MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X Review

MSI's new custom Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X is a kick ass smaller GPU, that packs all of the RDNA 2 grunt in a tiny package.

@anthony256
Published Tue, Mar 23 2021 8:26 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Mar 25 2021 10:02 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: MSI (Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 12G)

Introduction

AMD launched its new Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card last week, and while I had a bunch of custom AIB boards here to play around with and review -- Zack Snyder's Justice League came out and I needed to watch it... multiple times. Anyhoo, today I'm looking at the custom MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X -- my favorite RX 6700 XT of them all so far.

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VIEW GALLERY - 72 IMAGES

MSI's new custom Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X graphics card is a much shorter GAMING X card than we're used to, with a dual-fan cooler. It's smaller than the other custom Radeon RX 6700 XT solutions so far, and still packs that awesome Big Navi punch for 1080p and 1440p gaming.

MSI is using its custom TWIN FROZR cooling technology on the Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X, down from the TRI FROZR cooler used on the GAMING X TRIO cards. MSI is overclocking the card out of the box, but I manually overclock the card as usual and squeezed out some great performance from the custom Radeon RX 6700 XT.

I have not got a price to give you for the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X as there is no price, AMD is "starting" the price of the Radeon RX 6700 XT at "$479" but I would dare say you're going to be paying close to -- and sometimes seeing it for over double that -- $700-$1000 or so.

Buy at Amazon

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1999.00$2007.00$1951.99
* Prices last scanned on 4/18/2021 at 4:53 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Everything You Need to Know About The RX 6700 XT

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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 (review here), the Radeon RX 6800 XT (review here) and Radeon RX 6800 all have HDMI 2.1 output.

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.

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.

AMD marketing

AMD engineered the new Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card for "enthusiasts with a focus on premium materials and design", with the card built to standards that "enable customers and partners, all in an efficient power package".

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AMD has used a 10-layer high-performance PCB with 2 layers of 2 oz. copper on the Radeon RX 6700 XT for enhanced power delivery, with Premium IT-170 material and 9 (7+2) high efficiency DrMOS phases on the Radeon RX 6700 XT reference graphics card.

One of the biggest parts of Radeon gaming is FidelityFX, with the new RDNA and RDNA 2 architectures supporting FidelityFX Contrast Adaptive Sharpening (CAS) in early 2020 and then Ambient Occlusion, Screen Space Reflections, HDR Mapper, and Downsampler.

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AMD FidelityFX is on over 40 games right now wand that list will continue to get bigger.

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The new Radeon RX 6700 XT has 12GB of GDDR6 memory which AMD says is "futureproofing" the Navi 22-based GPU with 12GB, saying that many modern games use over 8GB of VRAM and that the Radeon RX 6700 XT packing 12GB of GDDR6 lets you play games at "max settings for today and tomorrow".

Detailed Look

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The retail packaging looks great as always, MSI.

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From the front of the card we have a great dual-fan design with the TWIN FROZR cooling keeping the Navi GPU and 8GB of GDDR6 memory nice and cool during gaming and benchmark loads.

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MSI has a great backplate on the Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X, with some design tweaks that make it a little different to the backplate on the higher-end MSI Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO.

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It's a thicker card, but I don't mind that if it's going to be shorter -- which I love.

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You still need dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors to get it up and running, though.

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The same goes for the display connectivity, nothing new here: 3 x DP 1.4 and 1 x HDMI 2.1 connector.

Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

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ASUS provided a rather large upgrade to my GPU testing lab -- or rather, I kept the ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitor after my review on it. The 43-inch 4K 144Hz panel is just glorious to look at -- it's huge, the DPI for Windows 10 when set perfect for your viewing distance is kiss-fingers-emoji good. It's just amazing -- for work, and gaming.

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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.

I'll be making some changes over the coming months to the GPU test bed here for TweakTown, to both the Ryzen 9 5900X and then Intel's new Core i9-11900K to do some proper PCIe 4.0 testing between the chipsets for GPUs + super-fast load times into games on these new super-fast Sabrent SSDs.

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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

MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X Review 104 | TweakTown.comMSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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.

MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X Review 111 | TweakTown.com
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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 6700 XT GAMING X 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.

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1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

We all know how performance is going to be on the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X -- and as you can see, it's identical to the Radeon RX 6700 XT for the most part @ stock -- and a few FPS faster in virtually everything at 1080p when manually overclocked.

Benchmarks - 1440p

MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 110 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 119 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 113 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 116 | TweakTown.com

1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

The same goes for 1440p gaming, which the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X also kicks ass at -- probably the key resolution to buying this card (if you can buy it, that is). You've got stellar 1440p performance that only improves by 5-10% with the manual OC that I applied to the card.

