AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT review: Bleeding-edge, underpowered, and overpriced

It'd be a lot better if it cost $30 less.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade ($50 on Humble) is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test the DX12 renderer with async compute off.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

Here’s an interesting anomaly: Strange Brigade performs much better on all the older Polaris GPUs than the newer Radeon RX 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super. The modern models draw even with the Radeon RX 570’s performance—a card you can often find on sale for $120, and sometimes less. It’s weird. Either way, Trixx Boost helps the Pulse make up the lost ground.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider ($60 on Humble) concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with DX12. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider.

sotr Brad Chacos/IDG

The Radeon RX 5500 XT is slower than the GTX 1650 Super here, as well as the ancient Radeon RX 580. It’s much slower than the Radeon RX 590. Again, Trixx Boost helps the Pulse make up some of the difference, but it’s a discouraging result for AMD’s new card—especially at 1440p resolution.

Ghost Recon Wildlands

If you crank all the graphics options up to 11, like we do for these tests, Ghost Recon Wildlands ($50 on Humble) and its AnvilNext 2.0 engine absolutely melt GPUs, even with a sequel due later this year. It’s by far the most strenuous game in our suite, even with newer stunners like Division 2 in the mix. Sequel Ghost Recon Breakpoint recently launched but has been receiving frequent tweaks, so we haven’t swapped over to it for our testing yet.

grw Brad Chacos/IDG

Ghost Recon’s Ultra graphics preset hammers budget graphics cards. The Radeon RX 5500 XT turns in another disappointing result here, with performance falling between the Radeon RX 570 and RX 580, all these years later. Even with Trixx Boost active, the Pulse can’t keep up with the GeForce GTX 1650 Super.

F1 2018

The latest in a long line of successful games, F1 2018 ($60 on Humble) is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options—making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the fourth version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies.

f1 2018 Brad Chacos/IDG

The Radeon RX 5500 XT puts in a good showing here, albeit one roughly on a par with the Radeon RX 590. The GTX 1650 Super just puts in a better one.

Next page: Gaming, power, and thermal benchmarks

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?