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XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Review

By Joseph Bradford on September 20, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT THICC II Review

When the 5700 and 5700XT cards were first announced, they provided a great option for those who wanted a great mid-range graphics card option but felt the RTX series by Nvidia was a bit out of their price range. However, while great performers, the original models from AMD featured a blower fan that kept temps pretty high. The consensus was to wait for AIB cards that could combine the great performance of the new RDNA cards while providing better cooling solutions.

XFX must have got the memo twice over, as their latest 5700XT sports a dual fan design with a massive heatsink to keep the card cool under pressure. Enter the XFX RX 5700 XT THICC II, a new version of the 5700 XT from longstanding GPU maker XFX (my first AMD GPU was XFX about 10 years ago, so this personally is pretty cool). The THICC II definitely lives up to its name – this card is massive, especially compared to some of my 2070 Super cards and even compared to AMD’s own Radeon VII.

First, the specs!

Specifications

  • Bus Type: PCI-E4.0
  • Chipset: Navi
  • Stream Processors: 2560
  • Memory Bus: 256 bit
  • Memory Type: GDDR6
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR6
  • Memory Clock: 14 GBps
  • Base Clock: 1605MHz
  • Game Clock: 1755MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1905MHz
  • Rear I/O: Display Port 1.4 x 3, HDMI x 1
  • Max Supported Resolution:  8K Resolution at 60 Hz or 5K at 120 Hz
  • Power Connector: 1x 8 pin and 1x6 pin
  • Recommended PSU: 750 Watt
  • Card Dimensions: 11.54 x 5.12 x 2.17in
  • Price: $429 on Newegg

First thoughts

At first glance, as I mentioned the THICC II is…well, thicc as the kids say. It’s an imposing card, especially when compared to the skinnier profile of the Radeon VII or the EVGA 2070 Super XC. However the look of the card really stands out for me. It has almost a hot rod vibe, its aggressive angles and chrome tubing visible through the GPU shroud. The end of the card looks like the exhaust of a powerful engine, furthering this hot rod feel for me.

Zero RGB on the card, which might put some off, however I don’t think it needs it. It’s an impressive looking GPU, and one if I weren’t using in my test bench would want to proudly display in my tempered glass case for all to see.

However, its size can cause an issue for some with smaller form factor cases – or even those with aggressive cable management like myself. I found it a struggle to get the power cable around the card itself in order to plug it in. Thankfully the card does come with connectors to make this easier, but it’s still a hassle having to rewire thanks to its large profile.

 

Thankfully it’s pretty quiet. The XFX 5700 XT THICC II sports the aforementioned large heatsink and two fans and under load I didn’t hear it at all. Contrast that with the AMD Radeon VII, which sounds like a jet engine warming up in a hangar when it’s under load and it’s a nice improvement.

And while I would have preferred to see three fans, the card not using a blower fan set up is a step in the right direction for the Navi cards. However, that doesn’t mean the card runs cool – it still hits some pretty hot temps, peaking at 80c in my benchmarking. However, in prolonged sessions of GTA Online it stayed mostly around the 72C mark, while World of Warcraft: Classic barely gave the card a workout. Compared to the temps of the AMD Radeon VII (which were consistently in the 80s), it’s a definite improvement, but I would have liked to see a third fan just to help keep the card cool. Especially for us desert dwelling folk.

But, how does it perform?

Synthetic and Gaming Benchmarks

Test Bench: i5-9600K @ 4.3GHz. Aorus Z390 Gaming Motherboard, Corsair DDR4 16GB @ 3200MHz, Thermaltake 850 Watt PSU, Intel 760p NVMe SSD 2TB drive, Corsair Carbide 400C Case

First up are the gaming synthetic tests. We run these benchmarks to give an idea of how a card might perform in a gaming situation, and these tests are designed to push the GPUs as far as they can. We run both Time Spy and Firestrike tests in 3DMark, DX12 and DX11 tests, respectively.

In both tests the THICC II performed quite well, even overtaking the more expensive RTX 2070 Supers and the AMD Radeon VII in the Firestrike testing. While it lagged behind the EVGA 2070 Super in Time Spy, it outperformed our other test cards across the board, making it a very impressive start for AMD’s new card.

