The Dramatic RX 5600 XT (and Minor GPU Updates)

RX 5600 XT

After many rumours and much debate, the RX 5600 XT has been released. Originally slated to be a GTX 1660 “killer”, AMD re-positioned this card to compete with the RTX 2060.

From the reviews, you can see that it competes well with the 2060, beating it by a tiny margin. The 5600 XT is a $280 card, and the 2060 was a $350 card, so a victory is neat! More than just having high performance and a good price, though—this new card also uses little power, runs cool, and runs quiet. When you check all the main boxes, you have a winner!

But is it all sunshine and rainbows?

Note: The megathread linked in the sources below is on the AMD subreddit, which is likely to be a bit more pro-AMD than other communities.

RX 5600 XT Launch Issues

AMD hates doing smooth launches, and the RX 5600 XT is no different; it has issues. AMD re-positioned the card by increasing its performance via a BIOS update that lets the card operate at a faster clock speed. Unfortunately, this update was rolled out only a week before launch. That means that most of the cards that were produced and packaged and sent out into the wild are using the older BIOS.

You can buy these cards and update the BIOS yourself, or wait a bit and get new cards that come with better performance out-of-the-box. The BIOS-update performance increase is roughly 10%, which is significant, so we will be recommending cards that use the new BIOS by default.

nVidia has responded by cutting prices for models of the 2060 to $300, making the price gap almost nothing. The price cuts should show on your favourite hardware store soon, perhaps by the same time that most of the high-performance-BIOS 5600 XT cards hit the shelves. We do not have the timeframe for this, but we will be checking regularly.

While we’re already updating the database, it’s worth pointing out that AMD’s RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT had much better performance in recent benchmarks, when compared to release. While a small performance increase is expected due to more mature drivers, this increase was above the norm. A bit of research showed that AMD had a big update last month.

Way to go, AMD! All performance numbers have been updated accordingly.

Going Forward

For the USA, Sapphire has promised that its cards are using the new BIOS, so we will recommend them for the moment. For other countries, we will be adding more RX 5600 XT options as soon as the high-performance-BIOS models hit the shelves. The GPUs from Fair to Superb have been repositioned to make room, and to take into account the new performance numbers.

Here are all of the graphics card changes coming to our main chart:

  • ‘Fair’ Tier: Removing RX 570 / Adding GTX 1650 Super, RX 5500 XT
  • ‘Good’ Tier: Removing GTX 1650 Super, RX 5500 XT / Adding GTX 1660 Super
  • ‘Very Good’ Tier: Removing GTX 1660 Super / Adding GTX 1660 Ti
  • ‘Great’ Tier: Removing GTX 1660 Ti / Adding RX 5600 XT, RTX 2060
  • ‘Superb’ Tier: Removing RTX 2060

For regions outside the US, we will add the RX 5600 XT to each chart version when the new-BIOS-featuring cards are available in each country.