Radeon RX 6900 XT Launches As Flagship Card With Open-Source Drivers But Very Limited Availability

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 8 December 2020 at 09:00 AM EST. 37 Comments
After the Radeon RX 6800 series launched just under a month ago, the flagship AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT is launching today. This is currently the most powerful RDNA 2 graphics card and should work under Linux with the open-source driver stack but the card is likely to be scarcer than even the RX 6800 series.

The Radeon RX 6900 XT features 80 compute units, a boost frequency up to 2.25GHz, 80 ray accelerators, 5120 stream processors, 16GB of GDDR6 video memory, 128MB of Infinity Cache, and has a 300 Watt GPU power rating.

The Radeon RX 6900 XT is quite a beast and can be easily said to be the fastest graphics card backed by open-source Linux drivers. The Linux support requirements for the RX 6900 XT are the same as the Radeon RX 6800 series: at least Linux 5.9.12, at least Mesa 20.2 but ideally Mesa 20.3 or 21.0-devel for the best experience, LLVM 11.0 (or LLVM 12 Git), and using linux-firmware.git. Some rolling distributions like Arch Linux should be pretty much covered at this point while for distributions like Ubuntu 20.10 you need to make a few package changes as we have outlined over the past month. There is also the packaged "Radeon Software for Linux" driver that works on enterprise distributions such as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

But as for the Radeon RX 6900 XT Linux performance, that remains a mystery for now... RX 6900 XT availability is even tighter than the RX 6800 series, and as such I don't have any hardware nor any word on the prospects of such in the near future. I've also heard others that test on Linux don't have hardware access either. So with the Radeon RX 6900 XT sampling being very tight, the retail availability also sounds like it will be very tight in the near term.

If you manage to find one, Radeon RX 6900 XT pricing starts at around $999 USD.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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