The next NAVI-10 GPU is here from AMD in the form of the RX 5600 XT. AMD has been on quite a roll with their CPU and GPU releases as of late. They continue to release solid hardware with good performance. Driver stability has improved with the latest version of Adrenalin 2020 and continues to improve. The sample I received is the XFX RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro Boost. There won’t be a reference card directly from AMD for the RX 5600 XT. Cards will only be available from board partners. The RX 5600 XT is launched at $279 market and according to AMD is designed to chew through 1080p games at the highest in-game settings while still maintaining a playable frame rate. According to the research AMD has done at the market where this card is specifically targeted, AMD chose to use 6 GB of RAM vs. 8 GB. Specification wise, the RX 5600 XT is really close to the RX 5700 with the RX 5700 having higher clocks and 2 GB more RAM.
|Radeon RX 5600 XT|
|Manufacturing Process||7 nm|
|Transistor Count||10.3 billion|
|Die Size||251 mm2|
|Game GPU Clock||1375 MHz (Up to 1560 MHz – – New BIOS)|
|Boost GPU Clock||Up to 1560 MHz (Up to 1620 MHz – New BIOS)|
|Peak SP Performance||Up to 7.19 TFLOPS|
|Peak Half Precision Performance||Up to 14.4 TFLOPS|
|Peak Texture Fill-Rate||Up to 99.8 GP/s|
|Memory||6 GB GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||288 GB/s|
|Board Power||150 W|
AMD is launching the Radeon RX 5600 XT with the aim of filling the gap in the 1080p market. The Radeon RX 5500 XT was geared towards 1080p gamers playing at low, medium, and sometimes high image quality settings. The Radeon RX 5600 XT is aimed at gamers playing at 1080p but want to max out the image quality.
The Radeon RX 5600 XT sports 36 compute units and 2304 stream processors. The GPU has 6 GB of RAM onboard running at 12 GB/s. If these specifications look a bit familiar, then you’ll be remembering the RX 5700. The RX 5600 and RX 5700 both have the same amount of compute units and stream processors. The RX 5600 XT is limited by 2 GB less RAM onboard, memory interface is reduced to 192-bit, and board power of 150 watts.
AMD has been chasing power efficiency as well. Compared to the previous generation RX 500 series, the NAVI GPUs offer more power per watt. In this case, AMD claims a 2.1x increase in performance per watt.
AMD has been targeting the 1080p and 1440p markets with the NAVI GPUs released to this point. The RX 5700/5700XT is geared towards players with resolutions at 1440p and higher. The 5500XT/5600XT series is geared towards 1080p with the RX 5600 XT pushing higher framerates with high and max image quality.
Much to my personal disappointment, a reference card from AMD will not be released. AMD is relying on board partners for the RX 5600 XT. Major brands have launched one if not many variations of the Radeon RX 5600 XT. The model we received for review is the XFX version.
A Closer Look at the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT
At the time of review, retail packaging is not available for our specific card.
The review sample I received is the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro Boost. This card features two 90mm fans in the shroud. The shroud is made from ABS plastic and has the XFX logo embossed on one end.
The backside of the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT is a combo of plastic and metal. I’m happy to see that XFX used a metal backplate. During testing the backplate does get quite warm. The end of the card is capped by a piece of ABS plastic that has a similar look and feel to the shroud on the front.
Both parts to the top and bottom of the card come together and create a slot where the heatsink is exposed. Cooling this card exhausts hot air into the case.
At the very end of the card, you can see the copper heat pipes that run through the aluminum heatsink under the fans.
As far as I/O on the Radeon RX 5600 XT, there are three Display Ports and one HDMI.
A single 8-pin PCIe power connector is all that is needed to run the RX 5600 XT. The GPU is rated at 150 watts. Take note fo the switch in this picture to the left of the power connector. This switch allows you to switch between a performance profile and a quiet profile.
Eight screws need to be removed for the cooler to be removed from the PCB.
