Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT review: Punching above its class

With the release of the $279 Radeon RX 5600 XT, AMD’s completing off the mainstream push for its state of the art “Navi” structure by way of aiming for PC gaming’s candy spot, the no-compromises 1080p area lately ruled by way of Nvidia’s trio of GeForce GTX 1660 graphics playing cards. It greater than will get the task completed—particularly when you get the appropriate overclocked style, provided with a supercharged BIOS.

Sure, the Radeon RX 5600 XT can also be a lot sooner than AMD at the start claimed, however you wish to have to leap via some hoops to reach the ones speeds when you’re an early purchaser, including a regrettable layer of bewilderment.

Within the default configuration introduced at CES 2020, the cardboard does a forged task of matching up with Nvidia’s identically priced $279 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. It’s excellent! However mere days prior to the cardboard’s release, AMD despatched us a brand new BIOS for the customized $289 Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT on our take a look at bench. This BIOS driven the facility limits to new ranges, which allowed Sapphire to crank up the overclock at the GPU and the already blazing-fast GDDR6 reminiscence. 

Discuss an improve! With the ones unlocked features, the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT shifted from a forged GTX 1660 Ti choice to a full-on rival for the $350 GeForce RTX 2060—and AMD’s personal $350 Radeon RX 5700. AMD says make a selection different fashions will obtain the turbocharged BIOS as neatly. 

“Jebaited,” spherical two, or a reaction to a couple GeForce RTX 2060 fashions shedding to $300 within the days forward of the Radeon RX 5600 XT’s release? Giddy-up both means.

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT: Specifications, options, worth

Let’s kick issues off by way of taking a look on the Radeon RX 5600 XT’s introduced configuration, which stays AMD’s really useful reference design specifications.

radeon rx 5600 xt specs AMD

Right here’s how we described the design in our authentic protection:

“The Radeon RX 5600 XT is basically a down-clocked model of the $350 Radeon RX 5700 with a discounted reminiscence configuration. Its 36 compute gadgets pack the similar 2,304 movement processor rely, however clocked a lot decrease, at 1375 recreation and 1560 spice up clocks. Via comparability, the reference Radeon RX 5700 hit 1,625MHz recreation clocks (the everyday clock speeds you’ll be able to be expecting to peer whilst gaming).

And whilst the pricier RX 5700-series stored their GPUs fed with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM over a 256-bit reminiscence bus, the brand new Radeon RX 5600 XT sticks to 6GB of 12Mbps GDDR6 reminiscence over a 192-bit bus. Don’t scoff, even though: Transferring to sooner GDDR6 reminiscence provides the Radeon RX 5600 XT an total reminiscence bandwidth of 288GBps, whilst the older Radeon RX 590’s GDDR5 RAM simplest hit 256GBps total bandwidth in spite of the use of a much wider 256-bit bus and a bigger 8GB capability.”

The Radeon RX 5600 XT may even reinforce the fashionable options not unusual to all “Navi” GPUs, equivalent to PCIe reinforce, hugely greater energy potency, and the newest show and media engines. AMD’s new card additionally helps all of the fancy options enabled by way of Radeon Device Adrenalin 2020 Version, equivalent to Radeon Spice up, Radeon Symbol Polishing, and Radeon Anti-Lag. They’re all excellent stuff.

radeon rx 5600 xt specs AMD

Reference specifications for the RX 5600 XT.

There can be no reference version of the RX 5600 XT. As a substitute, all of the playing cards on retailer cabinets from January 21 onward can be customized designs by way of AMD’s board companions. Be expecting maximum to keep on with a unmarried Eight-pin supplementary energy connection.

Out of the field, the Sapphire Pulse provided for evaluation caught to AMD’s 150-watt most energy allotment, which allowed the corporate to push the sport clock as much as 1,560MHz—already a just about 200MHz spice up over the reference spec. That allowed it to check up neatly in opposition to a closely overclocked Asus ROG Strix model of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, as you’ll see in our benchmarks.

Then AMD despatched us the brand new BIOS.

Radeon RX 5600 XT unlocked and unleashed

Whilst the Radeon RX 5600 XT includes a other reminiscence configuration, needless to say it’s rocking the similar core GPU configuration as its larger sibling, the Radeon RX 5700, however with decreased energy and clock limits. The brand new BIOS closes the space.

