AMD's RX 5700 graphics cards may be the top performing GPUs from AMD right now, but they are aimed to break into the mid-market sector. The 5700 XT and 5700 are designed to compete directly with Nvidia's RTX 2060 and 2070. Are you exactly why we saw price drops on RTX and the introduction of Nvidia RTX Super graphics cards in 2019? More importantly, should you wait for the RTX 3080 or RX 6900 XT?
After reviewing both the 5700 XT and Nvidia RTX 2070 Super, we packed both cards and pitted them head-to-head to determine which card is worth a place in your gaming rig.
Prices and availability
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
The price of the 5700 XT varies widely between manufacturers. AMD's GPU launched at an MSRP of $ 399. Although you can still find a few cards at this price point, most are between $ 420 and $ 450. However, MSI and Gigabyte 5700 XTs are seeing frequent sales, often bringing the price down to around $ 380.
Production of 5,700 GPUs officially ceased in early October 2020, so these prices are likely to rise in the coming months as inventory drops.
Nvidia's offering is a bit newer and appears two months after the 5700 XT in September 2019. However, it is more than a little more expensive. The 2070 Super was launched with an MRSP of $ 499, but most new cards cost around $ 550. Some even push up to $ 600. Honestly, it's hard to justify a 2070 Super right now with the upcoming launch of the RTX 3070. This card launches for the same price of $ 499, but with a performance that beats the 2080 Ti.
However, if you are looking to buy a 5700 XT or 2070 Super then you should check out the used market. The 5700 XT saves you around $ 100, while used cards cost around $ 350. The savings are even higher with the 2070 Super. Some cards cost up to $ 180 less than the card's MRSP. Most cards, however, are near $ 420.
For the 2070 Super, the used market will soon be the only option. Most retailers are already running low on inventory, and with the RTX 30-series GPUs making the rounds, Nvidia is unlikely to be replenishing that inventory. In fact, there are several third-party sellers on sites like Amazon and Newegg that sell 2070 Supers for around $ 700.
While there are some physical and functional differences between these two cards, the most important factor in graphics is performance. Before we get into our benchmark results though, let's take a look at the specifications of these cards to see how they measure up.
|Radeon RX 5700 XT||RTX 2070 Super|
|Shader units||2,560 stream processors||2,560 CUDA cores|
|Tensor cores||N / A||320|
|RT cores||N / A||40|
|Base clock||1.605 MHz||1.605 MHz|
|Boost clock||1,905 MHz *||1.770 MHz|
|memory||8 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6|
|Storage speed||14 Gbit / s||14 Gbit / s|
|Bandwidth||448 GBit / s||448 GBit / s|
* Note: The “Boost Clock” of the Radeon RX 5700 XT is the theoretical maximum under storage conditions and is probably only reached for a fraction of a second. The more typical clock rate is 1,755 MHz.
Since AMD and Nvidia cards are structured differently, not every specification can be directly compared. Even so, there are some fascinating take-homes from these numbers. The 5700 series has seen a sharp increase in clock speed compared to older GPU lines like Vega, which helps keep AMD card clocks almost at par with Nvidia GPUs in stock. AMD also used GDDR6 in place of the more expensive HBM from previous generations. The memory runs at the same speed and configuration as the Nvidia part, which results in the same bandwidth for both cards. However, the 5700 XT consumes a little more power.
In our 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the 5700 XT performed strongly and even pulled away with the. It also nearly matched the score of the far more expensive AMD Radeon VII, but fell a little more than 1,000 points behind the Super of 2070.
This difference was less pronounced in games, as certain titles tended to perform better on one card than the other. In Fortnite, the RTX 2070 Super was clearly the more powerful card with an advantage between 10 frames per second and 30 fps over the 5700 XT. The gap was far less obvious at 4K than it was at 1080p, but the 5700 XT was always well behind.
Battlefield V was far cheaper for AMD: the 5700 XT and Radeon VII outperformed the 2070 Super, especially at 1440p. However, in Civilization VI and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, the 5700 XT fell apart. The 2070 Super AMD dominated there. Whether those extra frames are worth an additional $ 100 to $ 150 is a call to make. One thing is clear: the 2070 Super is the more powerful card when it comes to gaming.
Cooling and noise
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
In the reference designs, the 2070 Super beats the 5700 XT in terms of cooling and noise. AMD's outdated fan cooler doesn't match the dual-fan setup of the 2070 Super. However, when it comes to third-party options, there is a little more to the story.
As mentioned earlier, new 5700 XTs are more numerous than new 2070 Supers, so you have more options when purchasing the cooling setup you want. Most cards valued at around $ 400, like the Sapphire Pulse and Gigabyte Gaming OC, come standard with two fans. If you're ready to spend more than $ 450, there are plenty of triple fan cards out there too, including the XFX Thicc III Ultra and Asus' popular Strix card.
The reference design is particularly hot, however, as are most of the third-party options. There are many cooling solutions out there, but with a hotter GPU, it's hard to escape the noise. The heat output varies depending on the model. So we recommend checking for reviews of the particular model you're interested in before pulling the trigger.
There isn't much to report on Nvidia's side. The 2070 Super runs cooler and quieter in the reference design, and most third-party cards are just further away. If you're looking for a new card, however, there are far fewer third-party options.
Ray tracing and image sharpening
A great feature of the RTX generation of graphics cards is the support for the hardware-accelerated ray tracing function. This is possible because the Turing GPU adds RT cores that shorten the intricate numbers behind real-time lighting effects. Although AMD has done ray tracing in the recent past, its RX 5700 XT doesn't have this feature. While ray tracing massively degrades the performance of the top performing graphics cards, AMD cards can't do it right now, even with Nvidia's deep super-sampling to help.
What they can do, however, is sharpen images. Thanks to Radeon Image Sharpening and FidelityFX, the 5700 XT from AMD can use an algorithm to sharpen images. This is a clever post-processing effect that can remove the blurring that is common when applying anti-aliasing with heavy hands. It doesn't have a huge impact on performance either.
The new AMD Adrenaline 2020 drivers also offer a number of new features such as integer display scaling and Radeon Boost, which are welcome additions to the software suite.
If you want to stick with Team Red and still want ray tracing, you're in luck. AMD's RX 6000 cards should hit the market soon, demonstrating the performance of RDNA 2 (included in PS5 and Xbox Series X). Details about these cards are not yet confirmed, but the consoles support hardware ray tracing. Therefore, the new cards from AMD should also be used.
The RTX 2070 is the super (expensive) card we deserve
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
The Nvidia RTX 2070 Super is arguably the 2070 we should have had when the RTX generation first hit the market. It's just an RTX 2080 with binning and some cores turned off. As frustrating as it is that we had to wait for it in 2020, it's still a better card than the 5700 XT. The only caveat is that it is more expensive and always harder to find.
It offers a performance that approximates the existing oneThis usually exceeds the 5700 XT by a noticeable number of frames per second, and this with exclusive features and a quieter and cooler fan configuration. But it's at least $ 100 more expensive, and in some cases even $ 150. If you have a FreeSync display and want to lose 10% to 20% of its performance (before overclocking), the 5700 XT is a great option.
However, given the increasing availability of the new generation RTX 3000 Nvidia cards and the imminent introduction of the next generation AMD GPUs, it is worth waiting to see what you can get in the near future rather than buying an older card now.