XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT Overclocking Review

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The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT has been an interesting launch from AMD.  It started with a certain level of expected performance but has been improved in performance as a result of the competition.  The original specification was a 1375MHz game clock and 12GHz memory.  However, add-in-board manufacturers have been rolling out new BIOS’s left and right increasing not only the GPU frequency but also the memory frequency. 

Right now, XFX is keeping the memory clocked at 12GHz on the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro.  The GPU frequency has already been increased to 1560MHz from 1460MHz initially.  That has brought the real-time frequency while gaming up from 1600MHz to around 1720-1740MHz just straight default performance now with the new BIOS applied.  XFX has stated that it is very likely it will increase the memory to 14GHz in a newer BIOS, but as it stands right now 12GHz is the official specification.

Therefore, in order to get the most from your video card, you will want to manually overclock.  In our review, today that is exactly what we have done.  We overclocked our XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro to the highest stable overclock we could achieve.


The Radeon RX 5600 XT is based on the Radeon RX 5700 GPU, just cut down and running slower.  You would, therefore, think that there would be a good amount of overclocking headroom on the GPU frequency.  Well, there very much might be, but we will never truly know until a video card add-in-board partner unlocks the hardware limits that AMD has imposed on the GPU and memory frequency. 

You see, the Radeon RX 5600 XT, like other AMD video cards, has a speed limit.  AMD has put a hard limit on the maximum values you can select for GPU frequency and memory frequency.  Right now, with the software we have available, that is +40MHz on the core clock and 360MHz on the memory clock.  It just so happens; these maximum values were very stable.  Though we could increase the voltage of the GPU, there was no need with such low values available for overclocking.

We, therefore, managed to maximize the values in MSI Afterburner and hit a GPU frequency that averaged 1763MHz while gaming.  This is an improvement over the new default of 1727MHz while gaming.  It is literally about a 40MHz on average GPU frequency overclock, just as the slider shows us.  The largest overclock was actually the memory, where we were able to push it from 12GHz to the maximum allowed 14.8GHz.  That increased the memory bandwidth from 288GB/sec to 357GB/sec, which is a good thing for the Radeon RX 5600 XT.

We have found out from testing that overclocking the memory as high as possible on the Radeon RX 5600 XT improves performance more than GPU frequency alone.  This GPU is sensitive to memory bandwidth, and it is quite restricted at 288GB/sec of memory bandwidth.  By increasing the memory to even just 14GHz from 12GHz does give it a good boost in performance.  This is why some add-in-board partners want to increase the memory to 14GHz as part of their new performance BIOS’s.

While overclocking was easy, we do wish we could at least try to push the GPU frequency higher.  We never did hit 1800MHz, and that would have been nice.  However, more so, it seems that memory overclocking affected performance to a greater degree.  This GPU was craving more memory bandwidth, and the overclock gave it just that.  With the ability to try up to 1300mV of GPU voltage we would have loved to test the potential of this GPU.  That’s the real downside here, it might be based on Radeon RX 5700, but with speed limits in place, you aren’t going to floor it.

Performance BIOS vs. Overclocking

There is a glaring “problem” we noticed that relates to these new performance BIOS’s versus overclocking.  The issue is that the performance BIOS’s are bringing the clock frequency ever so close to the maximum overclocking potential of the video card now. 

If these performance BIOS’s were not released, then a video card like the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro would have a performance level based around 1600MHz while gaming.  Then when overclocking to 1767MHz that would be a bigger deal and a bigger and better overclocking performance gain.

However, because the new performance BIOS already brings us to 1720-1740MHz there is less headroom.  It ends up our maximum overclock is only +40MHz higher because that is the maximum value we can overclock with and our new BIOS nearly brought us there. 

This will also apply to the memory as well if XFX decides to make it 14GHz which means we can only overclock by 800MHz from 14 to 14.8GHz instead of 12 to 14.8GHz.  That would mean less memory overclocking headroom.

On the one hand, this is great cause you get near maximum overclocked performance with the new BIOS’s applied.  On the other hand, you don’t have much headroom for overclocking left. 

The answer will be to look for video cards that have increased TDP values and power limits, and hopefully video cards with overclocking software that can push beyond the AMD limits.

Final Points

At the end of the day, even though we got an overclock that wasn’t as big as we wanted, the XFX Radeon RX 5600 XT THICC II Pro did yield results that improved the video cards placement.  It put the video card second in performance in every game, following much closer to the Radeon RX 5700 in performance.  The overclock pushed the Radeon RX 5600 XT over the GeForce RTX 2060 FE for the most part.  It certainly demolished performance against the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.  It generally increased performance by about 10% over the default performance. 

This is needed to give the card that competitive edge it needs considering the GeForce RTX 2060 FE is now $299.99. The only caveat to that, the GeForce RTX 2060 FE is running at default clocks, and it itself can be overclocked whereas the Radeon RX 5600 XT is at its maximum here.  Thankfully it is cheaper at $279.99, which makes the video card competitive and worth the value.


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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