MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Gaming X & Gaming Z Review 30

MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Gaming X & Gaming Z Review

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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.

Radeon RX 5600 XT Market Segment Analysis
RX 590$2002304321469 MHz1545 MHz2000 MHzPolaris 305700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1660$200 1408481530 MHz1785 MHz2000 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1070$3001920641506 MHz1683 MHz2002 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX Vega 56$2603584641156 MHz1471 MHz800 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1660 Super$2301408481530 MHz1785 MHz1750 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1660 Ti$2701536481500 MHz1770 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1070 Ti$4502432641607 MHz1683 MHz2000 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 5600 XT$2802304641375 MHz1560 MHz1500 MHzNavi 1010300M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
MSI RX 5600 XT
Gaming X
$3302304641615 MHz1750 MHz1500 MHzNavi 1010300M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
MSI RX 5600 XT
Gaming Z
$3402304641615 MHz1750 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2060$3001920481365 MHz1680 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 5700$3302304641465 MHz1625 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
GTX 1080$5002560641607 MHz1733 MHz1251 MHzGP1047200M8 GB, GDDR5X, 256-bit
RTX 2060 Super$4002176641470 MHz1650 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX Vega 64$375 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1080 Ti$7003584881481 MHz1582 MHz1376 MHzGP10212000M11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RX 5700 XT$3802560641605 MHz1755 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
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