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.
With 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)
|GPU clock speed
|GPU Clock Speed (Overclocking)
|16 Gb HBM2
|Rendering bit depth (ROPs)
|Texture Mapping Unit (TMUs)
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.