Moving onto the gaming test benchmarks, I tested the card at both 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 (commonly referred to as 4K). Testing at 1080p can oftentimes introduce a CPU bottleneck into the numbers, and most users today are playing games at higher resolutions than ever. So how did the 5700 XT hold up?

At Max settings, except anti-aliasing which can introduce an unnecessary performance hit in games, we tested these games using their in-game benchmark tools. Each test was run three times with twenty-minute cool-downs in between runs. The results were averaged to reach the numbers you see in the graphs.

At 1440p, the 5700 XT is right there with each other card, besting the base 2070, though consistently outpaced by the 2070 Super and the more expensive AMD Radeon VII. However, the numbers are respectable, especially for a card that costs on average $100 less than the EVGA Super and $200 less than the AMD Radeon VII.

Moving to 4K we see much of the same, hanging pretty steady with the more expensive competition. The GTA V 4K number is a bit concerning at first glance but tweaking some settings can easily help the THICC II hit above 100fps. Playing Final Fantasy XIV: Stormbringers after tweaking some settings was easily hitting 60fps as well.  

Final Thoughts and Analysis

The XFX 5700 XT THICC II is an interesting card when you consider its place in the market. Under $500, you’re getting a great performing card at 1440, and playable framerates at 4K in some titles. However, the elephant in the room must be addressed: Ray Tracing.

AMD still doesn’t have an answer to Nvidia’s Ray Tracing features found on their RTX cards. And with more and more games implementing RTX effects in their games with great acclaim (Control is hands down the most transformative ray tracing has been for me). However, AMD’s card is completely devoid of these options.

And that’s why it’s an interesting spot in the market. For $70 more you can get the Gigabyte RTX 2070 Super – a card that does support hardware accelerated ray tracing as well as machine learning super-sampling. Both of those are forward-looking technologies that will be more and more common in today’s gaming landscape.

While AMD does have its Radeon Image Sharpening to give you a crisper image with virtually no overhead, it is fundamentally different than Nvidia’s DLSS. It can be implemented on any game thanks to the AMD Adrenaline software. Unfortunately, RIS isn’t enough to overcome the visually transformative nature of ray tracing, something AMD needs to overcome and fast.

It makes it hard to recommend this card – it’s a fantastic card when analyzed in a void – but unfortunately its spot in the market compared to other competitng cards with those forward-looking features makes it hard to recommend outright.

It comes down to use-case. If you prefer AMD’s software suite over Nvidia’s bloated Geforce Experience, the XFX Rx 5700 XT THICC II might be the perfect card for you. If your budget can’t eke out the extra dollars to pay the Nvidia tax, it’s also worth a look as at the end of the day it’s a performer. The Rx 5700 XT series of cards performs admirably compared to its competition in standard rasterized games.

I can’t even say I think the cost is too high either. $429 for this card isn’t a bad deal, again when analyzed on its own. However, with the Super series of cards being close enough in price to be a compelling alternative, plus you add in the value-add of RTX features, it again makes it hard to simply recommend the card outright.

Additionally, for a $429 card to hold its own for the most part against AMD’s flagship Radeon VII – a card that costs $699 – just shows both how good the Navi series of cards compared to the Vega cards that came before them.

Conclusion

The XFX Rx 5700 XT THICC II is a fantastic card that performs and looks good while doing it. While it can run a little hot, peaking at 80C across all my testing and gameplay the last few weeks, the hot rod look of the card is something that makes me want to show it off constantly to anyone who comes over to the house.

And while it performs well in every test we threw at it, the lack of any forward looking features such as hardware accelerated ray tracing and machine learning super sampling make it hard to recommend when comparable RTX cards are close in price. However, if you really want to stay in the AMD ecosystem, or those features really don’t matter to you, the XFX Rx 5700 XT THICC II is a perfect card for the job.

Pros

  • Evokes a hot rod feel, looks fantastic
  • Performs admirably compared to cards within the price range – and even some well above it
  • Great 1440p performance

Cons

  • AMD still has no answer to forward looking features of the competition
  • Can run a little hotter than I’d like
  • Large body makes it unusable in smaller cases
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
Joseph Bradford / Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he''s not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don''t get him started on why Balrogs *don''t* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore