Radeon RX 5700 XT vs GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER – 1440p Gaming Showdown (feat. SAPPHIRE PULSE)

Continuing our coverage of the on-going battle of ~$400 graphics cards, we’ve got a head-to-head between the Radeon RX 5700 XT and the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER. However, what makes this comparison different from our previous reports is that we’ll be pitting two custom cards against one another. Representing the Red Team, we’ve got the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT; for which this report will also serve as a review. For the Green Team, we’ve got our trusty GIGABYTE RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC, which we previously reviewed and compared against the reference model RX 5700 series cards.

This ‘showdown’ will focus solely on 1440p gaming performance. We’ll be testing 15 titles in total, including the newly released Control. We’ll also take a brief look at the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT graphics card itself.

It should be an interesting one, so let’s get to it!

SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT Specifications

Note: SAPPHIRE custom specifications highlighted in bold.

RX 5700 XTRX 5700
Compute Units4036
Stream Processors25602304
Base Clock (MHz)1605 / 16701465
Game Clock (MHz)1755 / 18151625
Boost Clock (MHz)1905 / 19251725
Peak Compute (TFLOPs)9.757.9
Memory Type14 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit
VRAM8GB8GB
Total Board Power225W180W
Manufacturing ProcessTSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
ArchitectureRDNARDNA
GPUNavi 10Navi 10
Price$399 / $409$349
Available07/07/2019 07/07/2019

Taking a look at the specifications for the SAPPHIRE PULSE card, we can see that it features a slight factory overclock. The boost clock is increased 4%, while the ‘Game Clock’ is increased by 3.4%. The boost clock is also increased by just 1%. This isn’t amazing, but considering the cards’ price and cooling, we’d say it is acceptable.

If you’re interested in the specifications or more information for the GIGABYTE RTX 2060 SUPER used in this report, please check out our review.

SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT Overview

The SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT is a ‘2.3’ slot design which is equipped with dual 90mm two ball bearing fans, which have SAPPHIRE’s ‘Quick Connect’ technology for easily removing them for replacement.

The shroud itself is made entirely of plastic, with a black color scheme with red and silver accents. Personally, I think the design looks nice, but I’m not a huge fan of the red accents, and I do wish they’d ditched those. Especially on the backplate, which is very busy, in my opinion. Speaking of the backplate, it is made of metal and has some cutouts in along the middle, which could be for ventilation, but I’m not entirely sure.

The cooler features 3x nickel-plated copper heatpipes which are connected to a large aluminum heatsink which spans the entire length of the card.

The card measures just 254 mm (10-inches) long, which is fairly compact for a 5700 XT, but is definitely not an ‘ITX’ sized card. It is powered by a single 8-pin and single 6-pin PCIe connectors and features 1x HDMI 2.0b and 3x DisplayPort 1.4 ports. There’s also a dual BIOs switch for overclocking.

Graphics Card Test Setup and Methodology

Summer 2019 Update:

We’ve undergone a fairly significant change in both our testing methods, how we display data and our test setup. Firstly, we’ve upgraded our graphics card test bench to a 3rd gen Ryzen-based system. Second, we’ll no longer be measuring ‘99.9th percentiles’ or as we’ve labeled them in the past ‘0.1% lows’ instead we’ll focus purely on both average FPS and ’99th percentiles’ as we believe they most accurately represent actual GPU performance without over complicating things for the viewer.

All game benchmarks are taken from a 3-run average either in-game or using the title’s built-in benchmark utility. Performance is recorded using OCAT: the open-source frontend for PresentMon, which itself is an open-source capture and analytics tool which supports modern APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan.

For our graphics card reviews, we use a 3rd generation Ryzen-based system with components supplied by AMD, GIGABYTE, Western Digital, DEEPCOOL and Nixeus. Thanks to all those who support us by supplying vital components for our test systems, without them reports like this would not be possible.

