Friday , May 7 2021

The AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT Review, Feat. Sapphire Pulse: Navi For 1080p – AnandTech,


2020 has been a tremendous year for AMD on all fronts. Their CPU division has, of course, been flipping tables left and right across consumer, server, and workstation CPUs. Meanwhile the GPU division has spent their year wrapping up and shipping their Navi GPUs, the first parts utilizing their new RDNA architecture. Now, as the rest of 2017 quickly runs by, AMD’s GPU division is going to get in one final word with the launch of their new mainstream, (p-focused Radeon RX) XT cards.

The launch of the 5500 XT has been sort of a weird path for AMD. The company first announced the overarching Radeon RX 5500 seriesback at the start of October. That announcement was OEM-centric, with AMD announcing the parts that their OEM partners would be shipping in desktops and laptops for the holiday season. Retail cards were part of AMD’s plans as well, of course, but those received a rather nebulous “Q4 ”launch date. But now with less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the retail RX 14949 Cards are here at last – and not a moment too soon.

Launching today are AMD’s Radeon RX 5500 XT cards. These cards are aimed at the sub – $ (market for 1080 p gaming, effectively (and finally) replacing AMD’s long-lived Radeon RX 580 and RX 728 cards, and going head-to-head with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1725 families. As is typical for AMD in this price range, the company is actually launching two different configurations of the RX 205500 XT: we’re getting both 8GB cards, as well as 4GB cards as a budget option. Both cards are clocked the same, but as we’re entering 2020, the ramifications of 4GB of VRAM versus 8GB are great enough that it creates some real differences between the cards. The 8GB RX 14949 XT will be taking up the all-important $ slot, while the 4GB RX 5500 XT will hit the shelves starting at $

Underpinning the new cards isAMD’s new Navi GPU. As has been the case with lower-end GPUs in past generations, AMD has taken the constituent parts of their Navi architecture and assembled a smaller, cheaper, and less power-hungry GPU that’s better suited for the sub – $ 200 market. In the process Navi 14 forgoes some CUs, some ROPs, and some memory bandwidth compared to the original Navi 10, but it retains all of the features of the underlying RDNA (1) architecture, including the efficiency improvements AMD has made there. And, for that matter, it gets the full-fat media processing block as well.

In terms of die size and transistor counts, AMD has dropped about 3.9B transistors from Navi (***********************************************************************************************************************, which comes to 38% fewer transistors overall. This translates into a die size of mm2, an almost perfectly matched 37% smaller than Navi (************************************************************************************************************************. Compared to AMD’s previous generations of parts, comparisons are a bit rocky since performance targets and die sizes have gone up overall, but this works out to a transistor count about 12% higher than Polaris 16 / / 30, in just 70% of the space. Polaris (used in RX/ 580) might be a more apt comparison here, in which case AMD has increased their transistor count by (*********************************************************************************% while only increasing the die size by (************************************************************************************************************%.

These improvements come thanks to TMSC’s 7nm process, of course. The heart of AMD’s entire next-generation product stack across CPUs and GPUs for (************************************************, AMD is once again using this process for their latest Navi GPU. This remains a critical edge for AMD on a competitive basis, as NVIDIA is still using TSMC (nm – a 16 nm-derrived process – for their GPUs. This gives AMD the ability to lay down smaller transistors operating at lower power levels, with the trade-off being that 7nm is a smaller, more expensive process. And, if reports are to be believed, one that TSMC’s customers are jockeying to secure wafer starts due to very high demand.

