With so many CPU articles and coverage in the last period, we’ve decided that GPUs need some love as well. Today we’re rounding up all of AMD’s RX 5700XT video cards in a comparison for the best value, best overall, best cooling and more. The reason we’re doing this is because not every implementation is the same; some may have weaker VRMs (voltage regulator modules), some may be loud or some may just have high defect rates.
A lot of the early cards that came out for the RX 5700XT series had a version of the reference PCB which was a blower card; as a result, they had a large section of unused PCB in order for the third party manufacturers to add in a BIOS switch if they wanted. There was a secondary shorter version of the reference PCB which was still designed by AMD for cards like the Sapphire Pulse and MSI Evoke OC; these cards came to market on time but the other versions like the Sapphire Nitro+ or the ASUS Strix 5700XT needed more designing and testing time in order to hit retail.
We are covering and testing them all in order for you to pick the one that suits your budget and performance needs best. We will be condensing the most important information in a single content piece to help you select the right version for your build and finishing with a breakdown of choices at each price point. The links to buy will be available throughout the article. Without further ado, let’s get right into it and present the specs of the cards we’re going to compare!
Best RX 5700 XT Aftermarket Cards – Our Recommendations
|Selection||Core Clock||Boost Clock||Length||External Power||Cooling||Current Retail Price|
|ASUS RX 5700XT STRIX OC||1770 MHz||2035 MHz||305 mm||2 x 8-pin||★★★★☆||$450|
|Gigabyte RX 5700XT GAMING OC||1650 MHz||1905 MHz||280 mm||1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin||★★★★☆||$410|
|Sapphire RX 5700 XT PULSE||1670 MHz||1925 MHz||254 mm||1 x 6-pin + 1 x 8-pin||★★★★☆||$395|
|Sapphire RX 5700 XT NITRO+||1770 MHz||2010 MHz||306 mm||2 x 8-pin||★★★★★||$450|
|PowerColor RX 5700 XT Red Devil||1770 MHz||2010 MHz||300 mm||2 x 8-pin||★★★★★||$440|
|MSI RX 5700 XT GAMING X||1730 MHz||1980 MHz||297 mm||2 x 8-pin||★★★★☆||$420|
|ASRock RX 5700 XT 8 GB Taichi X OC+||1810 MHz||2025 MHz||324 mm||2 x 8-pin||★★★★★||$450|
Best Overall RX 5700XT Aftermarket Card
The Gigabyte Gaming OC
This category is a combination of everything; we’re looking for something that’s able to accomplish a lot without increasing its price from MSRP too much. Following that, it has to have good cooling when noise normalized and it needs to have a good default BIOS fan curve that’s neither too weak nor too aggressive. We will also be considering card compatibility and form factor for easier fitment in the widest spectrum of mid range and high end cases. Its easiest to be the best by being the most expensive but we’re looking for that perfect balance of price and performance.
Best overall goes to what is admittedly one of the least exciting cards in the RX 5700XT family and that’s the Gigabyte RX 5700XT Gaming OC. They barely defeated the Sapphire Pulse for this recommendation and the Pulse would be our second choice if you can’t find retail for the Gigabyte card or if it’s overpriced in your area. The Gaming OC doesn’t attempt anything extraordinary but that’s why it deserves this spot on the list thanks to its fairly standard cooler design composed of three fans, it’s standard height PCB and an average asking price of $410. It also manages to have some of the best thermals across the entire stack. Its 190 Watt vBIOS managed to best the thermals behind the more expensive Sapphire Nitro+ and the PowerColor Red Devil variant, besting nearly every other card.
When taken apart, the Gaming OC has a standard cooling solution with top-down oriented fins and aluminium contact plates for the VRM components. They also used thermal pads for better conduction thus effectively getting good mounting pressure on both the die and the memory modules; this is a point that other cards like the MSI Evoke OC have struggled with this generation. We also appreciate that Gigabyte was among the few manufacturers which did not have a warranty void sticker on the back screws of the card. We strongly support the right to repair and we believe manufacturers shouldn’t deprive users of attempting to maintain their own hardware with cleaning and the occasional thermal paste. Replacing fans and regular maintenance is relatively simple and Gigabyte gets a shout out for this.
GPU thermals were good on the RX 5700XT Gaming OC and the card remains near silent under load in a closed case so we have no reason not to recommend this $410 5700XT for its way of ticking boxes in the most important areas. The second and very close recommendation in this category would be the Sapphire Pulse RX 5700XT which currently retails for $395 and is very close in performance to the one we are recommending in this overall category for the 5700XT.
