AMD Radeon RX 5500: Is it Worth the Hype?

AMD Radeon graphics
The AMD Radeon RX 5500 features full support for DirectX 12, making it widely compatible with the latest games.

For those looking for their next graphics card upgrade, you may be tempted by some of AMD’s latest offerings. Furthermore, without breaking the bank, you’ll be pleased to find out that you can get a decent AMD graphics card that can rival similar cards from Nvidia.

With so many choices out there in the graphics card market, getting the right information before you buy is crucial. In today’s article, we are having a look at one of AMD’s most robust entry-level gaming graphics cards: the Radeon RX 5500. We’ll have a look at the history surrounding the card and talk about all of the important specs and features. 

Additionally, we’ll dive deep into some gaming benchmarks to get a feel for how this GPU performs when running the latest games. Finally, we’ll find out who this graphics card is best for, and if it is worth buying.

AMD Radeon RX 5500: A Brief History

The AMD Radeon RX 5500 is based on the new Navi 14 graphics architecture from AMD. What is interesting is that the Navi GPUs are some of the first AMD GPUs to feature the new RDNA architecture. Additionally, this architecture is designed to improve efficiency and instructions per clock, making it a significant upgrade over the previous generation.

Released on December 12th, 2019, the RX 5500 is designed as a new and improved GPU to replace the aging RX 460 series cards. The older RX 460 GPUs are based on the 14 nm lithography process and an older graphics architecture. In contrast, the RX 5500 is based on the 7 nm process, meaning it is able to pack a whopping 6.4 billion transistors within a very small chip space.

The closest GPU from Nvidia, AMD’s longstanding rival in the graphics card market, is the GTX 1660. What makes the RX 5500 stand out is the newer lithography process, which makes the AMD card better in some ways. The GTX 1660 still takes the lead when it comes to raw power, and with more graphics memory than the RX 5500, the Nvidia card is also a better GPU for gaming.

AMD Radeon RX 5500: What Are the Specs?

To get a full understanding of what makes the RX 5500 special, we have to take a look at the specs. We have compared them to the previous generation RX 460 so you can notice the overall improvements from the older model. Have a look at the table below to check it out for yourself:

RX 460RX 5500
Graphics Processor:BaffinNavi 14
Shader Cores:8961408
TMUs:5688
ROPs:1632
Process Size:14 nm7 nm
Transistors:3 billion6.4 billion
L2 Cache:1024 kb2 MB
VRAM Type:GDDR5GDDR6
VRAM Capacity:2 GB4 GB
Bus Width:128 bit128 bit
Graphics Clock:1090 MHz1607 MHz
Shader Clock:1200 MHz1717 MHz
Memory Clock:1750 MHz1750 MHz
Pixel Rate:19.20 Gpixels59.04 Gpixels
Texture Fill Rate:67.20 GTexel/s162.4 GTexels
FP-32 Performance:2.150 TFLOPS5.196 TFLOPS

As you can tell from the specs, AMD seriously improved its performance with the RX 5500. Besides having a significantly newer architecture and higher core count, the new GPU also packs more Render Output Pipelines (ROPs) and Texture Mapping Units (TMUs). Additionally, the RX 5500 uses the latest GDDR6 graphics memory standard.

The result is that theoretical performance is significantly higher. In addition to the higher clock speeds and boost speeds, the RX 5500 is also more competitive overall, and the hardware packed inside this GPU proves to be better in benchmark results as well.

Power, Cooling, and Connections

AMD has always been known to make efficient hardware in regard to energy consumption. The Radeon RX 5500 is no different. Thanks to the newer graphics processing architecture, the RX 5500 is able to run efficiently with a maximum TDP rating of 130 watts. Additionally, as long as you have a 300-watt power supply or higher, you will be able to run this GPU. As for power connectors, you will need one 8-pin PCI connector to draw power from.

