We got our hands on a Radeon RX 5500 graphics card, and with official drivers already available, we decided to take it for a spin. The RX 5500 is an OEM model manufactured by PCPartner, who also produce the AMD reference design board, so it qualifies as MBA (made by AMD) and is possibly the closest thing to a reference-design for the RX 5500. The card we have with us today has the same exact core configuration as the RX 5500 retail, the same memory configuration, and the same exact GPU and memory clock speeds. Official AMD drivers for the RX 5500 already exist as the card is already on sale in prebuilds. The Radeon RX 5500 series has been designed by AMD to succeed its Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 "Polaris" graphics card. With it, the company is likely to retire Polaris and sell RX 5500 series at price points ranging between $150 to $230.
The RX 5500 is based on the second entry to AMD's "Navi" family of 7 nm GPUs codenamed "Navi 14." This tiny 158 mm² piece of silicon has all the features the RX 5700 series "Navi 10" chips have, as they implement the same RDNA graphics architecture. The silicon physically features 24 RDNA compute units, amounting to 1,536 stream processors. 22 of these are enabled on the RX 5500, with the remaining two left for the future RX 5500 XT. Besides these, the RX 5500 features 88 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, holding 4 GB of memory on our card. Besides 4 GB, there will probably be 8 GB variants of the RX 5500 when the SKU is launched in the retail channel.
The "Navi 14" chip, interestingly, features a PCI-Express 4.0 x8 host interface. The card has x16 gold fingers, but wiring for just 8 lanes. Even on older platforms that don't have PCIe gen 4.0, we reckon PCI-Express 3.0 x8 has plenty of bandwidth for a card of this market segment. Built on the 7 nm process at TSMC, the RX 5500 has TDP and typical board power figures aligned closely with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 16-series. The card makes do with a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. A simple fan heatsink cools the "Navi 14" GPU on the OEM RX 5500 card, which is tucked under a plastic cooler shroud. The design is nothing to write home about, but when installed inside a prebuilt OEM system without a window on the case it won't matter.
In this review, we pair the Radeon RX 5500 with the latest Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.11.3 drivers and put it through our test bench. Just to reiterate, this is an official AMD product with identical clocks to the AMD reference, tested on official drivers that support the card. We're comparing it to the freshly minted GeForce GTX 1650 Super which released today.