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AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Review

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Review

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 02The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is the most expensive out of the four new mid-range cards that have been released by AMD and Nvidia. In the US, this GPU starts at $280, and it costs at least £270 in the UK. The higher price means that this card should be able to tackle both 1080p and 1440p gaming, here we’ve used an Asus ROG Strix card to test out this theory. Delve into our AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT review to find out if you should spend a little more on this GPU.

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Review – The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Core

AMD’s mid-range flagship has an enviable specification. It’s got 2,304 stream processors, which is hundreds more than any other card in this category. It has a decent 6GB of memory and the same Navi 10 core that’s found in AMD’s high-end graphics cards.

The Radeon RX 5600 XT gets a little murky when it comes to clock speeds. When the RX 5600 XT was launched, it was described as having a base clock of 1,375MHz, with a maximum boost clock of 1,560MHz.

They’re good speeds, but that wasn’t enough for AMD. Since launch, AMD has allowed board partners to sell the RX 5600 XT with an updated BIOS file that improves the boost clock of this GPU to around 1,750MHz. The memory speed has also been improved, from 12Gbps to 14Gbps.

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 03Most board partner cards should be sold with this improved BIOS, albeit with marginally different speeds depending on the card. The new BIOS is the one we’ve used for testing here. However, double-check that the new BIOS is available for your card before you buy. It’s no good spending all that money on an RX 5600 XT if you’re not getting the free speed boost.

These are great specifications – almost to the point where the RX 5600 XT doesn’t have a rival. Its nearest new competitor is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super, but that GPU starts at just $230 and £200. It’s far cheaper than AMD’s card, and it reflects that by only using 1,408 stream processors.

The RTX 2060 is another potential competitor. It’s an older Nvidia card, but it’s still available, and has a similar specification to the RX 5600 XT, with 1,920 stream processors and 6GB of memory.

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 05The RX 5600 XT has a powerful specification, but that does mean that this card has a TDP of 160W – far more than the GTX 1660 Super and level with the RTX 2060. It also means that you’re going to need both a six-pin and an eight-pin power connector for this GPU. Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Super only requires one eight-pin connector.

As usual, this AMD card doesn’t have Ray-Tracing. That doesn’t cause too many problems for this GPU when it’s lined up against Nvidia, though. At this end of the market the GTX 1660 Super can’t handle Ray-Tracing either.

Elsewhere, the Navi GPU inside the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT adheres to the usual industry standards. It supports DirectX 12, Vulkan, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, and it supports PCI-Express 4.0 – one advantage over Nvidia. The 5500 XT has H265/HEVC and 4K H264 encoding and decoding.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

The Card and Pricing

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 04No matter which board partner version of the RX 5600 XT you buy, it’s vital to check that you’re getting a card that works with the new, updated BIOS. We’ve used the updated BIOS on the Asus ROG Strix model used in our review, and it means that you’ll get maximum performance from this GPU.

You may also want to get the tape measure out when you buy an RX 5600 XT. The increased performance and the higher TDP of this card bode well for gaming, but it means that board partners are having to use bigger heatsinks to keep the GPU chilled.

The Asus model we’ve used is 300mm long and uses a chunky cooler that occupies more than two slots on your motherboard, and that’s par for the course – you’re not going to find many RX 5600 XT models that are smaller. It’s not like the GTX 1660 Super or the RTX 2060 Super, both of which are available in significantly smaller and slimmer designs.

Entry-level RX 5600 XT cards cost $280 and £270, with expensive models rising to $340 and £300. As usual, expect modest heatsinks and reference speeds at the low end and bold designs, overclocks and RGB LEDs if you’re willing to spend more.

Those prices outpace the GTX 1660 Ti. Nvidia’s card starts at $230 and £200 and rises to $270 and £260. Nvidia’s card will always be cheaper than the RX 5600 XT.

However, those RX 5600 XT prices aren’t much different to the RTX 2060. That’s still available to buy and has prices that start at $280 and £270. That older Nvidia card will provide a sterner test for the AMD GPU. It has Ray-Tracing, too, but that’s not much of an advantage for Nvidia at this level. Few games use the technology and the RTX 2060 isn’t particularly good at it.

Head here for the latest information on the status of ray-tracing on the entire Nvidia range of GPUs!

Performance

Because this card and its rivals are more affordable graphics options, we’ve run our gaming tests using High settings, not Very High or Ultra – so we can record playable framerates from the majority of our titles. We’ve also included the GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060 scores where relevant. The larger graphics in this review show 1080p and 1440p average framerates, while the thumbnail images show minimum framerates at those resolutions.

It’s no shock that the RX 5600 XT is a stellar performer at 1080p. At this resolution its minimum framerates ranged between 33fps and 88fps and its averages ran from 66fps to 120fps. That means you’re going to get smooth gameplay in tough triple-A titles and incredible speeds in esports games.

It even means you’ll be able to run most games at Very High or Ultra settings. That’s something that can’t always be said about the GTX 1660 Super.

The RX 5600 XT is fast enough for 1440p gaming. At this tougher resolution its minimum framerates ranged between 29fps and 81fps. Averages ranbetween 50fps and 88fps. Most games will run well here, although the most intensive games may not always run smoothly at Very High or Ultra.

There’s a clear gulf between the RX 5600 XT and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super. The cheaper card was often ten frames or more behind in gaming tests.

The gap is further illustrated in 3D Mark. The RX 5600 XT rattled through Fire Strike to a result of 15,332, which was almost 1,000 points ahead of the GTX 1660 Super.

The RX 5600 XT faces tougher competition from Nvidia’s older RTX 2060. The Nvidia card was faster in Fire Strike and in two gaming benchmarks. It also has have Ray-Tracing – although that’s a marginal concern at this end of the market, where few games can handle Ray-Tracing and the Nvidia card can only provide modest improvements.

AMD’s card proved quicker than the RTX 2060 in the trickier 3D Mark Time Spy test, though, and the RX 5600 XT was faster than the Nvidia GPU four out of the six gaming tests where these two cards lined up.

Head Here for our full guide to AMD Ryzen 3000 and AMD X570 motherboards

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Review – Conclusion

The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is a very good mid-range graphics card. It zips through 1080p games with ample speed, and it plays well at 1440p too. It’s got the pace to run any esports games at speeds that will drive a 144Hz or 240Hz monitor.

It’s much quicker than the GTX 1660 Super, which is Nvidia’s closest new competitor, and it just squeezes ahead of the older RTX 2060.

The RX 5600 XT is much more expensive than the GTX 1660 Super, though, and its price is virtually level with the RTX 2060.

That higher price means that we don’t necessarily recommend the RX 5600 XT if you need a card for 1080p gaming or for esports – depending on what games you play, a cheaper GPU will happily suffice.

That said, if you want the absolute best card for 1080p and 1440p gaming, the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is the one to pick right now – it’s the undisputed mid-range champion, and it delivers great speeds now alongside more future headroom.

The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT costs $280 in the US and £270 in the UKDiscuss our AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good Recommended Award

  • Far faster than any competitor
  • Capable at 1080p and 1440p
  • Lots of future headroom

The Bad

  • More expensive than rivals
  • Only available in larger designs
  • Some variants aren’t great value

The Specs

Stream processors: 2,304
Base clock: 1,560MHz
Boost clock: 1,750MHz
Memory: 6GB, 192-bit 14Gbps GDDR6
Connectivity: PCI Express 4.0
Display Outputs: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0b
Max Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
TDP: 160W
Power connections: 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin
Supported APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.2, Vulkan 1.1, CUDA 7.5

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT

About Author

Mike Jennings

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