XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT Review


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XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT Review

Today, thanks to XFX, we have the MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT that will be available to consumers as of March 18th, 2021. This is the next iteration of AMD’s RDNA2 architecture, NAVI 22 XT, and according to AMD, it is ideal for 1440p gaming fitting in the product stack right behind the RX 6800 and above the RX 6700.

The MERC319 BLACK version of this card brings a robust VRM design, a large aluminum triple-fan shroud, plated copper heatsink, as well as an overclock out of the box. The 2.6-slot cooling solution includes an LED light bar on the card’s facing edge showing the “XFX” logo, RADEON branding, and card model (RX 6700 XT). A full-length aluminum backplate with the MERC logo in white cleans up the card’s backside while adding some rigidity. Overall, it’s a good-looking card and will fit in with most build themes.

Performance-wise, this overclocked card performed well in our testing – finishing between the RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 while even outperforming the latter in some tests. The MERC319 RX 6700 XT did this while using slightly less power than the RTX 3060 Ti. This card really shines at WQHD (2560 x 1440), reaching well over 60 FPS, and it’s a close race with the RTX 3070. 4K UHD is a bit of a stretch for any of the cards mentioned with all the details turned up but certainly possible with a slight quality reduction.

The MSRP for the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT is set at $569.00, a $90 premium over the 6700 XT reference model’s MSRP. This premium has benefits, bringing with it a factory overclock, improved power delivery, solid aluminum construction, and a premium copper-based cooling solution. Let’s get this card to the test bench and see how well it does.

Specifications and Features

AMD Radeon RX Series Specifications
Model AMD Radeon
RX 6900 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT AMD Radeon RX 6800 XFX Merc319 6700 XT AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
GPU Navi 21 Navi 22
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA2
Process TSMC 7 nm
Transistors 26.8 Billion 17.2 Billion
Infinity Cache 128 MB 96 MB
Compute Units 80 72 60 40
Ray Accelerators 80 72 60 40
Stream Processors 5120 4608 3840 2560
ROPs/TMUs 128/320 128/288 96/240 64/160
Game Clock 2015 MHz 2015 MHz 1815 MHz 2548 MHz 2424 MHz
Boost Clock 2250 MHz 2250 MHz 2105 MHz 2622 MHz 2581 MHz
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 12 GB GDDR6
Memory Speed 16 Gbps GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth 512 GB/s 384 GB/s
Memory Interface 256-bit 192-bit
Throughput (FP32) 20.6 TFLOPs 18.6 TFLOPs 13.9 TFLOPs 13.21 TFLOPs
TDP (Watts) 300 W 300 W 250 W 255 W 230 W
Release Date 12/08/2020 11/18/2020 11/18/2020 03/18/2021
MSRP (USD) $999.00 $649.00 $579.00 $569.00 $479.00

The XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT uses the Navi 22 XT core that measures 251 mm2 and has 17.2 billion transistors. The XT variant offers 2,560 stream processors, 64 ROPs, 160 TMUs, or half of the RX 6900 XT. This holds for all but the infinity cache sitting at 96 MB and the 12 GB of GDDR6. For more information on AMD’s High-Speed design, Infinity Cache, and RDNA2 features, check out our launch day review for the RX 6800 and 6800 XT.

The big difference from the reference cards is the cooler, power delivery, and clock speeds. In this case, the MERC319 BLACK is spec’d at 2548 MHz Game Clock and 2622 MHz Boost Clock, an increase of 124 MHz and 42 MHz, respectively, all due to the RDNA2 architecture. The game clock rise in speed is quite significant since the game clock is where the card will run most of the time and should fare well for the MERC319 in testing.

XFX’s Speedster lineup for the RX 6700 XT cards consists of the MERC319 BLACK which sits at the top of the stack, followed by the QUIK319 ULTRA at $549; both come with a factory overclock. These are followed by the QUIK319 CORE and SWFT309 CORE at $499 and $479, respectively, and neither model has a factory overclock. XFX has changed up its naming convention with the RX 6000 GPUs; MERC stands for Mercury, QUIK is quicksilver, and SWFT is swift. We also have BLACK, ULTRA, and CORE, with BLACK being the top of the line. The 319 and 309 do have meaning; 319 is three fans, including 100 and 92 mm, while the 309 is three fans, all of which are 92 mm.

