Where a few years ago AMD seemed to be an also-ran, the company is now competing with Intel and Nvidia at almost all levels. Now, the company is introducing an entry-level competitor for Nvidia to contend with. AMD’s new Radeon RX 5500 graphics cards are aimed at delivering solid 1080p performance and should be priced to match.
The RX 5500 line will feature both discrete cards and mobile chips. To get an idea of what kind of power we’re talking about, AMD expects these cards to outperform Nvidia’s GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 Mobile hardware. AMD says they give 1.6 times more power-per-watt than AMD’s GCN cards. Compared to Nvidia’s hardware, AMD says the 5500 and 5500M will perform 37- and 30-percent faster, respectively.
Along with the cheaper price, though, we’ll get some features previously used as selling points on the higher-end cards. These cards use AMD’s RDNA architecture, offer PCIe 4.0 compatibility and the 7nm process for manufacturing. If you pick one up, you’ll be able to use Radeon Image Sharpening, Radeon anti-lag, and FidelityFX. We had a tough time nailing down the benefits of RIS and Radeon Anti-Lag, but we’re also hoping those features will get more impressive over time.
The Radeon RX 5500 is coming soon
Interestingly, TheVerge notes that AMD has no plans to produce reference designs. Instead, AMD says its hardware partners will produce the cards, and that we can expect those cards “in the next quarter.”
AMD also said that we can expect HP and Lenovo to offer RX 5500 systems (presumably laptops) in November, and Acer to follow suit in December. MSI, however, will launch the first laptop to feature RX 5500M before we’re out asking for Halloween candy. That laptop, the MSI Alpha 15, will pack an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H and a 144Hz FreeSync display. For the right price, that’s a really appealing package.
What’s missing from all of this is any word of high-end AMD cards that take aim at the Nvidia RTX line of cards. That could be because AMD isn’t quite ready to show off whatever ray-tracing solution they’ve developed, or any number of other reasons. But for now, Nvidia completely owns that space.
AMD was no more specific about the pricing of these cards than it was about the release timeframe, but we can look at that Nvidia GTX 1650 card to get an idea. Those run for $149 now, and AMD has generally been smart about offering competitive pricing.