AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT video card test: Nvidia hunter with RDNA in the blood

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AMD’s new Radeon graphics cards are semi-premiers: despite the fact that the American manufacturer is touting its new RDNA architecture, which supposedly should shake up the «high-performance gaming» area, there are no particularly surprising technical details.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT benchmark: 7nm on PCIe 4.0

The tiny 7nm process technology has been successfully implemented on the Radeon VII. But now support for the PCI Express 4.0 standard and the use of GDDR6 graphics memory instead of HBM2 are added to it. The flagship of the new generation Radeon, the Radeon RX 5700 XT, must face off against the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070. As our measurements show, it succeeds. But the «wow effect» RX 5700 XT does not cause.

The 7nm process and the use of PCIe 4.0 are currently AMD’s forte, because other manufacturers see little reason to go the same way. AMD, on the contrary, is in full swing: the entire new generation of hardware uses PCIe 4.0 — new Ryzen processors, their corresponding motherboards, as well as graphics cards. The big advantage, compared to PCIe 3.0, is double the bandwidth. A noticeable effect, namely high read speed, can be expected when using new M.2-SSD drives. In the field of video cards, the effect will be rather subtle. For this reason, the RX 5700 XT does not require a new motherboard with PCIe 4.0 support. PCIe 3 will suffice.

Vega and Radeon VII graphics cards use HBM2 video memory, while AMD uses GDDR6 in newer Radeon models. Although AMD’s «High Bandwidth Memory» still has some advantages in some cases, its main disadvantage is its high cost. With 8 GB of GDDR6 graphics memory, the Radeon RX 5700 XT remains in familiar areas, as the novelty does not receive the huge 16 GB of HBM2-VRAM, like the Radeon VII. All in all, AMD is pushing the RDNA architecture forward with benefits such as reduced latency, which is important for gaming, as well as improved scalability. AMD does not yet offer an alternative to Nvidia’s real-time ray tracing technologies, but it, apparently, is already taking its place on the launch pad.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT video card test: Nvidia hunter with RDNA in the bloodWith graphic cards Radeon-5700-family company AMD wants to compete with Nvidia

In direct competition with the RTX 2070

In principle, the specifications of the Radeon RX 5700 XT are comparable to those of competitors. The AMD video card has 2560 shaders, unlike the 2304 shaders of the GeForce RTX 2070. It should be understood that shaders from different manufacturers are fundamentally different, so their pure number can only say something when compared with models from the same manufacturer. The default clock speed is 1605MHz (RTX reference without overclocking is 1410MHz), and in Boost mode this increases to 1905MHz (RTX reference: 1620MHz). Right in the middle, at a frequency of 1755 MHz, AMD has defined «game mode», that is, the clock frequency that is set during gaming. In fact, we were only able to reach the maximum frequencies during the test tests for a few seconds, after which the card became too hot, which may be due to its only one fan.

Performance is also noteworthy: in the 3DMark Fire Strike synthetic gaming benchmark, the Radeon graphics card delivered about 19150 points. This is a result comparable to the RTX-2070 models. In other tests, the RX 5700 XT performed well too. In terms of the number of frames displayed per second, AMD and Nvidia are about the same. In particular, the RTX 2070 handles GTA V better, while the RX 5700 XT has the upper hand in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Large deviations are not observed.

Overall, the Radeon RX 5700 XT is well suited for high-definition gaming: even at 1440p or Ultra-HD, a stable speed of 60 frames per second is achieved. Unlike the “exchange of blows” of the Radeon VII and RTX 2080 (to the Zotac model test), the RX 5700 XT can compete with overclocked competitors in its class. Whether this will apply to the forthcoming GeForce RTX 2070 Super remains an open question. Of course, the Radeon RX 5700 XT supports Freesync to dynamically sync the graphics card and monitor. Unlike Nvidia’s G-Sync, which pays licensing fees, the free Freesync is found in many inexpensive monitors. But at the same time, the quality of the implementation of this technology fluctuates due to the lack of proper checks.

