MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review

MSI puts its usual GAMING X and TWIN FROZR 7 magic on AMD's new mid-range Radeon RX 5500 XT. Check out our full review here.

@anthony256
Published Wed, Mar 4 2020 7:19 PM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: MSI (RX 5500 XT GAMING X 8G)

Introduction and Detailed Look & Cooling Tech

AMD launched its mid-range Radeon RX 5500 XT in December 2019, with the new mainstream graphics card dropped into the market to disturb the 1080p gaming market. I started off the Radeon RX 5500 XT review fun with SAPPHIRE's custom Radeon RX 5500 XT PULSE OC which you can check out here.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 03 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 56 IMAGES

MSI has sent over their Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X 8GB for review, beefing up the VRAM amount from 4GB (where most Radeon RX 5500 XT cards will fall) to 8GB. It's a bit overkill considering how much faster the Radeon RX 5600 XT is, and that has 6GB of VRAM -- but here we go.

  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB: $179
  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB: $199
  • MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X: $225

Navi >>> Polaris

AMD has pulled off a rather large 1.6x performance per watt over the Radeon RX 480 with its new Radeon RX 5500 XT, thanks to a bunch of changes in the new (and much smaller) Navi 7nm GPU versus the Polaris 14nm GPU. We have 12% more performance on average, while using 30% less power.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 904 | TweakTown.com

The Navi GPU on the new Radeon RX 5500 XT comes in at 158mm2 compared to the larger 221mm2 on the Polaris GPU inside of the Radeon RX 480. This means AMD has crammed in 1.7x performance per area with its new Radeon RX 5500 XT over the previous-gen Polaris-based Radeon RX 480.

Detailed Look

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 01 | TweakTown.comMSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 02 | TweakTown.com

As usual, the GAMING X branding really stands out on a retail shelf -- with MSI's new Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X packaging looking great. It might only be a Radeon RX 5500 XT, but MSI is definitely saying otherwise with the retail packaging here and I think they deserve props for that. I worked in IT retail for 10 years selling these types of PC components and it would look great on a shelf and attract any consumers eye to it.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The card itself: MSI's custom Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X graphics card with its dual-fan cooler and brushed metal look. It looks mean out of the box, and even better when it's in your gaming PC.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 06 | TweakTown.com

The brushed aluminum metal backplate looks awesome, and once again this is the lowest tier Navi-based graphics card on the market and MSI still puts premium looks and feels into it.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 04 | TweakTown.com

From the top, we have a 2.5-slot graphics card with a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 05 | TweakTown.com

The single 8-pin PCIe power connector is all that is required.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 07 | TweakTown.com

From the top we have that huge heat sink array, all for a mid-range Radeon RX 5500 XT which means we'll have a cool-operating, and virtually silent graphics card with the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 08 | TweakTown.com

Display connectivity remains the same, with MSI offering up 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 and a single HDMI 2.0 connector.

Cooling Tech: TWIN FROZR 7

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 205 | TweakTown.com

Most gamers will know about MSI's iconic TWIN FROZR cooling technology by now, but if not -- here's the run down. MSI uses its slick black and gunmetal grey styling on its GAMING X branded cards which looks awesome in a PC, with great RGB lighting effects that aren't too over-the-top, either.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 203 | TweakTown.com

The brushed look on the back plate looks great, but it also protects the back of the card from any damages -- not just that, but MSI has placed thermal pads to keep the temperatures lower on your new Radeon RX 5600 XT GAMING X, too.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 204 | TweakTown.com

Another nice, and very small trick MSI has done with the Radeon RX 5600 XT GAMING X and its TWIN FROZR 7 cooler is the 'SPACED ARMOR'. This sees MSI increasing the space between the backplate and the PCB so that more air can flow through the gap, cooling the card down even more -- even if its another 1-2C, every little bit matters.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 206 | TweakTown.com

MSI uses some kick ass copper heat pipes here.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 207 | TweakTown.com

The same Torx 3.0 fans are used on the new Radeon RX 5600 XT GAMING X.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 208 | TweakTown.com

The fans won't spin up until the GPU gets to over 60C, thanks to MSI's own ZERO FROZR technology that has been around since 2008.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 209 | TweakTown.com

MSI uses a dedicated aluminum plate that covers the power delivery components, which are becoming more and more important over the years.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 210 | TweakTown.com

MSI has 'mastered the art of Aerodynamics'.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 211 | TweakTown.com

MSI puts some serious love and care into their GAMING X graphics cards and TWIN FROZR 7 cooling.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 212 | TweakTown.com

This is how the card keeps so cool.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 213 | TweakTown.com

More on that with the GPU baseplate.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 214 | TweakTown.com

MSI uses Thermal Compound X on its GAMING X series graphics cards.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 215 | TweakTown.com

The company also uses thermal padding on the GDDR6 memory and VRMs.

Buy at Amazon

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X 8G

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$219.99$219.99$224.99
* Prices last scanned on 9/17/2020 at 5:42 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Test System Specs & Benchmarks - Synthetic

GPU Test Rig Specs

Welcome to the latest revision of our GPU test bed, with our system being upgraded from the Intel Core i7-7700K to the Core i7-8700K. The CPU is cooled by the Corsair H115i PRO cooler, with the 8700K overclocked to 5GHz. We've stayed with GIGABYTE for our motherboard with their awesome Z370 AORUS Gaming 7.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 1060 | TweakTown.com

We approached our friends at HyperX for a kit of their kick ass HyperX Predator DDR4-2933MHz RAM (HX429C15PB3AK4/32), with 2 x 8GB sticks for a total of 16GB DDR4-2933. The RAM stands out through every minute of our testing as it has beautiful RGB lights giving the system a slick look while benchmarking our lives away, while the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard joins in with its own array of RGB lighting.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 1061 | TweakTown.com

Anthony's Test System Specifications

Additional Images

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 1063 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 1064 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 1065 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 1066 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 1080p

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 501 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 1440p

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 502 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike - 4K

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 503 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 504 | TweakTown.com

3DMark TimeSpy Extreme

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 505 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 507 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 508 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 4K

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 509 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1080p

1080p Benchmarks

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 532 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 537 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4015 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry New Dawn was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry and last used in Far Cry 5. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 547 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 542 | TweakTown.com

1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

MSI is offering some pretty decent performance with its Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X, with Shadow of War pumping away at over 60FPS average at 1080p -- hitting 69FPS average, a great start to our benchmarks.

Metro Exodus is a much more demanding game, but still we have 40FPS average -- note that it loses to the generations-old NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti here. Next up we have Far Cry New Dawn with some stellar performance from the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X pushing 84FPS average.

Finally, we have Shadow of the Tomb Raider with nearly the same performance as Far Cry New Dawn in the over 80FPS barrier, with 82FPS average on the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X at 1080p. Not too shabby at all.

Benchmarks - 1440p

1440p Benchmarks

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 531 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 536 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4015 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry New Dawn was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry and last used in Far Cry 5. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 546 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 541 | TweakTown.com

1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

Performance begins to drop at 1440p but it's still something worth considering with the Radeon RX 5500 XT -- especially in esports titles where you will easily hit 120FPS without a problem. Games like Fortnite, Overwatch, etc with tuned in-game visual settings will run fine on the RX 5500 XT at these frame rates.

Starting with Shadow of War we have 46FPS average, which beats out the previous-gen Radeon RX 580 but loses to the refreshed Radeon RX 590. Metro Exodus is just a shave over 30FPS, offering better graphics than what current-gen consoles offer, at performance you'd get from a potato box.

Far Cry New Dawn is more than playable at 50FPS at 2560 x 1440, something that is worthwhile if you haven't played the game yet. Meanwhile, Shadow of the Tomb Raider performs well at 45FPS at 1440p... shaving some details down in these games and you'll get either very close to, or just over 60FPS on the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X graphics card.

Benchmarks - 4K

4K Benchmarks

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 530 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 535 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4015 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry New Dawn was developed by Ubisoft, and is powered the Dunia Engine, an engine that has been modified over the years for Far Cry and last used in Far Cry 5. Dunia Engine itself was a modified version of CRYENGINE, scaling incredibly well on all sorts of hardware.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 545 | TweakTown.com
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 540 | TweakTown.com

4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

I'm not here to sell you on a $225 graphics card at 4K, but you can definitely get some 4K gaming in on the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT -- but just how good is it?

Shadow of War is actually playable at 4K on the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT, where we have 28FPS average -- a few tweaks here and there to in-game visual settings and I had it at over 30FPS without a problem. The same can't be said for Metro Exodus, which drops down to just 20FPS at 4K on the RX 5500 XT GAMING X -- identical to the generations-old GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

Far Cry New Dawn is playable at 4K on the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X graphics card, with 31FPS average -- again, far better than consoles that can't dream of playing it at 4K 30FPS on Ultra details. Shadow of the Tomb Raider had near identical results, with 29FPS average -- once again, that smashes the consoles.

Thermals & Power and Final Thoughts

Thermals

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 113 | TweakTown.com

MSI always keeps things under wraps when it comes to the temperature of their GAMING X-branded graphics cards, with the new Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X no different. We have 69C at its peak, after an intense 30-minute 4K run of Heaven. This is pretty good, and virtually in line with the MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT GAMING X which has an identical cooler.

Power Consumption

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 111 | TweakTown.com

As for power consumption, it once again falls perfectly in line with therest of our graphics cards -- with my entire Intel Core i7-8700K test bed using 190W.

Final Thoughts

AMD's new Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card is a kick ass 1080p gaming card, but what about when it's over $200? The 4GB variant of the Radeon RX 5500 XT -- like the SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 5500 XT PULSE OC 4GB that I reviewed, can be found for under $200 but the 8GB version of the card, was priced at $220 to $225 at the time of writing.

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Would I recommend getting the 8GB version over the 4GB version? I don't think so. There's no "future proofing" here with the Radeon RX 5500 XT outside of "yeah, I have 8GB of VRAM". You won't be playing AAA games at 4K at 60FPS on this card, I doubt you'd even want to buy the Radeon RX 5500 XT for anything more than 1080p and 1440p gaming.

Does that make the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X a bad card? Definitely not. It makes it a card that would have you second guessing why you'd purchase it unless it were on the cheap. I would go for the 4GB version of the card, or spend a little more and get the much-faster Radeon RX 5600 XT which has 6GB of VRAM.

It's in the middle -- as AMD and its AIB partners have custom Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics cards on the market with both 4GB and 8GB, but the faster Radeon RX 5600 XT has 6GB of VRAM. The new BIOS on the Radeon RX 5600 XT (my review on the MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT GAMING X is here) showed the new BIOS gave it a huge kick in performance -- bringing it closer to the Radeon RX 5700 which has 8GB of VRAM.

At the time of writing this review (first week of March 2020) these were the prices on Amazon for the following AMD Radeon graphics cards:

  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB - $180
  • AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB - $220 (or so)
  • AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB - $280

Wrapping Up

MSI has yet another great member of its GAMING X family of graphics cards, with the custom Radeon RX 5500 XT GAMING X kicking enough ass to have you take a look at it. Would you want to spend the extra $20-$40 or so buying the 8GB variant over the 4GB variant? I don't think so.

Check out the 4GB version of this card if you're in the market for it, and only grab the 8GB version if you really want to say you've got 8GB (it won't do much at 1080p/1440p) -- or alternatively, if you can get it discounted.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

90%

Quality

90%

Features

90%

Value

80%

Overall

88%

The Bottom Line

MSI has yet another great card on its hands with the Radeon RX 5500 XT -- but do you really need 8GB of VRAM? Probably not. Still, Navi shines at 1080p here with the RX 5500 XT and it's worth a look.

TweakTown award
88%

MSI Gaming Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X 8G

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$219.99$219.99$224.99
* Prices last scanned on 9/17/2020 at 5:42 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles