AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT Overview

Today we test the Radeon RX 5600 XT for the first time since AMD presented it at CES 2020. As part of the announcement, we received all the important information we needed: detailed specifications on the number of cores, operating frequency, memory configuration, price information and even estimated performance compared to the 5600 XT with competing Nvidia products.

That just let us test and confirm this information in our first review … until about a week ago.

When AMD created hype and announced everything about the upcoming GPU, he essentially informed the competition and informed Nvidia two weeks in advance to respond to and counter the 5600 XT. And that's exactly what they did. It didn't take Nvidia long to lower the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Edition to $ 300, a 14% discount off the original $ 350 price. EVGA also announced a $ 300 RTX 2060 ’KO’ model, which is pretty subtle.

We cannot say if this is a temporary price. At the time of writing, both the EVGA KO and Nvidia FE models are sold out, so the cheapest RTX 2060 available will cost around $ 320. It doesn't matter if Nvidia's price cut is just a trick to steal AMD's thunder. The result is the same. AMD was forced to respond at launch or risk weak checks.

Based on the specifications announced at CES, we expected the RTX 2060 to be about 10% faster than the 5600 XT. But with the price cut, the razor-thin price difference would have meant that the 5600 XT was dead when it arrived, and another bad navigation start for AMD.

An obvious solution to this mess would be that AMD would also lower prices, but it seems that this is not wanted or not possible, so the new Radeon 5600 XT will remain at $ 280. The less ideal and much messier option is to overclock the 5600 XT specification for better performance.

Shortly after receiving our 5600 XT test report, AMD sent an email notifying them that a vBIOS update would improve performance. When they realized that the 5600 XT was going to be neglected, they unofficially increased the core clock by up to 15% and the memory frequency by 17%, although they only bizarrely increased the overall performance of the product by 7%. but more on that in a moment.

AMD reference specification Original Max OC spec Updated Max OC specification
Music box 1375 MHz 1460 MHz 1615 MHz
Max Boost Clock 1560 MHz 1620 MHz 1750 MHz
Memory transfer rate 12 Gbit / s 12 Gbit / s 14 Gbit / s
Total graphics performance 150 watts 150 watts 160 watts

We say they unofficially raised the spec because AMD originally said the 5600 XT would operate at a 1375 MHz game clock and a boost clock of up to 1560 MHz. These numbers have now technically increased to 1615 MHz for the game clock and 1750 MHz for the Boost, only for OC models. The 6 GB GDDR6 memory was also overclocked from 12 Gbit / s to 14 Gbit / s for the updated final specification.

This new OC blanket, designed to allow the 5600 XT to tackle the cheaper RTX 2060 models, is a significant advance over the base specification. As a rule, OC models offer a performance increase of ~ 3 to 5% compared to the reference specification. We saw this for example in the 5700 XT series. With the 5600 XT, however, OC models are around 13% faster than the base. And we speak 13% faster on average, not up to 13% faster, a significant difference.

It is worth noting that AMD only interviewed auditors with OC models. The Sapphire Pulse was the official board that was mailed to most, and we have that along with MSI's Gaming X. The problem is that there will be models like MSI's Mech OC that are over 10% slower than OC- Models, and the difference in price can be minimal, so be careful with what you buy.

This change was also so late in the game that we hear that the first wave of products has already been shipped to retailers. That means that just about every 5600 XT available at startup has the original BIOS and doesn't work quite as well as in most reviews. In this case, 5600 XT results are displayed both before and after the BIOS update. The previous results represent the basic specification.

We have some other concerns about these changes, but now let's look at the numbers and continue the discussion. For testing, we use our Core i9-9900K GPU test bench as usual, which is clocked with 5 GHz and 16 GB DDR4-3400 memory. We used the MSI RX 5600 XT Gaming X exclusively for the 5600 XT tests in this test. We saw 12 games that were tested at 1080p and 1440p with medium to high quality settings. Let's get to the results.


First we have Shadow of the Tomb Raider and here is the updated version of the MSI 5600 XT Gaming X model a few frames faster than the RTX 2060. You can see why the 5600 XT has been overclocked further as this is an 11% increase With the title, it can be a step ahead of the RTX 2060 instead of pursuing it with an 8% lead.

It's similar at 1440p, although this time the RTX 2060 manages to be one frame ahead of the 5600 XT, so it's a tie. Before the upgrade, the 5600 XT was 12% slower than the RTX 2060.