RADEON VII VS. RADEON RX 5700XT vs. RTX 2070 (reference)

Radeon VII RX 5700XT RTX 2070
Architecture GCN 5.1 RDNA Turing
Shaders 3.849 2.560 2.304
GPU clock speed 1.400 MHz 1.605 MHz 1.410 MHz
GPU Clock Speed ​​(Overclocking) 1.750 MHz 1.905 MHz 1.620 MHz
Memory bus 4.096Bit 256bit 256bit
Memory 16 Gb HBM2 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6
Rendering bit depth (ROPs) 64 64 64
Texture Mapping Unit (TMUs) 249 160 144
TDP 295W 225W 175W
Process technology 7 nm 7 nm 12 nm

Hot, loud and consuming electricity

Outside of performance, which of course is a significant part of our overall score, the reality looks a lot less rosy. The 7nm process should increase performance per cycle, as well as power per watt spent. But we didn’t notice any drop in power consumption during our tests: under full load, our test system with the Radeon RX 5700 XT pulled a whopping 355 watts from the outlet. At the same time, on average, test systems with cards of the RTX-2070 family consume 315 W, that is, the difference is significant.

Similar results are seen in other areas of testing, with the Radeon graphics card reaching 85 degrees Celsius under full load, about 20 degrees warmer than the RTX 2070. This also has an impact on the duration of operation at peak performance. At the same time, the RX 5700 XT will work about three times louder than the competitor from Nvidia. 6.3 sleep under full load is a really serious noise. We tested AMD’s reference model, so licensed partners like Sapphire and Asus can improve a lot here. The biggest benefit to a graphics card can come from an improved cooling system. The reference model offers a blower fan (turbine) that can cool the GPU independently of the rest of the case cooling. Good airflow and an open heatsink can go a long way.

Since this is an AMD reference model, the Radeon RX 5700 XT does not include any accessories such as an adapter or cables. But they do not have a significant impact on the assessment. Even RGB lighting and other toys are missing. Three DisplayPorts and one HDMI output are available as interfaces. The length of the Blover-video card with its 26.7 cm is quite moderate. After the laconic white styling of the Radeon VII, AMD gives the RX 5700 XT an industrial gray design with a “kink” – well, at least it looks more advantageous.

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT video card test: Nvidia hunter with RDNA in the bloodThe appearance is noticeably different: the Radeon RX 5700 XT has a “dent”

No miracles for value for money

On the performance front, AMD, with its Radeon RX 5700 XT, can hold its own against Nvidia. At the same time, AMD wants to attract even better prices. The new graphics card is available for about 310$. This allows AMD to position its RX 5700 XT as significantly more attractive in terms of cost compared to all RTX-2070 models. Some Nvidia variants are currently selling for $32,000, but the average price is still significantly higher. Instead, Nvidia, with its RTX 2070 Super model, provides a new wave of pressure on competitors. Basically, the Radeon RX 5700 XT is a good choice and offers superior performance at an enticing price. At the same time, AMD, although it does not achieve a final «victory» on the graphics card front, shows itself to be something more than an expert in the field of price / quality ratio.

Product Conclusion

Based on the test results, we recognize the Radeon RX 5700 XT as a good option. AMD is positioning this graphics card as a competitor to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070, and the new Radeon family may well succeed in this fight. The performance here is good for gaming at both 1440p and UHD resolutions. In addition, AMD is now targeting all of its next-generation hardware to work with the «future-ready» PCI Express 4.0 standard. For this, the Blower-cooling system of our own design was modified. At the same time, AMD is not doing something extraordinary to stand out from the background of Nvidia.

Advantages

gaming in 1440p and Ultra-HD
PCI Express 4.0 support.

Flaws

high energy consumption
loud operating noise
gets very hot.

Alternative:

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT video card test: Nvidia hunter with RDNA in the bloodZotac GeForce RTX 2070 AMP! Extreme Edition, 8192 MB GDDR6 (ZT-T20700B-10P)

The Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 AMP Extreme 8GB GDDR6 is an excellent high resolution graphics card at a compromise price. It sits between the old GTX 1080 and the new RTX 2080 in terms of performance, handles UHD gaming, and offers real-time ray tracing. Cooling during test tests proved to be efficient and quiet, factory overclocking is as much as 240 MHz. The RTX 2070 AMP Extreme can currently be found for under $40,000.

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