SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB Review

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AMD started out strong with the release of the RX 5700 series of graphics cards, and we’ve been greatly impressed how the RX 5700 XT fared so to speak. We’ve been left hanging for a couple of months until the Red Team gets something to shoot for high-octane 1080P gaming. And now, enter the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT. What we have right now is the SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB gracing our labs, so let’s dive in and find out how it fares.

Technical Specifications
  • Stream Processors: 1408
  • Compute Units: 22
  • Game Clock: up to 1737MHz
  • Boost Clock: up to 1845MHz
  • Memory Size: 4GB/8GB
  • Memory Speed: 14Gbps
  • Power Consumption: 135W

About the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT



Codenamed Navi 14, the AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT is AMD’s entry for the 1080P segment. It’s powered by AMD’s 7nm RDNA architecture, and it comes with a host of features including Radeon Image Sharpening, Radeon Anti-Lag, and of course, a bevy of stuff that’s present in the new AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition. 

About the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020


The new Adrenalin 2020 Edition features an overhaul on the Red Team’s gaming application. It includes the new Radeon Boost feature for enhanced performance and fluidity to fast-motion gameplay, new Integer Display Scaling technology that enhances classic games to fit for modern displays, and significant enhancements to AMD Link.

DESIGN



SAPPHIRE offers its Pulse RX 5500 XT in both 4GB and 8GB flavors, and what we have right now is the 4GB version. There’s also a Nitro+ SE, which only comes in 8GB. Moving forward, our review sample features SAPPHIRE’s Dual-X fans, which is basically a two-fan setup that stops on idle. 


It’s powered by a singular 8-pin power header, and yeah there’s no RGB around these parts if you’re looking for one. 


The SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT comes with one HDMI port and three for DisplayPorts.


You're also treated to a nice looking backplate that carries the SAPPHIRE Pulse branding.


PERFORMANCE


Okay then, let’s get down to business. We’ll be running our tests on the SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB with a couple of our standard benchmark both synthetic and in-game benchmarks, the usual for our GPU reviews. 

TEST SYSTEM SETUP
Motherboard: GIGABYTE AORUS X570 ELITE
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
GPU: SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB
RAM: ZADAK 16GB DDR4 RAM 3600MHz
Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black
Storage Plextor M9e 512GB M.2 SSD + Seagate BarraCuda 4TB + 2TB Western Digital Green HDD
PSU Corsair RM750 750 Watt 80 Plus Gold Certified Fully Modular PSU
Case: Silverstone RL06
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Display: ViewSonic VX2758 144Hz Monitor

3DMark Time Spy

3DMark Time Spy is a DirectX 12 benchmark test for Windows 10 gaming PCs. Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built the right way from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers. With its Extreme counterpart rendering visuals in 4K.


3DMark Firestrike

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark for modern gaming PCs. Its ambitious real-time graphics are rendered with detail and complexity far beyond other DirectX 11 benchmarks and games. With Extreme and Ultra versions raising resolution in 25650 x 1440 and 4K.


Battlefield V

Battlefield V is the very first title to support NVIDIA's Ray Tracing. Our test involves a run on the War Stories – The Last Tiger section to at least standardize and test out its performance equally across the board. And of course, everything possible to adjust set to maximum/ultra. Drive it hard.

Settings:
DirectX 12
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Anti-aliasing Post-processing: TAA High
DXR: Off
Effects Quality Ultra
GPU Memory Restriction: Off
Graphics Quality: Ultra
Lighting Quality: Ultra
Mesh Quality: Ultra
Post-processing Quality: Ultra
Resolution Scale: Ultra
Terrain Quality: Ultra
Texture Filtering: Ultra
Texture Quality: Ultra
Undergrowth Quality: Ultra
Framerate Limiter: 200
VSync: Off
Future Frame Rendering: Off




Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint

Ghost Recon Breakpoint comes with a built in benchmark which allows you to check how well the game is running on your system with the current settings.