Our XFX RX 6700 XT uses the 319 heatsink – equipped with one 100 mm and two 92 mm fans, the bigger 6800-6900 XT cards have two 100 mm and one 92 mm fan but bear the same 319 labels. The new 13-blade fans are designed for high efficiency and longer life thanks to the dual ball bearings and blade shape. This combination of three fans delivers high airflow and low noise even while overclocked.

XFX also redesigned the heatsink to improve airflow dynamics and cooling efficiency. The premium 2.6-slot aluminum heatsink has 774,200 square mm of surface area for maximum heat dissipation. We also have a full plated-copper heat spreader with five 6 mm heat pipes that snake through the heat sink. Additionally, there is a lot of thermal tape front and back, aiding in thermal transfer from the core, memory, and power bits. In our cooling tests, the MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT peaked at 60°C under load at stock speeds and was quiet in doing so.

XFX doesn’t have any additional software for overclocking, but Radeon Adrenalin works fine as well as third-party utilities such as MSI afterburner for tweaking the core and memory speeds. The MERC319 also doesn’t include any controllable RGB LEDs but has a subtle back-lit LED light bar​​ showing the RADEON and XFX logos along with the RX 6700 XT model.

XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT Review

SOLID BACKPLATE

Backplates are standard hardware with today’s enthusiast graphics cards; they help protect the PCB from damage and bending. XFX has opted to add thermal pads between the PCB and the backplate to act as a heat spreader to help with heat dissipation.

FULL DIGITAL PWM POWER DELIVERY

The XFX MERC 319 Ultra and Black designs have upgraded power delivery circuitry. XFX utilizes a  7+2+2 phase design on the RX 6700 XT to deliver more power than AMD’s recommended specs.

COPPER GPU HEAT SPREADER AND HEAT PIPES.

Plated Copper Heatpipes with copper base offering tremendous cooling across both GPU and memory.

THREE DUAL BALL BEARING FANS

Our designed 13 blade fans give high efficiency and long life, thanks to their dual ball bearing constructions.  Consisting of 2x 92mm and 1x 100mm, these fans also give high airflow without the noise.

XFX / RADEON LIGHT BARD

The MERC 319 Black And Ultra don’t feature extravagant RGB lighting; it has subtle AMD and XFX logos to show off the power within your rig. The floating design allows for additional airflow.

IT’S MORE THAN JUST DESIGN

Every iteration isn’t just designed for design’s sake; we take everything we learned from the last model and fine-tune, adjust, modify to make our GPU design as honest as we can. Nothing fancy or unnecessary; just want is needed to increase performance and improve quality.

Retail Packaging and Accessories

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Retail packaging for the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT XFX branding and MERC319 model on the front with a couple of features (1440 QHD support, 12 GB VRAM, PCIe 4.0). Turning the package around offers a picture of the card along with a more extensive list of features.

Inside the box, the card sits snug in form-fitting foam to keep it secure during shipping. The card is wrapped in an anti-static bag, and there are no included accessories to speak of, just some warranty, installation, and driver information.

Meet the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT

XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT Review
XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT

The XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT has a clean and neat appearance. The majority of the card is black with some brushed aluminum accents around the edges. The three fans also have a brushed aluminum ring with the XFX logo on the hubs. As was mentioned, the MERC319 has some backlighting on the outer edge, which is mostly white aside from the RX marking, which is done in red. The MERC319 shouldn’t have any issues fitting in with most build themes. XFX has also included an Aluminum backplate bearing the MERC and XFX logos, offering excellent heat dissipation, PCB protection, and rigidity.

A Closer Look

Zooming in on the I/O layout, we’re greeted by three DisplayPorts (v1.4) and a single HDMI (v2.1) port—the latter supporting up to [email protected] The card’s maximum resolution is 8K (7680 x 4320). While the card does not exhaust air directly out of the I/O plate, there are holes in it to let a bit of the warmed air out. Power is sent to the GPU through two 8-pin PCIe connectors. Combined with the PCIe slot, the card provides up to 375 W of in-spec power, more than enough power for this 255 W card even while overclocked. Next to the PCIe power connectors, we have a dual position BIOS switch. According to XFX, both positions have the same BIOS “at this time”. Whether or not that will change hasn’t been shared with us.

