MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review

MSI's new flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO is here, so what can a triple-fan cooled custom Radeon RX 6900 XT do?

@anthony256
Published Thu, Feb 18 2021 8:00 AM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: MSI (MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO)

Introduction

Today is custom AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT review day, with the SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition graphics card which has a huge AIO cooler -- this is the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO. Big Navi cooled by MSI's kick ass TRI FROZR 2 cooling tech.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 503 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 65 IMAGES

MSI extends its custom Big Navi family of GAMING X TRIO graphics cards with the introduction of the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card, packing the same triple-fan TRI FROZR 2 cooling technology keeping the GPU nice and cool and looking great as usual.

It is a pity that MSI's entry here with the custom Radeon RX 6900 XT is in GAMING X TRIO design, and not the more premium SUPRIM X branding from the company. Still, the Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO is a great graphics card that finishes up the Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs in the GAMING X TRIO brand.

If you've just purchased a new AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPU or Intel 10th Gen Core CPU and wanting a premium custom Radeon RX 6900 XT then the new GAMING X TRIO offering from MSI would've been on your radar since day one.

MSI has an MSRP of at least $1600 on the Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card, if you can find it, that is.

Buy at Amazon

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1597.95$1649.95$1947.54
* Prices last scanned on 12/6/2021 at 8:23 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

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.

MSI Marketing

You can read all about the card on the official MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO website.

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Detailed Look

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MSI continues along with the same retail packaging as its other Radeon RX 6000 series GAMING X TRIO graphics cards, with the Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO box providing everything you need to know on both the front and back of the box.

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We have the Biggest Navi GPU under the Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO, with that design aesthetic MSI GAMING X TRIO fans have come to know and love. I would have liked a better backplate for the flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO, similar to the design work on the SUPRIM X cards -- but maybe there's a higher-end custom RX 6900 XT in the oven from MSI.

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It's a larger 2.5-inch slot design, but it also stays pretty cool when under load so that is necessary. It would be nice to see a dual-slot air-cooled custom Radeon RX 6900 XT, though.

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The usual display output on the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO with 3 x DP 1.4 and 1 x HDMI 2.1 for display connectivity.

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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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 1166 | TweakTown.com

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

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4000 | TweakTown.com

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

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 104 | TweakTown.comMSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 105 | TweakTown.com

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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 120 | TweakTown.com
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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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 117 | TweakTown.com

1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

I wouldn't be buying a custom Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card for 1080p gaming, that is unless you want to use the RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO at 120/144/165/240FPS+ gaming on super-fast refresh rate gaming monitors.

  • 124FPS+ average at 1080p in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, beats everything on the charts.
  • 164FPS+ average at 1080p in Shadow of War, again beats everything on the charts again.
  • 96FPS+ average at 1080p in Metro Exodus, beating everything and equaling the RTX 3090.
  • 206FPS+ average at 1080p in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but I did have issues with overclocking performance in SOTTR on the MSI RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO. Still, 200FPS+ average can't be sniffed at.

Benchmarks - 1440p

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 110 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 119 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO 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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 113 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO 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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 116 | TweakTown.com

1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

  • 101FPS+ average at 1440p in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, beats everything on the charts easily.
  • 155FPS+ average at 1440p in Shadow of War, again beats everything on the charts again.
  • 83FPS+ average at 1440p in Metro Exodus, beating everything and equaling the RTX 3090 at 88FPS average.
  • 188FPS+ average at 1440p in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, with 193FPS average equaling the flagship GeForce RTX 3090.

Benchmarks - 4K

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4014 | TweakTown.com

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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 109 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 118 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO 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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 112 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO 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.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 115 | TweakTown.com

4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

  • 62FPS+ average at 4K in Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, beats everything on the charts easily.
  • 109FPS+ average at 4K in Shadow of War, losing to the RTX 3090 by just 1FPS.
  • 57FPS+ average at 4K in Metro Exodus, losing to the RTX 3090 by 2FPS.
  • 109FPS+ average at 4K in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, beating the RTX 3090.

