Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review

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Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review

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Whilst we have both cards in to review today they are, GDDR6 levels aside, absolutely identical. The 4GB model is first and the 8GB model below it, and they are inseparable in both form and function. The rest of our photos will concentrate upon the 8GB variant, but you'd never notice unless you blew up the barcode identifier.

Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  
Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  

Despite it's affordable price tag the Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT comes with a twin fan cooler sporting 9 blades on each fan for that lovely combination of airflow and low noise that makes gaming such a pleasure. There are few things more irritating than your graphics card shouting at the world the moment you ask it to render anything more complicated than Freecell. With the Sapphire Pulse that won't be an issue.


Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  

Around the back we find a vented backplate to both spread the heat effectively across the whole breadth of the PCB, whilst the keen eyed amongst you will have spotted a BIOS switch to move between quiet and performance modes. With it in the left position we saw an 8 MHz increase in boost clock whilst on the right saw a tiny increase in average clock speeds. It's very much a judgement call as there is little to pick between the two modes, although for our testing we're naturally running in performance mode.


Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  

Normally more budget conscious cards save their money with a weedy cooler, but the Sapphire Pulse has a thick heat sink to go along with it's twin fans and backplate. Elements that will enhance how easy the card is to live with, as well as its longevity. When you can't afford to change your GPU every six months having one that will keep you gaming happily for many years is a seriously positive factor.


Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  

The heatsink is aided by two beefy heatpipes leading out from the GPU itself to dissipate any heat generated as quickly as possible. The 7nm process Navi GPUs have been much cooler than their predecessors so hopefully this will continue to be the case with this latest model.


Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  

As a less powerful GPU than the big RX 5700 XT models the 5500 XT only requires a single 8 pin PCIe power input to keep it fed with all the juice required to fill your eyeballs with glorious polygonal beauty.


Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review  

Lastly the outputs are AMDs usual selection of 1 HDMI and three DisplayPorts. We like the large vent holes in the back plate too, which should help shovel the warm air out of the back of your case rather than let it stay in and spill up over your CPU cooler.


Sapphire RX 5500 XT Pulse 4GB vs 8GB Review 

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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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