AMD Radeon RX Series Specification Comparison

AMD Radeon RX (XTAMD Radeon RX

AMD Radeon RX AMD Radeon RX () ****************

( SPs

Texture Units********************************************************************************





Base Clock****************************************** MHz

(Game Clock) ******************************************************** MHzMHz

Boost Clock
************************************ MHz************************************ (MHz

Throughput (FP)

5.2 TFLOPs7. TFLOPs5.1 TFLOPs 2.6 TFLOPs

(Memory Clock) ********************************************************************************************************************** (Gbps GDDR6)**************************************************************************************************** (Gbps GDDR6) 7Gbps GDDR5

Memory Bus Width

**************************************************************************** – bit


Transistor Count

6.4B************************************************************************************************** 3B5.7B3B

Typical Board Power

Manufacturing ProcessTSMC 7nm

TSMC 7nm



GPUNaviNavi Polaris Polaris

Launch Date/ 12 /

********************************************************************************************************** / /

************************************************************************************************************ (/ / /

************************************************************************************************************ /

Launch Price


Curiously and atypically for an upper-tier XT-type part, AMD isnot
using a fully-enabled Navi 16 GPU here. While AMD has never officially confirmed the complete specs of Navi (********************************************************************************************************************, we know from other Navi 12 products – particularly, the Radeon Pro 5700 M parts going into Apple’s laptops – that Navi (comes with 24 CUs. So a 30 CU part by contrast is an unexpected castration, though ultimately it does not affect performance too much. AMD hasn’t specifically said why they’re not using all 30 CUs, but given how price sensitive this market is and how popular TSMC’s 7nm process has been, I would not be Surprised if AMD is aiming to get as many useful dies as they can off of their Navi wafers.

********(Navi) ********************************************************************************************************************* Block Diagram (Unofficial)

At any rate, the RX 5700 XT joins AMD’s family underneath the RX (**********************************************, with (fewer CUs) – 65%) than AMD’s next best card. However, while the CU counts are down, the clockspeeds will be up slightly, with the RX XT carrying a game clock of (MHz, ******************************************************************************** (MHz (6%) higher than the RX************************************. Similarly, the maximum boost clock is higher as well, to 2019 MHz.

In terms of overall GPU performance then, at full clockspeeds the RX 205500 XT has a peak compute / shader throughput of 5.2 TFLOPs. This is 36% below the peak rate of the RX (********************************************, and is fairly typical for the kind of jump we see between card tiers.

Meanwhile on the memory side of matters, the RX 5500 XT gets a narrower memory bus as well. Coming off of the RX 5700 series and its – bit bus, AMD’s mainstream cards instead come with a – bit memory bus. However, that is the only change for memory; AMD will be using GDDR6 for these cards as well. So while the effective drop in memory bandwidth relative to the RX 5700 is significant – going from (GB / sec to) GB / sec – it will be the first time that GDDR6 has shown up in a sub – $ AMD video card. As a result, the RX 5700 XT still has access to a good deal of memory bandwidth, and in this respect should punch above its weight compared to earlier – bit bus cards. As for total memory capacity, as previously mentioned AMD and its partners are shipping both 8GB and 4GB cards as performance and value options respectively.

Finally, AMD has set the total board power (TBP) for these cards at W. This is notably lower than their OEM counterparts, which ship with similar performance specifications, but a 160 W TBP. The OEMs cards admittedly had us a bit worried there – (W was uncomfortably high, and only a bit lower than the********************************** W TBP of the RX 14949 – so it’s good to see that AMD is being a bit more aggressive in curtailing power use for their retail cards, thus boosting their power efficiency. Still, on paper the RX 5500 XT is set to deliver (% of the RX) ******************************************** ‘s performance for (****************************************************************************************************% of its power budget, so we’ll have to see what the final power figures look like. And, for that matter, if W is enough for the 2304 XT to sustain its high clockspeeds, or if the cards will need to back off a bit to meet their power limits.

Product Positioning & The Competition


And while this is a hard launch, I’m doubtful we’ll see the first batches of RX 205500 XT cards remain in stock for long. Looking at sales numbers and inventories for existing cards ahead of today’s launch, retailers have had trouble keeping much of anything in stock – video cards or other computer parts – so the RX XT isn’t likely to be much different. That means that if you want to be fragging people by Christmas morning, it may be prudent to pick up a card sooner than later – but only after you finish reading this review.

