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ASRock Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB Review: Gaming Performance, PCB Analysis, Overclocking and Thermals

AMD’s Radeon RX 5500 XT series goes up against the GeForce GTX 1650 Super. Like the latter, the Navi 14 GPU also lacks a reference model. There are a dozen partner boards out there from Sapphire, ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, PowerColor, etc. We’ve already reviewed the 4GB Sapphire model a while back, and today we’ll be reviewing the ASRock Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB. This one has twice the VRAM compared to the Sapphire-reviewed card and will probably have better lows.

Specifications

GTX 1650GTX 1650 Super Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GBGTX 1660
Cores896128014081408
Boost Clock1665MHz1725MHz1845MHz1785MHz
Memory4GB GDDR54GB GDDR68GB GDDR66GB GDDR5
TGP75W100W130W120W
Price$159$159$200$200

Everything looks fine and dandy till you have a glimpse of the price. While the 4GB model costs a reasonable $169, the 8GB one costs the same as the GTX 1660. Sure, there’s more VRAM but in terms of raw performance, the latter is supposed to be faster. The 5500 XT’s TDP is also the highest among its rivals. With a TGP of 130W, it’s 10W and 30W higher than the 1660 and the 1650 Super, respectively.

PCB and Heatsink

Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB

The ASRock RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB has an impressive 6-phase VRM for the core and a rather standard-issue 1 phase memory VRM. There are four 8Gb chips connected to the GPU via a 32-bit bus each (32×4=128-bit). These are Micron chips and for 8GB resultant, there have to be 16Gb per module or multiple chips per stack. There are no 16Gb modules from Micron so it has to be the latter.

Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB

There are three copper heat pipes branching from the GPU core to the rest of the aluminum extrusion. Compared to the RX 5700 XT, this is a much simpler design where you had a whopping 8 heat pipes.

For connectivity, you get three DisplayPort 1.4 ports and an HDMI 2.0b. There’s also an 8-pin power connector to feed the graphics card.

Test Bench

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Motherboard: ASRock X570 Taichi
  • Memory: Trident Z Royal 8GB x 2 @ 3600 MHz
  • HDD: WD Black 4TB
  • PSU: Corsair HX1000i

ASRock Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB Challenger: Gaming Performance

Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB
Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB
Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB
Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB
Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB

The ASRock RX 5500 XT Challenger performs better than I had anticipated. In certain titles like The Division 2, it performs almost on par with the GTX 1650 Super. In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it even manages to beat the latter.

In Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, there’s a more noticeable gap between the 1650 Super and the RX 5500 XT, and then at the end in Wildlands, the two perform identically. I suspect that’s because it’s an NVIDIA Gameworks title: Godrays, Turfworks, and HBAO+ are all quite expensive for even the fastest GPUs.

Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB

Looking at the sustained frame rates in Borderlands 3 and Metro Exodus, it’s quite surprising how misleading can the average frame rates be. The former nets a much higher score but has an erratic run overall. We see tons of dips into the sub-30s through the course of the benchmark.

Radeon RX 5500 XT Challenger 8GB

Metro Exodus, on the other hand, has a notably lower average but runs much smoother. For the most part of the benchmark, the game dips only once below 30 FPS and hovers in the 40-50FPS range. It’s for this reason that we include the 1% and 0.1% lows and charts like this in our reviews.

Thermals and Overclocking

We were able to overclock the core by +200MHz and the memory by +50. I was a bit surprised by the whole affair as Navi cards generally don’t overclock well. This resulted in an in-game clock of approximately 1935MHz and an FPS boost of just 5%:

The thermals were also much better than the Navi 10 based RX 5700 series card. Even upon overclocking, the GPU temperature didn’t cross the 75-degree mark. It mostly hovered around the 70 degrees Celcius

Conclusion

While the 4GB version of the RX 5500 XT is a clear winner, the 8GB variant finds itself in an awkward position. Sandwiched between the GTX 1650 Super and the GTX 1660, it’s generally slower than the latter while costing almost the same. Plus for $30 more, you get the much faster GTX 1660 Super that performs almost the same as the GTX 1660 Ti. For gamers looking for a budget 1080p graphics card, I’d suggest sticking to either the 4GB variant of the 5500 XT or better yet the GeForce GTX 1660 (or even the 1660 Super).

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Areej

Computer Engineering dropout (3 years), writer, journalist, and amateur poet. I started Techquila while in college to address my hardware passion. Although largely successful, it suffered from many internal weaknesses. Left and now working on Hardware Times, a site purely dedicated to. Processor architectures and in-depth benchmarks. That's what we do here at Hardware Times!

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