AMD today launched the Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card, and we have with us its premium rendition, the MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT 8 GB Gaming X. The RX 5500 XT is based on AMD's second 7 nm "Navi" family graphics chips, the "Navi 14." It comes with the entire feature-set of "Navi," including the latest RDNA compute units, GDDR6 memory, PCIe gen 4.0 capability, and all the software features the RX 5700-series support.
The RX 5500 XT is an interesting card to review given AMD originally announced the RX 5500 series way back in October, while being rather quiet about its retail availability. It debuted in the OEM channel with the RX 5500 4 GB. We reviewed one of those cards last month. We were expecting the same card to launch in December, alongside a premium "XT" variant that maxes out "Navi 14." It came as a surprise then that AMD announced that the retail channel implementation of "Navi 14" will exclusively be called RX 5500 XT and come with two variants based on memory size: 4 GB and 8 GB.
What's unexpected about the RX 5500 XT is that it does not max out "Navi 14." It has the same exact core configuration as the RX 5500 OEM card we reviewed last month, with 22 RDNA compute units making up 1,408 stream processors, 88 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface. The "Navi 14" silicon features 24 compute units (1,536 stream processors); currently, the only contraption that maxes it out is the Radeon Pro 5500M found exclusively in Apple's MacBook Pro 16-inch. The RX 5500 XT has slightly higher reference clock speeds as the RX 5500 OEM, with up to 1845 MHz boost and 1717 MHz "gaming" clocks. The memory ticks at 14 Gbps (GDDR6 effective) on both 4 GB and 8 GB variants. The MSI RX 5500 XT ships with factory-overclocked speeds of 1737 MHz Game Clock and 1845 MHz maximum Boost.
NVIDIA has been busy since October with the introduction of the GeForce 16 SUPER series. The GTX 1650 Super was launched recently as AMD was claiming "the RX 5500 beats the GTX 1650." The price-performance of the GTX 1650 Super disturbs the GTX 1660, and so NVIDIA launched the GTX 1650 Super, possibly to preempt the "RX 5500 XT," which it thought would max out "Navi 14" and ship with higher clocks.
The new RX 5500 XT is being launched at sub-$200 price-points, with the 4 GB variant being priced at $170 and the 8 GB variant at $200. The MSI RX 5500 XT 8 GB Gaming X is priced at $225, a $25 premium. It implements the company's Twin Frozr 7 cooling solution with the same aesthetic as the RX 5700 Gaming X series, which appears to be exclusive to the AMD Radeon series. The card offers several premium features, such as idle fan stop and a metal backplate.