Best Cooling RX 5700XT Aftermarket Card
Best cooling, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 5700XT or the PowerColor Red Devil RX 5700XT
This one is a tough category because this is on that many enthusiasts care the most about. This category is dominated by the Sapphire Nitro+ and by the PowerColor Red Devil. We no longer care about price at this point and these two trade blows in different categories of thermal and acoustic performance. To define the best cooling we have to consider a few aspects of what that means; noise normalize thermals allow us to establish the most efficient cooler setup without allowing them to get a lead over the other one simply by having the fastest or the loudest fans.
Normalized results at 40Db for the GPU temperatures have the Red Devil at the top but only thanks to the silent BIOS and its 180 W power target. The Nitro+ lurks immediately behind it, only 2 degrees warmer in junction and edge thermals while running 20 watts more power through the GPU; that’s impressive cooling performance especially considering that the Nitro+ cools at 220W the same as the Red Devil cools at 200W. These cards have been ranked when stress tasted but when just gaming or heavy gaming, the two GPUs will be inaudible from inside your case as they should be with their superior cooler designs. Temperatures are well within control but some manual fan curve tweaking will push their performance and sustained clock speeds even further.
The Nitro+ also has a limp profile but one which manages better and more thorough performance than the Red Devil in high load situations. At the end of the day, any of these cards we’re considering here can cool better than the others but at the expense of loudness – and we know consumers don’t like that. The Nitro+ manages to remain silent at fan curves other cards start to become loud. Overall, we’d recommend either of the PowerColor Red Devil 5700XT or the Sapphire Nitro+ 5700XT but set a custom fan curve for it; thus you’ll have the best performing GPU that you can get. Auto mode on these two products isn’t particularly impressive and manual tweaking will certainly get your further.
These two cards come with objectively the two best coolers on the market for 5700XT and we will evenly recommend both as the differences are within a margin of error and we can’t call a clear winner. That being said, both are really good and you should just pick based on the price, the size fitment in your case and what’s available where you live; how they look may also be a factor in your decision.
Great Value RX 5700 XT Card
Not amazing, not bad, the most average RX 5700XT: The MSI Gaming X
Admittedly this category is not much of an honor but it’s here since not all cards can be the best or the worst. The MSI Gaming X is in the upper tier performance and cooling but its almost never on sale and you can get similar performing RX 5700XTs for lower. If you can find this card around the $410 price point then its a good deal.
The Gaming X isn’t particularly impressive in any one category. Cooling performance wasn’t as good as the Nitro+ or the Red Devil when considering the whole picture like peak GPU thermals vs power consumption and we must say they probably didn’t have enough time between the launch of the Evoque OC and this Gaming X to fix the thermal pad issue which consisted of the thermal pads not fully covering the top two memory modules and the center where the die is located. Its a pity because this way, there’s a lot of thermal performance that’s left on the table and with more attention to detail, this card may have been recommended in the first two categories instead. There’s also a lack of a dual vBIOS and at this price point we’d like to see this feature used on these GPUs.
Sadly, its merely average against the impressive Nitro+ and Red Devil; that doesn’t mean its bad, mind you, just that there’s a lot more room for improvement. It doesn’t have an objectively bad cooler but its just very unexciting and bland. Its most unique feature is that MSI has created a new unique design for this RX 5700 XT Gaming X that looks nothing like their recent NVIDIA cards. The card is dominated by black and gray, with some red highlights. A high-quality metal backplate is included, too. Dimensions of the card are 29.5 x 14.0 CM which is not the smallest nor the biggest of the ones we’re comparing today.
Power consumption on the Gaming X is also 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 average and a max input rated at 385W, 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. The memory is also not overclocked out of the box and a manual tune is necessary in order to get better performance.
Best Features RX 5700XT Aftermarket Card
Most unique features on a RX 5700XT, the ASRock Taichi X OC+
Differentiating one card from the other is difficult once already narrowed in on a particular GPU like the 5700XT. We might make these categories sound like the cards we are comparing are far apart but that’s not the case. Usually, these are all withing a single digit delta in performance and acoustics so you’re already down to a point where its hardly noticeable for normal use. Extra features like vBIOS switches, included software utilities and other bonuses become smaller points that may or may not be deciding points for some consumers.
