XFX Radeon RX 6700 XT Merc 319 review: Big, beautiful, and utterly silent

Stay frosty.

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Our test system

We’re in the process of moving to a new AMD Ryzen 5000-series test rig to be able to benchmark the effect of PCIe 4.0 support on modern GPUs, as well as the performance-boosting AMD Smart Access Memory and Nvidia Resizable BAR features (which are both based on the same underlying PCIe standard). Currently, we’re testing it on an open bench with AMD’s Wraith Max air cooler; in the future, we’ll both moving the setup into a case and adding an NZXT Kraken liquid cooler to the mix. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the storage ourselves.

  • AMD Ryzen 5900X, stock settings
  • AMD Wraith Max cooler
  • MSI Godlike X570 motherboard
  • 32GB G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4 3800 memory
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($352 on Amazon)
  • 1TB SK Hynix Gold S31 SSD

We’re comparing the $570 XFX Merc 319 against the $480 reference version of the Radeon RX 6700 XT, of course, as well as the step-up $580 Radeon RX 6800 and last-generation’s $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT. On the Nvidia front, we’ve included results for the $500 GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition and reference-spec’d $330 EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming. We unfortunately had to lean on the premium, overclocked EVGA FTW3 Ultra for our results of the ostensibly $400 RTX 3060 Ti because our Founders Edition card wasn’t immediately available for testing.

xfx radeon rx 6700 xt merc 319 4 Brad Chacos/IDG

The XFX Merc 319 on our test bench.

This review will stick to standard gaming benchmarks at 1440p and 1080p resolution, the target audience for the RX 6700 XT. It’s not an ideal 4K gaming option, though it’s definitely capable of playing at that resolution, especially if you don’t mind reducing visual settings a bit. If you want to see how well it handles real-time ray tracing and the performance uplift possible with Smart Access Memory, be sure to check out our original Radeon RX 6700 XT reference card review, which contains detailed information about those extra features.

We test a variety of games spanning various engines, genres, vendor sponsorships (Nvidia, AMD, and Intel), and graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, and Vulkan). Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or DLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, along with any other vendor-specific technologies like FidelityFX tools or Nvidia Reflex. We’ve also enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.

Gaming performance benchmarks

Watch Dogs: Legion

Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the first games to debut on next-gen consoles. Ubisoft upgraded its Disrupt engine to include cutting-edge features like real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS. We disable those effects for this testing, but Legion remains a strenuous game even on high-end hardware with its optional high-resolution texture pack installed. 

wdl Brad Chacos/IDG

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yep, PlayStation exclusives are coming to the PC now. Horizon Zero Dawn runs on Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine, the same engine that powers Death Stranding.

hzd Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • The XFX Merc 319 tames AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT with a massive custom cooler that stays both frosty and utterly silent. It's a beauty to look at as well. This is a great graphics card for 1440p gaming but it's limited to 1080p with ray tracing active. We aren't taking price into consideration given market conditions during a pandemic-driven global GPU shortage.

    Pros

    • Great 1440p and 1080p gaming performance
    • Exceptional cooler stays frosty and inaudible
    • Gorgeous, hot rod-inspired design
    • 12GB of memory bolstered by Infinity Cache
    • Dual-BIOS switch, higher power limits for overclockers
    • Gets faster when paired with Ryzen 5000

    Cons

    • Massive size may not fit in all PCs
    • No DLSS-like feature means AMD's ray tracing performance is lackluster
    • Price is high, but will be much higher on the street during global GPU shortage
    • Aggressive "Merc" logo and lack of RGB might turn some people off
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