AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB vs. 8GB

As promised in our first review of the Radeon RX 5500 XT, today let's take a look at the 4GB version to see how it works and more importantly, how it works not only with 8GB models, but also also compared with other graphics cards that compete The same price range as the RX 580. For testing we have the Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT 4G and the Pulse RX 5500 XT 8G at hand, both of which are supplied in cute little boxes.

The special thing about using these cards for a 4 GB or 8 GB test is that they are identical except for the storage capacity. Therefore, no other factors need to be considered, e.g. B. the cooler quality or the operating clock rates, which can influence the results.

The Sapphire Pulse 5500 XTs are also top-of-the-range cards that are retailed for around $ 10 above the MSRP. This is a reasonable price premium as they have factory overclocking, a well-designed cooler with an excellent aluminum backplate, and even a dual BIOS. They are also relatively compact dual-slot cards with a length of only 233 mm.

The test system used contains a Core i9-9900K with 5 GHz and 16 GB DDR4-3400 memory. As in our previous test, we saw 12 games, all tested at 1080p and 1440p resolutions using presets or medium to high quality settings. So let's get to the results.

Benchmarks

First, we have Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and here the 4 GB 5500 XT was 10% slower than the 8 GB version when you look at the average frame rate, which meant it wasn't faster than the RX 580 and 6% slower when the RX 590 was. It was also at the level of the GTX 1650 Super and only achieved an average of 2 fps more, which corresponds to an increase in performance of only 3%.

Increasing the resolution to 1440p doesn't change much. The 4 GB version was 11% slower this time and was again at the level of the RX 580 and slightly ahead of the GTX 1650 Super.

The performance drop for the 4GB version in Assassins Creed Odyssey at 1080p is pretty small. However, the performance is also comparable to the GTX 1650 Super.

Interestingly, switching to 1440p results in a significant drop in performance on the 4GB 5500 XT, and that's interesting because the 1650 Super doesn't seem to suffer nearly as much. As a result, the 4 GB 5500 XT was 12% slower than the 1650 Super. Basically, you can see the performance level of the RX 570 under these conditions.

We need to update the Red Dead Redemption 2 test for these lower price GPUs in the near future with medium to low quality settings. High is simply too much for this GPU class. At 1080p, the 4 GB 5500 XT achieves a 9% drop in performance, which is not particularly good and is 9% slower than the 1650 Super.

Although the 4 GB 5500 XT also scores at 1440p, in our opinion the GPUs are the biggest performance bottleneck. In other words, the GPUs suffocate before VRAM capacity becomes a serious problem.

World of Tanks only allocates about 3 GB VRAM at 1440p in this game, using the maximum settings for game quality with the HD client version. Therefore, at 1080p we see no difference between the 4 GB and 8 GB versions of the 5500 XT.

It's the same with 1440p: with only 3 GB of allocated memory, both the 4 GB and 8 GB versions offer the same performance.

The 4GB 5500 XT drops a few frames compared to the 8GB model in Far Cry New Dawn, but the overall performance at 1080p with the second highest quality preset is still very good.

The same applies to 1440p. We use the default with the second highest quality and still the 4 GB 5500 XT can reach an average of slightly more than 60 fps.

We're not playing Rainbow Six Siege with the highest visual quality settings, but the second quality preset with a manual render scale of 100%. The 4 and 8 GB 5500 XT models deliver the same 128 fps at 1080p on average.

Even at 1440p we see the same average frame rate. However, it's the 1% low performance that's dropped on the 4GB model, and while it's still very playable, this slimmed-down version wasn't quite as smooth overall.

Next up we have Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and at 1080p with the high quality preset that is one step below the maximum ultra setting, we see no performance difference between the 4GB and 8GB versions of the 5500 XT.

At 1440p power, we observe the same performance. In this game, the Radeon 5500 XT basically delivered the same performance as the 1650 Super and even the 3 GB GTX 1060.

In Battlefield V, the 4 GB 5500 XT could keep up with the 8 GB version at 1080p, with both playing an average of 83 fps. This is essentially the performance you get from the RX 580.

However, the story changes at 1440p, where the 4GB 5500 XT is having trouble and the average frame rate drops 11%. This means that the 5500 XT could only keep up with the 1650 Super and the RX 570.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is memory hungry even at 1080p, although we use the highest possible quality settings. The 4 GB 5500 XT averaged an impressive 96 fps, but that was still 15% less than the 8 GB version and Nvidia's GTX 1650 Super.

