 times. First, at stock -- secondly, with its TOXIC Boost mode enabled, and the third with my manual OC and the fans cranked to 100%.

SAPPHIRE has the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition at $1499... if you can find it.

Buy at Amazon

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Everything You Need to Know About RDNA 2

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AMD's new RDNA 2 architecture has more changes than any previous-gen GPU architecture I can remember from AMD (and even ATi) in the last 10+ years.

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There's a lot to go over here, but we're looking at an enhanced compute unit, new visual pipeline featuring Ray Accelerators, and the all-new (and very exciting) Infinity Cache (which I'll go into on the next page. We're looking at a huge 1.54x higher performance-per-watt and 1.3x higher frequency at the same per-CU power -- impressive stuff, AMD.

Ray Accelerators

One of the largest new introductions in the new RDNA 2 architecture is the high-performance ray tracing acceleration architecture known as the Ray Accelerator. AMD doesn't have NVIDIA-beating ray tracing performance, but it's here in RDNA 2.

Each Ray Accelerator is capable of calculating up to 4 ray / box intersections, and 1 ray / triangle intersection every clock. This means the RDNA 2-based Ray Accelerators can efficiently calculate the intersections of the rays with the scene geometry as represented in a Bounding Volume Hierarchy, sorts them, and returns the information to the shaders for further scene traversal or result shading.

HDMI 2.1

This is another big deal -- HDMI 2.1 connectivity.

HDMI 2.1 ushers in the worlds of 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz through a single HDMI 2.1 cable to your flashy new TV or gaming monitor. Personally I own a new CX series LG OLED TV with HDMI 2.1 that drives its 4K 120Hz, so plugging my gaming PC into my TV can only be done a single way if I want 4K 120Hz -- which I kinda do.

The introduction of HDMI 2.1 on graphics cards began with NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 30 series, and continues with AMD's new Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards. All 3 of the new Radeon RX 6000 series cards -- the Radeon RX 6900 XT (coming soon), the Radeon RX 6800 XT (review here) and Radeon RX 6800 (this review) all have HDMI 2.1 output.

SAPPHIRE TOXIC Detailed

There's a fair amount to unbox here with the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card, with the company putting a considerable amount of engineering into the card. It is engineered as beautifully as it looks, as it is also one of best-looking graphics cards of recent years.

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SAPPHIRE is rolling out its new TOXIC AIO cooling solution with the card, with the first part of the cooling solution starting with the AIO cooler for GPU cooling. The second is the customized die-cast heat sink with two heat pipes for VRM and cooling the GDDR6 memory.

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All of this cooling technology is being used to keep everything cool, with the GPU temps keeping under 66C in SAPPHIRE's own testing -- while the GDDR6 memory stays at under 72C and under 65C if the TOXIC Boost mode is enabled and the fans are cranked.

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You can install the TriXX Software made by SAPPHIRE for some easy one-click OC that will unleash the power of TOXIC. This will drive the GPU Game Clock from 2135MHz at stock settings to 2400MHz with TOXIC Boost enabled, while the GPU Boost Clock goes up from 2365MHz to 2660MHz.

Not only that, but SAPPHIRE also overclocks the 16GB of GDDR6 memory from 16Gbps to 16.8Gbps when you turn on the TOXIC Boost mode.

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Here's the card dissembled, so you can see what's going on under the hood on the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition.

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Here's all the detailed specifications for the card.

Detailed Look

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The retail packaging for the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition is huge, positively massive... I can't remember the last time I got a graphics card box quite like this -- outside of something like the Radeon VII.

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Right from the get go the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition looks out of this world, with it being one of the best-looking graphics cards I've laid my eyes on. It could do without the AIO cooler and just have the style like this with the single fan and it would look great. Both from the front, and from the back the card looks fantastic.

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The back isn't much different to SAPPHIRE's new NITRO+ graphics cards, but there's a little difference at the end where it is branded as TOXIC.

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Display connectivity remains the same as reference, with 3 x DP 1.4 and 1 x HDMI 2.1 connectors on the card.

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The card is a nice-and-neat dual-slot card, while also packing the huge 360mm AIO cooler.

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Speaking of the 360mm AIO cooler, here are the triple 120mm fans that keep the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card nice and cool.

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SAPPHIRE steps above and beyond and offers its own TOXIC-branded 48-bit pro tech driver kit.