The cooling system on the RX 5500 is fairly average. One thing we noticed is that AMD has not included a fan-stop feature on this card, meaning the fans will be running constantly. Although this is not a huge source of noise, it will contribute to the fan having a shorter lifespan and possibly building up more dust. Most GPUs at this price point are designed with a fan-stop function, meaning the fans will only turn on when the GPU is under load. Besides that, the cooling system is not loud, and won’t disappoint those looking for a quiet graphics card.

If you are hoping to connect your gaming monitors to this card, you are in luck since AMD has included multiple connectivity options. There are Three Display-Port 1.4a connectors as well as one HDMI 2.1 port for connecting a wide range of displays.

AMD Radeon RX 5500: How is the Price?

The price is one area we were not particularly impressed with. Although the RX 5500 was released with an MSRP of just $169, it has been difficult to find it anywhere near that. Thanks to the chip shortages over the past year or so, it has been exceedingly difficult to find reasonably priced GPUs. Unfortunately, the RX 5500 was hit the hardest, and it is hard to find this card for less than $300.

If you can manage to find the RX 5500 for close to MSRP, it may still be worth it. But with better cards like the GTX 1660 from Nvidia selling for not much more, it is difficult to justify the current pricing on this card.

The Ultimate Question: How is it for Gaming?

If you are looking for an entry-level graphics card, the RX 5500 really shows you that you don’t have to expect entry-level performance. When looking at benchmarks, we were very impressed with the results we saw especially considering the price point.

Although you won’t be gaming in 4K or getting amazing performance on the most demanding titles, the RX 5500 is decidedly mid-tier in its performance. We compiled benchmarks from the most popular games and tested them at the highest graphics settings to find out what this card can do. Running at 1080p shows you much higher average frame rates as you might expect, but this GPU is also capable of 1440p gaming as well.

1080p Settings1440p Settings
Shadow of the Tomb Raider77 + FPS51+ FPS
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey71+ FPS51+ FPS
Red Dead Redemption 245+ FPS34+ FPS
World of Tanks106+ FPS67+ FPS
Far Cry New Dawn86+ FPS61+ FPS
Rainbow Six Siege129+ FPS77+ FPS
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order73+ FPS47+ FPS
Battlefield V83+ FPS62+ FPS
Call of Duty Modern Warfare115+ FPS79+ FPS
Metro Exodus72+ FPS51+ FPS
F1 2019121+ FPS86+ FPS
Gears 574+ FPS48+ FPS

As we can see from the gaming benchmarks, the RX 5500 is a fairly well-rounded card with decent performance across the board. Games will run better at 1080p resolution as you might expect but the 1440p performance is also very pleasing.

AMD Radeon RX 5500: Is it Right for You?

Overall, the RX 5500 shows decent benchmark results for gaming performance. If you are looking for an entry-level GPU that doesn’t break the bank, this card may be right for you, but only if you can find it at the right price. At this point in time, there are definitely better cards for the money; the RTX 3050 and GTX 1660 from Nvidia are a few options that are better. Even the much older GTX 1060-6GB offers better performance for the money.

If you are able to find a good deal and have a preference for AMD hardware, then the RX 5500 may be a good choice for you, but overall, there are better options out there.

AMD Radeon RX 5500: Full Review with Specs, Price, and More FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is AMD Radeon RX 5500 good for gaming?

The RX 5500 is great for gaming, and with full DirectX 12 support, you have compatibility with all of the latest games. This GPU performs best at 1080p and can even deliver satisfying performance when running at 1440p as well.

How much will the Rx 5500 cost?

The RX 5500 was launched with an MSRP of $169, although it has been difficult to find it anywhere near this price even several years after launch.

Is the RX 5500 XT a good GPU?

Overall, the RX 5500 delivers average performance for a GPU at this price point. With a decent thermal design and power consumption, the RX 5500 provides an all-around average experience.

When was the AMD Radeon RX 5500 released?

The OEM version of the RX 5500 was released in October of 2019, but the general public’s official release of the RX 5500 was December 12th, 2019.

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