Mid-range Pro Navi: AMD Radeon Pro W5500 Workstation Graphics Card Review

AMD Radeon Pro W5500 Workstation Graphics Card
by Rob Williams on May 20, 2020 in Graphics & Displays

AMD released its Navi-based Radeon Pro W5500 a few months ago, and to say we’ve spent a lot of time battering it with tests would be an understatement. We’re taking a look at AMD’s latest $399 professional GPU with the help of many encoding, rendering, viewport, and gaming tasks.

Page 1 – Introduction & Testing References

Since late 2016 when we saw AMD transition its workstation graphics series from FirePro to Radeon Pro, the boldly blue cards have spanned three architecture generations. The first out-of-the-gate were the Polaris 4th-gen GCN cards, which were quickly joined by the 5th-gen GCN Vega cards. With the launch of the W5700 in November, RDNA 1.0 became the newest hotness.

It’s an interesting time for AMD workstation graphics, because depending on the workload, either Navi or Vega could be the better choice. For most ProViz use, Navi is a safe bet, especially since it has the latest (and best) version of AMD’s encoder. For those with hungrier data crunching needs, or want the absolutely best performance AMD offers, Vega remains a solid choice. We’ve seen proof with the recent launch of the Radeon Pro VII that AMD is keeping to its word that Vega’s life will continue on.

AMD Radeon Pro W5500 Professional Graphics Card

With its 1,408 cores, the W5500’s specs closely align with the Radeon RX 5500 XT from the gaming side, whereas the W5700 we’ve taken a look at before has closely matched the RX 5700 (non-XT). That means AMD still has a bit of room to later release a W5600 that would likely inherit the 2,304 cores of the RX 5600. The W5700 has fewer cores than the RX 5700 XT, so the company even has room to release another top-end Navi beast later. Or, it could become that our speculations are wrong (as usual).

What we do know for sure is that the W5500 we’re taking a look at here is AMD’s second released Navi card. Thankfully, the fact that AMD just released a new Radeon Pro VII doesn’t impact our performance look here, as the $1,500 delta in the prices of those cards may suggest.

AMD’s Radeon Pro Workstation GPU Lineup
Cores Base MHz Peak FP32 Memory Bandwidth TDP Price
Pro VII 3840 ??? 13.1 TFLOPS 16 GB 8 1TB/s 250W $1899
W5700 2304 1183 8.89 TFLOPS 8 GB 1 484 GB/s 205W $799
W5500 1408 1200 5.35 TFLOPS 8 GB 1 224 GB/s 125W $399
WX 9100 4096 1200 12.3 TFLOPS 16 GB 8 484 GB/s 230W $1399
WX 8200 3584 1200 10.8 TFLOPS 8 GB 8 512 GB/s 230W $999
WX 7100 2304 1188 5.73 TFLOPS 8 GB 3 224 GB/s 130W $549
WX 5100 1792 713 3.89 TFLOPS 8 GB 3 160 GB/s 75W $359
WX 4100 1024 1125 2.46 TFLOPS 4 GB 3 96 GB/s 50W $259
WX 3200 640 1295 1.66 TFLOPS 4 GB 3 96 GB/s 50W $199
WX 3100 512 925 1.25 TFLOPS 4 GB 3 96 GB/s 50W $169
WX 2100 512 925 1.25 TFLOPS 2 GB 3 56 GB/s 50W $129
Notes 1 GDDR6; 2 GDDR5X; 3 GDDR5; 4 HBM2
5 GDDR6 (ECC); 6 GDDR5X (ECC); 7 GDDR5 (ECC); 8 HBM2 (ECC)
Polaris 4th-gen GCN = WX 2100~7100
Vega 5th-gen GCN = WX 8200~9100 & Pro VII
Navi RDNA 1.0 = W5500~5700

In terms of quoted single-precision performance, the W5500 settles a little bit behind the older WX 7100. That technically means that the WX 7100 should win most tests, but it’s of course never that simple. AMD’s newer card will definitely be able to show off its strengths throughout our performance results.

And with that, this card is pretty easy to gauge based on its specs, so we can get right into a quick look at our test setup, and then move into the results.

Test PC & What We Test

On the following pages, the results of our workstation GPU test gauntlet will be seen. The tests chosen cover a wide range of scenarios, from rendering to compute, and includes the use of both synthetic benchmarks and tests with real-world applications from the likes of Adobe and Autodesk.

Techgage AMD Radeon Pro Test PC Desktop

To paint a good overall picture of current performance, we’re using a blend of gaming and workstation GPUs. For some users, the best performance for the buck is the most important factor when scouting out a new GPU, while for others, increased platform stability and optimization through drivers is more integral.

Across these tested GPUs, price ranges of $200~$900 are covered. That means we’re missing out on some higher-end results, but for the purpose of taking a sufficient look at a $400 GPU, those cards weren’t necessary for this review. We do however have additional cards being tested now, and will post a more general (but fuller) performance look in the weeks ahead.

Techgage Workstation Test System
Processor Intel Core i9-10980XE (18-core; 3.4GHz)
Memory G.SKILL FlareX (F4-3200C14-8GFX)
4x8GB; DDR4-3200 14-14-14
Graphics AMD Radeon Pro W5700 (8GB, Enterprise 20.Q1.1)
AMD Radeon Pro W5500 (8GB, Enterprise 20.Q1.1)
AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 (8GB, Enterprise 20.Q1.1)
AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100 (8GB, Enterprise 20.Q1.1)
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (8GB, Adrenaline 20.4.1)
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT (8GB, Adrenaline 20.4.1)
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 (8GB, Quadro 442.92)
NVIDIA Quadro P2200 (5GB, Quadro 442.92)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060S (8GB, Studio 442.92)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (8GB, Studio 442.92)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (8GB, Studio 442.92)
Audio Onboard
Storage AMD: Samsung 480GB SATA SSD
Power Supply Corsair 80 Plus Gold AX1200
Chassis Corsair Carbide 600C Inverted Full-Tower
Cooling NZXT Kraken X62 AIO Liquid Cooler
Et cetera Windows 10 Pro build 18363 (1909)

Our benchmark results are categorized and spread across the following pages. On page 2, we’re taking a look at renderers with the help of Blender and LuxMark. Page 3 is home to our encoding tests, which are handled by Adobe’s Premiere Pro, MAGIX’s Vegas Pro, BRAW Speed Test, and an application we throw into the same pile: Agisoft’s photogrammetry tool, Metashape. Page 4 handles viewport performance across a range of popular suites, and page 5 tackles some simple gaming. The final page will include some power tests along with our final thoughts.

And with all of that covered, let’s get on with it:

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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