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AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT: performance analysis

Assassin's Creed Odyssey/Unity, Battlefield 1.

Our performance analysis of the RX 5600 XT and its closest rivals kicks off with a range of titles from 2014 to 2018, where the two newcomers are stacked up against established rivals. Our frame-rate figures here are recorded from a test rig using the steadfast Core i7 8700K, overclocked to an all-core turbo frequency of 4.7GHz and backed by two 8GB sticks of 3400MHz memory and a single 1TB NVMe SSD from XPG. The processor is hooked up to a Gamer Storm Castle 240mm liquid cooler running at full belt, allowing that all-core turbo to be maintained throughout.

As usual, our results are represented with the bespoke Digital Foundry benchmarking system, which generates its results based on direct capture from the graphics card itself, avoiding the accuracy issues of internal frame-time measurements.

If you're reading on a phone or tablet, you'll see the results presented in a way that makes sense for smaller screens: a simple table for each game with average frame-rate and lowest one per cent measurements at each resolution we tested. On desktop, you get the full-fat Digital Foundry experience.

Play the YouTube videos embedded for each game, and you'll see how each card handles the test scene with real-time frame-rates and frame times. You can add or remove data points from the comparison using controls on the right, so you can see how the same card performs at different resolutions, or perhaps how four cards fare at the monitor resolution you're using at home. Below this, a bar chart provides information on how each card fared on average, including the often-illuminating worst one per cent figure. Remember that you can click to swap from absolute frame-rate readouts to percentage differences, which change as you mouse around the bar chart.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

With 6GB of VRAM, both the RX 5600 XT and competing GTX 1660 Ti are able to meet the requirements of Assassin's Creed Odyssey at its ultra high preset. Both flavours of the RX 5600 XT are able to hand in a respectable 50fps average, slightly behind the GTX 1660 Super at 54fps. The overclocked BIOS is able to pull out a lead at 1440p and 4K, as the game becomes less CPU-bound. Here, the OC card manages 47fps, while the GTX 1660 Super and 1660 Ti languish at the 41fps mark. However, the RTX 2060 is still the marginal victor, with an average 1440p frame-rate of 49fps.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey doesn't seem to favour AMD hardware though, so this might be something of a worst-case scenario for Team Red. With no ray tracing supported in this title, the RX 5600 XT OC is still the better value for money choice in the UK, delivering 97 per cent of the RTX 2060's 1440p performance at around 92 per cent of the price.

AC Odyssey: Ultra High, TAA

Assassin's Creed Unity

Moving onto a classic benchmark now, AC Unity delivers a surprisingly harsh challenge for a game first released in 2014. AMD hardware historically ran very poorly on this game, thanks in part to a depth of field effect often used in cutscenes like our example footage. Modern AMD cards seem to have solved that issue though, leaving the two major graphics card producers on relatively even footing.

At 1080p, the RX 5600 XT manages a clean 90fps, with the OC model adding another 3fps to the total. The RTX 2060 is another 3fps further ahead, making these three cards very tightly packed. By comparison, the GTX 1660 Ti manages only 82fps, making it the poorest value option. Looking at 1440p now, the overclocked 'performance' BIOS delivers five per cent higher frame-rates than its reference peer, which is enough to eclipse the 60fps mark and equal the RTX 2060.

Assassin's Creed Unity: Ultra High, FXAA

Battlefield 1

After two games that have played nicer with Nvidia hardware, it's time to turn things to AMD's favour for a while. The DICE Frostbite engine has been adopted by a large number of EA titles in recent years, and its DirectX 12 implementation makes full use of AMD's strengths. The stock RX 5600 XT manages an impressive 132fps on average, enough to justify the use of a high refresh rate monitor, a result eight per cent faster than the GTX 1660 Ti and 14 per cent faster than the GTX 1660 Super. Moving to the performance BIOS results in a six per cent performance spike, delivering a 140fps average that equals the RTX 2060 exactly and puts the GTX 1660 series firmly in the rear view mirror.

The game is also playable on the RX 5600 XT at higher resolutions, with the OC model outperforming the vanilla version by eight per cent at 1440p and ten per cent at 4K. In both cases, the AMD card holds around a five per cent advantage over the RTX 2060, making the cheaper RX 5600 XT a much better value.

Battlefield 1: Ultra, TAA

AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 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 @DealsFoundry.


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