AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT review versus GTX 1660 Ti and RTX 2060: who is in charge of FullHD? | Video Cards | Reviews
For a long time, the answer to the question from the title was quite unambiguous: GTX 1660 Ti . The eldest among the cards on Turing chips without hardware RT cores turned out to be very, very successful in itself, and, moreover, turned out to be in the most favorable conditions for itself.
After all, it had to compete only with cards based on the Polaris architecture – RX 580 and RX 590. The new AMD family of cards based on Navi chips focused on invading the top price segment and playing games at resolutions higher than the running FullHD.
But, of course, this could not go on for long. And back in early 2020, AMD introduced the RX 5600 XT – a more budgetary version of the card based on the older Navi 10 chip, aimed at the most massive segment.
The novelty was intended to be a faster solution than the younger RX 5500 XT and the rapidly losing relevance RX 580/590, and compete with various versions of the GTX 1660 that literally flooded the market.
What happened in the end – we will consider in today’s review.
Meet the participants
At the time of this writing, the prices of video cards in the stores of the CSN of St. Petersburg were as follows:
On the example of a test card from Sapphire, it turns out that for the price of an AMD product, you can buy either a GTX 1660 Ti or an RTX 2060, with the former being at the top of the market – that is, being one of the top options in an unreferenced design, and the latter being respectively, at the bottom.
There are, of course, cheaper versions of the RTX 2060, equipped with compact coolers with one fan, but remember that if the GPU can eat up to 160 watts under normal gaming load, such a card will be quiet and cold only in the comments.
RX 5600 XT and BIOS firmware
An interesting precedent has taken place with the RX 5600 XT entering the market. Already when the cards began to be produced and the first batches went on sale, AMD decided to change the characteristics of the card, raising the GPU and memory frequencies to the level of the reference RX 5700.
There is nothing exceptional in this – in fact, in fact, the new RX 5600 XT is a slightly simplified version of the RX 5700. But it turned out that on the market, as well as at the disposal of reviewers and ordinary users, there could be two different cards.
However, at the moment, versions of bios with increased frequencies have been presented by almost all vendors. If you have a card with old firmware, updating is not at all difficult:
In this case, the tests were carried out exclusively on the new firmware, since in tests on the old version it makes no more sense than buying a GTX 1660 Ti at the price of an RTX 2060.
Sapphire Radeon RX 5600 XT PULSE
The test card, as you might have guessed, was made by Sapphire and belongs to the budget Pulse line. There is no need to dwell on its packaging and configuration – apart from the documentation, there is nothing in the box.
Appearance and design
The map itself is of much greater interest. It doesn’t take long to realize that the RX 5600 XT shares the same design as the RX 5700/5700 XT from the same Pulse line.
And this is not surprising. Since the card uses the Navi 10 chip on which the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT are based, and the “narrowing” of the memory bus to 192 bits was achieved by simply removing two chips from the board, there was no point in inventing a new design for the RX 5600 XT.
As a result, the reference Radeon RX 5600 XT only exists in the form of pictures at AMD’s presentations. The real cards on sale use the boards and cooling systems previously developed for the older Navi 10.
The back of the card is also covered with a backplate and it is still metal, it removes heat from the VRM zone through thermal pads.
But if you look at the video card from the side, the first difference will be noticeable. No, the BIOS switch is in place and the card can also work in two modes, but only one eight-pin connector remains from the additional power connectors.
The set of interface connectors is also similar to the older models, and this is rather a minus. Three DisplayPort and one HDMI – but the most popular DVI connector is missing, owners of corresponding monitors will have to buy an adapter.
Cooling system and PCB
The cooling system from the RX 5700 Pulse line has not undergone any significant changes, but we will still break it down and take a closer look.
The main feature of Sapphire cards is the removable fans, which have not gone anywhere either. If you just need to clean the heatsink from dust, you won’t need to disassemble the entire card.
A full-fledged analysis must begin with the removal of the backplate. It is fastened with 7 spring-loaded screws and a plastic casing with fans is attached to it with the same screws.
Having removed the backplate, you can see that it removes heat from both the VRM zone and the PWM controller (International Rectifier IR 35217), which is located here on the back side of the board. The solution may seem strange, but the controller still heats up less than the power circuits themselves, and it is quite possible to cool it with a separate element.
After removing the backplate, the plastic casing is no longer secured by anything and is removed after disconnecting the power connector.
From the point of view of aerodynamic optimizations, the radiator of the cooling system does not represent anything interesting: this is a completely ordinary array of aluminum fins, except that the relatively large intercostal distance allows one to hope for efficient operation at low revs.
The heatsink is attached to the board with four screws and a cross. Two screws are sealed, this step during disassembly already voids the warranty for the card.
