ASUS Radeon RX 5700 XT STRIX OC Review 122

ASUS Radeon RX 5700 XT STRIX OC Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • ASUS hasn't yet revealed its price to us yet, but we'll update this review with pricing as it becomes available.
  • Heat and noise levels greatly improved over AMD reference design
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Very quiet in gaming (quiet BIOS)
  • Idle fan stop
  • Memory overclocking improved
  • Backplate included
  • Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC for three months included
  • Additional headers for two case fans and external RGB hardware
  • Dual BIOS
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • 7 nanometer production process
  • Support for DSC 1.2a enables 8K 60 Hz
  • FidelityFX and Radeon Anti-Lag
  • Memory overclocking limited by adjustment range
  • Memory not overclocked
  • No hardware-accelerated raytracing
The ASUS Radeon RX 5700 XT STRIX OC is the first custom-design Navi card we're reviewing. It comes with a completely reworked PCB design, better cooler and is overclocked out of the box. Thanks to the factory overclock, the card achieves a 5% performance improvement over the AMD reference design, which is quite solid and helps make up ground against the Radeon VII and RTX 2070 Super. The former is 3% faster and the latter 6% ahead. This puts the new ASUS STRIX OC right between the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2070 performance-wise. NVIDIA's recently released RTX 2060 Super is 11% behind, and the difference to the RX 5700 is 19%. With these performance results, we can definitely recommend the RX 5700 XT for maximum details gaming at 1440p resolution, or high-refresh-rate gaming at 1080p.

ASUS is using the same large STRIX cooler on Navi as for its NVIDIA RTX cards, and that's a great choice. While the reference design is plagued by high temperatures, the ASUS STRIX has nothing of that sort. Maximum GPU temperature is only 77°C, 15°C lower than the AMD reference. Even at these improved temperatures, noise levels are good. Using the stock BIOS, we measured 36 dBA in heavy gaming, which is a huge improvement over the 43 dBA emitted by the AMD reference blower cooler. With 36 dBA, noise levels are still a bit higher than the NVIDIA RTX Founders Editions, but the differences are small enough to be overheard. Thanks to the dual-BIOS feature, the card can go even quieter. On the second BIOS with the designation "Quiet BIOS", noise levels go as low as 32 dBA without touching clock speeds or power limits, which even rivals custom designs for the GeForce RTX and delivers the peaceful noise levels gamers are looking for today. Even in that mode, temperatures are still very reasonable with 82°C. I'd say ASUS has picked the right balance between noise and temperatures for their card. Unlike their NVIDIA counterparts, ASUS is enabling fan stop for both the default BIOS and quiet mode, whereas the NVIDIA STRIX cards offer that capability only with the quiet BIOS—a good improvement.

Gaming power consumption is increased a bit over what we've seen from the AMD reference, but not by much. The driving factors here are the higher power limit, higher clock speeds, and VRM changes—the first two contribute positively to performance and are definitely worth it I'd say. With roughly 250 W, power draw is a bit higher than for competing NVIDIA cards, but the differences are not huge, so PSU choices aren't affected at all.

Overclocking our sample was slightly easier than on the AMD reference design. Especially memory overclocking worked correctly now. Perhaps that's because ASUS uses Micron chips, instead of the Samsung chips on the reference design. On NVIDIA, we see significantly better overclocking from Samsung than from Micron—here, it's reversed. Memory overclocking is held back by the slider-adjustment range in Wattman, which only goes up to 1900 MHz. We've encountered this obstacle in the past with AMD, so let's hope they reconsider putting artificial OC limits into their driver. GPU overclocking yielded slightly higher clocks, too, but with +15 MHz over reference, they seem to be due to the silicon lottery. However, performance gained after overclocking was slim even with the power limit set to max—we gained 0.7% in performance, which is essentially nothing.

On the topic of raytracing, I'm sure you've already made up your mind on whether it's something you're interested in or not, but I don't doubt for a second that NVIDIA, with their excellent developer relations, is pushing the technology very hard, and it looks like the adoption rate is improving. We're also hearing rumors that next-gen consoles will feature some sort of raytracing technology. I'd say, it's not a big deal for the near future, but it could become relevant in the years to come, so if you're future-proofing for many years to come, this could be a factor. My recommendation is not to worry about the future too much and look at what you need today to buy a new card when you need it, selling the old one to offset the cost.

Pricing for the ASUS RX 5700 XT STRIX OC isn't known yet. We'll update this review as soon as we hear anything from ASUS. AMD's RX 5700 XT reference costs $400, and the faster RTX 2070 Super is $500, so the ASUS card has to land somewhere between range. Looking at performance alone, the 5% performance improvement alone would justify a price of $420. Add the better cooler with much better temperatures and fan noise, and idle-fan-stop, and I'd be willing to pay $450 to $460 for this card. Anything beyond that would probably make me spend a little bit more money for the RTX 2070 Super. If money is tight, an RTX 2060 Super custom-design could be an option, too, with a few percent less performance at slightly less cost. Looks like the competition in the $400–$500 segment is going to heat up, which is a good thing because it should result in lower prices for us.
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