While it's not their first Navi card, MSI today launches its highest-end custom-design AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT "Navi" graphics card, the Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X. This card is built on an all-new board design from MSI you won't find on the company's RTX 20-series lineup. It joins the recently launched RX 5700 XT Evoke and Mech series in being the third new board design exclusively for Navi by MSI. The RX 5700 XT Gaming X has a meaty custom-design cooling solution designed to squeeze the most performance out of the RX 5700 XT while keeping noise as low as possible. It also has an all-new PCB with a premium 9+2 phase VRM, and factory-overclocked boost frequencies of a massive 2025 MHz, which is among the highest rated frequency of any RX 5700 XT card launched so far.
The Radeon RX 5700 XT is AMD's first true performance-segment graphics card in over two years since the RX Vega series. It's based on the brand new "Navi" architecture that leverages the 7 nm silicon fabrication process and brand new number-crunching machinery AMD calls RDNA compute units. These constitute the biggest update to AMD's GPU design since the very first Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture circa 2013. Together with clock speeds, RDNA is designed to bring about massive IPC improvements over GCN. The silicon also has a number of architectural changes. An interesting series of price adjustments and product launches ensure that even at its starting price of $399, it offers a bit more price-performance than NVIDIA.
AMD had originally planned to launch the Radeon RX 5700 XT at $449 and the RX 5700 at $399, with the two cards beating the $499 NVIDIA RTX 2070 and $349 RTX 2060 respectively. This forced NVIDIA to refresh its lineup with the new RTX 2070 Super at $499 and the RTX 2060 Super at $399. The RTX 2060 Super in particular was carefully crafted not to cannibalize the RTX 2070. AMD seeped into this imbroglio of NVIDIA and slotted the RX 5700 XT at $399 and the RX 5700 at $349, at which prices they outclass the RTX 2060 Super and original RTX 2060 respectively. NVIDIA didn't adjust prices of its RTX 2060 Super or RTX 2070 Super any further, and we hence have a fair bit of headroom between the RTX 2060 Super and the RTX 2070 Super in which AMD's board partners can launch custom-design RX 5700 XT cards with factory-overclocked speeds and other goodies, such as quieter coolers.
At the heart of the Radeon RX 5700 XT is the 7 nm "Navi 10" silicon with an impressive 10.3 billion transistors crammed into a 251 mm² die. Unlike the "Vega 20", Navi is a more traditional GPU in that the package only has the GPU die and is surrounded by memory chips. AMD opted for cost-effective 256-bit GDDR6 memory over exotic design choices such as HBM2. At a memory frequency of 14 Gbps, Navi enjoys a healthy memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s. It also features the latest-generation PCI-Express gen 4.0 x16 host interface with full backwards compatibility for older generations of PCIe, so you can pair it with AMD's new Ryzen 3000 processors on an X570 chipset motherboard. The buzz-words "7 nm" and "PCIe gen 4.0" are extensively used in AMD's marketing, as if to suggest that Navi is a generation ahead of NVIDIA's Turing, which is built on 12 nm and has PCIe gen 3.0.
In this review, we put the MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X through our entire selection of gaming benchmarks. We also take the card's meaty cooling solution and PCB for a spin with manual overclocking and noise testing. MSI is launching the Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X at €405 + VAT, which roughly translates to a pre-tax USD price of $445, which we used in our price-performance calculations.