But the design of the radiator, borrowed from the RX 5700, is quite interesting.
Three U-shaped heat pipes with a diameter of 6 millimeters are responsible for the distribution of heat throughout the array of ribs. This is not much, but they are well distributed and transfer heat to the zones of maximum air flow from the fans.
A copper heat sink is responsible for removing heat from the GPU, the tubes are connected to it by soldering. Separate removers are provided for VRMs and memory chips, which also remove heat to the main heatsink.
And so we got to the printed circuit board itself.
It’s not hard to guess that it also inherited the RX 5600 XT from the older Navi 10-based cards.
Only the number of GPU power phases (from 7 to 5) and on-board memory (from 2 to 1) has decreased. But the element base remains the same: both the GPU and the memory are served by power cascades, each of which is capable of passing a current of up to 50 amperes. Considering that the card should have lower power consumption than the RX 5700, and definitely lower than the RX 5700 XT, this should be sufficient with a large margin.
Installation in the case
The Sapphire Pulse is one of the most compact nerefs around. The card is only slightly longer than a standard ATX motherboard, so if the motherboard fits into the case, the video card will also fit.
The card occupies a little more than two slots in height, but this can hardly be called a minus. Crossfire is not officially supported, so few people will build multi-GPUs from the RX 5600 XT, and the need for additional expansion cards is a purely special case.
In this review, the competitors for the RX 5600 XT were selected solely on the basis of cost. Much cheaper GTX 1660 Super (from 18 thousand at the time of this writing) are not of interest here, since they play in a completely different league. As well as the more expensive versions of the RTX 2060 – for 26-28 thousand, you can already consider the RX 5700, and not the younger 5600 XT.
|MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X [GTX 1660 TI GAMING X 6G]||Palit GeForce RTX 2060 Dual [NE62060018J9-1160A]|
Test stand and testing methodology
The configuration of the test bench is already familiar to readers from previous materials:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
- CPU cooling system: ID-Cooling SE-224-XT Basic;
- Thermal interface: Arctic MX-4;
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
- Disk subsystem: SSD Gigabyte GP-ASM2NE6200TTTD + HDD Western Digital WD10EZRX-00A8LB0;
- RAM: G.Skill SniperX F4-3400C16D-16GSXW, 2x8gb;
- Case: Corsair Carbide 270R
- Power supply: Cougar GX-F 750.
During the tests, the frequency of the central processor was fixed at around 4200 MHz, and the RAM was overclocked to 3800 MHz while maintaining the standard timings. Of course, with the simultaneous overclocking of the Infinity Fabric bus to 1900 MHz, thus maintaining a 1: 1 ratio between the frequency of the RAM and its controller.
Tests were conducted under Windows 10 Professional build 1909 with the latest updates as of April 18, 2020. For the video card we used Radeon Software drivers version 20.5.1.
The games were tested in two resolutions: FullHD (1920×1080) and QuadHD (2560×1440). In 8 games from the test suite, high graphics settings were used, in The Outer Worlds – the standard profile is “very high”, and in Deus EX: Mankind Divided, World of Tanks and War Thunder – the maximum available parameters.
The built-in MSI Afterburner benchmark was responsible for performance monitoring, in-game monitoring indicators were not taken into account.
Frequency model, temperature control and overclocking
Radeon RX 5600 XT
On the new BIOS version, the test copy of the RX 5600 XT has a power consumption limit of 160 watts, the memory frequency is 1750 MHz, and exactly the same value is the upper limit of the GPU frequency.
In fact, in gaming mode, the chip frequency is usually kept at around 1730-1740 MHz. In tests like Unigine Superposition – 1690-1710 MHz.
Under these conditions, the parameters of the map are as follows:
The peak power consumption of the GPU during the Superposition test is 135 W, the peak temperature is 70 degrees, and the fans spin up to only 1562 rpm, which makes the card extremely quiet.
Usually AMD products have good overclocking capabilities, but with the RX 5600 XT, alas, it’s not so simple. Using the example of the older cards on Navi 10, we could see how these cards operate at 2100-2200 MHz on the GPU and technically there is no reason for the 5600 XT not to overclock in the same way.
However, the overclocking of the junior card on Navi 10 is limited at the driver level. Yes, the More Power Tool does its job: with its help, you can raise the frequency and power consumption limits to any desired values, and the result of this will even be displayed in the driver. But, as soon as you try to apply the changes, the driver settings will be reset to the standard ones, and the card will go into power-saving mode altogether and remain in it until the PC is restarted or the frequencies are manually changed in the driver.