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So cool, it's super-useful for tinkering around with your electronics if and when the time comes. From opening up your smartphone, tablet or laptop through to disassembling a graphics card or putting a super-fast PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD into your PC the TOXIC 48-bit driver kit is an awesome surprise in the box.

Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

Sabrent sent over their huge Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD, which will be my new Games install SSD inside of my main test bed.

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I've got a new upgrade inside of my GPU test bed before my change to a next-gen test bed, where I will be preparing for NVIDIA's next-gen Ampere graphics cards and AMD's next-gen RDNA 2 graphics cards.

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Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.

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Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

I've recently upgraded my GPU test bed -- at least for now, until AMD's new Ryzen 9 5950X processor is unleashed then the final update for 2020 will happen and we'll be all good for RDNA 2 and future Ampere GPU releases. You can read my article here: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced.

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Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike

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3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

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3DMark TimeSpy

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Heaven - 1080p

Heaven benchmark

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

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Benchmarks - 1080p

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

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1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla sees the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition beating everything on the charts and setting some new records at a huge 130FPS average at 1080p when overclocked.

We are maxing out Shadow of War at 165FPS average at 1080p on the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition, while Metro Exodus is also the same maxing out at just over 100FPS average at 1080p. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is phenomenal on the card, at stock -- overclocked the performance tanks.

Benchmarks - 1440p

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

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1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

SAPPHIRE's flagship TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition is a freaking killer 1440p and even 3440 x 1440 gaming GPU monster.

  • 100FPS+ average at 1440p in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, beats everything on the charts again.
  • 155FPS+ average at 1440p in Shadow of War, again beats everything on the charts again.
  • 84FPS+ average at 1440p in Metro Exodus, beating everything and equaling the RTX 3090.
  • 194FPS+ average at 1440p in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, beating everything on the charts yet again.

Benchmarks - 4K

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

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4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

If you want a 4K gaming graphics card from Team Red, and you want the very best -- this is it. SAPPHIRE's new TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card is your new champion. It offers the very best performance out of the RDNA 2 architecture at 4K.

  • 64FPS+ average at 4K in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, 64FPS+ average beasting out everything else on the charts once again. Pure dominance, even when it comes to 4K gaming on the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card.
  • 111FPS+ average at 4K in Shadow of War, beats everything but the RTX 3090 which is 1FPS faster at 4K.
  • 58FPS+ average at 4K in Metro Exodus, with the same applying here -- the RTX 3090 is faster by 1FPS.
  • 111FPS+ average at 4K in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, beating everything else on the charts.

SAPPHIRE TRIXX Software

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SAPPHIRE provided me with some pre-release TriXX software that supported the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card, so I tinkered around with it and used its TOXIC Boost OC mode.

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SAPPHIRE TriXX has a pretty kick ass hardware monitor, not that I would use this exclusively but it works within its own software quite well and provides details to everything you need to know going on inside of your custom Radeon RX series graphics card.

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TriXX Boost is very interesting, and something I will be running after this review is live and early next week -- it reduces the resolution in its 3 active resolutions of 4K, 1440p, and 1080p to 3264 x 1836, 2176 x 1224, and 1632 x 918 respectively.

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This is where the party starts: TOXIC Boost being disabled, but it's time to enable it.

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There's a Fan Health Check here for the card, too.

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It wouldn't be a new graphics card if you couldn't tweak the RGB lighting through the software, right?

Overclocking & Average GPU Clocks

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Out of the box the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition was running at around 2458MHz GPU clock, while the GPU itself was at 53C. Not too bad at all for the GPU clock out of the box without any one-click TOXIC Boost mode being enabled or any manual OC.

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TriXX Software + TOXIC Boost mode enabled = 2625MHz GPU clocks and 2090MHz GDDR6 memory clocks, while the fans spool up to 53% (1300RPM or so) and the GPU temps increase a few degrees to 57C.

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Manual OC adventures, the last shot @ 2720MHz was the highest GPU clock I could achieve but it wasn't stable. The SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition was rock solid @ 2696MHz -- while the GDDR6 memory could be squeezed a bit tighter @ up to 2138MHz (up from 2090MHz on the TOXIC Boost OC) and with the fans @ 100% then we have GPU temps of around 54C.

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Here's the average GPU clocks during use in a handy chart, I'll do a Radeon RX 6900 XT round up article next week comparing the custom RX 6900 XT cards with a better idea of which card is better than the others but SAPPHIRE takes the cake easy here.

Power Consumption & Temps

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The numbers truly speak for themselves when it comes to thermals, the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition blows the competition away -- just 57C out of the box thanks to its kick ass AIO cooling. When overclocked with its one-click TOXIC Boost OC mode temps drop to 54C while with the fans cranked up to 100% temps drop to 53C.

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Power numbers aren't too crazy, with the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card inside of our AMD Ryzen 7 3800X test bed using up to 510W when manually overclocked. 10W is shaved off by using TOXIC Boost mode, while another 40W gets knocked off at stock.

What's Hot, What's Not

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What's Hot

  • TOXIC is back, baby! It is so good to see TOXIC return in 2021, it has been far too long and I'm hoping they don't go away anytime soon, SAPPHIRE. What a return for the TOXIC brand, coming in and showing the world how a super-enthusiast Big Navi graphics card is really made.
  • The best Radeon RX 6900 XT by far: There's nothing better yet... and if there is, I haven't received it yet so if there is a competitor -- and you see this -- I'd love to see you beat TOXIC.
  • Amazing design aesthetics: SAPPHIRE knocked it out of the park with the design and aesthetic of the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card. The dual-slot design and its built-in fan alongside the RGB lighting that makes the card pop in any gaming PC.
  • The ultimate Radeon gaming GPU: If you want super-fast FPS at 1080p and 1440p then the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition will be beyond what you need. 3440 x 1440 UltraWide and 4K gamers will be home here with the card, offering brute performance in all games on the market.
  • Easy one-click OC: SAPPHIRE makes it even easier to get your TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition to near maximum performance through its TriXX software.
  • TOXIC tool kit in the box: What a great little addition in the box, something that can help you in your normal geek life of pulling PC components apart, PCs themselves, smartphones, laptops, and everything in between. It's actually a useful thing for SAPPHIRE to give you in the box.
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What's Not

  • 8 + 8 + 6-pin PCIe power connectors... WHY?!: It would've been so much better not just for my OCD but for aesthetics and style when the TOXIC RX 6900 XT Limited Edition card could've just as easily shipped with triple 8-pin PCIe power connectors.
  • Super limited edition card: SAPPHIRE isn't making many of these cards, so if you can find the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition then you are already lucky. It'll almost be a collectors item, any high-end Radeon RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT is at this point... but this is another level.
  • GPUs are already hard to buy: I need to say this in every review, and I hate it -- nothing against SAPPHIRE but this is just the reality of the situation. GPUs are hard to find, but SAPPHIRE is still releasing the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card.

Final Thoughts

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SAPPHIRE has absolutely delivered with the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition, and it was worth the wait. AMD hasn't had a high-end enough Radeon graphics card until the RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6000 series was unleashed and the enthusiast-class Radeon RX 6900 XT was born.

The SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition uses its AIO cooler to push the RX 6900 XT to the limit and provide the best Big Navi performance that money can buy. You get maximum Big Navi performance, with some incredible thermals to boot thanks to the TOXIC AIO cooling tech used.

Not just the GPU are cooled by the TOXIC AIO cooler, but the 16GB of GDDR6 memory and VRM are taken care of on the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card.

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SAPPHIRE chose both the perfect and worst time to bring back the TOXIC brand with its new card, but then the GPU shortage right now is hard. It's impossible to buy Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards as it is, let alone a super-limited edition water-cooled Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card.

This doesn't stop the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition from being an amazing graphics card, where it is the very best custom Radeon RX 6900 XT. There are other custom air-cooled Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics cards, but none unleash Big Navi quite like the TOXIC RX 6900 XT with its slick AIO cooler.

SAPPHIRE: it is great to see TOXIC back, this is an incredible graphics card. I can't wait to see how things go with an RDNA 3-powered TOXIC graphics card in the future. I'd love to see this card released without the AIO cooler but with this design, but maybe the front design is built into the backplate of the card with a rear cooler similar to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition cards.

I wonder how 2 x SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics cards would go in mGPU mode...

Performance

100%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

100%

Overall

100%

The Bottom Line

SAPPHIRE is back to enthusiast level Radeon with the TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition. The very best Radeon RX 6900 XT money can buy, and a marvel to ogle at... wowzers.

TweakTown award
100%

Sapphire Nitro+ AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1799.99$1989.00$1599.00
* Prices last scanned on 3/4/2021 at 11:42 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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