XFX uses a premium aluminum heatsink on this MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT. The 2.6-slot solution uses five 6 mm heat pipes soldered to a plated copper heat spreader which contacts the GPU die and memory ICs. We also have three 13-blade, dual ball bearing fans to push plenty of air through the heatsink and are all contained in a solid aluminum shroud that adds rigidity and aids in heat dissipation. This premium cooling solution pushes the card’s dimensions to 12.7 x 5.2 x 2-inches (323 x 132 x 51 mm).

Below we have the additional heat sinks and thermal tape that XFX has added to help cool the MOSFETs and chokes. They have even added tape to the aluminum backplate for the MOSFETs and memory, cooling the PCB from the back-side.

After fully removing the heatsink, we’re finally able to see the PCB. We see an unmarked Navi 22 XT silicon and its 251 mm² die area. Surrounding the GPU are six Samsung memory ICs (K4ZAF325BM-HC16) specified to run at 16 Gbps. The memory uses a 2-phase design with an OnSemiconductor NCP81022N controller feeding Vishay SIC632 MOSFETs. The GPU core is controlled via an 8-phase International Rectifier IR32517 and seven Vishay SIC649 MOSFETs.

​Below are closeups of the power bits, Samsung GDDR6, and the control ICs.

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Below is a screenshot of GPU-Z showing the clocks we achieved at stock speeds. Out of the box, the MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT has a listed game clock of 2548 MHz with the boost clocks to 2622 MHz. The card ran fairly consistently at 2600 MHz.

XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT on the test bench…

XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT Review Test Bench

 

Test System and Benchmark Methods

Test System Components
Motherboard ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme, ASRock Z490 PG Velocita
CPU Intel i9-10900K
CPU Cooler EK Predator 360 AIO
Memory 2×8 GB G.Skill Royal 3600 MHz CL16-16-16-36
SSD Gigabyte Aorus 2 TB NVMe Gen4 (OS + Applications)
Power Supply EVGA 750 W G3
Video Card XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 Xt /  Adrenalin 20.50

 

Our test system is based on the latest mainstream Intel z490 platform and uses the i9-10900K 10/20t CPU. The CPU is overclocked to 4.9 GHz on all cores/threads, with cache set to 4.3 GHz. The clock speeds used will provide a good base to minimize any limitations the CPU may have on our titles, particularly when using the lower resolutions, and should be attainable with a good air cooler or better. The DRAM is in a 2×8 GB configuration at 3600 MHz with CL16-16-16-36-2T timings, middle-of-the-road option balancing performance, and cost.

We have made some significant changes since the last update adding a few new titles and dropping some of the older games. More details can be found in the GPU Testing Procedure article, which we have updated with our latest benchmarks. Below is a quick summary for easy reference.

  • UL 3DMark Time Spy – Default settings
  • UL 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) – Default settings
  • UL 3DMark Port Royal – Default Settings (Ray Tracing capable cards only)
  • Unigine Superposition – Performance, 1080p High
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – DX12, “Highest” preset
  • The Division 2 – DX12, Ultra preset, VSync Off
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – Ultra High preset, VSync Off
  • Far Cry New Dawn – Ultra defaults
  • F1 2020 – DX12, Very High defaults, TAA, and x16 AF, Australia track, do not show FPS counter
  • Metro: Exodus – DX12, Ultra defaults

Synthetic Benchmarks

Our first set of benchmarks hail from Underwriters Laboratories, who acquired Futuremark back in 2014. Earlier in 2018, a rebrand occurred, and since that time, Futuremark is now UL. The benchmarks have not changed, just the name. We chose to stick with 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) and 3DMark Time Spy as these tests give users a good idea of performance on modern titles.

3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) is a DX11-based test that runs at 1080p resolution. UL says the graphics are rendered with detail and complexity far beyond other DX11 benchmarks and games. 3DMark Time Spy is a DX12 benchmark designed for Windows 10 PCs. It supports new API features such as asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, multi-threading and runs at 2560×1440. 3DMark Port Royal is the first Ray Tracing benchmark designed for Windows 10 PCs and graphics cards with Microsoft DirectX Raytracing capabilities.

