by Rob Williams on February 4, 2020 in Graphics & Displays
AMD’s latest gaming GPU to join its Radeon Navi family is the RX 5600 XT. With its price-point, and 6GB framebuffer, the RX 5600 XT takes NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060 head-on. We’re taking a look at the card with both its reference BIOS, as well as its performance-boosting BIOS, which will bump both the GPU and memory clocks.
It’s a little difficult to draw conclusions for AMD’s Radeon RX 5600 XT. The BIOS confusion hasn’t helped matters at all, and we feel that there is still a lot of confusion lingering. We were provided the clock-boosting BIOS ahead of embargo, which we assumed meant the old data could be trashed. Instead, that old data is more relevant than that from the updated BIOS.
Despite the fact that the Sapphire Pulse we used for our testing supports the boosted clocks, including 14Gbps memory, the card is still listed as 12Gbps at sites like Amazon. We assume that this is because the specs can’t be claimed to be higher when they’re not, out-of-the-box. We foresee many buying this card, not even realizing that a simple BIOS flash would increase their performance by ~10%.
The obvious match-up throughout this article has been between the RX 5600 XT and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060. Depending on whether you’re using the reference or updated BIOS, the 5600 XT will slot into performance charts differently. With reference clocks, the RX 5600 XT only surpassed RTX 2060 performance in one of our eight games. With the upgraded BIOS, that becomes six of eight. It could be said that the BIOS update was a counter to NVIDIA dropping the price of the RTX 2060, but leaving whether the update should be rolled out or not, up to the AIBs.
Over at Amazon once again, the RTX 2060 can be had for as low as $320, which means a $30 premium over this particular Sapphire card. Considering the BIOS upgrade puts it ahead in gaming more often than not, that gives the RX 5600 XT a good impression of value. That said, we cannot even guarantee that your RX 5600 XT will have those updated clocks, so we don’t entirely feel safe summing up a single card that has two completely different performance profiles.
If you can find a 14Gbps-capable RX 5600 XT for less than the RTX 2060, then it’s a great value. NVIDIA-exclusive perks you’d be missing out on include anything that uses the Tensor and RT cores, either in gaming or creative use. We didn’t test power or temperatures this go-around, but the RX 5600 XT didn’t strike us as particularly loud. We can’t really say the same thing about the RX 5700/XT.
Overall, the RX 5600 XT is a solid release, and priced right. That “priced right” turns into a great value if a faster BIOS can be upgraded to. Buying a specific model GPU shouldn’t be this challenging, but with the RX 5600 XT, it is. If you want one, keep your eyes peeled for the faster models.