Benchmarks - 4K

MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 109 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 118 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 112 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X 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 6700 XT GAMING X Review 115 | TweakTown.com

4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

I do NOT recommend the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT for 4K gaming, as that is the job of the Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics cards... but if you wanted to do some light 4K gaming at 30-60FPS that would be alright. Once again, the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X is still a fine 4K gaming graphics card just like the reference Radeon RX 6700 XT.

Overclocking

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Out of the box my MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X sample was hitting 2600MHz solid, with the GPU temps at 70C and the GPU hotspot at 89C or so. Not bad, but that can be improved.

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Manual overclocking of the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X -- your results may vary -- saw me hitting a wall of around 2850MHz or so with the GDDR6 also overclocked as high as it would go. GPU temps dropped to 55C with the fans cranked to 100% while the GPU hotspot drops to 74C.

Power Consumption & Temps

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Out of the box the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X is a much better card for keeping the GPU cool, at 70C under stock and 55C when the card was manually overclocked and fans are cranked to 100%.

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Power consumption is not too far away from the reference Radeon RX 6700 XT card, with 340W for the full Ryzen 7 3800X system and 355W when it was overclocked.

What's Hot, What's Not

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What's Hot

  • The awesome smaller size: MSI has outdone itself here, where I expected to have a large Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X but it's not -- it's a smaller custom PCB with a 2.5-slot design. It's thicker, but man is it short up against the regular Radeon RX 6700 XT and other custom Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics cards.
  • Much cooler GPU temps thanks to the TWIN FROZR cooler: AMD's own Radeon RX 6700 XT reference graphics card runs pretty hot, but you won't have those issues with MSI's custom Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X thanks to its kick ass TWIN FROZR cooling technology.
  • Same perf as Radeon RX 6700 XT reference card: Out of the box you're going to get bang on the same performance as AMD's own Radeon RX 6700 XT reference graphics card. It's only when you manually overclock the card that it'll tip over the reference card. More great 1080p and 1440p gaming performance.
  • Overclocks better, though: You've got a few more FPS in most games when the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X is overclocked, it beats the RX 6700 XT reference manual overclock from the sample I tested at least.
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What's Not

  • Who knows what the price will be: The custom Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics cards have been listed for $1250 in Chechia, and with a "starting price" of $479 we could expect the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT to cost somewhere above $750 which is kinda insane. It's hard to recommend it at that price, but at the $550-$600 mark it would be a great card in these times.
  • Nowhere to be found: You are going to find it near impossible to buy these, although AMD is promising more stock this time around. We should hopefully see this situation improve over the coming months, hopefully.

Final Thoughts

MSI has one of the best custom Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics cards that I've had through my doors so far, but I've got a flood of cards to review this week. But the smaller form factor of the card put a smile on my dial, in a sea of 'yeah cool, another custom RX 6700 XT' is the 'I'm a smaller version with the same Big Navi GPU power'.

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The card stays cool throughout any amount of gaming and benchmark stress testing, with 55-70C depending on whether you have the card at stock fan settings or manually tweaked and cranked up. You've got all the regular Big Navi GPU goodies here with HDMI 2.1 connectivity, 12GB of GDDR6 memory with Infinity Cache, ray tracing support, and so much more.

You've got plenty of performance for 1080p 120/144/165FPS+ gaming and even 1440p 120/1440/165FPS+ and higher gaming from the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X graphics card. You can't complain about that performance, and if the card could be found for under $600 it would be a great card -- but unfortunately GPUs are next to impossible to find, let alone custom Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards.

But the issue is going to be can you find the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X anywhere in the world? Probably not at the time of reading this review, but in the weeks and months after -- I'd like to hope so. But stories were coming out in the days surrounding the Radeon RX 6700 XT launch that stock could be so low that there would only be a few thousand RX 6700 XT graphics cards for the entire of Europe.

This should be worldwide, and I don't think there will be many cards available at launch -- this isn't MSI's fault, because if you can find the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X graphics card in your market for a price you deem is worthy (I can't account for the price in your country) then go for it. The card itself is fantastic.

Stock issues aside, the MSI Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X is a great graphics card that price aside, packs a great punch with its smaller size. A refreshing change from MSI as well.

Performance

95%

Quality

90%

Features

100%

Value

N/A

Overall

95%

The Bottom Line

MSI surprises with its Radeon RX 6700 XT GAMING X -- a smaller card that still packs that gigantic Big Navi GPU punch with 12GB of GDDR6 memory on the ready, too.

TweakTown award
95%

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 6800 XT GAMING X TRIO

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$1999.00$2007.00$1951.99
* Prices last scanned on 4/18/2021 at 4:53 pm CDT - 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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