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ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT OC+ Review: A Marriage of Form and Function

By Damien Gula on October 19, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | 0

With the summer release of AMD’s new Navi architecture, the RX 5700 and 5700XT released in a midrange performance and price market that AMD has struggled to find a foothold in for some time now. With board partner cards releasing into the wild, can they stand up to the offerings of Real-time Ray Tracing juggernaut NVIDIA? ASRock and AMD would like to think so. This is our review of the ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT OC+ Edition.

Specifications

  • MSRP: $479.99
  • Core Clock: 1810 MHz (Base), 1935 MHz (Game), 2025 MHz (Boost)
  • Memory: 8 GB 256-Bit GDDR6
  • Memory Clock: 14 Gbps
  • Stream Processes: 2560
  • Power Delivery: 10+1 Phase Power
  • Bus: PCI-e 4.0
  • Ports: 4x DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC 1.2a, 2x HDMI 2.0b
  • Cooling: Taichi Triple fan design (2x 90mm fans, 1x 80mm fan)
  • RGB Logo with Polychrome SYNC
  • Backplate: 3D etched design
  • Size: 2.5 slot

ASRock has been a force in the PC component market for some time now, but it is their Taichi line of products that seeks to invoke a sense of balance between artistic design and production quality. Using a gear motif as a totem or memorial, of sorts, to draw the attention of users to the marriage of form and function.

With its silver gilded edges, subtle programmable RGB, black PCB, and triple fan design, the Taichi version of the 5700XT is no exceptions to this philosophy. And these few things are just the start. The Taichi RX 5700XT also has an etched black aluminum back plate, carrying the product line’s design with embedded gear work within. It is one of the more aesthetically stunning GPUs I have laid eyes on.

ASRock’s RX 5700XT is not all form though; remember, balance is the promise with the Taichi moniker. Like many board partner GPUs, this think is overbuilt for higher performance than their reference editions. With 10+1 Phase power delivery through 2 8-pin power connectors (over the 7+1 Phase, 8- and 6-pin connections of the reference edition), ASRock’s 5700XT is touted to achieve performance boosts over the reference edition of up 6.3% in GPU clock speed boost with speeds up to 2025 MHz.

As you might expect from a card like this, it is a thick one. This particulate card takes up 2.5 slots with its aforementioned triple fan design partners. Working in tandem with an aluminum metal frame and five-piece heat pipes, this card is overbuilt in an attempt to manage the heat under load. More on that later.

The Taichi 5700XT does have programmable RGB, as mentioned earlier, via Polychrome SYNC. These LEDs are limited to the central fan and the side of the card to illuminate ASRock’s branding design. With Polychrome SYNC, the Taichi 5700XT has eight modes: static, breathing, strobe, cycling, random, wave, rainbow, and off. This simple RGB setup feels a bit like a half measure between laser light show and complete darkness. It left me wanting a bit more, but that is not to say that it detracts from the beauty of this card.

The ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT does come with a dual BIOS setup and offers extra overclocking through ASRock’s Tweaker software. It’s up to you, the end user, to decide whether you prefer the brute strength of factory overclocking of the OC BIOS or if you prefer the Silent BIOS mode to leverage the venerated power savings promised by this new 7nm GPU platform. For perspective, that differential is about 40 watt, with the OC BIOS running at 230 watt and the Silent BIOS at 190.

Let’s dive into some numbers:

Benchmarks and Thermal Performance

  • Before we get into the numbers, here are the system specifications for our test bench:
  • CPU: Ryzen 5 2600X
  • Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i RGB Platinum SE (Closed loop cooler)
  • RAM: 16 GB Patriot Viper Gaming RGB, 16 GB Silicon Power Gaming Turbine
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi
  • GPU: ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT OC+ Edition
  • Storage: 1TB WD_Black SN750, 1 TB Seagate FireCuda
  • PSU: NZXT E850
  • Case: NZXT H510 Elite

Since the RX 5700XT is touted as a 1440p card, we will be showing a number of tests within both the 1440p and 1080p ranges with some of the 4K numbers. Against these numbers, will be testing the Taichi RX 5700XT on the same tests and setting alongside the Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G (non-SUPER) and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition cards. We will also be making some reference to the PowerColor Red Devil RX580 as well as the NVIDIA Titan X (Maxwell). While both are older card, we are including the RX580 as a point of reverence to mark improvements over the previous generations “midrange” card from AMD and the Maxwell-based card as a close proxy to a GTX 1070 - another higher-mid range card within the price bracket.

For our benchmarking, we did not utilize ASRock’s Tweak software for these tests, we did run gather our numbers using the OC BIOS setting. We also ran some overclocking tests via MSI Afterburner. It is also worth noting that while the RX 5700XT can operate in the new PCIe 4.0 bus, our testing was done in PCIe 3.0. This should not impact performance numbers.

Starting our battery of tests is the 3DMark Time Spy Extreme tests. This synthetic benchmark blowing the doors off of the RX580 in both 1440p and 1080p tests, while splitting the performance difference between the RTX 2070 and the RTX 2080. Performance at 4K still leaves a bit to be desired, but that is not the zone where this card shines the brightest. However, when overclocked via MSI Afterburner, the Time Spy results in 4K did increase slightly.

In our games tests, we used some of the highest settings available in these modern titles, disabling settings like RTX and DLSS where available just to give as close a comparison as possible. The one set of frames per second in here that are a little more tricky to quantify are those drawn from Destiny 2. This game blocks overlay applications, but has an in-game FPS counter. Anecdotally, we saw averages are the mid-80s to 90s at 1440p in combat with numbers in the mid-100s while in the City. While we were not able to grab solid FPS numbers in game, we were able to grab temperatures and fan speeds while testing. Those will be included later.

At highest settings, the RX 5700XT average frame rates hover ~80 FPS with Far Cry 5 serving as a strong outlier. This is a bit of a curiosity considering that many Ubisoft applications - including Far Cry 5 and Far Cry: New Dawn - tend to favor AMD GPUs. Both benchmarks in 1440p and 1080p showed similar results, putting the overall averages in the mid-70s. It is possible that these games have not been optimized to use the new RDNA gaming architecture, much like we saw last year with the release of the RTX series. However, the RTX 2080 FE also performed in the same way.

However, we saw some very interesting data coming out of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This was one of the first application designed to work with the RTX cards in mind, heavily favoring NVIDIA. In our 1440p tests, the RX 5700XT edged out the RTX 2080 in frame rate averages 81 to 77, leaving the RTX 2070 at 66 - a place also occupied be the lowest 1% for RX 5700XT. For perspective on the generational jump, the RX 580 gave us 65 FPS at 1080p and 44 FPS at 1440p with the Maxwell Titan coming is at 68 and 47, respectively, showing roughly doubled performance.

Not too shabby, but it is no time to get cocky.

In the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood benchmark, the RX 5700XT was beat out by a significant margin by the RTX 2070 and was left in the dust by the RTX 2080. The RX 5700XT did not show much improvements over the RX580 and actually performed worse than the Maxwell Titan X at 1080, but barely squeaked ahead at 1440p.

The Final Fantasy XV Benchmark, on the other hand, showed a similar picture to what we saw with Time Spy, but to a lesser extreme. Even with the enhancements for NVIDIA within this benchmark, the ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT just edges out the RTX 2070, falls behind the RTX 2080. Again, it finds itself nearly doubling the performance of the previous Radeon generation and the GTX 1070’s proxy, the Titan Maxwell.

With this competition heating up, how does ASRock handle the pressure?

From an overclocking standpoint, we using MSI Afterburner to increase the voltage by 50% to the card for a safe and stable overclock and we were a bit underwhelmed with the majority of the numbers coming out of our tests. It wasn’t that we didn’t gain anything, the Time Spy scores in 4K tell us otherwise. However, that was the only number that we saw any real significant improvements. We just did not get the impression from our tests that there was much to be gained by overclocking the 5700XT.

Now, on to the temperatures:

For these tests, we simply left the card at stock setting in the OC BIOS to run at it’s factory optimal setting. And this is where things take a little bit of a weird turn. In theory, a triple fan design with heat pipes and the extra plating should keep thermal performance consistent. While many of the benchmarks recorded temperatures in the high 70s, low 80s Celsius, a few of our tests had temperatures spiking in the low 90s. When the fans kick in, they hover between 2000 - 2200 rpms, taking those high temperatures down in a relatively short time. At idle, the Taichi RX 5700XT sits comfortably around 40 degrees Celsius.

Final Thoughts

As its philosophical namesake denotes, the ASRock Taichi RX 5700 XT seeks to function as art to appreciate, a tool for creation, and a means to enjoy both with. The advancements with Navi show incredible leaps ahead of its Polaris predecessor, making it a competitive offering in the upper midrange ($300 - $500) market.

At the time of this review, the ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT OC+ Edition is $479.99 - a bit on the pricey end of the RX 700XT family, placing it in the territory of the RTX 2060 SUPER and RTX 2070 (non-SUPER) cards. Is AMD’s promise of 7nm Navi power at a lower price point worth the sacrifice of emerging technologies that NVIDIA has thrown their lot in with? This is where you, the consumer, decide what is most valuable to you.

AMD has postured themselves yet again with the RX 5700 family in the “everyman’s component” position, provided raw performance without the bells and whistles of the competition or the price tag associated with them. However, a partner card like the ASRock Taichi variant will cost you a bit more… but it will also give you a bit more, too.

If you are looking for a solidly build card that will look good in your system and perform well too, the ASRock Taichi RX 5700XT OC+ Edition is a gorgeous card that isn’t afraid to throw its weight around. It held its own in our testing, squeezing in between two juggernauts, proving that Navi should be a part of the conversation if you are looking for a no-nonsense card to build with today. 

Pros

  • High performance at 1440p and 1080p
  • Great performance leap over previous generation
  • Gorgeous design
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Heat management is not great at peak performance
  • It is one of the pricier RX 5700 XTs, placing it in low-end RTX 2070 range
  • While it makes a decent 4K showing, we would have liked to have seen better performance

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.


Pastor_Dame

Damien Gula

Born in the heyday of mullets and the El Camino to a tech-foward family, Damien joined the MMORPG.com team back in 2017 to review hardware and games as well as provide coverage for press preview events. He has participated in a number of MMOs over the years, including World of Warcraft, RIFT, Guild Wars 2, and the Destiny series. When he isn't writing for MMORPG.com, Damien is a pastor by trade who loves talking with anyone interested about life, God, and video games (in no particular order). He also co-hosts a podcast dedicated to these conversation with fellow MMORPG writer Matt Keith called Roll The Level.