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

AMD Radeon Pro W5500 Workstation Graphics Card
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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 3 – Encoding: Adobe Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro, BRAW Speed Test & Agisoft Metashape

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2020

Adobe Premiere Pro 2020
Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 - 1080p YouTube CPU Encode (AVC) Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)
Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 - 4K YouTube CPU Encode (AVC) Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

It’s interesting just how often two projects can show starkly different performance results in the same application. Our 1080p project encoded faster on NVIDIA GPUs, to the extent that even the lowest-end NVIDIA card beat out the highest-end AMD. In the 4K test, which uses entirely different assets (all 4K-sourced), most of the GPUs perform the same. That probably means we need a different 4K project to see better scaling, but at least we still have 4K and 8K codec tests to look at:

Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 - 4K60 AVC to 1080p AVC And HEVC Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)
Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 - 8K24 RED to 1080p AVC And HEVC Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)
Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 - 8K24 ProRes 422 to 1080p AVC And HEVC Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

The above results once again highlight the fact that it’s important to understand your workload, since even the codec choice can sway which graphics card comes out ahead. With AVC source, both AVC and HEVC encodes were faster on NVIDIA’s Quadro P2200, versus W5500, but AMD’s Radeon Pro redeemed itself in both the RED and ProRes transcodes.

MAGIX Vegas Pro 17

MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - Median FX Test
MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - AVC (H264) GPU Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)
MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - HEVC (H265) GPU Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

It’s clear from the start that AMD’s graphics cards have some strong optimization in Vegas, with the four high-end Radeons soaring straight to the top. In the HEVC test, even the older Polaris-based cards placed ahead of NVIDIA.

Let’s see how the addition of FX affects things:

MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - LUT FX GPU Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)
MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - Median FX GPU Encode Performance (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

With either the LUT or Median-infused projects, the AMD stack continues to perform extremely well. We’d draw the line at the older Polaris cards, though. With LUT use, the WX 7100 and 4100 both found themselves at the bottom of the pile, while only the 7100 managed to redeem itself in the Median test.

MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - LUT FX GPU Playback Performance (Minimum and Average FPS) (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)
MAGIX Vegas Pro 17 - Median FX GPU Playback Performance (Minimum and Average FPS) (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

This really is the final nail in the coffin. No NVIDIA graphics card managed to hit 60 FPS with LUT in our testing, while all of the AMD cards did. As mentioned in our launch look at VP17, Quadro cards still require you to add the application as a profile in NVIDIA’s Control Panel in order to gain full acceleration.

With the Median playback test, it’s proven that if you want the best possible performance with grueling effects use, AMD’s 5700 series is hard to beat. We’ll make sure the RX 590 and Radeon VII are tested for an upcoming look of general ProViz performance.

Blackmagic RAW Speed Test

Blackmagic RAW Speed Test (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

AMD’s Radeon laid the smack down in Vegas Pro, and NVIDIA has struck back hard with this BRAW test. We’re still planning to introduce real-world DaVinci Resolve tests in the future, but for now, this BRAW speed test tackles a basic, but important performance area.

Agisoft Metashape

Agisoft Metashape
Agisoft Metashape - Depths Maps Generation Time (AMD Radeon Pro W5500)

While depths maps generation is just one part of the photogrammetry recipe, the process is one of the more intensive, and overall, it seems to favor Radeons in Metashape. Both of AMD’s 5700-series cards place at the top, and the RX 5600 XT gaming card places ahead of every other test NVIDIA card – even the Quadro RTX 4000, which is similar in spec to a GeForce RTX 2070.

In the match-up of Quadro P2200 and Radeon Pro W5500, AMD sure does make a strong statement here.

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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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