The 6 GB of RAM on the GPU is provided by Micron. More specifically, the D9WCW 9WA77 translates to MT61K256M32JE-14. These specific modules are slated to run at 14 GB/s.
Voltage regulation is provided an ON Semiconductor NCP 81022 controller and uses ON Semiconductor 30245 integrated MOSFET and driver packages. The ON 30245 contains the driver, high-side and, low-side MOSFETs in one package. This NCP81022 is a dual output 4 phase plus 1.
Hidden under the heatsink (along with the RAM and voltage regulation circuits, is the GPU. The RX 5600 XT is a NAVI GPU and shares the same architecture as its older siblings. When compared to the 5700, the RX 5600 XT has the same amount of stream processors (2304) and ROPs.
The heatsink keeps the Radeon RX 5600 XT cool under pressure. The all copper cold plate is directly attached to the copper heat pipes that run through the aluminum heatsink. The GPU is directly cooled by the copper plate as is the memory. VRM is cooled by an additional plate at the rear of the cooler. Both the memory and VRM use thermal pads as the interface between them and the cooler.
Test System and Synthetic Benchmarks
||Product Name||Provided By|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700KF (Retail)|
|Motherboard||Aorus Z390 Pro||Gigabyte|
|Memory||G.Skill SniperX 2x8GB @ 3400MHz 16-16-16-36 (XMP)||G.Skill|
|Drive||Samsung 240 EVO 256GB SSD, Crucial MX500 1 TB SATA III SSD||Samsung/Crucial|
|Video Cards||Gigabyte Radeon RX 5500 XT, AMD Radeon RX5700 (reference), Aorus RX 580 8G, EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO, EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC,||XFX/AMD/ Aorus/Nvidia/EVGA|
|Monitor||BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR Gaming Monitor 3840×2160 @ 60 Hz|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1500W||Cooler Master|
|Operating System||Windows 10 1909 x64 Pro with latest patches and updates|
There are many ways to benchmark GPUs. With these benchmarks our goal is to do two things: first to show the performance of the card and secondly to make them easy to replicate. With a similarly configured system, you should be able to get similar results to compare your current graphics card against. There will always be a variance from system to system. All games for this review are tested with the HIGHEST IN-GAME PRESET with VSync and Frame Limiters turned off unless otherwise specified. A fresh build of 1909 and all drivers and games were installed. No changes were made from the defaults in the BIOS, Windows 10 operating system, or provided manufactures software.
Game frame rates are averaged from the results of 3 benchmark runs at each resolution.
NOTE – We are currently in the process of changing the games we test with. As we go, there will be more GPUs added and sorted in the charts.
At the 11th hour, AMD released a new BIOS that further unlocked the performance of the GPU. However, XFX didn’t release the BIOS update until 6 am on January 21st. I attempted it install the new BIOS and was presented with errors, etc. Eventually, I was able to get the provided BIOS installed however, again it was wrong. The BIOS that was provided was for the XFX THICC III version of the RX 5600 XT. While that specific version of the BIOS worked, it pushed the clock speeds high enough that temperatures were reaching 90°C. All the BIOS versions were eventually sorted out and the GPU was retested.
3DMark Firestrike from Futuremark is a Semi-synthetic DirectX11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. Firestrike performs advanced geometry, illumination and particle tests with its Graphics benchmark and performs physics simulations using the CPU. Firestrike Ultra Kicks it up a notch and ratchets up the resolution to 4K and turns the quality up a bit.
In Firestrike, the RX5600 XT does well against the RTX 2060 KO. The new vBIOS unlocks a bit more performance with an overall score of 5198 and a graphics score of 5290.
Timespy extreme shows the RX 5600 XT lagging a bit behind the RTX 2060 KO with a graphics score of 3119 compared to the RTX’s score of 3493. The new BIOS unlocks a bit more performance and brings the graphics score up a bit from the original score of 3024.
All GPUs beat the 109 target frame rate in the Orange room VR Test. The new BIOS update allows the 5600 XT to exceed the 234.17 FPS the RTX 2060 KO scored.
Cyan room is tougher on the GPUs than Orange room. The RTX 2060 paces the RX 5600 with a frame rate of 170 to 158.
Blue room is the toughest test in the VR Mark suite. 10 frames per second separate the RX 5600 XT and its direct competitor the RTX 2060 KO.
RX 5600 Gaming Tests
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is an action role-playing video game developed by Ubisoft Quebec and published by Ubisoft. It is the 11th major installment, and 21st overall, in the Assassin’s Creed series and the successor to 2017’s Assassin’s Creed Origins. Set in the year 431 BC, the plot tells a fictional history of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Players control a male or female mercenary who fights for both sides as they attempt to unite their family.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a new game in our benchmark suite. The Radeon RX 5600 XT with the old BIOS attains an average framerate of 104 FPS at ultra settings. The updated BIOS yields a slightly better result at 104 FPS and the RTX 2060 tops out at 109 FPS.
Borderlands 3 is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to 2012’s Borderlands 2, and the fourth main entry in the Borderlands series. Borderlands 3 was released on 13 September 2019 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and on 30 October 2019 for Apple macOS.
Borderlands 3 is another one of our new titles. The updated BIOS gives the RX 5600 XT a significant jump over the “stock” BIOS. This leads to an increase of 10 frames per second to an average of 71 fps in the game and pushed it just past the RTX 2060 KO’s average frame rate of 63.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an action role-playing video game developed by Eidos Montréal and published worldwide by Square Enix in August 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Versions for Linux and macOS systems were released in 2016 and 2017, respectively. It is the fourth game in the Deus Ex series, and a sequel to the 2011 game Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The gameplay—combining first-person shooter, stealth and role-playing elements—features exploration and combat in environments connected to the main hub of Prague and quests which grant experience and allow customization of the main character’s abilities with Praxis Kits.
In Deus Ex mankind divided, the RX 5600 XT and RTX 2060 KO are for all intents and purposes, tied. With the “stock” BIOS both cards average 72 FPS. With the new BIOS that jumps up 2 frames per second but still falls within the margin of error for testing purposes.
Far Cry New Dawn is a 2019 first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. The game is a spin-off of the Far Cry series and a narrative sequel to Far Cry 5. As a result, it features many pre-existing gameplay elements from the series, including a large open world, capturing outposts, and AI or co-op companions; but also introduces several elements from RPG gameplay, including an upgradeable home base and increased reliance of crafting from limited supplies.
Farcry New Dawn shows that the RTX 2060 has a slight lead in this AMD optimized title. The RTX 2060 slugs out a 109 average FPS with the RX 5600 XT slightly behind at 103. For me, this is essentially a tie as the difference in frames per second falls within the margin of error.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is a tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by Ubisoft. It was released worldwide on March 7, 2017, as the tenth installment in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise and is the first game in the Ghost Recon series to feature an open world environment. The game moves away from the futuristic setting introduced in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and instead features a setting similar to the original Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon with the game world including a wide variety of environments such as mountains, forests, deserts, and salt flats.
In Ghost Recon Wildlands we don’t see much of a performance improvement when we moved from the BIOS the GPU shipped with to the new BIOS. When comparing the RTX and RX cards, we see the RTX card takes a slight lead at 62 frames per second average and the RX 5600 XT with 59 frames per second average.
Hitman 2 is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It is the seventh major installment in the Hitman video game series and is the sequel to the 2016 game Hitman. The game was released on 13 November 2018 and was met with generally positive reviews, with critics considering it to be an improvement over its predecessor.
Hitman 2 shows the RTX 2060 KO can put some distance between the it and the RX 5600 XT. The RX 5600 XT averages 111 FPS after the BIOS upgrade and the RTX 2060 KO averages 121 matching the RX 5700.
Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter video game with survival horror and stealth elements. Set in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the former Russian Federation, the player must cope with the new hazards and engage in combat against mutated creatures as well as hostile humans. It is the third installment in the Metro video game series based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels, following the events of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light.