Looking at the charts above, we see the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT quite a bit faster than the RTX 3070 in 3DMark’s Fire Strike Extreme and very close in Time Spy once overclocked. In Port Royal, a Ray Tracing benchmark, the RX 6700 XT falls behind all the RTX cards except the RTX 2070, but this is expected with AMD’s first attempt at hardware-based Ray Tracing. Just as Fire Strike Extreme seems to be AMD-friendly, Unigine’s Superposition is the opposite, with the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT slipping between the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070 once again.

Gaming Benchmarks

We have updated our testing suite for gaming benchmarks to bring more modern titles into the mix. Gone are Battlefield V, F1 2018, Far Cry 5, AOTS:e, and World of Tanks, which were replaced with Metro Exodus, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, F1 2020, and Far Cry: New Dawn. We kept The Division 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The games should provide a good view of the card’s overall performance. Many of these are DX12 games.

1920 x 1080 (1080p) Results

The XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT runs between the RTX 3060 TI Vulcan and the RTX 3070 throughout most of our testing, aside from Far Cry: New Dawn and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, where results appear to be hamstrung by the CPU at the lower resolution. Looking at Shadow of the Tomb Raider and F1 2020, the overclocked XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT was nipping at the RTX 3070’s heels trailing only by a few FPS.

2560 x 1440 and 4K UHD Results

Below are the higher resolution results starting with 2560 x 1440 and the gaining in popularity 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD). These resolutions prove to be a bit of a stretch for lower-end cards, but the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT is easily capable at 2560 x 1440 WQHD.

Moving up in resolution, the gap tightens; the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT is trading blows with the RTX 3070 at both resolutions. The RX 6700 XT’s super-high clocks help to keep it in the fight. Our 4K UHD results show the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT isn’t quite up to the task at the highest quality presets we test with, but a slight adjustment quality should make 4K possible. At the middle resolution of 2560 x 1440, we were well above 60 FPS, making this a solid choice for gaming at WQHD.

Ray Tracing and DLSS Testing

Below, we tested Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ray tracing on at 1440p and 4K. XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT produced playable results at or above 60 FPS at 1440p in Metro and SOTR. Moving up to 4K rendered the games unplayable; this isn’t a surprise as the RX 6700 XT isn’t a top-tier GPU like the RX 6900 XT.

We didn’t have results to compare with Nvidia’s DLSS since AMD’s version, FidelityFX Super Resolution, is still in development, but it is supposed to accomplish similar results.

[email protected]

For those unfamiliar with [email protected], it is a project originally started by Stanford University, but it is now based out of Washington University in St. Louis. Their goal is to help create treatments and cures for various diseases by understanding how human proteins “fold” or misfold, which is where the name comes from. This is done by simulating the folding of human proteins requiring enormous amounts of computational horsepower. This is where everyday people like you and I come in by donating our PC resources to fold at home during our spare time.

Currently, the [email protected] team is working on various treatments, but one that is on everyone’s mind these days is Covid-19. There’s a whole list of diseases that they work on, such as Cancer, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s, to name a few, with the option to select which you would like to donate your time to.

If this is something you’re interested in, we have team 32 here at Overclockers.com with members who can answer questions and help you optimize your folding.

We have a couple of screenshots of the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT folding project 17330, a Covid-19 related protein. As you can see, it folds approximately 2.3 million PPD and uses 173 W doing so. We have also included an example of the types of proteins they work on.

Cryptocurrency Mining

Mining for Cryptocurrency isn’t really my thing, but with the market today, we felt it was something that may interest our readers. The following example is using NiceHash, which has a built-in benchmark. The XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT is running overclocked without any type of optimization. As such, with GPU alone, it could earn you about $4.30 USD per day using 166 W. For more information or assistance, check out our Cryptocurrency subforum here at Overclockers.com.

Overclocking the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT

MSI Afterburner is now working with AMD 6000 graphics cards. While it did work previously, we found through testing that AMD’s Radeon software delivered more consistent results as MSI AB allowed the core speed to drop significantly more, resulting in lower scores. XFX also has two presets programmed into the BIOS which can be set with the Adrenalin tuning software.

