AMD earlier this week launched the Radeon RX 5600 XT at a starting price of $279, and it came down as a wrecking ball for the entire $200–$300 graphics card market segment. Today, we are reviewing the MSI top of the line RX 5600 XT Gaming Z and Gaming X graphics cards, which are identical in every regard with the exception of VRAM speed. Designed to offer 1080p gaming at high frame rates of around 90 FPS, the RX 5600 XT is targeted at users who still game at 1080p, want to game with all details maxed out, and want to hold on to the graphics card for at least the next 2–3 years.
AMD originally intended for the RX 5600 XT to take the sub-$300 crown by beating the segment leader, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, without interference from the RTX 20-series. NVIDIA didn't let this happen, and upon seeing AMD's hand at the 2020 CES keynote address, it sought to outmaneuver the red team by lowering the starting price of its GeForce RTX 2060 to $299 in hopes of higher performance and RTX ray-tracing luring buyers away from the RX 5600 XT. AMD responded with an unexpected last-minute revision of the RX 5600 XT specs in which it dialed up GPU clock speeds by 10 percent and memory clock speeds by over 16 percent in a bid to outperform the RTX 2060.
For AMD's board partners, this specs change couldn't have come at a worse time, with employees away from work on Chinese New Year. Not only is it inopportune timing, but the spec is also unimplementable on its cheapest RX 5600 XT cards whose coolers and VRM were purpose-built for the original spec. AMD board partners are hence revising only their faster factory-overclocked cards, those with components that can cope with the new configuration. The first batches of RX 5600 XT cards are already in stores or have shipped from the factories, run at original clocks. Implementing the new settings is now dumped upon the board partners and end users. Board partners offer BIOS updates, which end users can choose to update their cards with.
Instead of just updating the BIOS on their Gaming X SKU, MSI decided to use this opportunity to release the RTX 5600 XT Gaming Z. Our Gaming X review sample with the Gaming X BIOS update now ticks at 1615 MHz Game Clock (up from 1460 MHz), 1750 MHz Boost (up from 1620 MHz), and 1500 MHz memory. The Gaming Z, which will be shipping after Chinese New Year with the BIOS already updated, runs at nearly the same specs except for much higher memory speed at 1750 MHz.
Except for the memory, the MSI RX 5600 XT Gaming X and Gaming Z are identical, with nearly identical product packaging. Under the hood, both feature MSI's premium Twin Frozr 7 cooling solution that did wonders for the RX 5700 XT and a PCB with a strong VRM solution. The card offers idle fan stop and is designed with a focus on low-noise output. MSI is pricing the RX 5600 XT Gaming X at $330, and the Gaming Z slightly higher, probably around $340.
|RX 590||$200||2304||32||1469 MHz||1545 MHz||2000 MHz||Polaris 30||5700M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|GTX 1660||$200||1408||48||1530 MHz||1785 MHz||2000 MHz||TU116||6600M||6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit|
|GTX 1070||$300||1920||64||1506 MHz||1683 MHz||2002 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX Vega 56||$260||3584||64||1156 MHz||1471 MHz||800 MHz||Vega 10||12500M||8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit|
|GTX 1660 Super||$230||1408||48||1530 MHz||1785 MHz||1750 MHz||TU116||6600M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|GTX 1660 Ti||$270||1536||48||1500 MHz||1770 MHz||1500 MHz||TU116||6600M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|GTX 1070 Ti||$450||2432||64||1607 MHz||1683 MHz||2000 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX 5600 XT||$280||2304||64||1375 MHz||1560 MHz||1500 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|MSI RX 5600 XT|
|$330||2304||64||1615 MHz||1750 MHz||1500 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|MSI RX 5600 XT|
|$340||2304||64||1615 MHz||1750 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|RTX 2060||$300||1920||48||1365 MHz||1680 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit|
|RX 5700||$330||2304||64||1465 MHz||1625 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|GTX 1080||$500||2560||64||1607 MHz||1733 MHz||1251 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5X, 256-bit|
|RTX 2060 Super||$400||2176||64||1470 MHz||1650 MHz||1750 MHz||TU106||10800M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|
|RX Vega 64||$375||4096||64||1247 MHz||1546 MHz||953 MHz||Vega 10||12500M||8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit|
|GTX 1080 Ti||$700||3584||88||1481 MHz||1582 MHz||1376 MHz||GP102||12000M||11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit|
|RX 5700 XT||$380||2560||64||1605 MHz||1755 MHz||1750 MHz||Navi 10||10300M||8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit|