The custom AMD Radeon XT 6800 XT graphics cards launched this week and the very first card to be delivered is the XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800XT. We found that the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT was no joke in our launch article, but we’ve been told by AMD’s board partner that their custom cards truly next level. The Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800 XT is the flagship model for XFX and commands a paltry $799 (buy on Amazon) for those that think they are worthy of owning one. This card is nothing like the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT reference cards that came to market last week at $649 to do battle with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 that is priced at $699.
So, without further ado lets dive in and take a look at the XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800 XT.
The Speedster series is all about delivering ultra-high frame rates for gamers and is a new series of graphics cards by XFX. Get used to seeing more Speedster series cards from XFX as AMD introduces more Navi based GPUs. XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800XT is a pretty long name and XFX let us know that MERC stands for Mercury (not mercenary) and 319 relates to fan configuration used on the GPU cooler. 3 = Number of Fans, 1 = 100mm, 9 = 90mm. If XFX was to release a 2 fan model down the road with 2x 100mm fans the number would be MERC210.
Inside the box you’ll discover that the XFX Mercury 319 comes in a plastic bag and then has protective film over the front, back and top of the card to protect it from scratches while being installed. You also get a booklet that covers the warranty and installation as well as a piece of paper letting you know that you need to download the latest video card drivers from the internet.
The XFX Speedster MERC319 Radeon RX 6800 XT is a massive graphics card that stands 5.47-inches in height and 13.39-inches in length. It also takes up the Ghost Thermal design with a triple fan configuration. The two outer fans are 100mm (96mm blade) and then the middle axial fan is smaller at 92mm (88mm blade). These are from a new fan supplier, so this is the first time that these 13-blade dual ball bearing fans have been used by XFX.
To get an idea of just how large this card is here is the XFX Speedster MERC319 6800 XT next to the reference card by AMD.
The last generation Thicc cards from XFX were good looking and it seems the Speedster cards don’t skip a beat.
XFX went with a full coverage metal backplate on this card and it looks great. It has XFX cut into the backplate and then across the left side “MERC” is printed on. You can see that there is also a cut out to the right of the card for passthrough airflow that feels similar to what NVIDIA introduced with the GeForce RTX-Series cards in the Founders Edition series.
The top edge of this card is pretty busy looking thanks to all ‘layers’ that wrap around the card. The big things to mention here is that you have Radeon RX 6800 XT that is backlit and then off to the far right the XFX logo is also backlit. All the backlighting is white with the exception of red ‘RX’ and it looks sharp in a case. The colors aren’t changeable from what we understand.
To the left of the two 8-pin PCIe power connecters is a BIOS switch that always to switch between the balanced BIOS and the Hardware Rage BIOS. The factory default setting is with the card set to Balanced BIOS (281 Watts) and this has the base clock at 1900MHz, game clock at 2090MHz and boost clock at up to 2340MHz. Those that bought this card for the ultimate gaming experience can flip the switch over to the left for the Rage BIOS (289 Watts) and this puts the base clock at 1925MHz, game clock at 2110MHz and boost clock at up to 2360MHz.
Within each BIOS are 3 tuning presets that can be configured with AMD’s Adrenaline software. The default setting is balanced mode, but you can change that to quiet or rage if that is desired. Adjusting this setting will change the power limit of the card, fan target temperature junction and fan target speed. For our testing we’ll be enabling the Hardware Rage BIOS with the Adrenaline Rage setting set to Rage as well.
The MERX319 6800 XT has 20 thermal pads that are used on the front and back of the card to ensure the cards thermal performance is on point! You can see some of them in the image above while looking at the bottom of the card.
Looking at the end of the MERX319 6800 XT reveals 5 of the 7 6mm heatpipes that are used by the GPU cooler. If you add up the lengths of all seven heatpipes on this card it totals 1986.1mm or 6.51 feet of piping!
XFX is using a massive 2mm thick copper cold plate that measures 99mm x 85mm over the NAVI GPU. This makes direct contact with the GPU, but thermal pads are used between it and the cards 16GB of GDDR6 memory chips.
A beefy 14+2 power phase design was used for the MERC319 and that is a bump up from the reference designs 10+2 power phase design. XFX went with an Infineon XDPE132G5D 16-phase VRM controller and IR TDA21472 DrMOS chips.
When it comes to display connections you have the same display outputs as the 6800 XT reference model, with 2 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI 2.0 and a USB-C port that can be used with displays and compatible VR headsets.
Let’s move along to the test system and get to the benchmarks!