We used the “balanced” preset which was recommended for testing. There is also a “quiet” setting that has a slightly lower power limit and a higher fan target temperature junction keeping the fan rotation to a minimum even though the balanced setting was still super quiet.

For overclocking, we used AMD’s Radeon software. The interface is very similar, but overclocking the new Navi 21 GPUs is slightly different. Instead of a fixed maximum clock for the GPU core, you need to set a lower and upper range. This took a bit of testing as setting either range too high would diminish results or cause the benchmark to fail. We settled on an upper range of 2864 MHz and the lower range of 2784 MHz; the software maintains a minimum of 100 MHZ between the upper and lower ranges. Setting the lower range to 2780 MHz forced the upper range to 2880 MHz which proved to be unstable in some benchmarks.  At these settings, the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT ran consistently around the 2800 MHz mark, which is quite impressive using stock cooling and really showcases AMD’s RDNA2 architecture. We also added 130 MHz to the memory speed to finish our overclocked settings.

3DMark Time Spy Overclocked
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Overclocked

The XFX card peaked at 2864 MHz and ran there consistently through some of our benchmarks but settled around 2781 MHz during Time Spy. This shows the variance in overclocking the new NAVI 22; the core speed is very dependent on the load. In the end, this took our Time Spy score of 12,476 and raised it to 13,182, showing about a 5% increase which was consistent throughout most of our benchmarks.

Temperatures and Power Use

We test power consumption by running through the game benchmarks of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and F1 2020 at stock speeds and while overclocked. We monitor temperatures throughout this testing, with the peak temperature listed in the data below. To more accurately simulate real gaming conditions, the benchmarks are extended (time) to allow the card to settle.

Temperatures on the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT peaked at 60°C in both F1 2020 and SOTR at stock settings. After overclocking the card, temperatures went up slightly in each game, peaking at 63°C in F1 2020 and 64°C in SOTR. These are great results and demonstrate just how well XFX’s cooling solution works. The fans ramped up slowly, then settled at 50% when overclocked, and were barely audible over the rest of the system.

Power use for the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT peaked at 385 W [system total power] at stock while reaching 407 W while overclocked (both in SOTR). For most systems, a quality 550 W power supply will be adequate for your needs, even while overclocking both the card and CPU.

Conclusion

XFX’s MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT takes AMD’s reference design and improves it in every way. In fact, the overclock out of the box makes this 6700 XT one of the fastest options we’ve tested. XFX’s version also comes equipped with a 7+2+2-phase power delivery system and 375 W of available power from the two 8-PCIe connectors. The MERC319’s heatsink is very effective and quiet with an overall appealing appearance. The XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT is large, taking up nearly three slots in your PC. The drawback to having these features is a price increase. A reference model AMD RX 6700 XT’s MSRP is $479, XFX’s MERC319 BLACK will run you $569; a modest increase of $90 over MSRP.

What does that look like compared to other cards? The XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT is in the ballpark compared to most aftermarket RTX 3060 Tis and RTX 3070s (if you can find one in stock). For example, the MSI 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is $649, and the ASUS ROG Strix Gaming 3060 Ti is $669 at Newegg.com, and both are currently sold out. As you can see, prices among the comparable competition are higher than the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT (we have to assume supply and demand play a role here). This makes the $569 price tag look reasonable in comparison (if you can find one in stock at that price).

Considering the market today and pricing on graphics cards in general, sub $600 doesn’t seem excessive for a premium solution RX 6700 XT. XFX has done a great job with the XFX MERC319 BLACK RX 6700 XT and is worth considering if you have the money to spend. Here at Overclocker’s, we have no qualms giving it our seal of approval!

 

Click to find out what this means.

– Shawn Jennings (Johan45)

Discussion

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  1. I know SLI has been dropped by Nvidia except for the top dog. How does the RX 6700xt + RX 6800 do in tests? The the 6700xt would be paired with another low end card (1.5 years later) to help boost the performance. I know the 192bit memory interface will drop some points but this would also = 100 RT cores for better Ray Tracing games. The MSRP for a RX-6900xt is $999 with 80 RT Cores, the RX-6700xt MSRP $480 and the RX-6800 MSRP $580 = MSRP $1050 with 100 RT cores?
    Thank You for your time :thup: