Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review

Introduction

When it comes to flagship models of any type, there is a tendency to either be excited because you're the type of person who must always have the best or somewhat blasé because you know that it will always be way outside of your budget. However, we believe there is a third option, to be excited for a glimpse at what you'll soon have on hand as the technology drips down the ranks to the items which provide great value.

Recently we've spent a lot of time looking at the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT range, and been impressed by how AMD has managed to harness excellent gaming performance at a lot of resolutions while also bringing some of their own features to the table. Two in particular that we like are;  Freesync, which gives you all the lack of screen-tearing that G-Sync brought to the party, but for a lessened impact upon pricing and more widespread adoption, and the Radeon Anti-Lag, designed to negate any "waaah lag" complaints from the eSports brigade, which it does successfully.

With the drip-down technological advancements of the higher cards in a range in full effect, today we have on hand the Radeon RX 5500 XT in both 4GB and 8GB formats courtesy of Sapphire and their Pulse range of graphics cards. Sapphire has been around for many years providing high-quality cards that get appreciative nods from those in the know, having never been a bad choice despite not having the mainstream recognition of certain other brands. The RX 5500 XT is targeted squarely at the 1080p crowd - far and away the most popular resolution - with particular attention paid to those titles which fall within the competitive gaming bracket. Naturally we were curious as to whether there was any benefit to be found at this resolution with a bigger VRAM count, so we'll not only be looking at how well the Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT performs in general, but also seeing if the step up to 8GB of GDDR6 is worth your investment.

Our results graphs will primarily reflect the positioning of the RX 5500 XT in the market - there is little point in seeing how it stacks up against a RTX Titan after all - but where space allows we've also tried to include a few of the higher range cards we've recently reviewed so those of you with more flexible budgets can see how things compare. For price reasons we're focussing upon the GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 as these most closely match the MSRP of the RX 5500 XT. Please also note that we weren't provided with a GTX 1650 Super to test and so that is absent from our results. We can only test what we're sent after all.

As always we'll take a closer look at the Sapphire Pulse cards first, before overclocking them and then putting them through our benchmark suite.

Technical Specifications

Comparing the RX 5500 XT to the other candidate most likely to be purchased by those seeking an affordable Radeon card, the RX 5700, we find that there are 4 billion fewer transistors, with 22 Compute Units compared to 36 on the 5700, although the calculative performance and fill rates don't suffer as much as those numbers might have you believe, with the Peak SP performance at 5.2 compared to 7.9, whilst the Texture Fill Rate peak is at 162.4 GigaTexels per second instead of 248.4. Obviously, the RX 5700 is a big step up in budget and aimed at 1440P gamers rather than the 1080P of the RX 5500 XT, but it shows what good value you're getting if you go with the Sapphire Pulse card.

The big question is how much difference in performance the 4GB and 8GB cards have, which we'll soon find out.

GPURadeon RX 5500 XT
ArchitectureNavi
Manufacturing Process7nm
Transistor Count6.4 billion
Die Size158 mm2
Compute Units22
Stream Processors1408
Gaming GPU Clock1717 MHz
Boost GPU Clock1845 MHz
Peak SP Performance5.2 TFLOPS
Half Precision PerformanceUp to 10.4 TFLOPS
Peak Texture Fill Rate162.4 GT/s
ROPs32
Peak Pixel Fill Rate59 GP/s
Memory4GB or 8GB GDDR6
Memory Bandwidth224GB/s
Memory Interface128-bit
Board Power130W
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Most Recent Comments

12-12-2019, 09:41:17

AngryGoldfish
Looking at the reviews across the board, I'm disappointed in AMD's performance per dollar, especially with the 8GB variant—that seems to be an especially poor recommendation. The 1650, 1660, and 1660Ti, and even the RX 590 all offer superior performance per dollar. I know OC3D has given it a solid recommendation, but comparing a variety of reviews, I wouldn't agree personally.Quote

12-12-2019, 09:46:13

tgrech
This seems pretty reasonable to me, it's like a 590 at 580 pricing a few months ago but with much lower power draw and all that. Still I think I'll wait to see how the 5600 stacks up/if ones coming since it's definitely not blowing anything away with the prices today.Quote

12-12-2019, 11:06:46

jcchg
What is the reason to buy this 200 € GPU while having RX 580 for 160 €? Are they mocking us?Quote

12-12-2019, 13:47:13

AngryGoldfish
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcchg View Post
What is the reason to buy this 200 € GPU while having RX 580 for 160 €? Are they mocking us?
Personally I don't think it's totally fair to compare a three year-old product that's been rehashed a bunch of times to a brand-new product on a process node that's short in supply. Don't get me wrong, I definitely think AMD are letting themselves down by doing this, but for me it's the poor showing against Nvidia that's disappointing, as well as their other Navi cards. Any of the green team equivalents offer more performance per watt & per dollar (it's not huge, but it's there), and they've been out for a long time. AMD's own higher end 5700 XT has superior performance per watt. I don't understand what AMD are doing. I feel like they're high on Zen2.Quote

12-12-2019, 13:59:03

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryGoldfish View Post
Personally I don't think it's totally fair to compare a three year-old product that's been rehashed a bunch of times to a brand-new product on a process node that's short in supply. Don't get me wrong, I definitely think AMD are letting themselves down by doing this, but for me it's the poor showing against Nvidia that's disappointing, as well as their other Navi cards. Any of the green team equivalents offer more performance per watt & per dollar (it's not huge, but it's there), and they've been out for a long time. AMD's own higher end 5700 XT has superior performance per watt. I don't understand what AMD are doing. I feel like they're high on Zen2.
The main reason why the RX 5500 series exists is mobile. Apple needs a new GPU for MacBooks and the RX 560 and Vega Mobile don't cut it anymore.

Remember Vega Mobile? It's basically a Mac-only product. The RX 5500 is a mobile play. That's why there is such a big gap between the RX 5500 XT and the 5700.

This card is basically a repeat of the RX 560/460 and RX 570 situation. HUGE performance gap. The rumoured RX 5600 could fix that, but it is likely a cut-down RX 5700.

Performance per watt wise, it is also worth noting that AMD's Game Frequency is 1717MHz, which is almost as high as the RX 5700's full boost. That should help explain the lower performance/watt. The best power chips go to mobile and AMD uses high clocks to make the desktop model competative.Quote
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