The new king of the AMD RDNA 2 hill has arrived.
The AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT represents the pinnacle of AMD's RDNA 2 GPU line-up. Launched on 10 May 2022 as part of the Radeon RX 6000 series refresh, the RX 6950 XT is in essence, a RX 6900 XT with higher clock speeds and faster memory (18Gbps GDDR6 vs 16Gbps on the RX 6900 XT), designed to take on NVIDIA's RTX 3090 and perhaps even, the flagship RTX 3090 Ti.
For today's post, ALKtech checks out the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6950 XT GAMING OC 16G. Placing right beneath the AORUS series in Gigabyte's line-up as a more "value" oriented RX 6950 XT graphics card, the GAMING OC 16G sports Gigabyte's WINDFORCE 3X cooling system with alternate spinning fans, "graphene nano lubricant" that Gigabyte touts as being able to increase the lifespan of its fans, as well as a screen cooling design alongside a large vapour chamber to improve cooling efficiency. The card is also equipped with a factory overclock to give it some extra oomph and a Dual BIOS feature that allows end-users to toggle between a "Silent" mode and "OC" mode.
Summary of Specifications
- GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT (Navi 21 KXTX)
- 80 Compute Units, 5120 Stream Processors
- Memory: 16GB GDDR6 RAM (256-bit, 18Gbps)
- Clock Speeds:
- Boost Clock: up to 2324 MHz (vs 2310 MHz on a stock non-OC card)
- Game Clock: up to 2116 MHz (vs 2100 MHz on a stock non-OC card)
- Bus Type: PCIe 4.0 x16
- Outputs: 2x HDMI 2.1, 2x DisplayPort 1.4a
- External Power Required: Yes, 3x 8-pin
- Recommended PSU Wattage: 850W and above
To get a quick sensing of the card's performance, the following synthetic benchmarks and games were run:
- 3DMark Basic Edition 2.22.7359
- Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 (Basic Edition)
- Cyberpunk 2077 Benchmark
- Far Cry 6 Benchmark
- Forza Horizon 4 Benchmark
- Fortnite (Actual Gameplay)
Test Bench Details:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 3200
- Motherboard: ASRock X570M Pro4
- Storage: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB
- Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon RX 6950 XT GAMING OC 16G with AMD Adrenalin 22.5.1 drivers
- Power Supply: Gigabyte UD1000GM 1000W
- Case: Generic open-air Test Bench
- Monitor: Acer SA230 Abi 23" (1080p, 75Hz)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
MSI Afterburner was used to record the card's performance metrics, and the tests were run at 1080p resolution.
3DMark Basic Edition 2.22.7359
With 3DMark Basic Edition, the RX 6950 XT achieved a graphics score of 21194, with an overall Time Spy score of 17050.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 (Basic Edition)
The card achieved a score of 6205 with Unigine's Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Basic Edition, with an average FPS of 246.3, a minimum FPS of 49.4 and a maximum FPS of 485.8. The test was run on the maximum possible graphics settings, with DirectX 11 rendering on Ultra Quality, extreme tessellation, stereo 3D disabled, multi-monitor disabled, and anti-aliasing set at x8.
To investigate the RX 6950 XT's ray tracing chops, Cyberpunk 2077's built-in benchmark was run with the Ray Tracing Ultra preset. and the card yielded an average FPS of 40.41, a minimum FPS of 28.55, and a maximum FPS of 55.03. AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) was switched off for the benchmark.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6's built-in benchmark sees the RX 6950 XT achieve an average FPS of 107, a minimum FPS of 71, and a maximum FPS of 166. The Ultra graphics preset was used for this test, with ray tracing and AMD FSR switched off.
Forza Horizon 4
Moving on to Forza Horizon 4, the card attained an average FPS of 207.3, a minimum FPS of 177.2 and a maximum FPS of 269.9. The game was set to the highest possible graphics settings for the benchmark.
To round up the gaming tests, a round of Fortnite was played with the Epic graphics preset, and all ray tracing features set to the maximum. During gameplay, the RX 6950 XT achieved an average FPS of 47, a minimum FPS of 19.5, and a maximum FPS of 84. The minimum FPS of 19.5 was a one-off dip that was experienced at the beginning of the game, and the rest of the round was generally smooth. There was however, a slight dip in framerates that was noticeable whenever the player aims down the scope, especially for weapons with a physical scope (e.g. sniper rifle, Stryker burst rifle etc). While this dip did not negatively impact the gaming experience all that much, gamers would be well-placed to reduce their ray tracing settings on this card for a more competitive gaming experience.
Power Consumption & Thermals
These measurements were obtained with an open-air test bench, with an ambient temperature of ~32°C, using the readouts derived from MSI Afterburner.
- Average GPU Temperature: 41°C
- Minimum GPU Temperature: 40°C
- Maximum GPU Temperature: 42°C
- Average Power Draw: 5.5W
- Minimum Power Draw: 5W
- Maximum Power Draw: 6W
Playing a Round of Fortnite (1080p, Epic preset, ray tracing maxed):
- Average GPU Temperature: 65°C
- Minimum GPU Temperature: 58°C
- Maximum GPU Temperature: 67°C
- Average Power Draw: 285W
- Minimum Power Draw: 85W
- Maximum Power Draw: 292W
Running Cyberpunk 2077's built-in benchmark (1080p, Ray Tracing Ultra preset)
- Average GPU Temperature: 65°C
- Minimum GPU Temperature: 57°C
- Maximum GPU Temperature: 68°C
- Average Power Draw: 287W
- Minimum Power Draw: 280W
- Maximum Power Draw: 293W
From the figures above, it can be seen that Gigabyte's WINDFORCE cooling setup does a pretty good job of keeping the GPU cool when under heavy loads. In addition, power draw maxed out at less than 300W for all synthetic and gaming tests that were conducted for the card.
The Gigabyte Radeon RX 6950 XT GAMING OC 16G has a great cooling setup and lower than expected power draw figures which lend themselves very well for a flagship AMD graphics card. That being said, when surveying the competition (i.e. NVIDIA's RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti GPUs), while the RX 6950 XT trades close blows with the RTX 3090 when it comes to gaming, it is undeniable that NVIDIA has the crown when it comes to ray tracing applications and content creation/productivity tasks, at least based on a quick scan of other tech reviews out there.
With this in mind, it all boils down to the pricing that these cards can be bought at versus Team Green, especially as graphics card prices start to inch towards retail prices at long last. At the time of writing, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6950 XT GAMING OC 16G is available for backorder from Newegg for a price of US$1099.99.
Get a RX 6950 XT graphics card from Amazon: https://amzn.to/38yCdVb (affiliate link)
Get this graphics card from Shopee Singapore: https://shope.ee/6UkvTCXJQH (affiliate link)
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The graphics card featured in this article was a review unit provided on loan from CDL Trading Pte Ltd, an authorised distributor for Gigabyte in Singapore.