When testing with Assassins Creed Odyssey, it was found that the 5600 XT complies with the RTX 2060 after the update. This means that it is only 6% slower than the RX 5700 and 7% slower than the 2060 Super.

The identical performance between the 5600 XT and the RTX 2060 is 1440p, and this time the new Navi GPU for $ 280 is only 8% slower than the 5700.

Nvidia's Turing-based GPUs have become very competitive in Red Dead Redemption 2, and in fact the RTX 2060 is now ahead of the RX 5700.

As a result, the 5600 XT is a bit slower, lagging 16% in high quality settings with the Vulkan API.

The situation is similar with 1440p, although the 5600 XT is 13% slower this time, but still a fairly large margin. The OC 5600 XT was then 12% faster than the basic specification.

World of Tanks is another title where Turing and Nvidia GPUs generally do well. The RTX 2060 fits the RX 5700. This means that the OC version of the 5600 XT was 10% slower, while the base models will be about 17% slower.

The edges close somewhat at 1440p. Here the 5600 XT OC was 6% slower than the RTX 2060, although the base models will still be 16% slower. Obviously, the additional memory bandwidth plays a key role in increasing the performance of the OC version.

The results from Far Cry New Dawn are really interesting, even with the basic specification the 5600 XT not only comes very close to the RTX 2060 but also to the RX 5700. Even the Core i9-9900K has a system bottleneck.

When you jump to 1440p there is some separation and now the factory overclocked 5600 XT is 7% slower than the RX 5700. It was also 7% faster than the RTX 2060, although the base specification is a few frames slower.

The frame rates in Rainbow Six Siege are very competitive. Here, AMD's last-minute OC update is sufficient to equate the 5600 XT with the RTX 2060, making it only 9% slower than the RX 5700. The basic 5600 XT model will support the RTX 2060 by a margin of 10 %.

Interestingly, we see a situation at 1440p where AMD's 5600 XT falls behind the RTX 2060, which apparently benefits from the superior memory compression technology. It's also strange to see that the 5600 XT fits the RX 5700, a pretty surprising result.

The basic 5600-XT specification places them directly in front of the GTX 1660 Super, which AMD originally aimed for. With the RTX 2060 lowering the price, which would not do so, the new OC ceiling has equated the 5600 XT with the 2060, although this also means that the 5600 XT basically offers RX 5700-like performance in this title, which is we do Imagine AMD wanted to avoid it.

The 1440p resolution gives the RX 5700 a little more breathing room, but the factory overclocked 5600 XT was only 8% slower and 5% slower than the RTX 2060.

Next up is Battlefield V, with the basic configuration the 5600 XT is 5% below the RTX 2060, while the factory OC version was 3% faster.

It's similar at 1440p, although it's interesting to note that the factory-overclocked 5600 XT is only 10% slower than the RX 5700 even at this higher resolution.

Here we see that the 5600 XT OC models in titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can keep up with the RTX 2060, while base models are 8% slower.

The high-end Turing GPUs appear to be suffering from weaker than expected frame time performance in Metro Exodus. In this regard, the RTX 2060 is significantly slower than the 5600 XT, even compared to the basic model. Again, the 5600 XT OC is not much slower than the RX 5700, this time 10% behind 1080p.

The jump to 1440p leads to similar edges. The overclocked 5600 XT is only 9% slower than the RX 5700, while it was 12% faster than the RTX 2060 when comparing the average frame rate.

In F1 2019, the 5600 XT OC was almost on par with the RTX 2060 Super, meaning it was 7% faster than the standard RTX 2060. We also see a 9% increase in performance from the base specification to the factory OC versions of the 5600 XT.

A similar situation can be seen at 1440p. It's really nice to see that the 5600 XT is only 6% behind the RX 5700.

Finally, we have Gears 5 and here the average base spec was 5600 XT 81 fps while the factory OC spec was 12% faster. The RTX 2060 does well here and can only outperform the RX 5700, which means it was 11% faster than the 5600 XT OC.

The 6 GB 5600 XT drops a bit at 1440p because it was 11% slower than the RX 5700 and 13% slower than the RTX 2060.

power consumption

Efficiency is a big advantage of these new 7nm GPS GPUs, at least compared to previous Radeon GPUs. Compared to Turing, the factory overclocked 5600 XT is still efficient and offers a similar level of performance while saving around 20 watts of total system power.

Service summary

You saw how the base model and the factory overclocked Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards work. Now it's time to see how they stack together and then look at the cost per frame data.