Alas, no way has been found to bypass this limitation at the moment, so owners of the RX 5600 XT will have to be content with standard limitations: + 20% to the power consumption limit and raising the GPU frequency to 1820 MHz, and memory to 1860 MHz.
Since it is difficult to call this overclocking, you can try to lower the voltage on the GPU, which will reduce power consumption and temperatures compared to the standard mode. The test card agreed to operate at 0.93 volts, while the nominal voltage was 1.017 volts.
As a result, the GPU frequency in game mode is 1770-1780 MHz (by 0.95 volts, for example – 1750-1760 MHz), and in benchmarks – 1740-1750.
The results are logical:
The results in synthetics hardly change, but energy consumption naturally drops: up to 125 watts. At the same time, the GPU temperature remains at the same mark of 70 degrees, but the cooler rotates even slower – 1440 rpm.
However, in the absence of overclocking, the RX 5600 XT is by no means alone …
GTX 1660 Ti
The test card under load starts from 2000 MHz on the GPU, but immediately drops to 1950 and further – 1920-1905 as it warms up.
At the same time, the peak GPU temperature is the same 70 degrees, the consumption is 132 watts, and the fan speed is 1976 rpm. However, low-profile turntables are used here, so there is also very little noise from them.
The card’s power consumption limit can be raised by only 7%, which does not allow us to speak of effective overclocking. Only +115 MHz was added to the base frequency of the GPU, which resulted in 1980-1965 MHz under synthetic tests and 2025-2010 MHz in games.
At the same time, power consumption remains almost unchanged, the GPU temperature rises to 71 degrees, and the cooler revs slightly rise to a little over 2000.
The card starts from 1905, but as it heats up, it lowers the frequency to 1860-1845 MHz. In game mode, it is most often kept at around 1875.
The peak power consumption is 162 watts, the peak temperature is 73 degrees, but the fan speed is 2350 rpm, and the noise from them is very noticeable.
The power consumption limit does not allow to raise the card at all – only to shift the temperature limit to 87 degrees. However, for budget versions of RTX 2060, this is rather logical: you can recall an example of a version from Asus with a turbine cooling, which theoretically could be overclocked, but after overclocking it instantly rested at 87 degrees on the GPU and began to drop frequencies.
Although the base frequency of the GPU was raised to +140 MHz, this did not lead to a serious increase in the final frequency. 1965 MHz at the start of the test and drops to 1935-1920 as it heats up.
Power consumption does not change naturally: 163 watts, 73 degrees at the GPU at its peak. Only the revs increase – 2525 rpm, and the card cannot be called quiet.
For convenience, we will summarize all the performance data and map parameters in visual tables:
Option of the article for those who are too lazy to read
Tests in games
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
DeusEx: Mankind Divided
Project CARS 2
Red dead redemption 2
Resident evil 3 remake
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
The outer worlds
Total war: three kingdoms
The Witcher 3
World of tanks
The RX 5600 XT with the current BIOS is not a competitor for the GTX 1660 Ti or even younger Nvidia models, but for the RTX 2060 without the Super prefix.
Among the test games there is The Outer Worlds, where it loses noticeably – but there are also Project Cars 2, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, in which the AMD card clearly feels more confident.
Thus, you can put an equal sign between these cards. Both of them represent the ultimate solution for Full HD gaming and allow you to play quite confidently in 2K resolution. Yes, not at the maximum graphics settings, but just play, and not just see how everything is there, at a new level.
Of course, this conclusion was made on the example of the test RTX 2060 Palit Dual, which is not less overclocked than the RX 5600 XT itself. It is quite possible that versions of the RTX 2060 with more efficient coolers and the absence of restrictions on power consumption will show more outstanding results … but such versions will cost not 23, or even 25 thousand rubles – and there it is already worth asking whether you need an RTX 2060 at all at the price of RTX 2060 Super and RX 5700. And the answer to this question will be quite obvious.
As for the GTX 1660 Ti, everything is easier and more difficult with it. It clearly cannot compete with the RX 5600 XT in performance – it simply lacks strength, even if we are considering almost top-end versions of this card.
But this card does not need to compete with him. It needs to hit the gap between the RX 5600 XT and the RX 5500 XT, where the GTX 1660 Ti simply won’t have any competitors, because one is clearly faster, and the other is just as clearly slower. In this case, the Nvidia card will be clearly in its place.
Unfortunately, this is not happening at the moment: the prices for the GTX 1660 Ti are either equal or higher than the price of the RX 5600 XT, the level of which this card does not reach even if the game is well optimized for Nvidia.
In such conditions, the RX 5600 XT looks like a very interesting option for its money. Moreover, it makes sense to buy it just at the bottom of the market: until a way to bypass the overclocking limit has been found, the top versions of this card are simply devoid of any sense.