For my first two custom Radeon RX 5600 XT reviews I kept in both the old and new BIOS results, so you get the totally unbiased, totally transparent look into the RX 5600 XT. This gives you the ultimate jebait review, so you can see what AMD had planned for you as a consumer before NVIDIA dropped the GeForce RTX 2060 price.
Once NVIDIA did that, AMD reacted by unleashing the Radeon RX 5600 XT and while it might only be by 10% on the TDP, the GDDR6 being shifted up and the GPU clocks ramped means it is a much, much better card. So much so that it will most likely end up cannibalizing the Radeon RX 5700 -- not a good thing for AMD, but a good thing for you, the consumer.
AMD has positioned the new Radeon RX 5600 XT pretty damn well, but with the increased 10W on the TBP it allows the card to clock higher and thus perform better. We're looking at performance that is edging on the Radeon RX 5700, which can be found on Amazon for $319 at the time of writing.
SAPPHIRE steps in with its custom Radeon RX 5600 XT PULSE OC and comes very close to the Radeon RX 5700 in most tests, especially when the new BIOS was installed. This is why I kept both the results in of the old and new BIOSes, so you can see just how much more ass kicking the Radeon RX 5600 XT can do.
I thought I'd leave in the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti which is now many years old, so you can see firstly -- the GTX 1080 Ti up against the new RTX 2000 series cards, but the GTX 1080 Ti up against the new Radeon RX 5600 XT. You could buy a GTX 1080 Ti on the cheap second hand in 2020, and it's still a kick ass card.
Even in a VRAM intensive game like Shadow of War, the GTX 1080 Ti was released in 2017 and is still a great graphics card -- offering up 127FPS average in Shadow of War at 1080p, compared to just 96FPS from the new RX 5600 XT. The GTX 1080 Ti beats the RX 5600 XT in every single test and every single resolution.
What AMD is effectively doing here iwth the new mid-range Radeon RX 5600 XT is offering all of the improvements of the RDNA architecture and GDDR6 memory to offer up a much cooler, much quieter, and overall smoother experience that it had with the Radeon RX Vega 56 and Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards.
In virtually all tests, AMD's new Radeon RX 5600 XT either falls just behind, equals, or beats the HBM2-powered Vega-based graphics cards. If you look at the temperature charts on the previous page of this review, the new Navi-based RX 5600 XT also runs much cooler, too.
All-in-all, AMD offers one of the better Navi-based offerings with its new Radeon RX 5600 XT. A kick ass mid-range graphics card that will dominate 1080p gaming, and with the new BIOS it is a fine competitor to the GeForce RTX 2060. On top of that, the RX 5600 XT punches above its weight with the new BIOS and comes close to the more-expensive Radeon RX 5700... so AMD has shot itself in the foot there.
Overall, AMD has one of the best graphics cards you can buy for 1080p gaming right now -- and SAPPHIRE has the perfect custom solution for you. It is nice and cool, offers some truly stellar 1080p gaming performance, and it looks great. You're missing out on real-time ray tracing that you'd get with the GeForce RTX 2060 but then again, the RTX 2060 doesn't handle real-time ray tracing that well anyway.
The first wave of all Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards will need the new BIOS installed, which I think is a super sucky thing to do as a consumer. I actually despise this and made that known in my article on that there. You don't need to do that with the GeForce RTX 2060, or any of the other AMD Radeon graphics cards -- so it's something to note.
Should you wait for the second wave of cards? I would. Will you regret buying the RX 5600 XT? Definitely not.
Last updated: Feb 19, 2020 at 01:21 pm CST
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The Bottom Line
AMD has a potent 1080p gaming graphics card here, which still offers great 1440p and even good 4K gaming performance thanks to the new BIOS which ramps up the GPU and GDDR6 clocks. A no-regret purchase, except first-wave buyers have to update their BIOS.