Graphics Card Test Bench
CPUAMD Ryzen 9 3900X – PBO Enabled
MotherboardGIGABYTE X570 AORUS PRO WiFi
RAMG. Skill Trident Z Neo – DDR4-3600 CL18 16GB Memory Kit – Timings at CL-16-19-19-38
GPUN/A
StorageWD Black SN750 1TB NVMe SSD (OS), 480GB Patriot Burst SSD, 960GB ADATA SU655 SSD
CoolerDEEPCOOL Castle 240 RGB all-in-one liquid cooler.
CasePhanteks P350X
PSUDEEPCOOL Quanta DQ1250
MonitorNixeus EDG27 v2
Software Configuration
OSWindows 10 1903
DriversNVIDIA GeForce 436.15 – WHQL / Radeon Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.8.2

Power and Thermals

Power
Temperatures

Performance

3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy

Fire Strike
Time Spy

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment in the ‘Hidden City’ portion of the game.

Far Cry: New Dawn

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Forza Horizon 4

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

HITMAN 2

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment in the ‘Santa Fortuna’ map.

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

We test this title in a 60-second gameplay segment at the early portion of the game in the fiery streets of ‘Raccoon City’ on the way to the police station.

Battlefield V

We test this game during a 60-second gameplay segment of the ‘War Stories’ single-player game mode on the first level of the ‘Tirailleur’ campaign.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Gears of War 4

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

We test this title during a 60-second gameplay segment on the ‘Riverside level of the campaign.

World War Z

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Control

We test this title during a 60-second run near the beginning portion of the game after the first combat section.

Strange Brigade

We test this title using the game’s built-in benchmark utility.

Project CARS 2

We test this title using the game’s in-game replay system; we use a race with the maximum number of AI cars, on the ‘Daytona International Speedway’ track with rainy weather.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege

We test this title in the single-player ‘Situations’ mode, on the ‘High Value Target’ mission which takes place on the ‘Consulate’ map.

Overclocking

While most users won’t overclock, we still think this is valuable information, especially for custom graphics card designs such as these. We overclocked both cards as best as we could achieve and ran a variety of tests.

Below are the settings we were able to achieve for each graphics card. Please note, the core clock settings are targets, and are not necessarily going to be the clock speeds the GPU will operate at under typical gaming loads.

SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT

  • Boost Clock: 2125 MHz
  • Memory Clock: 15 Gbps
  • Power Limit: 150%

GIGABYTE RTX 2060 SUPER GAMING OC

  • Boost Clock: 1,930 MHz
  • Memory Clock: 16 Gbps
  • Power Limt: 130%

Power Draw, Thermals and Performance

Power
Temperatures
Forza Horizon 4
Resident Evil 2
Strange Brigade

Conclusion

I’m going to break up my conclusion into two parts: First, I’ll discuss how the RX 5700 XT compares to the 2060 SUPER, and then I’ll share my thoughts on SAPPHIRE’s design, specifically.

Performance Summary

Taking look at the results from our 15-game test, we can see that the RX 5700 XT is just under 6% faster than the RTX 2060 SUPER on average at 1440p. It was also faster in or even in 13 of the 15 tiles tested, and was only slower than the RTX 2060 SUPER in Strange Brigade and Gears of War 4. These results align fairly well with previous testing we’ve done, and only further validate our belief that the RX 5700 XT is in fact the superior choice between these two graphics cards. Sure, 6% isn’t a lot, but when you consider the fact that they’re priced the same, the decision really is a no brainer. Unless of course, you’re really interested in ray-tracing, and then, the only choice at this price point is the NVIDIA one.

Now, as for the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT: well, at $409 it costs only 2.5% more than the reference model while offering up to 4% higher clock speeds out of the box, on top of that, cooling performance is also far better as it is not only 10° C (52° C vs 62° C DeltaT) cooler at stock, but also much quieter thanks to the dual fan design.

it is for all of these reasons that we highly recommend the SAPPHIRE PULSE RX 5700 XT for anyone in the market for a fantastic 1440p gaming graphics card.

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