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XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra Review

XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra Review

XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc Ultra 01The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra is a graphics card with a huge name and a vast design. It’s immediately impressive, with loads of metal and one of the biggest overclocks on the market today. Underneath it all is the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, which has proven to be one of AMD’s best high-end GPUs in years – it’s proven that it can run games at good speeds, and it often undercuts Nvidia cards on price.

Can the XFX card deploy its huge overclock to catch the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, though – and can it justify its US and UK pricing of $440 and £394? Read our XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra review to find out.

XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra Review – The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT Core

The XFX card uses the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT core. It’s underpinned by the Navi architecture, which uses a 7nm manufacturing process. Here it goes one better than Nvidia’s Turing cards, which use a 12nm process.

The Navi architecture improves on older cards with a multi-level cache hierarchy, which improves performance and efficiency. That’s important, because AMD’s last generation of GPUs consumed lots of electricity and generated too much heat. Navi also includes an upgraded memory controller that uses GDDR6 memory.

XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc Ultra 05The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is the top consumer chip to use the Navi architecture. It has a formidable specification. The core serves up 2,560 stream processors and 8GB of GDDR6 memory with a 256-bit bus, and the memory is clocked to a rapid 14,000MHz. At stock, the RX 5700 XT has base and boost clocks of 1,605MHz and 1,905MHz.

The RX 5700 XT has a specification that’s similar to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, with the same number of stream processors, the same amount of memory and very similar clock speeds.

However, in benchmarks, the stock RX 5700 XT usually performs at a similar level to the RTX 2060 Super. That’s something that XFX hopes to rectify with this card.

The Navi architecture supports PCI-Express 4.0, which puts it a step ahead of Nvidia’s cards in that regard. However, AMD’s GPUs don’t have any Ray-Tracing support. Not that many games support Ray-Tracing yet, so it’s not a big deal right now – but it’s going to become more important, especially as the next generation of consoles approach. That’s an area where Nvidia’s RTX cards have a significant advantage.

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

The XFX Card

The XFX card is a monster – one of the largest, heaviest and best-looking graphics cards we’ve ever seen.

XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc Ultra 05This card is made from dark metal, with the matte material used along every side of the PCB. Chrome-effect borders are used along every edge of this GPU, and they ring the cooling fans. Chrome is also used for the heavy-duty grille at the end of the card.

There are no RGB LEDs here, which may put some enthusiasts off, but make no mistake: this effort from XFX is still one of the best-looking graphics cards on the market today, with mature, muscle-car design.

It certainly looks the part, but there’s also no denying that this card lives up to its THICC naming. It’s a triple-slot unit, so it’ll occupy plenty of space on your motherboard. It weighs nearly 1.3kg, so motherboards with steel PCI-E slots are advised to lock this card into place – and a GPU brace would be a good idea too.

The GPU is also a mighty 317mm long – over a foot in length. That means you’re going to need a sizeable chassis to even accommodate this card.

This huge, heavy and imposing design matches up with the beefy hardware on the inside. XFX has taken the 1,605MHz base clock and improved it to a monster 1,810MHz. The GPU can now use its Game Mode to run at 1,935MHz, and its Boost clock sits at 2,025MHz. It’s one of the heftiest overclocks we’ve ever seen on a graphics card.

XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc Ultra 06The vast overclock means that this GPU uses two eight-pin power connectors, rather than the standard single eight- and six-pin connectors offered on the RX 5700 XT. You’ll have to make sure your power supply has the right connectors.

There are neat features throughout this card. There’s a switch to load a secondary BIOS file that reduces the GPU’s TDP from 230W to 195W in order to reduce noise. And, just like on Nvidia cards, the XFX’s fans won’t spin up until the core is under load.

XFX has installed three fans on this card, which is one more than previous iterations of cards in this range. The two outer fans are 90mm models, and there’s a 100mm spinner in the middle. It’s a smart move – the addition of an extra fan will improve cooling, but it’ll also slow all of the fans down, therefore reducing noise.

There are few issues when it comes to the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra card and design. Those fans are, perhaps, a tad flimsy – while some of the metal used on the outside of the card could also be stronger. There’s also no USB-C connection, and the BIOS switch is very difficult to reach.

It’s also a minor shame that the memory isn’t overclocked.

These are tiny quibbles, though, on an otherwise extremely impressive design. Just make sure that you’ve got the space, power connectors and motherboard strength to accommodate this GPU in your PC.

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

Pricing

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra costs $440 in the US and £394 in the UK.

That does make this overclocked, physically large card one of the more expensive AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT options on the market.

In the US, it’s possible to find stock-speed cards below $380. Overclocked cards can be had for $420 or less. Bear in mind, though, that cheaper overclocked cards won’t compete with the XFX for speed.

It’s a similar situation in the UK. More modest versions of the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT can be bought for under £360. Lots of overclocked cards cost less than £390.

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra is expensive in its class, but it does compete well with Nvidia’s options. In the US, the RTX 2060 Super costs roughly the same amount as the XFX card, while the RTX 2070 Super is often $100 more expensive.

It’s a similar situation in the UK. There’s very little difference between the XFX card and the better RTX 2060 Super models on the market, while the RTX 2070 Super starts at £450 and only gets more expensive from there.

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

Performance

The XFX deploys its huge overclock to deliver a significant advantage over the stock-speed AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT. The XFX card also swats aside the RTX 2060 Super while offering near-identical performance to the RTX 2070 Super in many tests.

The THICC card is a solid performer at 1080p. At this undemanding resolution its gaming averages frequently rose above 100fps – and our tests use trickier, more demanding single-player titles.

At 1080p the XFX card was usually only two or three frames behind the RTX 2070 Super, and occasionally matched the Nvidia card for pace. The overclocked saw the XFX card easily outpace the original RX 5700 XT and the RTX 2060 Super.

These scores mean that any current single-player game will run very well at 1080p. More importantly, it means that the XFX card also has the speed to play esports titles at 1080p and at refresh rates of 240Hz and beyond – so this card is a great option for competitive gaming.

The XFX performed well at 1440p. In these trickier tests, the AMD-based card maintained its close proximity to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super in most benchmarks, with gaps of between one and four frames found in most tests. And, again, the overclocked XFX card easily outpaced the stock version of the GPU.

In terms of real-world use, that means the XFX card will play any single-player title at an average of beyond 60fps at 1440p. That means smooth, big-screen gaming is an option here for current titles and for the next few years. However, the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra only got beyond 100fps in Battlefield 1. That means you’ll only be able to run high refresh rate games at 1440p if they’re less-demanding esports titles rather than tough triple-A games.

4K gaming tests showed that the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra can handle this high-resolution, too, albeit with some compromises. The AMD-based card was consistently close to the RTX 2070 Super. However, its 4K averages ranged between 33fps and 75fps. Those lower figures mean that the card’s minimum framerates will dip far below 30fps, which means gameplay won’t be smooth.

So, if you want to play 4K games using the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra, then you’re going to have to make compromises and drop down some of the graphics settings. AMD isn’t alone here, though – you’ll have to do the same on the RTX 2070 Super, too.

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra isn’t quite quick enough to play 4K games without graphics setting reductions. That said, its performance is impressive elsewhere. It’ll run anything at 1080p. Most games will play smoothly at 1440p, too – whether they’re single-player titles where you’re aiming for up to 100fps or esports games where 144Hz is preferable. Happily, the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra will also play games on widescreen panels and VR headsets.

Theoretical tests show the impact of XFX’s overclock. The XFX card is barely behind the RTX 2070 Super in most theoretical tests and comfortably ahead of the stock RX 5700 XT.

The stock AMD card is often ahead of the RTX 2060 Super in theoretical tests, too, but it could rarely translate those advantages into a real-world lead over the cheaper Nvidia card.

The XFX card, though, does manage to make it happen. It’s barely behind the RTX 2070 Super in theoretical tests, and it keeps up the pressure in games, with the pricier Nvidia card only opening a small advantage. The extra clock speed clearly makes a difference.

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra performs well in thermal tests, too. It keeps temperatures down to reasonable levels throughout, with the card operating at around 70 degrees during gaming and benchmarking. And, happily, the three fans keep the noise down – this card is no louder than any of its Nvidia rivals.

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra does consume more power than the RTX 2070 Super. As long as you’ve got a 600W PSU or something more powerful then you’ll be fine. Of course, consider the RTX 2070 Super if you also want to reduce your PC’s impact on the environment and your electricity bill.

Also remember than the RTX 2070 Super we’ve mentioned in this review is running at its stock speeds. If you opt for an overclocked Nvidia card, then the RTX 2070 Super will open a wider lead over the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra than the couple of frames it has here.

Of course, those overclocked Nvidia cards will cost more. However, you may consider that a worthwhile investment for a better future-proofed gaming experience – especially because you’ll also have Ray-Tracing if you choose an Nvidia GPU.

Here’s Our Guide to the Best PCs for Work, Play and Everything In Between

XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra Review – Conclusion

XFX RX 5700 XT Thicc Ultra 02There’s an awful lot to like about the XFX card.

Performance is impressive, for starters. This card is almost as quick as the RTX 2070 Super. It has enough power to handle almost anything at 1080p and 1440p. It’ll also run widescreens, VR headsets and a bit of 4K gaming. It stacks up well against the RTX 2070 Super despite being cheaper, and it easily outpaces the stock-speed RX 5700 XT and the RTX 2060 Super.

Elsewhere, XFX has delivered a card with great physical design, some smart features and reasonably cool and quiet operation.

It’s not all good news. The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra is huge and heavy, so it may not fit into some PCs. It’s still not quite as quick as the RTX 2070 Super. It’s also pricey for an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT – you could save cash if you don’t need this level of physical design or this level of overclocking. And, as ever with AMD, there’s no Ray-Tracing.

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra is very good, though. If you do want Ray-Tracing and you’re willing to pay a little more for some extra performance, then stick with Nvidia’s all-conquering card. But if you want an AMD card with loads of 1080p and 1440p speed and keen design, then the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra is the best option around right now.

The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra costs £440 in the US and £394 in the UK. Discuss our XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra 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 GoodRecommended Award

  • Great 1080p and 1440p performance
  • Superb physical design
  • Reasonably cool, quiet operation
  • Cheaper than the RTX 2070 Super

The Bad

  • Long, heavy card
  • Still a little slower than the RTX 2070 Super
  • No Ray-Tracing
  • Can’t always handle 4K games

The Specs

Stream processors: 2,560
Base clock: 1,810MHz
Boost clock: 2,025MHz
Memory: 8GB, 256-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: 230W
Power connections: 2 x 8-pin
Supported APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.2, Vulkan 1.1, CUDA 7.5

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra

About Author

Rebecca Everts

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