Sapphire Radeon RX 6500 XT Pulse Review 43

Sapphire Radeon RX 6500 XT Pulse Review

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AMD released the Radeon RX 6500 XT yesterday (Jan 19th), and the Sapphire Pulse RX 6500 XT we have with us today dropped at our doorstep a little late, but we can finally tell you all about it. The Pulse brand represents Sapphire's value-oriented brand of graphics cards that have everything you need to just install and game. The Radeon RX 6500 XT is the world's first gaming GPU built on the 6 nm silicon fabrication node that offers improved transistor-density and power gains over 7 nm. It is based on the same RDNA2 graphics architecture as the rest of the RX 6000 series. It logically succeeds the RX 5500 XT from the previous generation, but with full DirectX 12 Ultimate capability.

At the heart of the AMD RX 6500 XT in this review is the Navi 24 silicon. This tiny 107 mm² chip packs 1,024 stream processors across 16 RDNA2 compute units, each with a Ray Accelerator. Thanks to the 6 nm process, AMD is able to run them at a scorching 2.61 GHz engine clocks. The card is endowed with 4 GB of GDDR6 memory, but over a baffling 64-bit wide memory bus that's half that of the RX 5500 XT. AMD attempted to overcome this limitation by deploying its Infinity Cache technology—a fast 16 MB on-die cache with the GPU, which speeds up the memory sub-system. Another surprising design choice is the card's PCI-Express 4.0 x4 system bus, which may prove enough for the target performance AMD intends for this SKU, but install it on older machines with Gen 3 and you half the bus bandwidth, as the PCIe lanes remain at just four. We dug deeper into this in our Radeon RX 6500 XT PCI-Express Scaling article

The design goal with the RX 6500 XT is essentially unchanged from the RX 5500 XT—1080p e-sports gaming with moderate settings. To turn up the eye-candy, you could use the FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) feature. Another dividend of the 6 nm node is the card's tiny typical board power figure of just 107 W. It can make do with a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. The Sapphire Pulse RX 6500 XT tops AMD's work with a compact version of its Dual-X cooling solution with an aluminium fin-stack heatsink, and a pair of 80 mm fans to cool it. The heatsink is longer than the PCB underneath, so some of the airflow from the second fan flows through the heatsink and out a large vent on the backplate. Sapphire is running the RX 6500 XT Pulse at default clocks—there is no factory OC. There is no official price guidance, but we expect this card to go for around $300–400, a huge premium over AMD's imaginary $199 SEP.

AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Market Segment Analysis
RX 580$3002304321257 MHz1340 MHz2000 MHzEllesmere5700M8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1060 6 GB$3001280481506 MHz1708 MHz2002 MHzGP1064400M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1650$250896321485 MHz1665 MHz2000 MHzTU1174700M4 GB, GDDR5, 128-bit
RX 5500 XT$3501408321717 MHz1845 MHz1750 MHzNavi 146400M4 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
Sapphire RX
6500 XT Pulse
MSRP: $200
1024322685 MHz2825 MHz2248 MHzNavi 245400M4 GB, GDDR6, 64-bit
GTX 1650 Super$4001280321530 MHz1725 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M4 GB, GDDR6, 128-bit
GTX 1660$480 1408481530 MHz1785 MHz2000 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
RX Vega 56$8003584641156 MHz1471 MHz800 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1660 Super$5501408481530 MHz1785 MHz1750 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1660 Ti$5001536481500 MHz1770 MHz1500 MHzTU1166600M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 5600 XT$7002304641375 MHz1560 MHz1500 MHzNavi 1010300M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2060$5701920481365 MHz1680 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 5700$9502304641465 MHz1625 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2060 Super$8002176641470 MHz1650 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX Vega 64$850 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
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May 19th, 2022 17:01 EDT change timezone

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