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Asus ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC Review

The graphics card landscape is in a tricky place right now. Despite a global silicon shortage, both Nvidia and AMD have continued to release new graphics cards, and following those come the usual assortment of aftermarket versions with factory overclocks, unique coolers, and plenty of RGB. But since all of these cards sell out almost instantly, pricing has become very skewed with reference cards listing at their suggested retail cost and AIB cards often coming in much higher. Which is where we find ourselves today with the Asus ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC, which comes to market at a suggested price of $829.99. That’s $350 more than AMD’s own pricing for this GPU – but is it worth it for the unique features it brings to the table?

Asus ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC Review

Asus ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC – Design and Features

The ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC is nothing if not high-end. It follows the same styling as the RX 6800 OC I reviewed back in December, which means it not only looks great but is also built like a tank. It’s a design that makes heavy use of metal for an industrial grayscale colorway with eye-catching silver accents. Around the back, a sturdy metal backplate completes the package.

This too is trimmed with an understated sense of style but is composed of black and two shades of dark gray. Like the front, it mixes surfaces, combining brushed aluminum, glossy stripes, and sections of smooth matte finish. The design is intended to fit seamlessly with ROG motherboards and it works well, including the customizable RGB strip along the side, which can also be disabled to complete the minimalist look.

The Strix uses a triple fan cooling solution and is big and bulky. It takes up 2.9 slots in width and spans nearly 13 inches, so this isn’t a GPU for space constrained builds. The entire package is quite heavy but the frame is reinforced to prevent the bending of the PCB. Still, without some kind of support, it immediately sagged in my system, so I would recommend buying an additional bracket to support it in the rear. The larger size allows Asus to design around thermals and acoustics, as well as add a pair of PWM fan headers for connecting and controlling extra case fans.

Returning to cooling, the card is equipped with a trio of Asus’s Axial-tech fans. The center fan features two additional fins to increase static pressure and force more air between the fins of the heat stack. They also feature an opposing rotation scheme for more efficient airflow. The heatsink overlaps the PCB and Asus supports this with vents and open air to better dissipate heat. In total, the cooling solution here is nothing short of stellar.

My sample peaked at 64C but spent most of its time in games hovering between 59-60C. The card features a Zero RPM mode, which leaves the fans off until it hits 60 degrees celsius and then disables them again when they hit 55C. With temperatures so low, the fans never had to get loud and blended in seamlessly with my case fans.The card also features a dual BIOS with Performance and Quiet modes, but since it’s so quiet anyway, I didn’t see any need to move it out of its default Performance setting.

Under the hood, the Strix features the same configuration as all RX 6700 XTs but comes with a decent factory overclock. That means you can look forward to 2560 stream processors and 40 compute units, as well as 12GB of GDDR6 memory on a 192-bit bus. As I describe in my review of the reference RX 6700 XT, however, the card also supports 96MB of Infinity Cache, which improves memory efficiency, and AMD claims performance more in line with 256-bit GDDR6. Regardless, memory speed clocks in at 16 Gbps.

Out of the box clock speeds are faster than the original with its highest rated speeds hitting 2.62 GHz for the Boost Clock and 2.55 GHz for the Game Clock. The reference 6700 XT only guaranteed speeds of 2.58 GHz and 2.42 GHz respectively. These aren’t gargantuan leads but should support a few extra FPS in games when compared apples to apples. Since each RX 6700 XT is able to intelligently ramp up speeds based on thermal and power limits, and the threshold for thermal throttling is well above what either card actually hit, they each came in fairly close with their real world clock speeds. At peak, the ROG Strix reached 2.63 GHz and hovered around 2.58 GHz while gaming. The reference card peaked a little higher even at 2.64 GHz and hovered around 2.5 GHz. So, in general, the ROG Strix tended to hover about 80 MHz faster than stock.

Since this card is also built on the RDNA 2 architecture, you can also look forward to those benefits, including Smart Access Memory which can provide a performance uplift when used with a supported Ryzen processor. That also means hardware-level ray tracing (sans any DLSS-like feature, unfortunately), better improved performance per watt over AMD’s RX 5000 series and DirectX 12 Ultimate compatibility, in addition to AMD’s FidelityFX image enhancements.

Like the reference RX 6700 XT, the card features three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs and a single HDMI 2.1. The card supports a maximum resolution of 7680×4320 across up to four displays. HDCP is supported, as well as AV1 and VP9 decoding and H.264 and H.265 encoding and decoding.