The drop at 1440p was just as hard. Here the 4 GB version was 17% slower and again the 4 GB 1650 Super did not suffer the same fate, which is interesting. Once again, you can see the RX 570-like performance with the 4GB 5500 XT in this title.

When testing with Metro Exodus using the ultra quality settings, the 4 GB 5500 XT hangs fairly well in it and fits both the 8 GB version and the 8 GB RX 580. At 1440p we see almost the same thing, and this time it was the 4 GB 5500 XT miles faster than The GTX 1650 Super produces an average of ~ 20% more frames.

F1 2019 is not memory intensive and therefore the 4 and 8 GB versions of the 5500 XT enabled the same performance at 1080p. At 1440p, it's the same situation where the 4GB 5500 XT has reached an average of 86 fps, the same performance you get from the RX 580.

Lastly, we have Gears 5, where we see no performance difference between the 4 and 8 GB versions of the 5500 XT. At 1440p, both models spit out 48 fps, which corresponds to the performance of the RX 580 and the GTX 1650 Super.

Service summary

After watching a dozen games tested at 1080p and 1440p, it's time to break down all that data. Let us first consider the average performance of these 12 titles. These graphics don't represent the whole picture, but we'll take a quick look at them …

Viewing these results can be misleading because it does not indicate when and how problems with the more restricted 4 GB VRAM buffer can occur. Overall, the 4 GB 5500 XT was only ~ 3.5% slower than the 8 GB version, taking all games into account and thus equal to the RX 580 and the GTX 1650 Super.

We see a similar story at 1440p, this time the 4 GB 5500 XT was 5% slower on average compared to the 8 GB model and fit again with the RX 580 and GTX 1650 Super.

The average of the 1080p data shows that the 4 GB 5500 XT can reach the cost per frame of the RX 580. So you're swapping half of VRAM for a more efficient product, and we'll discuss that in a moment.

At the moment the GeForce GTX 1650 Super is 5% cheaper per frame, which results from the slight discount of ~ 10 USD on the RRP.

For the RX 5500, however, it gets worse when we look at a single title like Battlefield V. We are using the 1440p data here as this is a situation where the 4GB VRAM capacity will significantly impact performance, which you will undoubtedly see more of in the next year or two.

Where the difference between 4 GB and 8 GB of memory can be seen, the Radeon RX 580 is many times better in value and the RX 570 belongs to a different class and offers the same performance as the 4 GB 5500 XT with a discount of 24 % per frame. This is probably the most meaningful chart we've looked at when evaluating the value of the 5500 XT.

Finally, we have a couple of RX 5500 XT 4 GB vs. 8 GB charts showing the margins per game. Here you can see that the 4GB model had problems in Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption 2, while we saw small drops in performance in Far Cry New Dawn, Assassins Creed Odyssey and Metro Exodus, although it was so small in these titles that it really isn't worth talking about.

When we look at a low 1% performance, we see largely similar margins, although the 4GB version had a harder time in Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

At 1440p, we see no difference between the 4 GB and 8 GB models for half of the games tested, at least when comparing the average frame rate performance. The performance drop in Call of Duty was large, we also see a slight decline in Assassins Creed and double-digit performance losses in Battlefield V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

The 1% low 1440p data is the most meaningful chart for future performance. We see little to no impact on half of the games tested, but the other half see all double-digit frame rate hits, with three titles falling more than 15%.

Energy efficiency or more VRAM?

The late arrival of AMD with its mainstream sat nav offerings may have to do with a 7nm supply problem. They are unable to sell them in sufficient quantities to justify price competitiveness. From today's perspective, the GeForce GTX 1650 Super is a more convincing purchase compared to the 4 GB 5500 XT. Overall, you basically see the same level of performance with a very small discount. When we looked at our small benchmark sample of games, the GTX 1650 Super's performance seemed to be more consistent without experiencing the major performance hit on titles like Battlefield V and Call of Duty Modern Warfare due to the limited 4GB memory buffer.

If you're looking for an efficient budget graphics card, the GTX 1650 Super is for you. However, in a recent survey, we asked what gamers prefer: energy efficiency or VRAM capacity, and as we suspected, an overwhelming number of you chose storage capacity as your preference.