Metro Exodus was tested with the ULTRA preset and Hairworks turned off. RTX/DLSS was not used for the RTX 2060 testing. In Metro Exodus, we essentially have another tie. 1 frame per second separates the RX 5600 XT and the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Eidos Montréal in conjunction with Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It continues the narrative from the 2013 game Tomb Raider and its sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider.
The RTX 2060 pulls 10 frames per second lead over the RX 5600 XT in Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 102 FPS vs. 92.
Strange Brigade is a third-person shooter with a huge emphasis on cooperative gameplay. In the game, the player assumes the role of an adventurer in the 1930s and can team up with three other players to fight against different mythological enemies like mummies, giant scorpions, and minotaurs. The game’s four playable characters, who can be customized, have different weapons and abilities. Players have a large arsenal of weapons at their disposal. Each weapon has several upgrade slots, which can be used to enhance combat efficiency. Players can switch and upgrade their weapons at the workbenches found in a level. They can also activate different traps, such as spinning blades and spikes, to kill enemies.
With Strange Brigade, I tested in both DX 12 and Vulkan APIs. In both tests, the RX 5600 XT wasn’t able to keep pace with the EVGA RTX 2060 KO and the gap widened even further when we switched to the Vulkan API. The RX 5600 XT averaged 119 FPS compared to the 131 FPS of the 2060 KO in DX12 and 123 FPS compared to 146 in the Vulkan API.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a first-person shooter developed by MachineGames and Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks as a spin-off of the Wolfenstein series, The player assumes control of either Jessie or Zofia Blazkowicz from a first-person perspective; an optional cooperative multiplayer mode is included. Players can complete the game with another player or with an artificial intelligence substitute. Missions can be completed in a non-linear order, and players can unlock new gear and abilities as they progress in the game.
Wolfenstein Young Blood shows the RX 5600 XT lag behind the EVGA RTX 2060 KO by a good margin and in fact, the RTX 2060 KO matches the RX 5700 however, we’re starting to see a bit of CPU bottleneck here. The RX 5600 XT scores 134 FPS with the new BIOS installed. This is a significant uptick in performance over the stock BIOS at 118 frames per second.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a Western-themed action-adventure game. Played from a first or third-person perspective, the game is set in an open-world environment featuring a fictionalized version of the Western, Midwestern and Southern United States in 1899, during the latter half of the Wild West era and the turn of the twentieth century. For most of the game, the player controls outlaw Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang, as he completes numerous missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story; from the game’s epilogue, the player controls John Marston. Outside of missions, the player may freely roam its interactive world.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested in both DX12 and Vulkan. Since the frame rates are so close, once again I suspect CPU bottlenecking is happening. With that, in DX 12, the RX 5600 XT and the RTX 2060 essentially tie with 54 and 56 FPS and Vulkan, there is a bit more of a gap at 51 FPS for the RX 5600 and 58 FPS for the 2060 KO.
Overclocking & BIOS update
Originally the RX 5600 shipped with a BIOS that limited the GPU to 150 watts. After the announcement and release of the RTX 2060 KO card, AMD released a new BIOS update that upped the allowed power to 160 watts and bumped the clock speeds from 1375 MHz to 1560 MHz on the game clock and 1560 MHz to 1620 MHz on the boost clock. Higer power limit equals more performance, or so that’s the idea.
Here’s the GPUz report with the new BIOS installed. You can see the base clock is reported at 1560 with the boost clock reporting at 1620.
I ran a loop of the Superposition benchmark to get the next bit of results.
You can see the BIOS that the card shipped with maxed out at 1599 MHz with an average reported by GPUz of 1540 MHz (I forgot to capture the avg. screenshot before the BIOS update) and the new BIOS averaged 1654 MHz in the loop. The max edge and hot spot temperatures didn’t change that much between the two BIOS versions.