With an average of 1080p, the MSI 5600 XT Gaming X and the RTX 2060, also a factory OC model from MSI called Gaming Z, delivered exactly the same performance. This also means that factory overclocked 5600 XT models are about 10% faster on average than the base models.

The basic model 5600 XT is equipped with the GTX 1660 Super and offers an average of 13% more power. Meanwhile, the overclocked 5600 XT was only 7% slower than the RX 5700 on average, and while the MSRP is 20% lower, the OC models will realistically likely be 15% cheaper.

Even at 1440p, the overclocked MSI gaming versions of the RTX 2060 and 5600 XT are evenly matched. Base model cards are 10% slower, but of course you can still overclock them manually.

Cost per frame

This will be messy, but we're trying to estimate the true value of the various GPUs at their expected prices. Let's first compare the MSI gaming versions of the 5600 XT and the RTX 2060. Given the average performance of 125 fps, it's pretty obvious which model wins.

We expect the price of the 5600 XT Gaming X to be at least $ 20 above the MSRP ($ 300), just like the RTX 2060 Gaming Z model. We also quoted two prices for the Gaming Z, the current retail price of $ 370 and the alleged price with the $ 50 discount that we haven't seen live yet.

Even with the $ 50 price cut, the RTX 2060 still costs 7% more than the 5600 XT card. Without the price cut, the GeForce would be 32% more expensive, making the 5600 XT a far superior value. However, we doubt that price cuts will only take effect if a deficiency occurs.

Here you can see the cost per frame for all currently tested GPUs. Please note that we have two RTX 2060 prices, with the price of $ 330 representing the currently cheapest models, while the price of $ 300 representing the EVGA KO and Nvidia FE models. Then we have two performance and price configurations for the 5600 XT: the base model with a $ 280 MSRP and the OC cards, which we believe are available for models like the Sapphire Pulse at a $ 10 premium .

The cheapest GPUs in the $ 300 segment are by far the cheapest OC versions you can get at ~ $ 10 above the MSRP. You should make sure you buy an OC model because the base models are pretty bad value. Yes, you can overclock them, but they're likely to come with weaker coolers. So you should spend a little more on a better quality model.

The RTX 2060 is a good value at $ 300. We just have to see that they are widely available at this price.

It is worth noting that the GTX 1660 Super still holds its own very well here. While the base 5600 XT could be 13% faster, the 1660 Super is slightly better in terms of cost per frame.

Buy something?

The Radeon RX 5600 XT is a reputable product that pushes for lower prices and better performance at $ 300. We recommend it for this alone. The GPU won't blow off your socks, and yet it's cheaper than the Radeon RX 5700 and makes the RTX 2060 Super a really tough buy. Given the competition in this price range, we think AMD did well.

The main advantage of the more expensive RX 5700 is the additional 2 GB of VRAM, which may or may not play a role in your purchase decision depending on the games you play, graphics settings and resolution. We know that a lot of people will complain about the 6 GB VRAM buffer and we know where you come from. Ultimately, we tend to agree that 8 GB VRAM should be the minimum for 2020, but at least for the moment, it doesn't matter for 1080p players.

Information on how AMD handles this version. The last minute decision will have some consequences in the short term. Users need to update their vBIOS to get the most out of their maps. How the updates are handled and who takes care of the process depends on the brand, the region and even the retailer.

At first, we were concerned about how well 5600 XT graphics cards would handle last minute factory overclocking, but after asking, most manufacturers just seem to have used their RX 5700 series coolers. That should give the cards a lot of leeway, while AMD can claim that this is something that they have carefully considered before making the change.

We're also interested to see how many RTX 2060 cards actually cost $ 300 and when stock for the KO and FE models will return. We almost expect this to be a limited deal to steal AMD's thunder. In the worst case, AMD forced the 5600 XT closer to the 5700 than they would like.

It's no coincidence that we didn't address overclocking, basically because Held's OC headroom has gone to zero. Factory overclocked models like Pulse and Gaming X can be set to 1820 MHz for the core (a frequency increase of 4%) while you can push 6% more frequency out of memory. It may be possible to go a little higher with soft power gaming tables, but as far as convenient overclocking is concerned, the cards are tapped.

The bottom line is it's good to see more competition in the GPU space, and we're the ones who benefit from it. AMD can probably take a note or two of how information is published and not show your hand weeks in advance. On the other hand, we are also happy to receive price information more than half a day before the reviews are published. Somewhere in the middle, AMD would be nice.

Purchasing links:
  • AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2060 at Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2060 Super on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT on Amazon
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Super on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2070 Super on Amazon
  • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X at Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600 on Amazon

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