AMD built a liquid-cooled Radeon RX 6900 “XTX” prototype but abandoned it in favour of air cooling.

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Or have they simply run out of chips?

AMD prototyped a liquid-cooled Radeon RX 6900 XTX but ditched it for air cooling

AMD has previously moved their silicon to the boundaries of air cooling with custom, AIO-style liquid cooling for their most flashy GPUs. According to two leaked photos, they tried a similar workaround with an overclocked 6900 version, supposedly called the 6900 XTX, but ultimately abandoned it. AIBs, on the other hand, seem to be taking over the job.

The pictures show a beefy two-slot waterblock strapped to the PCB, as well as two thick tubes connecting it to a 120mm radiator and fan. The card is designed in standard Radeon colours, but the industrial theme is given a dramatic twist by the superhero-style “R” slapped in the middle.

Apart from Radeon branding in three separate places, the card doesn’t seem to have its name printed on it. It was given the XTX moniker by its photographers, who posted the two images to the Weibo and Chiphell forums, but several AMD cards have carried the XTX codename in the past so it checks out.

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Last week, Sapphire announced the “Toxic AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Extreme Edition,” featuring an “XTXH” bin of the 6900 die paired with a triple-fan radiator in a closed liquid cooling loop. Because of the special bin and the unnecessary cooling (which involves a relic heatsink and fan), the card’s boost clock is 2730 MHz, 480 MHz higher than the reference boost clock. PowerColor and Asrock have also launched amazing cards based on the XTXH bin.

It is speculated that AMD wanted to send their unique XTX bins to AIBs in order to produce the XTXH cards, rather than saving them for their liquid-cooled editions as they would have done otherwise. Videocardz speculates that their change in plans could’ve been prompted by the GPU shortage.

AMD’s most recent liquid-cooled GPU, the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid (pictured), was around 10% quicker than its air-cooled counterpart, though it was a famously hot GPU with a mediocre reference air cooler.

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Since the air-cooled version has no thermal issues, a liquid-cooled 6900 XT is unlikely to be significantly faster than the air-cooled variant. Nonetheless, it would have been nice to see a limited edition liquid-cooled 6900 XTX, if only for the sake of aesthetics.

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