Review AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT Review: 7nm RDNA on a Budget

King_V

Distinguished
Interesting - and definitely confusing when trying to judge overall performance, given how it, does better at some games and worse at others compared to Nvidia's cards.

Also, this gave me a bit of a reminder that I've kind of been underestimating the RX 590, though its power draw is just too much for what it does.

Also, on page 4:
The outgoing XFX RX 590 Fat Boy averaged 140W.
and
The XFX RX 590 Fat boy averages 149W. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
The first one is a little hard to tell, given how the 590's plot on the graph swings so wildlyabout, but that number on the second one seems wrong, considering that only once does a plot point for it ever dip below 150W. Eyeballing it, I want to say it's about 190-ish watts?

Overall, though, I'm glad it's at the least trading blows with the 1650 Super, and pleasantly surprised to see it occasionally flirting with 1660 territory. Still, odd in the places where it does fall short, as the 4GB doesn't seem to hurt the 1650 Super the same way.

I'm definitely looking forward to the test results when the 8GB variant is added to the graphs, and thus far, this seems to bode well for the upcoming RX 5600 XT.

And yes, power efficiency has improved significantly, though Nvidia hasn't stood still on this, so, AMD still has a bit of work to do.

Maybe Mini-Me might use his Christmas money from Grandma and Grandpa to go for an RX 5600 XT, when they come out in January, to add to his ChromaTron build, currently in progress.
 

mitch074

Distinguished
I would like the review more if I could get a more direct comparison with my reference RX480 8GB - I bought it almost when it came out and it serves me well, but I don't see myself upgrading for less than a 50% performance increase.
 
I would like the review more if I could get a more direct comparison with my reference RX480 8GB - I bought it almost when it came out and it serves me well, but I don't see myself upgrading for less than a 50% performance increase.
RX480/RX580 (exact same GPU) is about 15% slower than an RX590 (used in this review). Depending on how much you paid for your RX480 and how much of a sale you can find on a GTX1660Ti, that's the 50% improvement for the same $$ step you're asking about. Unfortunately AMD has a gaping hole between the 5500XT and the 5700. Ain't nobody buying Vega 56's.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: TJ Hooker
The 5500XT seems decidedly underwhelming from a pricing standpoint, considering it generally doesn't perform much faster than an RX 580, and that level of performance has been available in the $170-$200 range for quite a while already. Even the RX 480 had nearly this level of performance, and the 4GB variant of that card launched for $199 back in June of 2016. A full 3 1/2 years later, we're only getting somewhere around 10-15% more performance at a slightly lower price, at least for the 4GB version, and at this point you'll probably want the higher VRAM version to keep up with future games.

And compared to Nvidia's current offerings, this brings nothing new to the table. The 4GB 5500XT appears to offer similar performance to a 1650 SUPER at a slightly higher MSRP. And the 8GB version might cope a little better with games that have high VRAM requirements, but at a 25% higher MSRP than the 1650 SUPER. Around that price level, you can snag a faster 1660 for just a little more.

The only notable advantage over AMD's existing sub-$200 lineup would be the reduced power consumption, and in turn heat output, with the new cards being much closer to Nvidia's offerings. Again, that only brings them nearly on-par with what the competition is already offering though, and not providing any real advantage over products already on the market. These cards should have been priced at least $20 lower at launch to differentiate them from existing models. I suspect they didn't do that to give RX 500 series cards a chance to clear out first though, since it sounds like there's still a lot of inventory around. It's also possible that limited 7nm production might have played a role, with them not wanting to make the lower-margin products any more attractive than necessary. Perhaps prices will level down in the coming months though.
 
I'll say that AMDs superior software features are a scale-tipper for me. Wattman and Chill are fantastic and I'd really miss those features if I went Nvidia. Haven't tried the new Performance Boost scaling yet.

On pricing, yes the 5500XT is a bit expensive comparatively. More than likely, prices will quickly correct. Not to forget that AMD is probably having to pass along a "7nm tax" in its products since 7nm is bleeding edge right now and not many fabs even have the capability.
 

King_V

Distinguished
I would be a little surprised if, for no other reason, the holidays drive the prices down some - the 5500 XT, which in turn would create downward pressure on the Polaris cards.

I've been wrong before, though.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Not to forget that AMD is probably having to pass along a "7nm tax" in its products since 7nm is bleeding edge right now and not many fabs even have the capability.
The Navi dies are about half the size of equivalent performance Polaris dies, the "7nm" tax would need to be in the nearly 100% for AMD to need to raise MSRPs to maintain gross margins.