Graphics Card3D Mark Fire Strike UltraUniengine Heaven 4.0 (1440p)
Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition8,5472785
Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition7,3062258
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (Rage Mode)12,3173725
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT12,1053671
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT8,4262488
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6700 XT OC8,6022507

Asus ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC – Performance

I test graphics cards using a mix of synthetic and real world gaming benchmarks. These tests are conducted using ultra settings unless otherwise noted in the sub-title of each chart. Nvidia cards are tested with DLSS enabled to better represent the situation gamers today will find themselves in when choosing one card over another with supported titles. Likewise, the reality of the video game industry today is that most games supporting ray tracing also support DLSS, so the trade-off at play is important and particularly so for users upgrading from a non-RT graphics card. However, it is worth bearing in mind that DLSS upscales lower resolution content and that native resolution will ultimately offer the best image quality. As of this writing, AMD has not released its answer to DLSS, FidelityFX Super Resolution. Once it does, future testing will factor that in.

Note: our system uses an Intel i9-9900K and does not support Smart Access Memory. Systems with this feature could receive performance uplift on some titles, potentially closing the gap to the Nvidia RTX 3070.

Graphics Card3D Mark Port Royal3DMark Ray Tracing Test
Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition813131.9
Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition694125.6
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT (Rage Mode)910727.2
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT9,05426.7
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT5,91913.6
ASUS ROG Strix Radeon RX 6700 XT OC604313.9

Beginning with synthetics, the ROG Strix performs very well. It tops the original RX 6700 XT in every test. These are score-based and not real world but provide a good indicator of where we might expect the card to land while gaming against these comparison cards. Compared to the original, the Strix is 2% faster in Fire Strike Ultra and 1% faster in Unigine Heaven.

When it comes to ray tracing, the story is much the same. The Strix bests the OG in all but the Boundary synthetic where it only ties. These tests really draw out the difference between AMD and Nvidia’s ray tracing solutions. The Strix is 2% faster than reference in both Port Royal and 3DMark’s Ray Tracing Test.

Asus ROG Strix RX 6700 XT OC Review Benchmarks

Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 6700 XT OC – Gaming Benchmarks

Turning to real world gaming tests, the results found in the synthetics are borne out. The ROG Strix RX 6700 XT performs better than the reference card in almost all cases. Many of these differences are slight, however, coming in between 1-3 FPS and sometimes less. At 60+ FPS the difference is imperceptible to my eye. The biggest gains come at 4K where it averages 3% faster, but since most gamers will not be playing at this resolution with the 6700 XT, that’s a small point. At 1440p and 1080p, the card also leads with a range of 1-3% across these five games and averages 1% improvement at each resolution.

For the expanded round of testing, I decided to add the RTX 3080 to the mix. The RX 6700 XT is not intended to compete with the RTX 3080, however, given that it lists for nearly $130 more than an entry-level RTX 3080 – if you can find one at MSRP – I thought it was an apt comparison.

Beginning with 1440p, the Strix comes in 2% faster than AMD’s own version. Compared to the RTX 3070, it falls short by 17% overall, but since ray tracing games have DLSS enabled, it’s important to consider the rasterization gap, which is only 8%. Against the RTX 3080, the card delivers 39% less FPS overall and 27% less with ray tracing removed from consideration.

At 1080p, the Strix averages 1% faster than the original RX 6700 XT. Against the RTX 3070, it fares a bit better, coming in 12% slower overall but with actually 3% faster in sheer rasterization. Against the RTX 3080, it lags expectedly behind at 29% slower overall and 18% slower in non ray traced games.

Looking at these results, two things are clear. First, the ROG Strix RX 6700 XT is the superior card to the reference RX 6700 XT. It is objectively good for 1440p and 1080p gaming, as it should be at this price. Second, and more importantly, the results are so close most gamers probably won’t notice the performance uplift, despite its comparatively exorbitant price. It’s not bad: the performance gain is there, the improved temperatures, acoustics, and looks are all there, but is any of it enough to justify charging $350 more for a 2% performance gain?

To be frank, if what you’re looking for is performance, purchasing this card makes zero sense with the current pricing. Other RX 6700 XTs, even those with triple-fan custom coolers, can be had for hundreds of dollars less. An RTX 3080, a card which offers far better performance and DLSS support, lists as low as $699 on Newegg. If you can find it.

Which is really the rub. This card feels expensive because it can be not because it should be. Republic of Gamers products have long lived in the “prestige” category of PC components. They’re well made, well supported, and offer a combination of quality, features, and style that has earned its current pedigree. But because of the current shortage, this card, along with a number of others from competing brands, are listed at prices so high that they turn objectively good cards into objectively bad recommendations.

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