Our test system
Our dedicated graphics card test system is packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.
- Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($350 on Amazon)
- EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($120 on Amazon)
- Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard ($395 on Amazon)
- 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($420 on Amazon)
- EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($230 on Amazon)
- Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow ($130 on Amazon)
- 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($78 each on Amazon)
We’re testing the $300 XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT Thicc II Pro using its default Performance profile, with the company’s performance-boosting “Pro-tuned” VBIOS installed. You’ll likely have to install that VBIOS yourself if you purchase the card today. We’re comparing it against the $290 Sapphire Pulse model that we originally used to evaluate the RX 5600 XT. The Pulse received an upgraded VBIOS that increases both memory speeds and GPU clock speeds past the XFX card’s levels, and that new VBIOS should come preinstalled on most graphics cards in North America. We’re including testing results for both the enhanced VBIOS and the original, slower VBIOS for the Pulse, using that card’s default Performance profile as well.
Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or CLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, and we’ve enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test. Ghost Recon Breakpoint, a title we introduced to our suite this year, refused to launch at the time of testing, so it’s excluded from our results.
Gaming performance benchmarks
One of the best games of 2019, Metro Exodus is one of the best-looking games around, too. The latest version of the 4A Engine provides incredibly luscious, ultra-detailed visuals, with one of the most stunning real-time ray tracing implementations released yet. We test in DirectX 12 mode with ray tracing and DLSS disabled.
Borderlands is back! Gearbox’s game defaults to DX12, so we do as well. It gives us a glimpse at the ultra-popular Unreal Engine 4’s performance—though this game’s implementation leans heavily in AMD’s favor.
The Division 2 is one of the best looter-shooters ever created. The luscious visuals generated by Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine make it even easier to get lost in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. The built-in benchmark cycles through four “zones” to test an array of environments, and we test with the DirectX 12 renderer enabled.
Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue