AMD Radeon RX 5500 Review 95

AMD Radeon RX 5500 Review

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Introduction

AMD Logo

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.

Radeon RX 5500 Super Market Segment Analysis
 PriceShader
Units
ROPsCore
Clock
Boost
Clock
Memory
Clock
GPUTransistorsMemory
GTX 1050$135640321354 MHz1455 MHz1752 MHzGP1073300M2 GB, GDDR5, 128-bit
GTX 1050 Ti$150 768321290 MHz1392 MHz1752 MHzGP1073300M4 GB, GDDR5, 128-bit
GTX 1650$150896321485 MHz1665 MHz2000 MHzTU117unknown4 GB, GDDR5, 128-bit
RX 570$130 2048321168 MHz1244 MHz1750 MHzEllesmere5700M4 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 5500unknown1408321670 MHz1845 MHz1750 MHzNavi 146400M4 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
GTX 1650 Super$1601280321530 MHz1725 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M4 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
RX 580$180 2304321257 MHz1340 MHz2000 MHzEllesmere5700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1060 3 GB$1701152481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M3 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1060$2101280481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
RX 590$1952304321469 MHz1545 MHz2000 MHzPolaris 305700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1660$220 1408481530 MHz1785 MHz2000 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1070$3001920641506 MHz1683 MHz2002 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX Vega 56$3003584641156 MHz1471 MHz800 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1660 Super$2301408481530 MHz1785 MHz1750 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1660 Ti$2751536481500 MHz1770 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1070 Ti$4502432641607 MHz1683 MHz2000 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back
Graphics Card Front Angled

Despite being a sub-$200 card and using copious amounts of plastic in its construction, the reference RX 5500 card is of solid build quality, and feels heavier than some of the GTX 1650 Super cards we tested today. A large matte-black plastic shroud covers three sides of the card, and a large 95 mm fan dominates the top of the card. There's no backplate.

Graphics Card Dimensions

Dimensions of the card are 18 cm x 11 cm.

Graphics Card Height
Graphics Card Back Angled

Installation requires two slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include two DisplayPort 1.4a outputs and one HDMI 2.0b.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

The board uses one 8-pin power connector. This input configuration is specified for up to 225 watts of power draw.

Multi-GPU Area

Radeon RX 5500 does not support AMD CrossFire.

Disassembly

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

The amount of engineering that has gone into designing this cooler is impressive for a card of this price segment, as there is a proper aluminium fin-stack heatsink with a pair of copper heat pipes to spread the heat, a copper base plate to pull heat from the GPU, and a secondary aluminium base plate that pulls heat from the memory chips and VRM.

High-resolution PCB Pictures

These pictures are for the convenience of volt modders and people who would like to see all the finer details on the PCB. Feel free to link back to us and use these in your articles or forum posts.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back


High-res versions are also available (front, back).

Circuit Board (PCB) Analysis

GPU Chip Voltage Controller
GPU Voltage, VRM Configuration

The GPU VRM is a staggering 6-phase setup controlled by an International Rectifier IR35217 controller mated with LFPAK MOSFETs.

Memory Chip Voltage Controller
Memory Voltage, VRM Configuration

The memory VRM is single-phase and managed by an OnSemi NCP81022N controller (another premium part that's originally designed for 4 phases).

Graphics Card Memory Chips

The GDDR6 memory chips are made by Samsung and carry the model number K4Z80325BC-HC14. They are specified to run at 1750 MHz (14 Gbps GDDR6 effective).

Graphics Chip GPU

AMD's Navi 14 graphics processor is their second chip to use the new RDNA graphics architecture. It is made on a 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process at TSMC, and has a transistor-count of 6.4 billion. The die measures just 158 mm².
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