ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition Review

ASUS steps up with the ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800, with slick ROG style and some great OC headroom for a nice boost in free perf.

@anthony256
Published Fri, Feb 12 2021 9:35 AM CST
Rating: 98%Manufacturer: ASUS (ROG-STRIX-RX6800-O16G-GAMING)

Introduction

AMD came out swinging with its new Big Navi graphics cards in the tail end of 2020, but we've got the TweakTown GPU microscope checking out the custom ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition -- the non-XT version, which has some decent OC headroom and the always-on-point ROG Strix style.

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VIEW GALLERY - 66 IMAGES

I'm a big fan of this generation ROG Strix styling that ASUS has used, with ASUS having a card that sits perfectly in the 1440p gaming beast market -- but it can also handle 4K 60FPS without an issue, too. ASUS uses its beefy ROG Strix DirectCU III cooler, something that debuted with the custom GeForce RTX 30 series cards from ASUS.

ASUS is of course shipping the ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 with factory overclocks, with the Navi 21 GPU cranked up from the 2105MHz on the reference Radeon RX 6800 to 2190MHz (and more wiggle room through manual OC).

The custom ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition graphics card is on Newegg -- and of course out of stock -- for $860.

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.

What Is Infinity Cache?

Now this is where things get really interesting -- Infinity Cache, which provides some kick ass memory bandwidth even with it smaller 256-bit memory bus and slower GDDR6 memory.

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NVIDIA might have a superior 320-bit memory bus, faster GDDR6X -- but it has less VRAM (10GB versus 16GB) and the Radeon RX 6800 XT still kicks ass against the GeForce RTX 3080 in all resolutions and situations. But in the right situation -- like when paired with a Zen 3 processor, like I've done preliminary with the Ryzen 9 5900X -- you can get in excess of 10% more performance when you add SAM (Smart Access Memory) into the equation.

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If you've got the right hardware -- a new RDNA 2-based Radeon RX 6800 XT for example, with a Zen 3-based Ryzen 5000 series -- like the Ryzen 9 5900X that I got in the days leading into the review. I will have some numbers on those tomorrow, but I needed to get these reviews out first.

The SAM results are as good as you see in these charts, and in some cases better -- it's an impressive thing to see, and I truly can't wait to see more from Smart Access Memory technology.

Detailed Look

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ASUS has its retail packaging game on point, with the ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 looking sharp -- if you can find it on shelves in your city, or even country.

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Seriously, I love the style of the ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 graphics card -- and it will look mean AF in your gaming PC without a doubt.

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The backplate on the card looks great as well.

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You will need dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors to get the card running.

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You've got Performance and Quiet Modes on the card through a dual BIOS toggle.

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Some nice ROG styling on the end of the card.

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

The overclocked ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 equals the higher-end Radeon RX 6800 XT reference card at 1080p for the most part -- mighty impressive. We have 104FPS stock in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, and 112FPS average when it's overclocked, matching the RX 6800 XT.

The same goes for Shadow of War, with the overclocked ASUS ROG Strix RX 6800 hitting 159FPS average -- the same as the RX 6800 XT reference card. The overclocked ROG Strix RX 6800 couldn't match the higher-end RX 6800 XT in Metro Exodus, however.

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

Cranking the resolution to 2560 x 1440 and we have the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 holding its ground in the Radeon-strong Assassin's Creed: Valhalla with 82FPS stock and 90FPS average. The overclocked card is just 2FPS away from the 92FPS that the Radeon RX 6800 XT reaches.

The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 holds its ground against the Radeon RX 6800 XT at 1440p when overclocking is applied, beating out the GeForce RTX 3080 in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, too.

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.

ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition Review 118 | TweakTown.com
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

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.

ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition Review 112 | TweakTown.com
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

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

I wouldn't recommend the Radeon RX 6800 for 4K gaming as I like to have at least 60FPS at that resolution, which is hard for even the flagship graphics cards. Well, the overclock on the ASUS ROG Strix RX 6800 is out of this world at 4K in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla with 49FPS stock (51FPS for the reference RX 6800) and a huge 57FPS when overclocked (the RX 6800 XT hits 59FPS).

Shadow of War is more than playable here at 88-96FPS average depending on stock/overclocked, while Metro Exodus cranked up to 4K @ 60FPS is achievable if you dial down some of the graphics settings. Shadow of the Tomb Raider hums along as always with 100FPS average at 4K when overclocked on the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800.

Overclocking

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Out of the box my sample was clocking in at around 2235MHz, with the GPU at 50C -- pretty chill for no tweaks to the fan profiles. The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 is one of the coolest cards I've tested, with the fans spinning at just 44% here (1500RPM or so).

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Putting some more juice through the card, this is about the maximum that I could reach -- any more tweaks to the GPU frequency and the card crashed.

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I was stopping out somewhere in the 2500-2510MHz range, which gave some stellar performance numbers out of the overclocked ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800.

Power Consumption & Temps

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Unbelievable thermal performance out of the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800, with the card running at around 50C at stock settings and if you crank the fans to 100% then the temps plummet down to just 43C.

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The power consumption on the card isn't that different to the reference Radeon RX 6800, and it's pretty much identical to the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3070 OC Edition, too.

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I've got a chart of the average GPU clocks on the card after an hour of benchmarking, with the ROG Strix RX 6800 driving up to 2510MHz.

What's Hot, What's Not

What's Hot

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  • It runs SUPER chill: With the fans cranked to 100% the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition runs at just 43C... yes, that's not an error -- 43C. Even at stock settings the card still runs cool at just 50C, which is a great achievement from the cooling on the card.
  • Beats the RTX 3070 + RTX 2080 Ti: The reference Radeon RX 6800 kicks ass as it is, but the overclocked ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 really does some damage out of the box -- and then again when overclocked.
  • ROG Strix design: You've got to love the design, which I do. ASUS sticks to what they do best here, with the ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 having the identical -- and same awesome design -- as the higher-end ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card.
  • Great OC headroom: I was able to have the GPU boost up to around 2510MHz on my sample, but your results (if you can even find the card to buy) will vary. The card also won't chew up much more power over the reference Radeon RX 6800 when it's overclocked.
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What's Not

There's not much to hate here, the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 is a fantastic graphics card, if you can find it.

I guess I might as well mention the fact (again) that you can't buy these cards anywhere in the world (and this sentence might be wrong depending on when you see this, but at the time of writing it was nigh impossible).

Final Thoughts

ASUS hits another home run with its ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition graphics card, offering performance that easily beats the reference Radeon RX 6800 -- but also trades blows with the higher-end Radeon RX 6800 XT.

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We have some unbelievable thermal performance on offer, and performance that puts it ahead of NVIDIA's previous-gen Turing-based GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and even the new Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3070 graphics cards. AMD has some magic here, and ASUS uses its own herbs and spices.

The biggest issue is going to be price and availability, with some people having to succumb to scalpers and their sky-high prices or somewhere like eBay. If you can find the ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition graphics card where you live and want to switch to Team Red this is a great way to do it.

The ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 is a stellar graphics card if you can find it, with roughly the same power consumption as the reference RX 6800 but superior performance in all areas.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

95%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

95%

Overall

98%

The Bottom Line

ASUS has a killer custom Big Navi champ with the ROG Strix Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition. Beats the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070, and has unbelievable thermal performance.

TweakTown award
98%

ASUS ROG Strix AMD Radeon RX 6800 OC Edition

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* Prices last scanned on 3/4/2021 at 9:50 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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