We continue to explore the possibilities of the new budget graphics card Radeon RX 5500 XT. Now let’s focus on the affordable version with 4 GB of video memory and consider the model made by Sapphire, which is one of the main partners of AMD, offering quality and affordable products. Let’s evaluate the temperature and noise conditions, compare the performance in an 8 GB video card and check the overclocking potential.
Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT 4G GDDR6
The video card was kindly provided by AMD. It came into our hands without factory packaging, the appearance of the box can be estimated from the illustration of the manufacturer.
Before us is a video card with a two-slot cooler and two large fans. Full length 23 cm.
Sapphire abandoned the pseudo-perforated case style in favor of a new decorative pattern on the surface.
The reverse side of the board is covered with a metal plate.
There is a large Sapphire logo on the side. There is no backlight on this model.
For image output, there are three DisplayPort ports and one HDMI.
Cooling in size exceeds the dimensions of the board. When parsing the Sapphire, you can see that the back plate protrudes noticeably above the textolite. This element has a protective function, it is not a radiator.
The cooling system occupies all available space under the casing. This is a large base heatsink, three heat pipes and a series of thin plates for heat dissipation. It is blown by fans of size 100 mm (impeller 95 mm).
Contact with the graphics chip is made through a copper plate. There are thermal pads on the aluminum base for thermal contact with the memory chips. On the side of the radiator there is a contact pad for the elements of the supply circuit.
The radiator against the background of a small board looks very solid.
The power system has six phases. In the corner of the board is an 8-pin external power connector. There is a small BIOS switch on the side of the board.
The Navi 14 graphics chip, made using a 7nm process technology, is small in size and has an area of 158 mm². Four gigabytes of memory are typed with Micron 9TA77 D9WCW microcircuits.
The operating frequencies of the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT fully meet the standard specifications. This is a core value of 1607 MHz with Game Clock 1717 MHz and Boost Clock 1845 MHz. The effective memory frequency is 14000 MHz. Please note that the video card works on the PCI Express x8 bus, revision 3.0. PCI-E 8x 4.0 mode is initially supported, but this configuration will only work on the new AMD AM4 platform.
The video card has two BIOSes. By default, the firmware is active with a power limit of 135W (default value is 130W). The second firmware offers a quieter mode at the cost of a 120W power limit and lower fan speeds. In terms of performance, the difference between these modes is negligible, as is the difference in noise. For example, below is a screenshot of monitoring parameters in Final Fantasy XV with two BIOSes.
Further, all tests were carried out with the first (fast) BIOS. In heavy applications, the core frequencies were kept within 1800-1830 MHz, at some points there were drawdowns below 1800 MHz. Peak temperatures reached 63–64°C at a maximum fan speed of 800–1000 rpm. This is illustrated in the monitoring screenshots in The Division 2 and Gears 5.
The video card turned out to be quite cool and quiet, although the final results are slightly worse than those of the ASUS DUAL-RX5500XT-O8G-EVO.
The results of overclocking are identical to the overclocking of the mentioned ASUS video card. The maximum boost frequency point has been increased from 1880 MHz (nominal) to 2050 MHz when the power limit is increased by 20%. Overclocking the memory to an effective 14880 MHz ran into software limitations.
For some unknown reason, the fan speed curve cannot be smoothly changed. With manual settings, the lower points change synchronously, which is not very convenient. But in idle, the fans still drop to zero speed, so setting the comfort mode will not be a problem.
We raised the maximum blowing speed, as artifacts appeared in quiet mode. With the improvement of cooling, this problem disappeared. As a result, the video card worked at temperatures up to 55 ° C, and the fans could spin up to 1700-1900 rpm. But this is true strictly for our configuration of manual settings. Each user will be able to choose the best mode for themselves, shifting the focus to silence or performance.
The final frequencies were close to the level of 1950–1960 MHz. In some games, there is a tiny advantage in frequencies relative to the ASUS DUAL-RX5500XT-O8G-EVO. But, in fact, we have identical video cards that differ only in memory size.