Overclocking & Average GPU Clocks

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Out of the box MSI's new custom Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO was ticking along at around 2350-2360MHz or so, with the GPU hitting 74C and the GPU hotspot reaching 97C. The fans are spinning at around 40% or 1350RPM or so, with the card nice and quiet.

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Overclocked to its limits the GPU itself is hitting around 2520MHz here, with the fans cranked up the GPU temps drop to 56C on the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO.

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MSI's custom Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card sits at around 2360MHz out of the box, while manual OC sees the card sitting at a maximum 2530MHz. It's not the fastest Radeon RX 6900 XT in pure GPU clocks, but you would barely tell the difference between 2400-2600MHz in real-time gaming anyway.

Power Consumption & Temps

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Cooling down that Biggest Navi GPU isn't easy, with the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO keeping the GPU at around 74C under gaming and benchmark loads at stock. When overclocked and the fans at 100% the card is much cooler, coming down to 57C.

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Power consumption falls within range at 460-490W for the full AMD Ryzen 7 3800X system with the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO installed.

What's Hot, What's Not

What's Hot

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  • GAMING X TRIO design: MSI keeps the same style across all of its GAMING X TRIO graphics cards including the new flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO. The triple-fan TRI FROZR 2 cooler runs silent for the most part, while giving you kick ass performance at all resolutions.
  • Great custom RX 6900 XT performance: It performs above the reference Radeon RX 6900 XT and has some better OC headroom while running virtually silent and much cooler than the reference card.
  • 57C under load + 100% overclock: The TRI FROZR 2 cooler on the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO keeps things under control -- you can tweak the fan curve how you want and you're not going to have to look at GPU temps again.

What's Not

Not the fastest custom RX 6900 XT: SAPPHIRE's flagship TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition is faster in terms of the peak GPU clock and beating out the MSI RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO by a few FPS here and there. But it really is just a few % but it does make it 'not the fastest RX 6900 XT'.

GPUs are already hard to buy: This isn't anything against MSI, we all know it's an issue right now -- but this is yet another GPU that you won't be able to buy.

Final Thoughts

MSI releases yet another great member of its GAMING X TRIO family of graphics cards, with the new RDNA 2 architecture powering the custom MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO graphics card.

We have a great triple-fan, 2.5-slot custom Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card that offers some of the very best performance the Big Navi GPU has to offer. It's an expensive pill to swallow, with a $100 MSRP over the faster -- and better-looking custom SAPPHIRE TOXIC Radeon RX 6900 XT Limited Edition. It has a huge AIO cooler, but for $100 more you'd get the ultimate in performance.

MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO Review 504 | TweakTown.com

For $100 more you're getting an air-cooled Radeon RX 6900 XT that offers virtually identical performance, more than enough for 120/144/165/240Hz gaming on 1080p and 1440p monitors -- while 4K gaming on the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO is no issue at all.

You could easily play Cyberpunk 2077 on the MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO, right through to any popular esports game at 120FPS+ without a problem. All the while, it'll be nice and cool and most of all quiet through all those gaming binges.

I would love to see MSI release a SUPRIM X version of the Radeon RX 6900 XT... or better yet, a LIGHTNING version of the Radeon RX 6900 XT to better compete against the AIO cooler-based SAPPHIRE TOXIC RX 6900 XT Limited Edition and ASUS ROG Strix LC RX 6900 XT graphics cards.

Wrapping up, MSI has filled out its GAMING X TRIO range of graphics cards in its custom Radeon RX 6000 series family with the flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO. No hesitation in recommending it, if you can find it.

Performance

95%

Quality

95%

Features

90%

Value

90%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

MSI's new Radeon RX 6900 XT GAMING X TRIO ticks all the boxes, offering some of the very best the new RDNA 2 architecture has to offer. It looks great, dominates in all resolutions, and has some OC headroom to boot.

TweakTown award
93%

MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1597.95$1649.95$1947.54
* Prices last scanned on 12/6/2021 at 8:23 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. 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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