Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT OC review

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Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 5600 XT OC 6G
The gaming sweet spot at 279 and 289 USD?

The new Radeon RX 5600 XT has been announced, in this review, we peek at the product that should become available starting this week. Ehm, yeah, I said new, but really the Radeon RX 5600 XT is a non-XT Radeon RX 5700 with 6GB of GDDR6. It then has lower clocks, a lower power envelope and a price tag of 279 USD. That could make it an excellent offering in the Quad HD domain at up-to a resolution of 2560x1440. However days before this launch something happened, NVIDIA lowered RTX 2060 pricing to 299 USD. And there's where AMD made an 180 degree turn and pretty much created two separated SKUs for the 5600 XT. That would be the reference product, and then the factory tweaked (OC models) with greatly enhanced specs like a 180 Watt power envelope (opposed to 150 W), an increase of the maximum turbo clock as well as a bump in GDDR6 memory data-rate going from 12 towards 14 Gbps. Interesting for sure. The Radeon RX 5600 XT is not replacing the Radeon RX 5700 graphics card. The two products address different market needs. The Radeon RX 5600 XT was specifically designed and optimized to deliver the best 1080p gaming experiences, while the Radeon RX 5700 – with its additional memory and memory bandwidth – was specifically designed for 1440p gaming. 

Yeah, AMD hasn't been wasting any time, Ryzen 3000 at 7nm, Radeon VII at 7nm, then the Radeon 5700 and 5700 XT, as well as the 5500 series. All at 7nm fabrication. We now add the 5600 XT series. The basis of the product that we test today is the NAVI GPU, with a die fabbed at a 7nm fabricated package and 6GB of GDDR6 graphics memory (12 Gbps) these cards are released in an aim to compete with the GeForce RTX 2060, will it be capable to do that? We can already tell you that the numbers will be interesting to see. The most important aspect, however, is pricing. Where the Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT cost 349 and 399 USD respectively the 5600 XT series starts at 279 USD. The NAVI GPU is based on what AMD refers to as RDNA architecture (Radeon DNA). The Radeon 5000 series is the first commercial consumer graphics card that is PCIe Express 4.0 compatible. Both the Radeon 5600 and 5700 are offered with 2304 shader processors. The GPU game clock is dynamic at 1130~1375 MHz with a peak boost clock to 1.560 GHz for the no- OC (reference) model card. NAVI cards are fitted with GDDR6 memory, that means HBM2 is no longer used opposed to what you have been seeing with Vega 56/64, a clever choice as HBM2 memory is difficult to assemble onto the die substrate (lot's of yield issues there) and that makes it very expensive, next to being an expensive memory type to purchase. 

  RX 5700 XT RX 5700 RX 5600 XT OC RX 5600 XT  RX 5500 XT
GPU Navi 10 XT Navi 10 XL Navi 10 - 180W Navi 10  150W Navi 14 XTX
Cores 2560 2304 2304 2304 1408
Basic clock 1605 MHz 1465 MHz 1130 MHz 1130 MHz 1607 MHz
Game clock 1755 MHz 1625 MHz 1660 MHz 1375 MHz 1717 MHz
Boost clock 1905 MHz 1725 MHz 1750 MHz 1560 MHz 1845 MHz
Memory bus 256 bit 256 bit 192 bit 192 bit 128 bit
Memory clock speed 14 Gbps 14 Gbps 14 Gbps 12 Gbps 14 Gbps
Bandwidth 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 336 GB/s 288 GB/s 224 GB/s
Recommended retail price USD 449 USD 379 289 USD 279 USD 199 USD

Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT 6G

For this review we peek at the new Sapphire Radeon RX 5600 XT, it's what is called an MSRP model, meaning the pricing should be close or equal to what AMD has defined for the reference model. The Pulse OC model as tested today is fitted with two fans in a nice all dark/grey design. It holds two Dual-X fans and follows a 0dB technology, that allows the fans to stop spinning when the GPU core temperature remains below 60 Celsius. The PCB is reinforced by an aluminum backplate that adds structural rigidity. Sapphire has a normal and OC SKU, obviously, the OC version is clocked a notch higher. The card features 6 GB of GDDR6 memory running at 14 Gbps and that means a memory bus width at 192-bits, delivering bandwidth of 336 GB/s, the reference models are clocked at 12 Gbps, so the ICs onboard are the stock 14 GHz (effective clock-rate) ones. We'll discuss more in the overclocking section of the article. The card offers one HDMI 2.0b port and three DisplayPorts v1.4. The card has an LED logo on it at the top side but other than that no RGB functionality, but have a quick peek first after which we then head onwards into the review.

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