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AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT vs GTX 1650 Super: performance analysis

Crysis 3, Far Cry 5, Ghost Recon Wildlands.

We continue our RX 5500XT vs GTX 1650 Super vs 'everything else' with our resident PC graphics legend, Crysis 3, accompanied by two newer, more modern titles: Far Cry 5 and Ghost Recon Wildlands. Our test rig remains identical of course, consisting of a Core i7 8700K running at an all-core turbo speed of 4.7GHz. This is paired with two 8GB sticks of 3400MHz DDR4 supplied by GSkill, with all titles running from super-fast SSDs to ensure each test runs smoothly throughout. To ensure that the power-hungry 8700K doesn't overheat, a Gamer Storm Castle 240mm AiO liquid cooler is used.

Depending on how you view this page, our performance metrics are presented in one of two ways. If you're reading this on a mobile device, you'll get a table with average frame-rate and lowest one per cent measurements. However, if you're on a desktop or laptop, you get the full-blooded Digital Foundry experience. Play the YouTube videos to see frame-rate and frame-time metrics running in parallel to the video (you can even navigate around the video with the graphs adjusting to match). Beneath that you'll see our barcharts, dynamically generated from the frame-time metrics - mouse over for various stats and press the mouse button to swap over to the more useful percentage differentials.

All performance data is derived from video captures of each graphics card - no internal metrics here, the gold standard in analysis comes from measuring what's actually emerging from the video output of the GPU.

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 is another legacy game that still manages to stress-test any and all PC hardware - and has evolved into a banana skin title of sorts as its rendering seems to be less than optimal on newer architectures, something that may extend to other older-but-challenging games. You can see that here by comparing the older Pascal-based GTX 1070 with the Turing-based GTX 1660 Super and its rather similar Ti sibling - the older card is a good degree faster, something that isn't reflected in other benchmarks, particularly on more modern engines.

So it is here with AMD, where the RX 5500 XT in both iterations is only a touch faster than a reference-spec RX 580 and actually lags behind the RX 590, again at stock specifications. Despite Turing comparing less than favourably with Pascal, Nvidia's equivalent products do have the better of the new AMD equivalents but perhaps not to any meaningful degree - certainly not in the face of a 2GB VRAM advantage in the case of the more expensive RX 5500 XT. Once again though, the relative power of the GTX 1660 Super muddies the purchasing decision here.

Crysis 3: Very High, SMAA T2X

Far Cry 5

Pound for pound, the GTX 1650 Super is comprehensively beaten by the RX 5500 XT in Ubisoft's Far Cry 5 benchmark - with both 4GB and 8GB cards delivering the same eight per cent lead over Nvidia's recently released budget offering. There's more good news for AMD here in that both of the RX 5500 XTs also outperform the GTX 1660 - the lead is more narrow but remains in place at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions, and it's still at parity even at 4K. It's a good showing overall.

With that in mind, the extra bump in price vs performance we've seen from an entry-level GTX 1660 Super doesn't really materialise here - the extra money you pay doesn't translate into an equivalent slice of extra performance and you still have the 2GB deficit in VRAM too. The RX 5500 XT 4GB has been compelling in most tests, with the 8GB version a bit more of a head-scratcher bearing in mind its price - but not here.

Far Cry 5: Ultra, TAA

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Breakpoint is out now, but Wildlands is still a go-to game for really rinsing a GPU when its benchmark is run at very high or ultra settings. It's heavy on compute and also poses problems for cards with lower VRAM allocations - and here's where we see an interesting discrepancy. At 1080p, the Nvidia GTX 1650 Super doesn't seem to be impacted by its limited 4GB framebuffer, but the RX 5500 XT 4GB most definitely is - possibly down to more efficient memory compression from Team GeForce. The Nvidia card starts to lose pace as you would expect at 1440p and 4K resolutions, but the advantage at 1080p is profound.

Benchmarks like this - and Assassin's Creed Odyssey - highlight the importance of extra memory for future-proofing. The four gig 5500 XT we have for testing is equal to the 8GB version in compute terms (and possibly less thermally constrained based on the Battlefield 1 bench and other more minor discrepancies) but without the memory to get the job done, it can only offer 79.5 per cent of the 8GB card's overall performance, while the experience is not as consistent. Another concern here is relative performance up against RX 590 - and factory overclocked RX 580s, which are very similar. Navi isn't offering a price vs performance upgrade here, which is something we would have hoped to have seen from a new architecture on a more modern process node.

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Ultra, TAA

AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT vs GTX 16-Series Analysis

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About the Author

Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.


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