MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Gaming X & Gaming Z Review

Introduction

AMD earlier this week launched the Radeon RX 5600 XT at a starting price of $279, and it came down as a wrecking ball for the entire $200-300 graphics card market segment. Today we are reviewing the MSI top of the line RX 5600 XT Gaming Z and Gaming X graphics cards, which are identical in every regard, with the exception of VRAM speed. Designed to offer 1080p gaming at high frame-rates (around 90 FPS), the RX 5600 XT is targeted at the class of users that still games at 1080p, wants to game with all details maxed out, and wants to hold on to the graphics card for at least the next 2-3 years.

AMD originally intended for the RX 5600 XT to take the sub-$300 crown beating the segment leader, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, without interference from the RTX 20-series. NVIDIA didn’t let this happen, and upon seeing AMD’s hand at the 2020 CES keynote address, it sought to outmaneuver the red team by adjusting the starting price of its GeForce RTX 2060 down to $299, with the hope that the higher performance and RTX ray-tracing would lure buyers away from the RX 5600 XT. AMD responded with an unexpected last-minute revision of the RX 5600 XT specs, in which it dialed up GPU clock speeds by 10 percent, and memory clock-speeds by over 16 percent, in a bid to outperform the RTX 2060.

For AMD’s board partners, this specs change couldn’t have come at a worse time, with employees away from work on the Chinese New Year. Not just inopportune timing, the spec is also unimplementable on its cheapest RX 5600 XT cards whose coolers and VRM were purpose-built for the original spec. The board partners are hence revising only their faster factory-overclocked cards with components than can cope with the new config. The first batches of RX 5600 XT are already in stores or shipped from the factories, and run at original clocks. Implementing the new settings is now dumped upon the partners and end-users. The board partners offer BIOS updates, which end-users choose to update their cards with.

Instead of just updating the BIOS on their Gaming X SKU, MSI decided to use this opportunity to release the RTX 5600 XT Gaming Z. Our Gaming X review sample with the Gaming X BIOS update now ticks at 1615 MHz Game Clock (up from 1460 MHz), 1750 MHz Boost (up from 1620 MHz) and 1500 MHz memory. The Gaming Z, which will be shipping after Chinese New Year, with the BIOS already updated, runs at the same specs, except the memory speed is much higher, at 1750 MHz.

Except for memory, the MSI RX 5600 XT Gaming X and Gaming Z are identical, with a nearly-identical product package. Under the hood, both feature MSI’s premium Twin Frozr 7 cooling solution that did wonders to the RX 5700 XT, and a PCB with a strong VRM solution. The card offers idle fan-stop, and is designed with a focus on low-noise output. MSI is pricing the RX 5600 XT Gaming X at $330, and the Gaming Z slightly higher, probably around $340.

Radeon RX 5600 XT Market Segment Analysis
Price Shader
Units
ROPs Core
Clock
Boost
Clock
Memory
Clock
GPU Transistors Memory
RX 590 $200 2304 32 1469 MHz 1545 MHz 2000 MHz Polaris 30 5700M 8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
GTX 1660 $200 1408 48 1530 MHz 1785 MHz 2000 MHz TU116 6600M 6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit
GTX 1070 $300 1920 64 1506 MHz 1683 MHz 2002 MHz GP104 7200M 8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX Vega 56 $260 3584 64 1156 MHz 1471 MHz 800 MHz Vega 10 12500M 8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1660 Super $230 1408 48 1530 MHz 1785 MHz 1750 MHz TU116 6600M 6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1660 Ti $270 1536 48 1500 MHz 1770 MHz 1500 MHz TU116 6600M 6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
GTX 1070 Ti $450 2432 64 1607 MHz 1683 MHz 2000 MHz GP104 7200M 8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit
RX 5600 XT $280 2304 64 1375 MHz 1560 MHz 1500 MHz Navi 10 10300M 6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
MSI RX 5600 XT
Gaming X
$330 2304 64 1615 MHz 1750 MHz 1500 MHz Navi 10 10300M 6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
MSI RX 5600 XT
Gaming Z
$340 2304 64 1615 MHz 1750 MHz 1750 MHz Navi 10 10300M 6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2060 $300 1920 48 1365 MHz 1680 MHz 1750 MHz TU106 10800M 6 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 5700 $330 2304 64 1465 MHz 1625 MHz 1750 MHz Navi 10 10300M 8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
GTX 1080 $500 2560 64 1607 MHz 1733 MHz 1251 MHz GP104 7200M 8 GB, GDDR5X, 256-bit
RTX 2060 Super $400 2176 64 1470 MHz 1650 MHz 1750 MHz TU106 10800M 8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX Vega 64 $375 4096 64 1247 MHz 1546 MHz 953 MHz Vega 10 12500M 8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1080 Ti $700 3584 88 1481 MHz 1582 MHz 1376 MHz GP102 12000M 11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RX 5700 XT $380 2560 64 1605 MHz 1755 MHz 1750 MHz Navi 10 10300M 8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit

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