AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT Review: Navi Targets 1080P Gamers
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT - FC 5, Final Fantasy, Overclocking And Power
Next up, we’ve got some benchmark scores from FarCry 5, the latest installment in the storied franchise. Like its predecessors, FarCry 5 is a fast-action shooter set in an open world environment with lush visuals and high graphics fidelity. The game takes place in a fictional county in Montana, where a cult has taken over control of the area. We tested all of the graphics cards here at multiple resolutions using Ultra Quality settings to see how they handled this recently-released AAA title.
At 1080P, the Radeon RX 5500 XT cards are able to break the 80 FPS mark and outrun the GeForce GTX 1660 and Radeon RX 590 in FarCry 5. With the resolution cranked up to 1440P, the 8GB Radeon RX 5500 XT keeps pace with the RX 590, while the 4GB model drops in just behind by the smallest of margins.
Final Fantasy XV
Overclocking The Radeon RX 5500 XT
We also spent some time overclocking the 8GB Radeon RX 5500 XT using the performance and tuning tools built into AMD's Adrenaline Edition 2020 drivers, which were just recently released.
Like previous-gen Radeons, when the Navi-based GPU at the heart of this card is boosting, frequencies and voltages scale upwards (power and temperature permitting) based on the GPU's workload at the time. With the tuning options built into AMD's driver suite though, users have the ability to manually alter frequencies, voltages, fan speeds and the power target, to fine tune performance, power, and acoustics.
In previous-generation Radeons, though the GPUs had multiple sensors built-in, a single sensor had been used to determine the GPU temperature and data from that lone sensor was used to control the card's thermal profile. With newer GPUs, AMD has incorporated a network of multiple thermal sensors at strategic locations across the die. Data gathered from this array of sensors is used to determine what AMD is calling the "Junction Temperature", and it's the Junction Temperature data that is used to tune the cards' power and thermal profiles (the Junction Temperature is effectively the hottest part of the GPU die at any given time). AMD claims the increased resolution and accuracy from the additional thermal sensors allows it to increase overall sustained performance, because thermal throttling based on the Junction Temperature is more reliable and effective.
The tuning options built into AMD's Radeon Software suite offer manual tuning, along with automatic under-volting and automatic GPU and Memory overclocking. Due to time constraints, we took the path of least resistance with the Radeon RX 5500 XT, and used AMD's Auto Overclocking tool too see how much additional performance was offered by the card.
At its stock settings, we saw the GPU clock typically hovering around the 1,800MHz mark with the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT we used for testing. With Auto Overclocking enabled, however, AMD's software recommended a GPU clock of 1980MHz, but while gaming the GPU frequency stayed closer to the 1900MHz mark, and mostly fluctuated between 1880MHz - 1890MHz.
When all was said and done, the Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB ended up catching the Radeon RX 590 in the Tomb Raider benchmark and overtaking it by 80 points in 3D Mark Time Spy. With some additional time and manual tuning, however, we're sure there's some more performance to be gained, but not enough to push it into the same territory as the upper echelon of more expensive GPUs.
As we're writing this, we are experimenting with some manual settings (tweaked frequency / voltage curve, +20% power limit, and higher memory clock and fan speeds) and the GPU clock is still hovering in the high 1800MHz range. The 3DMark Time Spy score has only increased to 5458...
Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idle and also while under a heavy gaming workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone. It's a relative measurement that gives you a decent view of how much additional power draw a graphics card is placing on a system while gaming.
Radeon RX 5500 XT Thermals And Acoustics
Noise output wasn't an issue with the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT either. The card was quiet throughout our testing, regardless of the workload. The fans on the card do spin up to barely audible levels when the GPU is warmed-up and under sustained load for a while, but they are very quiet overall and while the card is idling, the fans stop spinning altogether.