AMD RX 6900 XT custom graphics cards could soon arrive to unlock full potential of Big Navi

Big Navi
(Image credit: AMD)

AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT goes on sale imminently, but that’s the reference board – although there’s now word on when third-party custom variants of this Big Navi graphics card might be available, or a rumor at least.

Whereas the RX 6800 series cards launched in November swiftly witnessed the arrival of third-party versions from different manufacturers – or at least, a dribble of such products, but that’s another story – the Big Navi flagship which lands on December 8 is only coming as a reference board from AMD, with no mention of other variants thus far.

Until now, because as VideoCardz spotted, Chinese tech site MyDrivers has reported that AMD has now greenlit graphics card manufacturers to produce their own custom versions of the RX 6900 XT.

We’d treat that source, and this rumor in general, with more than the usual helping of salt, but still, this is something that’s likely to happen eventually, and some leaks from third-party card manufacturers have already suggested that’s the case as VideoCardz notes.

Early next year?

Don’t get too excited, though, because even if this speculation is on the money, we’ll still have to wait a while for third-party card designs to be implemented. The report claims that we won’t see any third-party efforts until early 2021, so these cards could be a few months away still, particularly given the stock situation around AMD’s new Big Navi GPUs.

Sadly, it seems that the RX 6000 debut has been even worse than Nvidia’s RTX 3000 launch (which went very poorly in itself), and stock remains very thin on the ground – which is perhaps part of the reason why AMD hasn’t wanted to commit any further in terms of announcing third-party variants of the 6900 XT.

The good news is that theoretically, because the RX 6900 XT lines up quite closely with the spec of existing 6800 XT models, it shouldn’t be a huge effort to bring in the new designs for the former based on the latter custom boards. So that might work in favor of a more timely arrival for these 6900 XT alternatives, but as ever, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Third-party versions of graphics cards often feature beefier custom cooling solutions (and other components besides) which allow for ramped up clock speeds and better performance, which is why folks get excited about them – although these fancier models inevitably cost more, naturally. If indeed the cogs are now whirring to get these RX 6900 XT variants into production, we should hear more about that soon enough.

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).