AMD RX 6800 XT GPU breaks world record while overclocked to 2.65GHz – and without any fancy cooling

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
(Image credit: Future)

AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT has only just been released, but it has already taken one world record in a benchmark – albeit with a caveat – and proved that those rumors about Big Navi having great overclocking potential are true.

Videocardz spotted ‘Lucky_n00b’ (Indonesian overclocker Alva Jonathan) pushing the RX 6800 XT with a boost overclock to 2.65GHz on air – in other words, just using the graphics card’s stock fans, with no fancy cooling, which is seriously impressive in itself. Although the CPU it was paired with (AMD’s Ryzen 5950X) for the 3DMark Fire Strike record on HWBOT was liquid nitrogen-cooled (and ramped up to 5.4GHz).

The resulting tally of 47,932 took top spot on HWBOT, dethroning the reigning champion GPU which was Nvidia’s mighty RTX 3090. However, note that tessellation was disabled for the Big Navi card, which isn’t allowed when it comes to 3DMark’s Hall of Fame, hence this score didn’t count for that ranking.

Also, the RX 6800 XT only sneaked past the 3090 (by just over 200 points), and we must remember that this is just a single (modified) benchmark. As we observed in our full review of AMD’s new GPU, the matchup for this graphics card in terms of price bracket is the RTX 3080, and the 6800 XT beats out its Nvidia rival in some tests, but equally gets beaten in others (and certainly loses on the ray tracing front). 

The Fire Strike benchmark, incidentally, is also a strong suit for AMD in our review, you won’t be surprised to learn.

In other words, let’s not get carried away, and the other caveat here, as Lucky_n00b observes, is that the 2.65GHz overclock was the “boost setting applied from Performance Tuning panel, not the real clock during load (GPU is power-limited)”.

Overclocking monster

Still, this is an impressive feat, and as we said at the outset, it backs up the stream of speculation we’ve heard in recent times about AMD’s new graphics cards being able to hit 2.5GHz overclocks – or indeed more.

Of course, the 6800 XT is the fastest current Big Navi GPU, but the RX 6900 XT flagship is still waiting in the wings, and will be giving Nvidia even more competition when it emerges in just a few weeks on December 8.

Well, we say the performance battle is heating up, but the real competition might be which GPU giant can actually get graphics cards out there on the shelves soonest, because it seems AMD isn’t doing any better than Nvidia’s poor performance with the available stock of Ampere graphics cards.

Going by the rumor mill, though, AMD will have more stock coming through next month, although Nvidia has already admitted itself that RTX 3000 inventory levels won’t improve meaningfully until 2021 at the earliest. Theoretically, then, that could mean PC gamers keen for a next-gen GPU snapping up far more AMD cards in the early running…

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).