Overall and Final Verdict
So NAVI has been talked about for what seems like forever and like well every AMD launch it has had a big hype train rolling that entire time. Those are big shoes to have to fill and if I’m being completely honest, on the graphics side of things the hype has often surpassed the actual performance. In most ways, NAVI did end up living up to the hype. The RX 5700 XT managed to run with the RTX 2070 SUPER FE in almost all of the games I tested it in. Synthetic tests had the RX 5700 XT faster in DX11 but slower in DX12 with an even bigger drop off at higher detail levels but the in game performance was a lot more consistently right in between those two things. The RX 5700 was similar, running in a class higher than it should be by beating the RTX 2060 SUPER when it really should have been competing with the normal RTX 2060. The performance of both cards was solid at both 1080p and 1440p, only falling off at 4k but even then it was playable, but not smooth.
Aesthetically I really was digging the look that AMD went with for the RX 5700 XT with its thicker shroud with grooves in it as well as the black backplate to match. It also has the backlit Radeon logo up top. All of those features were missing on the RX 5700 which was especially weird given how close they are in price. The RX 5700, on the other hand, is just plain. It isn’t ugly or anything, and if I hadn’t seen the XT I might even dig the look. Especially with the grey. But together stuff like having screen printed logos rather than the backlit logo and logos carved into the shroud and backplate makes such a big difference. Not to mention the dent, it may look like AMD left the XT in the oven too long, but I like it.
Speaking of leaving them in the oven too long, these cards run hot. Going with a blower design here is a huge downside and as my thermal images showed it created hotspots inside the case as well where normally a blower card at least does a good job of keeping extra heat out. With Nvidia’s base cards having dual fans it is going to make these cards a much harder sell. Especially given how hot they both ran and how noisy they were as well. Beyond that, this launch did have a lot of driver issues and other weird bugs that I don’t normally run into by the time the launch comes around. You notice how late I am posting this, I fought with every bug or issue you can image and worked with AMD a lot in relaying them. Hopefully, that time at least means they will be fixed quickly. Stuff like the excruciatingly slow fan speed ramp down when manually changing the fan speeds fall into that as well, the all-new RDNA architecture is going to take a little while to tweak and tune. But AMD is known for their fine wine drivers, right? So over time, those issues should be worked out.
The last area to talk about is pricing. Normally I don’t bring pricing up at all until the end of the review but this time around I spoke about it some in the performance section. The RX 5700 XT is listed with an MSRP of $399 and the RX 5700 is $349. These numbers were expected to be higher and even documentation I had prior to the launch showed those prices but the day before the launch AMD announced the new pricing and there was some twitter teasing about Nvidia potentially being “jebaited”. Who knows if it was a plan all along or if it was in response to Nvidia’s SUPER launch a week before but these prices put the RX 5700 up against the RTX 2060 and the RX 5700 XT against the RTX 2060 SUPER and as you can see from the performance they both outperformed those cards with the RX 5700 beating the next step up most of the time and the XT running with the 2070 SUPER the entire time. So as far as value, AMD has done it again. More importantly, these are good performing cards, not just a good budget card.
So would I recommend them? The AMD faithful are going to be all over them either way. But I think the thermal and noise issues that the blower design has brought takes away a LOT from both cards. Aftermarket designs are needed. So much so that while I do recommend both cards. I think that people who want them should hold off until you can get the aftermarket cards. It’s a shame because I do love the RX 5700 XT’s look and it has a great build quality. Sadly Scott Herkelman was posting on Reddit that those aftermarket cards are expected in August so it's going to be a little while still. I am going to try to get my hands on them when they start trickling out, both the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT just need a little more cooling and they should be amazing. I do wonder if Nvidia doesn’t get aggressive with their pricing before then. But hey a pricing war would be a great change.
Live Pricing: HERE
Live Pricing: HERE
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