Overclocking yielded some really good numbers. On the original BIOS, I was able to push the card to 1660 MHz max with an average of 1620 MHz on the GPU and push the memory to 1600 MHz. On the new BIOS, I was able to get an average clock speed of 1731 MHz with a max hitting 1770 MHz on the GPU and the memory punched up a little higher to 1640 MHz. Fan speeds were a little higher as well at 1561 RPM (old BOIS) and 2159 RPM (new BIOS) at similar temperatures. However, even at 1640 MHz on the memory side of the XFX GPU, it’s still shy of the 1750 MHz that’s required to hit the 14 GB/s specification published.
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
In the press briefing, AMD said (in not so many words) the graphics market is confusing. Well, it is. Currently, there are so many cards on both sides that are close to performance to each other. It is no wonder that it is confusing. Both AMD and Nvidia have been “one-upping” each other since last summer and the release of the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT. Thus adding to the confusion. This is going to sound a little counterintuitive but in my opinion, this is exciting. Confusing but exciting nonetheless. Why? Because of competition. AMD really having GPUs that perform in line with Nvidia’s cards at a price is great for us. When is the last time you can remember Nvidia and AMD going after each other? It has been a while.
Throwing a monkey wrench into the works for AMD is Nvidia (again, not a bad thing). When AMD announced their RX 5600 XT, Nivida announced the GeForce RTX 2060 KO. What is the RTX 2060 KO? It is an RTX 2060 sitting at $299 as a direct competitor to the RX 5600 XT. A full review of the 2060 KO is coming soon.
On paper, the major differences between the RX 5600 XT and the RX 5700 are the memory bus, memory amount, and allowed power draw. AMD is going after the 1080p market and why not? According to the Steam hardware survey, that is the resolution most gamers choose. It’s a smart business move to get as many cards as you can into that market segment. AMD is pushing the RX 5600 XT towards those gamers that play at high and ultra graphics quality at 1080p.
In terms of performance, the Radeon RX 5600 XT lags a bit behind the EVGA RTX 2060 KO with the stock BIOS installed. Since the BIOS release was an 11th hour sort of thing, current cards on the shelves at retailers won’t have the new BIOS and suffer a performance penalty because of it. After the new BIOS, performance is pretty much tied with the 2060 KO with only a couple of games really being the outliers in terms of a performance advantage to the 2060 GPU. For me, it is really nice to see AMD and Nvidia trading blows back and forth and it is about dang time. If this is what they’re doing with the sub-$300 markets, I’m excited to see what they will be doing in the high end.
Pricing between the Radeon RX 5600 XT, GeForce RTX 2060 KO is really close. The launch price of the Radeon RX 5600 XT is $279 and the RTX 2060 KO is $299. At the time of the review, the RTX 2060 KO is currently out of stock. What you can buy right at the time of this review is the RTX 2060 KO Ultra which retails for $319. Based on the performance from XFX as a company in the past, I think the review sample that I received may be the lowest performer out of the bunch. This specific card wouldn’t run the memory at the specification published by XFX. The maximum performance that I could get from the memory was 1640 MHz which equates to 13.2 GB/s. I’m less inclined to doubt the RX 5600 XT line as a whole and more inclined to blame this specific card. More testing with GPUs from other AIBs is needed.
Still, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is a good performing card at Ultra and high settings with the new BIOS installed. I figured it would be a little further away from the 5700. At the last minute, a new vBIOS was released for the 5600 XT. This ups the power limit from 150 watts to 160 watts allowing the card to clock higher. Overclocking the
AMD is trying to fill a gap in the 1080p market. The RX 5600 XT was originally aimed squarely at the GTX 1660 cards from Nvidia. However, Nivida had other plans and tossed the RTX 2060 KO in the mix. This facilitated the BIOS update that was delivered late in the review process. AMD’s Navi GPUs still continue to impress me and this time the pricing is even better. If you’re looking at maximizing the image quality at 1080p gaming you have really good choices from either side of the Red/Green line.