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MSI RX 5600 XT Gaming X Review

Rating: 7.0.

Today we are back with another RX 5600 XT review as we assess the MSI Gaming X model. Despite this card receiving a new BIOS update to improve GPU clock speeds, unlike the other two 5600 XT cards we have tested, the Gaming X's memory still runs at 12Gbps instead of 14Gbps. How much of a difference does this make when gaming, and is the card still worth buying?

Watch video via Vimeo (below) or over on YouTube at 2160p HERE

Regular readers may recall news emerging about the MSI RX 5600 XT Gaming X, when MSI revealed in a livestream that not all 5600 XTs can run the memory at 14Gbps. I've since had further discussions with MSI about this, and they explained to me that based on their own internal testing, they cannot guarantee that all 5600 XT Gaming X cards would be stable with 14Gbps memory. Therefore, with the card's BIOS update, only GPU clock speed has increased.

That said, there is a chance that users who buy a Gaming X will be able to run 14Gbps no problem. As we will see later on in this review, I encountered no issues manually overclocking from 12Gbps to beyond 14Gbps. It seems to be somewhat of a ‘silicon lottery' as to which Gaming X's can or can't hit the higher memory clock, but considering MSI can't validate 14Gbps for all its cards, it makes sense that memory speed has been left alone.

To ensure that MSI does have a card that can run at 14Gbps, the company will be shortly releasing a RX 5600 XT Gaming Z model, which guarantees that faster memory speed out of the box. According to my conversations with MSI, this will be exactly the same cooler and PCB as the Gaming X, only it will be validated for 14Gbps memory. Again, this brings us back to the point that some Gaming X cards out there will handle the higher speeds, and some of those will now be designated as a Gaming Z.

The downside for the Gaming X is that its specifications don't match that of other RX 5600 XT cards, like the Sapphire Pulse or Gigabyte Gaming OC. Accordingly, we expect the card will run slower than those models in our tests, but by how much? Let's find out.

RX 5600 XT  RX 5700 RX 5700 XT   RX Vega 56 RX Vega 64 
Architecture Navi Navi Navi Vega 10 Vega 10
Manufacturing Process 7nm 7nm 7nm 14nm 14nm
Transistor Count 10.3 billion 10.3 billion 10.3 billion 12.5 billion 12.5 billion
Die Size  251mm² 251mm² 251mm² 486mm² 495mm²
Compute Units  36 36 40 56 64
Stream Processors  2304 2304 2560 3584 4096
Base GPU Clock n/a Up to 1465MHz Up to 1605MHz 1156 MHz 1274 MHz
Game GPU Clock 1375MHz Up to 1625MHz Up to 1755MHz n/a n/a
Boost GPU Clock Up to 1560MHz Up to 1725MHz Up to 1905MHz 1471 MHz 1546 MHz
Peak Engine Clock n/a n/a n/a 1590 MHz  1630 MHz
Peak SP Performance Up to 7.19 TFLOPS Up to 7.95 TFLOPS Up to 9.75 TFLOPS Up to 10.5 TFLOPS Up to 12.7 TFLOPS
Peak Half Precision Performance Up to 14.4 TFLOPS Up to 15.9 TFLOPS Up to 19.5 TFLOPS Up to 21.0 TFLOPS Up to 25.3 TFLOPS
Peak Texture Fill-Rate Up to 224.6 GT/s Up to 248.4 GT/s Up to 304.8 GT/s  Up to 330.0 GT/s  Up to 395.8 GT/s
ROPs 64 64 64 64 64
Peak Pixel Fill-Rate Up to 99.8 GP/s Up to 110.4 GP/s Up to 121.9 GP/s Up to 94.0 GP/s Up to 98.9 GP/s
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 410 GB/s 483.8 GB/s
Memory Interface  192-bit 256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit 2048-bit
Board Power  150W 185W 225W 210W 295W

Original BIOS spec, left, compared with updated BIOS spec, right.

Just to confirm the changes made by the Gaming X's BIOS update (available within MSI's Dragon Center utility), memory speed remains unchanged at 1500MHz (12Gbps.) GPU speed, however, has increased from 1620MHz boost to 1750MHz boost, with the game clock now sitting at 1615Mhz which is up from 1460MHz.

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