At CES 2020, AMD announced its new Radeon RX 5600 XT, a midrange $279 graphics card utilizing the company’s Navi architecture that sits between the cheaper RX 5500 series and the more powerful RX 5700 series. AMD is positioning the 5600 XT as “the ultimate graphics card for 1080p gaming,” and reviews seem to indicate that AMD might have made a card that’s exactly that.
Anandtech found that the RX 5600 XT lives up to AMD’s “ultimate” claim, averaging more than 60 fps in all but one game it tested — that game being Metro Exodus. At 1080p with all of the settings cranked to their highest (with the Nvidia’s HairWorks graphical setting turned off), it managed 58 frames per second, a respectable count that’s a handful of frames ahead of the slightly more expensive Nvidia RTX 2060. The publication said that the card is “fast enough to deliver a no-compromises experience even with the craziest settings.” It also said that the 5600 XT “clobbers” Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Ti, a popular and similarly priced card that also targets gamers who want great 1080p graphics.
Other reviewers saw great performance as well. Tom’s Hardware found that the card “easily” eclipsed 60 fps at 1080p (with maximum settings activated) on most of the titles that it tested, which includes heavy hitters like The Division 2 and Gears of War 5. Compared to the RTX 2060, the 5600 XT maintained a higher, steadier frame rate across the board. PC Gamer found 1080p to be an “easy hurdle” for the card and said it achieved average frame rates of around 137 fps across 12 games.
The closest competitor to the 5600 XT is probably the aforementioned Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, which came out last year and also costs $279, and reviewers generally found that the RX 5600 XT performed better than the GTX 1660 Ti. But perhaps in response to AMD’s new card, Nvidia dropped the price on its entry-level ray-tracing graphics card, the RTX 2060 Founders Edition, to $299. So there’s now a bit more competition at that sub-$300 price point, though models at this price point currently appear to be sold out. Directly comparing the two cards together, Tom’s Hardware found that the 5600 XT “wins more than it loses” against the RTX 2060, though only Nvidia’s option can handle ray tracing.
Engadget called the 5600 XT “the most powerful 1080p gaming option on the market under $300,” though, and other reviews are backing that up. If you’re looking for a midrange card that will let you play games at 1080p and high frame rates, the 5600 XT seems like it could be a good choice.
If you’re looking to get your hands on one of these cards, PC Gamer has found several configurations of AMD’s new graphics card that are available right now, starting at $279.99.
If you’re planning to buy a 5600 XT, you should know that just days before it was released, AMD pushed a BIOS update for it that may improve performance, and that BIOS update may not make its way to every card you can buy off the shelf today. However, Anandtech and PC Gamer both found that the $289 Sapphire Pulse RX 5600 XT cards they reviewed, which is slightly more powerful and more expensive than AMD’s $279 5600 XT reference design, were pretty good even before the BIOS update, so the performance gains they found from the BIOS update were a cherry on top.
Anandtech has a good explainer on how the BIOS updates affected performance for the Sapphire Pulse it reviewed. The gist of the whole situation is that the BIOS update seems to make specific factory-overclocked versions of the 5600 XT even more desirable — but none of the reviews we’ve cited in this article relied on that fact to come to their conclusions.
Update January 27th, 1:27PM ET: Added context about a BIOS update for the 5600 XT.