AMD's gaming division is on fire! In a good way!  

With the launch of AMD's Navi-based RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT, AMD is signaling a pretty bright future for its graphics division, for desktop and PC gaming. AMD is already well-established in just about all other industries that require high-end graphics: Consoles, Cloud (with Google Stadia), Mobile (via Samsung Partnership) and with Apple, in their laptops, desktop and workstation computers. Even though the 5700 and the 5700XT are not "flagship" graphics cards per se, they are an incredibly important strategically to AMD because they are built on a totally new microarchitecture – RDNA.  

As this is a new microarchitecture, there is a lot here beyond just game performance. We've enlisted the help of EposVox to help us with some of the computing, rendering and streaming tests. (Quite frankly, our results didn't make any sense; we were certain we were doing something wrong. Keep reading to learn more.)  

We, of course, put these cards up against the MSI GamingZ RTX 2070 Twin Frozr 7; which is a beastly card and clocks like a champ. A few of our tests also compare against the MSI RTX 2060 

These new cards from AMD are approximately in the same price class, but priced a little better.  Nvidia also fired back – launching the new Super series graphics cards.  AMD reacted quickly and tweaked the Navi launch prices a bit, which sweetened the deal even a bit further.  

We are reviewing the AMD launch-version 5700 and 5700 XT, graciously supplied by AMD; thanks AMD!  

It's in RDNA 

"NAVI" is not just about RDNA – it's a 7nm fabrication process, GDDR6, PCIe 4.0, the new Radeon Media Engine and the Radeon Display Engine.  

RDNA is a new compute unit design that is designed for diverse workloads. It incorporates a multi-level cache hierarchy and eschews on-chip HBM memory (as found on predecessor cards like the Fury, Vega and the Radeon VII) for a more cost-effective and traditional GDDR6 approach.  

While the Radeon VII is a bit faster than the Radeon RX 5700XT that we tested, the RX 5700 XT performed at a much lower power and has a lot of new killer features.  

RDNA delivers 1.5X performance per watt, and 2.3x performance per silicon area @ 7nm (vs 14nm of RX Vega 64). 

 

CU 

SP 

Memory 

Watts 

Boost 

Base 

Game 

Price 

5700 XT 

40 

2560 

8gbGDDR6 

225 

1905  

1605  

1755  

$399 

5700 

36 

2304 

8gb GDDR6 

180 

1725 

1465  

1625  

$349 

 

Game Clocks 

AMD has introduced some new terminology – Game Clocks. They sampled the top 25 AAA titles and looked at how well the card was boosting. They felt that, in the market place, the boost clock advertising was unreasonably high because most gamers would never see clocks anywhere close to the boost clocks. So, the "Game Clock" term comes in to play – Gamers, if you're playing a popular game you should see your graphics card boosting from its base clock to somewhere around the game clock. If you don't see that on average, it may indicate you've got a thermal or other problem with your system. 

If your system provides adequate airflow and you're playing a common game (on a common engine) your average clocks should be around the game clock. 

Based on our testing, I'd say the game clock is about right, if a little conservative. It was a useful tool for spotting, for example, a case that did not have sufficient intake.  

Blowers!? We don't need no stinkin' blowers!  

A lot of gamers will "frown" on blower coolers, but they're good in some scenarios. For OEMs and volume purchasers, the blowers are preferred because they directly exhaust air out the case. If you have a case that is airflow constrained, you will want a blower. One of my favorite machines in the lab right now is a Dr. Zaber mini-ITX system and since adding a blower style RTX 2080, the overall system temperature is lower (vs an AIB Axial design card that I was running before). With an axial card, it is up to the system integrator or builder to take the heat exhausted from the card into the case by the axial fans and then get that heat out of the case.  

Of course I would guess there will be more versions of this card in the very near future.  

Connections  

The HDMI interface is 2.0b; I'm not sure why the new HDMI standard couldn't have been implemented. It does have DisplayPort 1.4 HDR, and Display Stream Compression 1.2a. That means it can push 4k/240Hz, 4k HDR 120Hz and 8k HDR 60Hz display modes. It has 3 DP 1.4 connections and the single HDMI port at the rear. 

What about Gaming?  

Be sure to checkout our video if you like charts, graphs, and visuals to go with our tabular data!  

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: 

CPU 

Res. 

GPU 

Game 

Min 

Avg 

Max 

1% 

0.1% 

Ryzen 3900X 

1440 

2070 

SOTTR 

69 

88 

133 

69 

35 

Ryzen 3700X 

1440 

Radeon 5700XT 

SOTTR 

75 

92 

137 

72 

24 

Ryzen 3700X 

1440 

2070 

SOTTR 

70 

88 

132 

69 

36 

Ryzen 2700X 

1440 

2070 

SOTTR 

67 

87 

133 

49 

18 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

Radeon 5700XT 

SOTTR 

63 

91 

135 

54 

22 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

Radeon 5700 

SOTTR 

67 

82 

124 

66 

40 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

2070 

SOTTR 

43 

86 

132 

45 

24 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

2060 

SOTTR 

43 

55 

84 

42 

34 

Intel 9700K 

1440 

2070 

SOTTR 

42 

84 

131 

50 

20 

Ryzen 3900X 

1080 

2070 

SOTTR 

71 

126 

189 

47 

23 

Ryzen 3700X 

1080 

Radeon 5700XT 

SOTTR 

66 

131 

200 

59 

21 

Ryzen 3700X 

1080 

RadeonVII 

SOTTR 

96 

135 

215 

93 

38 

Ryzen 3700X 

1080 

2070 

SOTTR 

94 

125 

192 

83 

23 

Intel 9900K 

1080 

Radeon 5700XT 

SOTTR 

103 

138 

218 

70 

30 

Intel 9900K 

1080 

Radeon 5700 

SOTTR 

67 

121 

193 

84 

35 

Intel 9900K 

1080 

RadeonVII 

SOTTR 

65 

138 

223 

74 

39 

Intel 9900K 

1080 

2070 

SOTTR 

96 

126 

199 

88 

40 

Intel 9900K 

1080 

2060 

SOTTR 

59 

90 

141 

64 

29 

Ryzen 2700X 

1080 

2070 

SOTTR 

71 

110 

160 

46 

19 

Intel 9700K 

1080 

2070 

SOTTR 

93 

128 

209 

54 

26 

 

Monster Hunter World: 

CPU 

Res. 

GPU 

Game 

Min 

Avg 

Max 

1% 

0.1% 

Ryzen 3900X 

1440 

2070 

MHW 

71 

89 

139 

71 

49 

Ryzen 3700X 

1440 

Radeon 5700XT 

MHW 

73 

95 

153 

77 

26 

Ryzen 3700X 

1440 

Radeon 5700 

MHW 

68 

81 

135 

71 

32 

Ryzen 3700X 

1440 

2070 

MHW 

73 

90 

138 

73 

37 

Ryzen 3700X 

1440 

2060 

MHW 

42 

57 

97 

43 

30 

Ryzen 2700X 

1440 

2070 

MHW 

73 

89 

126 

73 

32 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

Radeon 5700XT 

MHW 

63 

90 

135 

70 

35 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

Radeon 5700 

MHW 

48 

85 

132 

71 

30 

Intel 9900K 

1440 

2070 

MHW 

76 

88 

125 

75 

39 

Intel 9900K 

1440