MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Evoke OC Evaluation

When we tested the new Radeon RX 5700 XT GPU about a month ago, we found it on a sweet spot at $ 400 and delivered better value for money than cheaper products like the original RTX 2060 and GTX 1660 Ti Not to mention the 5700 XT, which allows you to get close to the GeForce 2070 super performance with a significant discount.

This was a launch check, so we speculated that availability would be critical. Fortunately, AMD and partner manufacturers have shelves with reference values ​​for 400 5700 XT and 350 5700 USD in stock in the past few weeks. So far so good, and now we have our first custom partner cards to make it to retail.

Today we review the MSI RX 5700 XT Evoke OC. We'll go through the basics as usual and focus on the design of the card. We'll take a brief look at the performance, which shouldn't be any different than what we've seen from the same GPU before, before we look at operating temperatures and power consumption and overclocking.

In terms of design … it's gold. You probably have it at this point. Aside from the color choice, it's a good looking card with an aluminum backing plate that wraps around the side of the card. There is another aluminum cover on the front, which gives the fan housing a first-class appearance. The only visible plastic next to the fans is the triangular cutouts at the end and on the side of the card. You look neat. Overall an elegant look without RGB lighting.

The card is 235 mm long, which makes it relatively compact, although it is 115 mm high and quite wide at 50 mm. Depending on your limitations when building an ITX rig, this may not work for you. It is not too heavy and weighs 890 grams.

The I / O panel consists of three DisplayPorts and a single HDMI port, a fairly standard configuration. For power consumption, MSI chose a 6 + 8-pin configuration that supplies the GPU with sufficient power.

Removing the cooler is not too difficult, but it was a bit of a hassle using double-sided adhesive for the small piece of plastic on the side. Of course, MSI didn't design the card to pull apart, but if you have to use the glue, you will get a headache.

When the cooler is removed, we find a single heat sink that cools not only the GPU, but also the VRM and GDDR6 memory. Aluminum base plates are used to extract heat from the VRM and storage components, while the GPU is given a nickel-plated copper insert that is connected to four heat pipes. It is not an overly large heat sink and weighs only 355 grams. The fans with plastic cover and aluminum cover weigh an additional 222 grams.

The board is significantly shorter than the reference version, otherwise it's pretty similar, including the same 7-phase VRM for the GPU. We benchmarked the Evoke OC before tearing the card down to examine it so that you can proceed with the following results.

In the test bench …

When you run F1 on a loop for an hour in 2019, we notice that the Evoke OC has warmed to 69 degrees in a 21-degree room in the Corsair Crystal 570X that is fully populated with 120-mm fans . The good news: This is a huge 15 degree drop in peak operating temperature from the AMD reference card that peaked at 84 degrees under the same conditions.

At this temperature, the Evoke OC maintained an average core clock frequency of approximately 1850 MHz. The clock speed of these 5700 series GPUs is very different, but due to the low operating temperature, the MSI model generally ran ~ 50 MHz faster than the AMD reference model.

The two axial fans rotated at the same speed from 2000 to 2100 rpm as the blower fan of the reference model, but were subjectively somewhat quieter and could not be heard via the whisper-quiet Corsair ML case fans. The GDDR6 memory was only reduced by 4 degrees and the VRM temperatures were similar.

When it comes to power consumption, the Evoke OC is a little more power hungry than the reference model. It would appear that an additional 50 MHz would cost about 20 watts of GPU power, but at just over 200 watts, the 5700 XT isn't a power pig in terms of power output.

We could only overclock with the AMD reference model if we had not brought the blower fan to ear bleeding levels. The Evoke OC still has an upper voltage limit of 1200 mV and a frequency upper limit of 2150 MHz because AMD sets these limits at the BIOS level. At least you can now reach these upper limits without sounding like a jet engine.

With the limits reached in MSI's AfterBurner utility, we saw a peak operating temperature of 70 degrees. To accomplish this, the fan now spun at 2400 rpm where it could be heard through the case fans. Although we are aiming for 2150 MHz, the card has maintained a clock rate of around 2 GHz, so the frequency is only increased by 8% from stock. The GDDR6 memory doesn't respond well to overclocking either, so we released another 25 MHz, which is hardly worth mentioning.

For the benchmarking of the RX 5700 XT Evoke OC, which we test with our Core i9-9900K GPU test bench, the CPU was overclocked to 5 GHz as usual and we have 16 GB DDR4-3400 memory. The latest drivers that were available at the time of testing were used.

Benchmarks

After unpacking, the Evoke OC exactly matched the AMD reference 5700 XT. Same performance, only cooler and quieter. In the meantime, this 8% frequency increase only increased the average frame rate by 3%.

Again, we see exactly the same performance with the Evoke OC as with the reference card in Forza Horizon 4, and overclocking only increased the frame rate by 2%. For those who are not up to date, these results are correct. The RDNA GPUs absolutely kill it in Forza Horizon 4, but this is not representative of the performance of all games.

We see a more typical 5700 XT performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The Evoke OC matched the reference model and this time overclocking increased performance by 5%, although there was no cause for excitement.

As we have already seen when considering the heat output and the operating frequencies, the Evoke OC increases the GPU consumption to over 200 watts, which corresponds to an increase of 10% without additional power. Then our manual overclocking increases consumption by a further 10%, which corresponds to a performance increase of up to 5%.

Taking overall system consumption into account, the gains are less extreme, but even though the reference model was only slightly more power-hungry than the 2070 Super, the Evoke OC misses the RTX 2080.

Wrap up

We had already tested the limits of the Radeon 5700 XT by overclocking with liquid cooling and knew that there wasn't much to be had there. Performance is still solid, as is value, but what you get from custom AIB cards is better cooling and quieter operation, hopefully for little more.

Evoke OC from MSI is a nice little card. There is also a non-OC version known simply as Evoke, and MSI claims a 40 MHz difference in the boost clock. In other words, it's the same product and we don't expect a difference in performance between the two. If the standard Evoke is slightly cheaper than the Evoke OC, we only get this model. Unfortunately, we will only know the exact price details of all partner cards when, depending on the brand and model, they go on sale between this and the next week.

Where we hesitated somewhat to recommend AMD's fan model, we feel a lot more comfortable if you buy a card with a better cooler. The Evoke OC is a bit quieter and a lot cooler. We hope and expect cards like this to cost between $ 10 and $ 40 more than the reference cards at launch, which is fair. Depending on how the competition affects the holidays, they will be further reduced to $ 400 base price.

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