The quicker BIOS for the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT united states of americathe general board energy from 150W to 160W. That permit Sapphire crank the cardboard’s Recreation Clock to at least one,615MHz and spice up GDDR6 reminiscence speeds from 12Mbps to 14Mbps. It’s a really extensive improve, and person who’s stunning to peer enabled, as with it, the $289 Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT comes damned just about the $350 Radeon RX 5700’s functionality in different video games.

sapphire pulse radeon rx 5600 xt 6 Brad Chacos/IDG

Now for the unhealthy information. This appears to be a last-minute addition. It got here overdue within the checking out cycle, and if you are going to buy one of the most first wave of playing cards on retailer cabinets, it’ll come provided with the slower BIOS. You’ll be capable of snag the brand new BIOS without spending a dime straight away: “Sapphire can be offering the brand new VBIOS, detailed directions, and the software to its web site for customers to make the trade themselves come January 21,” an AMD consultant instructed me. “Transferring ahead, all new manufacturing gadgets will characteristic the brand new VBIOS.”

If you are going to buy the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT on day one, take a look at its stats in GPU-Z or some other hardware-checking instrument. The slower authentic BIOS will display a 1355 GPU clock and 1,620MHz spice up clock, whilst the upgraded BIOS displays a 1420 GPU clock and 1,750MHz spice up clock. When you have the slower model, make sure to discuss with Sapphire’s product web page for the cardboard to select up the quicker firmware. It will have to be to be had day one and takes mere mins to put in the use of the ATI Flash instrument. Sapphire’s documentation will have to stroll you in the course of the procedure.

It’s irritating having to improve your BIOS out of the field for perfect functionality, and you’ve got to know that you simply will have to pass in search of the BIOS to get it, however the upgraded firmware makes a large distinction.

It sounds just like the Pulse gained’t be the one card receiving the improve, both. Once we requested whether or not this BIOS can be distinctive to Sapphire, we have been instructed the next:

“In response to ongoing checking out with AMD board companions, we now have raised the GPU core and reminiscence frequencies for overclocked Radeon RX 5600 XT SKUs to make the most of greater thermal and electric headroom constructed into spouse’s customized designs. The up to date VBIOS has been made to be had to our board companions for inclusion in make a selection OC SKUs at release. AMD is devoted to disrupting the marketplace with industry-leading compute merchandise, and the brand new VBIOS makes the Radeon RX 5600 XT an much more robust contender for high-performance 1080p gaming. In the past introduced product specifications are unchanged, as they continue to be AMD’s really useful reference design specifications.”

Meet the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT

Sapphire is also most famed for its killer enthusiast-class Nitro+ graphics playing cards, however the corporate’s value-oriented Pulse line has carved out a pleasant area of interest for itself, too. As we’ve already noticed within the Radeon RX 5500 XT and 5700 variants, Pulse-series graphics playing cards supply some welcome additional options for a trifling $10 upcharge.

sapphire pulse radeon rx 5600 xt 8 Brad Chacos/IDG

The $289 Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT isn’t any exception. Like its cousins, the cardboard provides a groovy, quiet dual-axial cooler design, accented by way of an illuminated Sapphire emblem and a fetching steel backplate. Backplates are uncommon in graphics playing cards that stick just about MSRP pricing.

Much more uncommon? A dual-BIOS transfer—however the Sapphire Pulse has a kind of, too. The default “Efficiency” BIOS makes use of the configuration described above, however a secondary “Silent” BIOS makes a speciality of advanced acoustics and temperatures by way of sacrificing some functionality. It runs at 135W, with slower GPU and reminiscence speeds. Be expecting functionality nearer to reference ranges with it enabled.

The cardboard additionally comprises an idle fan forestall characteristic, so it’s silent while you’re now not actively gaming.

Sapphire geared up the Pulse with a unmarried Eight-pin energy connector, a trio of DisplayPorts, and a unmarried HDMI connection. You’ll want an adapter (or higher but, a brand new track) if you wish to have a DVI or VGA connection. Like any fashionable Radeon GPUs, the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT works routinely with FreeSync-compatible presentations to allow buttery-smooth, tearing-free gaming with out a bother.

sapphire pulse radeon rx 5600 xt 9 Brad Chacos/IDG

The best trick up Sapphire’s sleeve within the Navi technology is its remarkable Trixx Spice up characteristic, activated by means of the corporate’s non-compulsory Trixx tool. Trixx Spice up pairs a rather downscaled solution tweak with AMD’s excellent Radeon Symbol Polishing era to reach sooner functionality with little too no visible downgrade, relying on how aggressively you decide to downscale the picture. We didn’t have time to check the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT with Trixx Spice up enabled—checking out each the unique and new BIOS took numerous time—however we extremely counsel giving it a whirl. Sapphire’s era gained “Highest innovation” in our Complete Nerd Podcast’s 2019 awards for a reason why.

Take a look at our Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5700 evaluation for a complete walkthrough of the characteristic, and our Pulse RX 500 XT evaluation to peer our studies the use of Trixx Spice up at 1080p, the solution that the Radeon RX 5600 XT was once designed for.

Subsequent web page: Our take a look at device, functionality benchmarks start

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