In this case, most of you who spend less than $ 200 on your graphics card may not be interested in the 4 GB 5500 XT for $ 170 or the 4 GB GTX 1650 Super for $ 160 if you can buy an 8 GB RX 580 for $ 170, sometimes as cheap as $ 150. The old Radeon uses a lot more power, but who cares? – we wouldn't – and it seems that a good part of you agrees.

It is worth noting that the power consumption when idling is approximately the same. While the RX 580 has the potential to run hotter and louder while playing, for most it seems more important to have that extra headroom with the memory. And that means as long as you can buy the over 2 year old RX 580 8GB graphics card at a discount for the same amount of money as these newer 4GB GPUs, we would. If AMD had valued the 8GB 5500 XT at no more than $ 170 and the 4GB model at around $ 140, we would think that these would be viable options, but this simply doesn't seem possible given the current delivery constraints to be.

4 GB vs. 8 GB VRAM

Before we finish, let's talk a little bit more about the 4GB and 8GB storage buffers …

There are many debates on the subject. Many people claim 4GB is just not enough, and graphics cards shouldn't be sold with such a limited storage capacity in 2019, while others say 8GB is still overkill for 1080p gaming. In our opinion, it is neither right nor wrong, it just depends on what you want to play and how you want to play it.

Now we agree that $ 200 is too much for a tiny GPU with a 128-bit memory bus by the end of 2019 regardless of memory capacity. So we're certainly not trying to justify the prices of the RX 5500 XT or GTX 1650 Super. I'm just saying how much VRAM you need depends on it.

For example, if you're a competitive player like me who usually doesn't care about an impressive single player experience with amazing graphics, VRAM capacity doesn't matter. For example, when I play Battlefield V, textures and most other quality settings are not set to Ultra, but almost all are set to Low, which reduces VRAM usage from around 5 GB to just 3 GB, and frankly the game is still looks good.

… for someone who wants to play Fortnite, it is just a waste of money to spend more money to secure a card with more VRAM.

This also applies to other games such as Fortnite, Apex Legends and StarCraft II. All of these games are played with settings of largely poor quality. It only makes it easier to recognize enemies and removes many distracting effects. I am not alone here either. So most players play esports / competition titles, even those that are not too demanding at first.

In other words, for someone who wants to play Fortnite, it is just a waste of money to spend more money to secure a card with more VRAM.

However, if you are not interested in esport titles and prefer games like Assassins Creed Odyssey and Shadow of the Tomb Raider for their stunning graphics and story mode, it is more important and likely that you will have a graphics card with headroom in the VRAM- Department it is worth paying a small premium.

If you're such a player, you should avoid 4GB models like the plague, especially given that the upcoming Xbox Series X has 16GB of GDDR6 storage with 13GB for gaming. Expect the next generation of games to see a huge surge in memory usage.

If you're a gamer who likes single player mode and stunning graphics, you should avoid 4GB models like the Plague, especially given the upcoming Xbox Series X with 16GB of GDDR6 storage and 13GB for gaming. Expect the next generation of games to see a huge surge in memory usage.

After all, we would like to point out that not enough VRAM is not the catastrophe that some people experience. It's not natural to say you have a dual-core processor and play a game that requires a quad-core or better. In this scenario, you are pretty confused and no matter how low you drop the quality settings, you will have a bad time.

With limited VRAM, all you have to do is set the texture quality settings and you're gone. Sure, the game may not look that good, but it will still be playable and in a make-do scenario, that's all you can hope for. How a title deals with insufficient VRAM also depends on the game. Some become a slideshow until you reduce memory usage, others don't even let you use the higher quality settings (Red Dead Redemption 2), and some automatically reduce or remove textures completely, making them often blurry.

It's not a bad thing to provide a cheaper option with less memory for casual or competitive gamers. You don't want to pay near $ 200 for a reduced option right now. As we said, the 4 GB 5500 XT would have come in at $ 140, it would have been a pretty solid deal, but as of today, you are better off with an 8 GB RX 580 at the end of the story.

Purchasing links:
  • AMD Radeon RX 580 at Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 590 at Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT on Amazon
  • GeForce GTX 1650 Super on Amazon
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Super on Amazon
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Ti on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2060 Super on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2070 Super on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 on Amazon

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