AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT review: Delicious 1080p performance

By Koh Wanzi - 8 Feb 2020


Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT

Practically a Radeon RX 5700

Just before the review embargo was slated to lift, AMD sent out an email in response to some questions it had received. The Radeon RX 5600 XT is not in fact replacing the Radeon RX 5700 – the Radeon RX 5700 is geared toward 1440p gaming, while the Radeon RX 5600 XT is targeted at the 1080p market. That may seem like an odd clarification to make, but enough people have clearly asked the question that AMD felt compelled to come out and clarify matters.

It's not difficult to see why this question is being asked. A look at the performance results shows the Radeon RX 5600 XT coming in at just a few frames behind the Radeon RX 5700 in many games, even at 1440p, which is where the Radeon RX 5700 is supposed to excel. And the Radeon RX 5600 XT is a US$279 card, compared to the US$349 Radeon RX 5700.

As it turns out, I'm not even sure AMD intended for the cards to be this close in performance. The BIOS update it pushed out to board partners after NVIDIA dropped the price on the GeForce RTX 2060 makes it seem like AMD originally intended to release a more clearly differentiated card at the beginning. In fact, the BIOS update arrived so late that the first batches of many cards on the shelves will not come with the updated BIOS.

Ultimately, AMD has decided to make the Radeon RX 5600 XT more attractive at the expense of the Radeon RX 5700. It's a decision that makes sense though – after all, AMD still has the Radeon RX 5700 XT to lean on for gamers who want 1440p performance. And given that the 1080p gaming market is still far larger than that for 1440p, I can see why AMD is hell bent on being as competitive as it can in this space.

The Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT I reviewed retails locally at S$440, which is more or less in line with the prices of custom GeForce RTX 2060s on the market right now. It's a good price, especially given the performance it offers, and it'll chew through just about any game at 1080p, even at the highest settings. There's just one caveat – the late BIOS update means that early adopters probably have to download the BIOS from the manufacturer's website and flash it themselves, which not everyone will feel comfortable doing.

That aside, if you don't need the ray tracing capabilities of the GeForce RTX 2060, the Radeon RX 5600 XT has my recommendation as the card to get for 1080p gaming. 

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  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 9
The Good
Excellent 1080p gaming performance
Slightly faster than the GeForce RTX 2060
Attractive price
The Bad
Cooling performance could be better
No real-time ray tracing support
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