XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT New BIOS Tested Review


Today’s review has been a follow-up to our XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro launch review of the Radeon RX 5600 XT.  In today’s review, we took the new performance BIOS we were given by XFX that has officially raised the gaming clock specification to 1560MHz from 1460MHz.  In our launch review, we tested on Page 16 what the new clock speed looks like with the new BIOS.  We found that it operates at 1700MHz and above, whereas before it ran at 1600MHz.  XFX provided an increase of 8% GPU clock speed. 

In today’s review, we tested the performance of this new BIOS to see how that affects gaming performance compared to the original BIOS.  We included the results from our launch review plus all the other video cards so you can see the big picture on performance.

Gaming Performance

To sum it up, this new BIOS has improved gaming performance in every game.  The degree at which it has improved performance is going to depend on the game and the game settings.  We saw anywhere between 2-6% performance increase in games.  It was very common to see 3-5% most of the time in games with settings that aren’t bottlenecking them.  That’s not bad for a free performance upgrade.  The price of the video card is not changing at $279.99, so this is in fact a free performance upgrade.

This small performance difference was enough in several games to bring performance over the performance of GeForce RTX 2060 where both cards were on the line.  It isn’t smashing the RTX 2060 by any means, but it does bring more “wins” for the Radeon RX 5600 XT over the RTX 2060 technically. 

Performance though is greatly going to depend on the game and optimizations.  For example, it is clear Ghost Recon Breakpoint favors NVIDIA GPUs.  It is also clear Gears 5 favors AMD GPUs.  When games are optimized one way or another, you may see drastic differences like this.  In other games, it is much closer and both video cards end up dipping and diving and hipping and hopping over each other.

XFX Responds

We did reach out to XFX to ask some pointed questions about this BIOS update.  We felt that you would have questions about this new BIOS release, and we wanted to make sure you had the answers to pressing questions.  Chief among those was our concern for video cards already on shelves or shipped with the original BIOS.  There are lots of video cards that have already been shipped to retail and e-tail outlets that users are going to be getting that have the original performance and not the new BIOS.  These answers come directly from XFX.

Has the official product game clock and peak clock changed now on the product page?
Yes, all the new specs will be updated on the product pages by tomorrow.
What is the reasoning for this upgrade in performance?
The thermal solution and power delivery on these cards is superior to original reference specs (All AIB’s solutions really), this has allowed for the GPU to be pushed than originally anticipated.
Will this BIOS be added to new shipping XFX video cards?  Will that happen soon or will some people still get the card with the old BIOS?
Yes, everything on the assembly line at this point is receiving the Enhanced Performance BIOS automatically.
What does this mean for all the XFX cards sitting in boxes ready to ship or be put on retail shelves?  They will not have this new BIOS, so it will be up to the end-user to flash their own BIOS, else they will receive the original performance? 
Correct, first shipment of cards will be on the original spec BIOS. Customers will need to download and install the BIOS to see the performance boost.

There you have it, the condition is known that there will be shipments of cards with the original BIOS.  XFX is counting on the customer to go to the XFX webpage, download the new BIOS, follow instructions, and update the video cards. 

It is a bit of a messy situation, there will no doubt be customers who are afraid and timid to update the BIOS, or just are not aware that this exists.  Those customers will be getting sub-par performance and not even know it.  That is a shame, and we feel this whole thing could have been handled better overall by AMD with a decision much sooner than right before the launch when cards have already shipped to retail outlets. 

There are other manufacturers who have created a one-click solution to update the BIOS, this would be preferred for novice users of course.  Though updating the BIOS with AMDVbFlash was a very simple affair, and literally took us just two clicks to perform with no needed DOS prompts or command lines.  The windows interface was very easy to use and did the trick easily.  If you follow instructions, you won’t have a hard time with the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro. 

Final Points

Overall, the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro. With the new BIOS applied is a great deal.  This extra bit of performance helps to even out performance with the GeForce RTX 2060 FE.  In turn, this means you are getting GeForce RTX 2060 like performance for $20 cheaper at $279.99.  In the industry, we call that value and getting the most for your money.

If XFX further improves performance by coming out with another new BIOS that increases memory from 12GHz to 14GHz then that should tip those that are on the fence.  Just as we started this article, competition is great.  NVIDIA is aggressively pricing their products in competition, and AMD is aggressively trying to counter with faster clock speeds and competitive pricing.  When competition is at its best, we the end-user benefits the most.

Brent Justicehttps://www.thefpsreview.com
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming https://www.youtube.com/c/JusticeGamingChannel You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice https://kit.co/BrentJustice

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