How many fabs "have the capability" does not really matter for bulk clients like AMD, they pay a predetermined cost per wafer for whatever volume they contracted for the duration of that contract and most of those contracts for 2020 got nailed down a long time ago. The companies who may have to pay the big bucks for wafers are smaller customers fighting over whatever capacity is left.

Pretty sure the launch pricing is just a pre-xmas cash grab and prices will come down a fair amount early next year, maybe sooner if enough people pick the 1650S over the 5500XT.
 
AMD’s 4GB Radeon RX 5500 XT is a capable 1080p gamer at $169. But if you need to play at Ultra, memory becomes an issue and you might want to step up to the 8GB model or Nvidia’s GTX 1660.

AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT Review: 7nm RDNA on a Budget : Read more
Current market price of $229 for 8Gigs makes it DOA.

$170 RX590's are common and there's just not enough of a difference to justy $60 price jump.

$195 Maybe. But that's pushing it.
 

King_V

Distinguished
Current market price of $229 for 8Gigs makes it DOA.
I think that was for the XFX Thicc II - which I'm guessing is XFX's premium model. Seems like it, anyway.

$170 RX590's are common and there's just not enough of a difference to justy $60 price jump.
I agree with the second half of that sentence, but not the first. I have seen exactly ONE RX 590 ever to hit $170 . . . maybe once not long ago there was one for $160, but don't hold me to that. But the $170 is a Gigabyte model, though fortunately it's a promo code to get that price rather than a mail-in rebate.

I know to take reviews with a grain of salt, but it doesn't seem to be all that well thought of overall. OTOH, my experience with an R9 285 Gigabyte Windforce OC card was absolutely positive, so there's that.


$195 Maybe. But that's pushing it.
I think the article stated that the 8GB models were going to be $199. I would agree that it's pushing it, as I suspect it's not going to threaten the 1660 Super.
 

TCA_ChinChin

Honorable
Feb 15, 2015
390
92
10,990
29
This launch is kinda confusing at least from what I've seen so far. Some people have called it a disappointment in terms of value, others say that its decent for a lower end offer. I'll wait until holiday season is over before passing any judgement.
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
Some people have called it a disappointment in terms of value, others say that its decent for a lower end offer.
About the same performance as the RX580 for about the same MSRP at launch, definitely not impressive. And then you have the GTX1650S which delivers 90-105% of the performance for 80% of the price, easily the better bang-per-buck option among current-gen lower-end.
 
I expect the prices of these to drift down in the coming months to be more competitive.

That said, I don't think I'll be upgrading to one of these as the value just isn't there coming from an RX 470, which I spent $160 for ages ago. Actually, upgrading at all on my limited budget is proving to be a pain. There just hasn't been a lot of forward momentum in the GPU market. I kind of hoped for a bit better on the price for performance. If the 4GB had launched at $160 and the 8GB at $180 it would have been a much better deal. I'm not terribly interested in the lower power consumption aspect, which at this point is the only draw for anyone running anything between an RX 480 and RX 590. It is a good looking card for anyone running GTX 1050-ish hardware though. Just not the upgrade at the price point I was expecting...
 
2 things happened:
  1. The Crypto craze happened during a generation. Prices went sky high, and when they finally returned to even near launch-day prices, people were elated to buy these 1+ year old cards again for a premium.
  2. Nvidia ran away with the flagship tier. Thereby granting them the power to set the price/performance curve as they wished. They chose to keep the price/performance curve the same and simply offer more performance for more $$. Although AMD competed valiantly with the RX570/RX580, the price curve remains steep.
Yes the RX590 is now a $170 (Gigabyte model currently at that price) to $190 card, but I don't think AMD ever really produced much volume of RX590s. They were a stepping stone at 12nm.

In the end, I have a sneaking suspicion that 7nm Ampere in 2020 from Nvidia is going to put the brakes on any dreams AMD had with these new Navi cards. It's easy to catch up when you're 3/4 of a generation behind and 1 process node ahead of the competition. AMD really needed to be beating Nvidia at this point in the year.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Loadedaxe

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
It is a good looking card for anyone running GTX 1050-ish hardware though. Just not the upgrade at the price point I was expecting...
As someone with a GTX1050-ish card, I was hoping to have more options than the RX580 and GTX1650S with the 5500XT. Didn't happen.