Settings:
Vsync: Off
Refresh Rate: 144
Resolution Scaling: 100
Temporal Injection: On
Anti-Aliasin: On
Foreground Framerate Limit: Off
Background Framerate Limit: Off
Preset: Ultimate
Sharpening: FidelityFX




The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 despite its age is still one of the most demanding titles as it holds up graphically. Our test is done on Mulbrydale.

Settings:
VSync: Off
FPS: Unlimited
NVIDIA Hairworks: Off
Number of Background Characters: Ultra
Shadow Quality: Ultra
Terrain Quality: Ultra
Water Quality: Ultra
Grass Density: Ultra
Texture Quality: Ultra
Foliage Visibility Range: Ultra
Detail Level: Ultra
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Depth of Field: On
Chromatic Abberation: On
Vignetting: On
Light Shafts: On




Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers

The Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers official benchmark tool uses actual maps and playable characters to assign a score to your PC and rate its performance. A character creation tool is also included, allowing you to view a playable character as they will appear in-game.

Settings:
Graphics Settings: Maximum Preset
Real-time Reflections: Maximum
Anti-aliasing: FXAA
Transparent Lighting Quality: High
Grass Quality: High
Parallax Occlusion: High
Tessellation: High
Glare: Standard
Texture Filtering: Anisotropic x16


Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 features an in-game benchmark mode that loads an automated race to profile your PC's performance in various settings. It looks cool as heck, too.

Settings:
VSync: Off
Motion Blur: Off
Anisotropic Filtering: Ultra
Night Shadows: On
Shadow Quality: Ultra
Environment Texture Quality: Ultra
Static Geometry Quality: Ultra
Dynamic Geometry Quality: Ultra
MSAA: 2X
SSAO Quality: High
Reflection Quality: High
Windshield Reflection Quality: High
Mirror Quality: Ultra
World Car Level of Detail: Ultra
Deformable Terrain Quality: Ultra
SSR Quality: High
Lens Effects: Ultra
Shader Quality: Ultra
Particle effects Quality: High


 

TriXX Boost 

SAPPHIRE is offering its TriXX Boost with the RX 5500 XT as well to gain the edge against other cards. It basically lowers your in-game's rendering resolution to a certain percentage, which you can adjust based on your preference from 70% to 95%.


SAPPHIRE TriXX Sample Images


Temperature

Our temperature tests are done with the system idle in the first 30 minutes after boot up, and afterwards a load test of 3DMark Time Spy on loop for another 30 minutes.


CONCLUSION


The SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT comes with a $169 MSRP, which puts it in direct competition to the NVIDIA GeForce 1650 Super. While we can’t exactly validate how it fares against NVIDIA’s champion for the sub-$200 market since we haven’t tested that one out yet, the SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB looks to deliver favorable performance that can stand against the RX 590 in 1080P. Take note of the power efficiency and value per dollar here. Now, the comparisons between performance of the two are inevitable, and plenty would argue about the current price point of the RX 590 can and would compete with the RX 5500 XT. Locally, though, that may hold true for the 8GB variant, with the 4GB version going for around Php1,000.00 cheaper. Sure, you'll have the freedom to stay with Polaris if you already have it. But diving into PC gaming for your very first build? The 4GB version of the RX 5500 XT has plenty to offer over previous gen.

Moving forward, the SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT, or any SAPPHIRE RX 5000 Series cards, does have a neat trick up its sleeve – the TriXX Boost. Top that off with the features in Adrenalin 2020 and you’re basically set up in 1080P gaming. Granted, you could make custom resolutions using Adrenalin for downsampling your games to a lower resolution and let Radeon Image Boost do its magic, but TriXX Boost does all the math for you.


Now, again, for the $169 going for the SAPPHIRE Pulse RX 5500 XT, it definitely works as a great starter if you're starting out on the art of PC gaming. AMD further sweetens the deal by adding up Monster Hunter World: Iceborne and a three month subscription to Xbox Game Pass. That's a total of $80 value right off the bat for the cherry on top.

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