MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X Review 42

MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • According to MSI, the Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X will retail for €405 without VAT, which converts to $445.
  • Very low temperatures
  • Reasonably priced
  • Very quiet
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Idle fan stop
  • Good overclocking potential
  • Backplate included
  • Better memory overclocking because of Micron chips
  • Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC for three months included
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • 7 nanometer production process
  • Support for DSC 1.2a enables 8K 60 Hz
  • FidelityFX and Radeon Anti-Lag
  • Power consumption increased, some efficiency lost
  • Memory overclocking limited by adjustment range
  • Memory not overclocked
  • No hardware-accelerated raytracing
For their Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X, MSI has designed a completely new cooler with a new identity. Unlike their other recent releases, it is dominated by straight lines and clean surfaces, giving the product a hypermodern, fresh look. Unlike most other high-end custom designs which use three fans, MSI uses only two, yet achieves outstanding temperature levels. Out of the box, MSI has overclocked their card to 2025 MHz rated Boost. This translates into a 4% performance improvement over the AMD reference design, which is more than on most other Navi cards, but the differences are in the single-percent digit range, which probably isn't enough to base your buying decision on. At 1440p, AMD's Radeon VII flagship is only 4% faster than the Gaming X, and the RTX 2070 Super is 7% ahead. Compared to NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2070, the MSI card delivers 6% higher FPS. NVIDIA's recently released RTX 2060 Super is 9% behind, and the difference to the RX 5700 is 16%. 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.

MSI's cooler not only looks gorgeous but also delivers the best temperatures we've seen on any Navi card so far. With only 70°C at full load, the card runs so much cooler than the reference design, it's hard to believe both are built upon the same GPU chip. Noise levels are excellent, too, reaching 32 dBA in heavy gaming. This is the second-best noise result of all custom Navi cards we've tested so far, and MSI achieves that with just a single BIOS—no switching to a "quiet" BIOS required (which often runs the card at lower clocks or power limit). I have to compliment MSI for this approach as it gives gamers the best settings right out of the box. On top of that, MSI's Dragon Center App has a "silent mode" you can enable, if you choose to install that software. As expected, MSI includes the idle-fan-stop feature with the Gaming X, which completely shuts off the fans during idle, desktop work, Internet browsing, and light gaming.

Power consumption of the Gaming X is a little bit higher than on other custom Navi cards, which is probably due to the higher voltage for its high and stable factory overclock. With 270-280 W, this isn't a huge deal as most decent power supplies will have no problems powering the card. It still hurts overall efficiency since the out of the box performance increase is only 4% compared to a 20% power increase.

Overclocking our sample reached the highest GPU overclock we've ever seen on a Navi card, but the differences are small and mostly due to the silicon lottery. On the other hand, it is possible that the lower temperatures help eke a few more MHz out of the Navi GPU. Unlike the AMD reference, memory overclocking worked correctly now, but ends up limited by the adjustment range in Wattman, which tops out at 1900 MHz. Let's hope AMD reconsiders putting artificial OC limits into their driver. After manual overclocking, we gained 3.3% in real-life performance.

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 is pushing the technology very hard with their excellent developer relations, 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, too. 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.

According to MSI, their Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X will retail for around $445, which is a $45 premium over the AMD reference RX 5700 XT. The out-of-the-box performance increase of 4% can justify a $20 bump, and the better cooler and idle fan stop should be worth another $10, so MSI isn't totally off. Still, with many board partners releasing custom designs around the same price point, competition will heat up. For example, the Sapphire Pulse is $410 with slightly lower performance, higher temperatures, and more noise. PowerColor's Red Devil is similarly priced as the Gaming X at $440, but with better noise, similar performance, but higher temperatures. Going more expensive, we have the ASUS RX 5700 XT STRIX and of course NVIDIA's RTX 2070 Super cards. I guess as stock levels normalize for the RX 5700 XT, we'll see the premium custom designs come down a little bit in pricing, probably gravitating towards $430.
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