We have been waiting for custom retail add-in-board partner video cards based on the AMD Radeon RX 5700 series for a while. Thanks to XFX we got our hands on a brand new, just released in retail, XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra video card. This is the pinnacle of XFX’s lineup currently. This is XFX’s best cooling design, and highest factory overclock on the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT GPU.
The AMD Radeon 5700 series launched on July 7th. The Radeon RX 5700 has an MSRP of $349 and the Radeon RX 5700 XT has an MSRP of $399. At this price point, the two main competitors are the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER (also $399) and the GeForce RTX 2070 original which has online prices around the $450 price point. This matches the closest on price with the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra which costs $450. The GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER video cards are all over $500, outside the price range of the XFX offerings.
Why We Need Custom Cards
We have been waiting for retail custom video cards to see if the thermal properties would be improved, the noise profile improved, and the potential for overclocking with lower temps, improved. The reference video cards run with a hot Junction GPU Temperature. What is called the “Hot Spot” temperature sensor reading in GPUz (or Junction Temperature) is the hottest point on the GPU instead of taking the reading of temperature from the package or edge of the package. Our reference Radeon RX 5700 XT video card reaches 101c just at default.
Though, AMD says that 110c Hotspot Temps are “Expected and Within Spec” the temperatures do cause some concern for longevity, throttling, and overclocking potential. In addition to this, the blower-style fan has to run a high speed to keep the GPU cool, and this results in a noisy video card. In addition, when overclocking the temperatures rise unless you increase the fan a lot, and then the card is loud and still doesn’t have the best of temps.
Let’s get this out of the way, in every game the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT and XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra trounced the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER. Though the RTX 2060 SUPER is $399, the same price as the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT we experienced the Radeon RX 5700 XT taking the lead in every single game. We used some very new games as well, and the Radeon RX 5700 XT is taking the lead big time.
What’s more, more often than not the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT was as fast or faster than the GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition. There were actually several games where it offered significant performance over the GeForce RTX 2070 FE. This shows that the Radeon RX 5700 XT has come a long way in a short amount of time. It certainly is not falling behind, beating what use to be a $499 video card for $100 less.
The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra definitely beat (or matched) the GeForce RTX 2070 FE in every single game. With the extra performance, it had from its faster factory overclock it kept a more consistent performance profile over the GeForce RTX 2070 FE. You could say it’s a better buy even.
When we compared the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra’s performance to that of the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT we found generally a 3-4% performance improvement. It wasn’t as big or large as we were hoping. We think XFX could have put a factory memory overclock on the video card as well which would have helped. We found the memory overclock had a lot of headroom. Instead of 14GHz something like a 14.4GHz memory overclock would have been nice out-of-the-box, especially for the Ultra version to give it that much more of a kick.
Overclocking the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra was a relatively easy process. The video card already runs at the highest voltage possible, 1.200V. Therefore, all we had to do was increase the fan speed a bit and turn up the core clock and memory clock until we couldn’t anymore. We managed to get the core clock slightly over (+10) of the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT. Since both were at the same voltage that makes sense.
The memory overclock was more impressive, we managed to take it up much higher than the reference card, up to 14.88GHz. This overclock boosted performance another 3-4%. Therefore, the total performance advantage over a reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT was about 8% on average. This overclock helped ensure its dominance over the GeForce RTX 2070 FE and it was at the top of the charts the entire time.
Cooler and Quieter
The real benefit was how much cooler and quieter the video card-operated at default and overclocked compared to the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT video card. The XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra had a much lower Junction Temperature and Package Temperature at default, with a tolerable sound profile. In addition, when we overclocked, by simply raising the fan speed we never felt held back by temperature for our overclocking potential. The XFX Ghost Thermal 2.0 cooling did the job adequately.
When it comes down to it, the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra earns its price premium at $450. Its default performance is better than that of similarly (or more expensively priced) GeForce RTX 2070 video cards. The RTX 2070 SUPER is faster, but also outside of its price range.
The XFX video card provides better cooling than the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT video card. The GPU temperatures are lower, and it does so at a quieter fan profile. It has overclocking potential and the heatsink/fan is adequate for overclocking, it does not hold back its potential. It offers a higher 210W TDP Performance Mode. It has a factory overclock that works, is consistent, and gives it better performance than the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT.
For all these reasons the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Ultra earns our Silver Award. Our testing has shown that this video card improves upon the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT in many ways. The benefits of performance and cooling are real. This video card should not be overlooked if you are in the market for great gaming performance at 1440p for $450.
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