We will give notice to the ASRock Taichi X though. Even if the Taichi X isn’t really able to justify its price because for most people its encroaching RTX 2070 Super price territory at its $480 MSRP. If you find this card around $430 though then it starts to become a viable option for the factory OC performance you’re getting out of the box. This category is called ‘unique feature’ and the Taichi X does have one bonus that may add value for some niche users and its not the RGB fans; this card can support six display outputs natively. This can be otherwise done with hubs and we don’t work enough with many monitors to know the effort behind this but from some research, the Taichi X port setup reduces additional cost for people who want a multiple monitor setup; feel free to inform us about the advantages in the comments if you’re someone who works with this many displays.
For the MSRP price, the cooling solution doesn’t present good value but for around $430, its a good deal. Noise levels on the 230W vBIOS mode are higher than expected but this can be corrected with a manually tuned fan curve. Everything with this card is workable if you really want that 6 port display compatibility. We will also note that as the newest GPU and board partner, ASRock has come out of the gate with a strong showing, albeit at a slightly steep price but that can be solved with deals.
This card also has a few additional advantages that may stick out for you; its the fastest RX 5700XT out of the box with no tweaking thanks to its highest boost clock out of all 5700XTs and thanks to its attractive lighting setup, it will surely be the main star of your build. Be careful though with its size as its a 2.5 slot card with a length of 324 mm.
Best PCB RX 5700XT Card
The best engineered PCB (Printed Circuit Board): ASUS STRIX RX 5700XT Gaming OC
We will be brief with this best PCB category because this might only be valuable information for the most hardcore overclockers out there. A lot of the other cards are board side grades but a few really stand out with their PCB layout and components. For example, the Nitro+ is using just a binned version of the reference board but ASUS establish themselves as a strong contender for PCB and VRM quality in this category. The board features easy access to the die and other board components such as the capable five phase VRM. This card would be the most recommended to get if you’re into setting it up on a custom loop thanks to its beastly components if cooled right.
Thanks to factory OC, this card achieves a 2035 MHz clock speed which is an improvement over reference, boosting the performance of the card by about 5% which is quite solid and inches in the realm of Radeon VII and RTX 2070 Super territory. ASUS is using the same flagship STRIX cooler on this RX 5700XT as for tits Nvidia RTX cards and that’s a good decision. The reworked PCB and higher end cooling solution makes it stand out as an exceptional performer only plagued by its steep price. For example, the maximum AMD reference 5700XT temperature is an expected 92 degrees Celsius; not with the STRIX though, the max temperatures during stress testing being 15 degrees lower at around 77 degrees Celsius while still managing to keep the noise levels very acceptable. We measured 36 dBA in heavy load gaming as opposed to reference’s 43 dBa. This card also has a dual vBIOS for even more silent operation if you are in need of it.
Power consumption while gaming is increased over the AMD reference but not by much, being in line with the performance uplift. Higher power limits, higher clock speeds and superior VRM colling and capacity is allowed by the good PCB of the STRIX model. There is also some overclocking headroom over the 2035 MHz limit but we warn you, there will be diminishing returns as the card will start consuming a lot more power for minimal improvements. Memory though can be tweaked in order to perform better in some game engines.
Final price breakdown
Lets go through a final price breakdown for some more granularity at each price point. We’re basing this off Amazon US pricing at the time of writing. If you aim to get the reference card you should be doing it only on a large discount because these aftermarket cards that we recommended earlier are easily better. The reference board though is great and can be used with water blocks in a DYI custom cooling setup. Another card that would be best for this is the previously mentioned ASUS STRIX.
Next up, in the $390 to $410 category we’ll keep recommending the Gigabyte Gaming OC and the Sapphire Pulse; whichever is available for you, whichever is cheaper or whichever suits your case fitment and aesthetic needs. The Pulse made good use of separate VRM heat sinks so that more heat isn’t soaked by the GPU cooling solution but airflow can still work its way down.
For the $420 to $450 category, options widen. The Nitro+ OC and the Red Devil are both exceptionally strong performers that can be considered equal. Nitro+’s RGB LED implementation is tasteful for the mainstream users and the Red Devil can be argued as slightly better when pushing both cards to their max. Depending on which component you’re testing, the MSI Gaming X is also in this price range and is simply fine but a master of none; we don’t have any major issue with it but we recommend getting either the Sapphire Nitro+ or the PowerColor Red Devil if these and the MSI Gaming X 5700XT are at the same price.
We hope that this article has been of help to you. All the latest deals on these RX 5700XT cards have pushed them even further in value and people are desiring them more and more, especially since AMD has fixed all the driver issues on them and now they’re flawlessly working. The performance and efficiency that you can get out of the 5700XT are unmatched at the $400 price point and this article is destined to help you find the best implementation for your system and needs. Stay tuned for our coverage of other popular GPUs!