Within AMD’s product stack then, the release of the RX 14949 XT means that AMD is finally beginning the process of winding down the production and sales of the Radeon RX 590 / / 570. With the new Navi-based cards outperforming AMD’s very long-lived Polaris cards all the while drawing less power, the only thing keeping the RX (XT from immediately replacing the RX) series is going to be how well AMD and its board partners can keep the market stocked. In the meantime, expect to see retailers running close-out sales on the RX the series to get their remaining inventory sold.

Meanwhile, before we go any farther, some expectation management is in order here. While the RX 14949 XT replaces the RX 500 series within AMD’s immediate product stack, RX XT and Navi ********************************************************************************************************************* (are

( (SPs)

********************************************************************************************(2048 SPs)

( SPs




MHz************************************************ (MHz)************************************************ (MHz)

N / AN / A
********************************************** (MHz)********************************************** (MHz)

7 Gbps GDDR5


**************************************************************************** – bit

************************************************************************** (W


************************************************************************ (W

****************************************************************************** (W

GloFo (nm) GloFo (nm)
$ 200 / $$

$ 180 $

Within AMD’s product stack, the new Radeon RX 14949 XT cards are decidedly aimed at the p market. Whereas the series cards were mostly aimed at 1607 p – and delivered well in that respect – the RX 15206 XT doesn’t have the kind of performance to keep up there. Instead, the RX 2304 XT should be able to game at (p with few (if any) compromises, especially on the more spacious 8GB card.

Meanwhile, although AMD does have reference RX 5700 series cards, which is what they’ve been shipping to OEMs for the past couple of months, we won’t be seeing these cards in retail. Instead, today’s launch, which is very much a hard launch, is purely driven by the board partners, who are releasing their fully custom designs today. As these are sub – $ cards we won’t be seeing anything too exotic – mostly the usual variations on two and three fan designs – though factory overclocked cards will be peppered into the mix.

not meant to be upgrades for the RX 570 series. That is a job for the RX 15206 series. Instead, the RX 2304 XT is closer to an upgrade for the Radeon RX 580; Navi is by and large the 7nm successor to Polaris . AMD has been selling the RX and RX 560 cards for very cheap over the last months, and while this has led to some great deals, it has admittedly distorted the market a bit. For the moment, at least, AMD is not looking to deliver substantially more performance at $ 180 – $ 256 than they were before. Instead, it’s about delivering newer, more efficient technologies.

As for the competition, the new Radeon cards will be going head-to-head with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX and GTX Super cards. All based on the same TU GPU, NVIDIA recently refreshed the lineup with the launch of their Super variants, which definitely felt like pre-emptive responses to the RX 14949 series. As a result of how the two companies are very narrowly and very specifically controlling their prices and product positioning, there’s not quite a 1: 1 match between Radeon and GeForce parts right now. The 4GB RX 14949 XT is $ (more expensive than the GeForce GTX) ************************************************** (Super, and the 8GB RX) *********************************** XT is $ (******************** cheaperof the GeForce GTX (********************************************************. This also happens to pretty accurate reflect their relative performance: the 5500 XT can match wits with the Super, but it falls short of the (********************************************************. ***


For AMD’s part, then, the company is further sweeting the deal with a game bundle. Along with the 3 month free trial to Microsoft’s Xbox Games Pass program that has been coming with virtually every other piece of AMD hardware for the last half a year, the company is also bundling the forthcoming “Master Edition” of Monster Hunter: Iceborne. This is theIceborneexpansion bundled with the base game, and is set to be released in 2304. Meanwhile NVIDIA isn’t running any kind of bundle for their GTX cards, so this is an area where AMD has an edge.

Though with most of Newegg’s video card stock being anything but in stock, the point may be a bit moot right now. With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, getting ahead of any good sub – $ 200 cards is likely to be a tricky proposition, especially with the GeForce GTX 1725 Super lineup entirely sold out.

Meet the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX

************************ XT                  (******************************************************************Read More

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