What just happened? AMD's Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards have been out for several months now, and while they've been very hard to get a hold of, some of the lucky few have looked into testing their overclocking potential. One popular overclocker managed to get the Radeon RX 6900 XT to run at a record 3,225 MHz, more than Nvidia's flagship Ampere card.
Whether you're an enthusiast that can name a couple of the most memorable overclocking-friendly CPUs or one competing for a high spot on the 3DMark Time Spy Extreme Hall of Fame, there are some professionals who just like to push modern silicon to its absolute limits to see how far it will go. Sometimes it even borders on the practical, such as proving that Doom Eternal can run at a demonic 1,000 frames per second.
Last year, we saw an overclocker pushing a rusty Intel Celeron D 347 CPU to 8.36 GHz, while another drove a relatively modern Intel Core i9-10900K to 7.7 GHz. Earlier this month, a Chinese overclocker also proved that DDR4 RAM could hit an impressive 3,578 MHz (DDR4-7004). It turns out it was only a matter of time before someone would try a new GPU overclock record.
Popular overclocker and YouTuber Der8auer (Roman Hartung) set a new GPU core frequency record using PowerColor's Liquid Devil Radeon RX 6900 XT Ultimate with liquid nitrogen cooling. The reason for this choice is that it features a binned chip (Navi 21 XTXH) with a 4 GHz clock limit, whereas most RX 6900 XT cards have a 3 GHz limit. The best clock obtained in testing is far below the theoretical 4 GHz limit but still an impressive 3,225 MHz, a new world record.
It's not the first time someone pushed a GPU past 3 GHz—the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was previously the undisputed champion with a 3,024 MHz result, but this was only possible by modding the printed circuit board to bypass its voltage locks. The RTX 3090, by comparison, was only able to climb up to 3,015 MHz, but then again, you can install Crysis 3 on its VRAM and still have enough of it left to run the actual game.
Running a GPU this hot is by no means practical for gamers looking to squeeze extra performance out of their graphics card. However, it's good to know that AMD is giving AIB partners like PowerColor and ASRock better chips that can boost up to 2.4 and 2.5 GHz on air and liquid cooling, respectively—all of it out of the box. It certainly leaves some room for further gains, depending on your luck on the silicon lottery.