That's fine though, I wasn't planning to upgrade GPU before I upgrade my i5-3470 anyway and I'm not in a hurry to upgrade that either.
 

Loadedaxe

Reputable
Jul 30, 2016
48
1
4,545
2
I would like the review more if I could get a more direct comparison with my reference RX480 8GB - I bought it almost when it came out and it serves me well, but I don't see myself upgrading for less than a 50% performance increase.
Its no better than a RX590 and just a smidge better than the 580.

Definitely not an upgrade from a 480/580.

1660 Super for $10 more or Ti is where you would gain benefits. Unfortunately, those running 480s and 580s do not have a $200 upgrade path that is really worth it.
 

Loadedaxe

Reputable
Jul 30, 2016
48
1
4,545
2
So, this card is overpriced out the gate. the 1660 is $199 and the super is $20 more, AMD is losing in the budget category. This card should be $159 for the 4gb and $179 for the 8gb as you can get 580s for less and they are not far behind.
 
And then you have the GTX1650S which delivers 90-105% of the performance for 80% of the price, easily the better bang-per-buck option among current-gen lower-end.
While I agree that the launch pricing is very mediocre, saying the 1650 SUPER is 80% of the price is a bit of an exaggeration, seeing as the 4GB 5500XT does exist, with an MSRP that's only $10 higher, or about a 6% difference in price. That makes for a better comparison than a card with double the VRAM, or models with hefty coolers that are probably unnecessary for this level of card. Comparing the 4GB model, the price to performance ratio should be a lot closer, even though it's still probably not quite as good.

It feels like AMD decided on their pricing months ago, and didn't bother to adjust it to compete with the 16 SUPER cards. Against the original 1650, which typically performs below an RX 570, a 4GB 5500XT for just $20 more might be considered a relatively decent offering, albeit one that doesn't really improve much over AMD's own RX 500 series. Likewise, the $200 MSRP of the 8GB model might have been a little more tolerable if the original 1660 was still priced upward of $230, but the 1660 SUPER has pushed prices of the original 1660 down, with models starting around the $210 range, and even one that's currently on sale for $190 after rebate at Newegg.

Nvidia ran away with the flagship tier. Thereby granting them the power to set the price/performance curve as they wished. They chose to keep the price/performance curve the same and simply offer more performance for more $$. Although AMD competed valiantly with the RX570/RX580, the price curve remains steep.
That doesn't actually make any sense. : P While Nvidia might have more leeway to set prices for their highest-end models that don't have any direct competition, they don't have any direct control over AMD's pricing. If AMD wanted to undercut Nvidia with their new cards, they could. When the RX 480 4GB came out, the card outperformed Nvidia's GTX 970 at a much lower price point. The rough equivalent to that would be if the 5500XT 8GB outperformed the 1660 Ti. But no, the 1660 Ti is still around 25% faster, and even the 1660 SUPER is around 20% faster. AMD is just offering similar, or slightly worse performance for the money than what's already on the market.

This also doesn't bode well for RX 5600/5600 XT pricing. If those cards perform roughly in between a 5500XT and a 5700, we'll be looking at somewhere around 1660 Ti levels of performance, and probably similar pricing. Again, that brings nothing new to the table, and if someone wanted that level of performance around that price range, they could have had it the better part of a year ago with the 1660 Ti. To make AMD's new generation of cards exciting, the 5500 XT should have launched for around $150, and the 5600 for around $200, at least for the lowest VRAM variants. I can't see AMD gaining any market share with cards that just do the bare minimum to compete with the market leader.

Plus, the widespread use of raytraced lighting effects looms on the horizon, with the next generation of consoles apparently featuring hardware support for them. That makes it all the more questionable to pay more than you have to for a graphics card with limited raytracing support. That goes for Nvidia's existing RTX cards too though, since they don't exactly have enough RT cores to handle the effects all that well, and I suspect they'll be launching a new generation of cards with significantly better raytracing support within the next year.
 
Sep 13, 2019
71
4
35
0
well im not even surprised by how underwhelming this card is for the price they are asking rdna and 7nm tax galore.
 

mitch074

Distinguished
Since the Polaris level of performance is still very satisfactory (and quite a performance sweet spot too), deciding to spin their entry level cards at the same performance point on a smaller process is good, as they don't have to actively support what is now a legacy architecture anymore. Closing the gap on the power/performance ratio is good too.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS