Nvidia’s RTX Super and AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 series graphics cards reviewed

Conclusions

Well, folks have been saying for some time that the graphics card market desperately needed some competition. Nvidia’s pricing and naming shenanigans with the original GeForce RTX series were no doubt in part due to a lack of any stabilizing force preventing the company from doing exactly what it did. AMD’s latest Radeons may not vie for the PC graphics performance or efficiency crowns, but they’re exceedingly solid products in their own rights. To see how they stack up value-wise, let’s consult the world-famous Tech Report scatter plots.

Features named with three- and four-letter acronyms aside, as a pure comparison of pixel-pushing prowess, the Radeon RX 5700 XT matches the GeForce RTX 2060 Super blow-for-blow. It is every bit as smooth, and just a hair faster overall, when compared to Nvidia’s card. In some titles it falls behind, and in others it punches above its weight class. Whether the result of Nvidia-specific game optimizations or poor driver code, some games just run particularly poorly on Radeons.

The most impressive thing to me is that, in many of these games, AMD’s cards actually put up a smoother experience than Nvidia’s. Once upon a time, AMD struggled with consistency, even when using a single graphics card. Now, those fortunes seem to have been completely reversed… until you play something like Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Nvidia owns the majority of the PC gaming graphics card market, and that reality means that Radeon gamers are occasionally going to come across a title that just doesn’t work very well on their graphics card.

On the flip side of that argument, Nvidia seems keen to promote proprietary features that require game-specific support. Don’t be mistaken: I like RTX, and I don’t hate DLSS—at least in theory—but it’s hard to deny that they feel awfully limited compared to Radeon Image Sharpening and Radeon Anti-Lag, at least in terms of purview. Nvidia has its share of cool game-agnostic features too, to be sure. FreeStyle is basically ReShade, built right into GeForce Experience, and AMD’s Virtual Super Resolution is a poor imitation of Nvidia’s far-superior Dynamic Super Resolution. It’s just hard to put much value in Turing’s special sauce because there are so few opportunities to use it.

Greenbacks to graphics cards

After the announcement of the GeForce RTX Super cards, AMD dropped the price on the RX 5700 from $379 to $329. That’s a heck of a lot of video card for that price. In the $300-400 range, it’s difficult to imagine recommending anything besides the Radeon RX 5700. It absolutely mashes the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and creeps up on the RTX 2060 Super surprisingly often.

Once you get up to $400, it’s definitely a toss-up between the Radeon RX 5700XT and GeForce RTX 2060 Super. Both are excellent 2560×1440 gaming cards with the grunt to stretch their legs into 4K on some titles. The GeForce card comes with forward-looking RTX support and more consistent performance, but the Radeon card has slightly better raw performance and doesn’t require an online-enabled login to use all of its extra features. I wouldn’t fault anyone for choosing either card.

Moving up the price range, we next have the GeForce RTX 2070 Super at $550. This card, particularly our whisper-quiet triple-fan model from Gigabyte, is not difficult to recommend. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti-level performance, true single-card-4K-at-60-FPS performance, for just $549, is excellent. My singular quibble with the RTX 2070 Super is that it only has 8GB of memory. That might seem a silly complaint in a world where most games are barely using 5GB of video RAM on the most extreme settings, but that won’t be the case for much longer. After all, Monster Hunter World in 4K can already exceed 7.5GB of video RAM usage, just as one example.

The truly “super”

If 8GB of RAM is a little short on the RTX 2070 Super, it’s legitimately worrisome on the RTX 2080 Super. This is a card that pushes nearly 120 FPS average in Doom while playing in 4K. It would be tragic, almost embarrassing, if you had to turn down a game’s settings on this otherwise-monstrous graphics card because you ran out of video RAM. The idea smacks of the R9 Fury X and its 4GB of memory. For gamers like myself who use myriad monitors—I’m currently using five—the extra video memory on the “x80 Ti” cards offers some breathing room when games want to suck down over 7GB of graphics space.

As much as I’m impressed by the nearly-world-beating performance of the RTX 2080 Super, I can’t help but feel that it’s not quite enough of an upgrade from the RTX 2070 Super. Going over our benchmarks, there are only a few titles where the RTX 2080 Super is likely to give you a meaningfully-different experience compared to its little brother. Aside from the extra performance, they have the same capabilities, so it’s easy to argue that most buyers should just save $150 and pick up the cheaper card.

With all of that in mind, there’s certainly something to be said for the RTX 2080 Super’s no-compromise performance. For folks who have the money, this is surely the card to get, because the next step up from here is the $1050 RTX 2080 Ti. I’ll admit that that card might end up being the better buy in the long run thanks to its 11 GB of memory, but the extra $350 probably doesn’t buy you much more in terms of realized performance. If you’re not powering an HP Omen X Emperium, the extra speed is likely wasted anyway.

The matter of the pre-loved market and the previous-generation

When Nvidia priced the original GeForce RTX series the way it did, it seemed like a lot of gamers who were itching for an upgrade started looking once more at discounted and used 10-series parts. This time around, I think most users should go ahead and keep their eyes on the new models. You can bet that future optimizations in Radeon drivers will be targeted at the RDNA architecture in Navi, and these are the most efficient Radeons ever made. For those who bleed GeForce green, it’s difficult to recommend buying Pascal at this point for much the same reason.

First-generation GeForce RTX cards could be a good buy depending on pricing, but they’d need to be deeply discounted. The upgrades that Nvidia doled out with the Super series are very near to a straight step-up, tierwise, so the RTX 2060 Super seems similar to an original GeForce RTX 2070 in overall performance. Using the GTX 1080 Ti as a reference point, the RTX 2070 Super looks like it runs just behind the OG RTX 2080. If you could find an original RTX 2080 for less than the price of an RTX 2070 Super, then we might say “go for it,” but all the usual caveats of buying used hardware apply.

In the end, I actually think AMD and Nvidia both succeeded in their goals with these new products. For Nvidia’s part, all three GeForce RTX Super cards offer improved performance and improved performance-per-dollar, making them more attractive to consumers, which will in turn drive adoption of RTX. Nvidia has a firm grip on the high-end graphics card market, and AMD knows that, so it seems like these latest Radeons are an attempt to elbow into the high-midrange or mid-high-end of the market, where most graphics cards are sold. Navi is “competitive” at the very least and “impressive” more often than not, while RDNA is a much-needed upgrade for the time-worn GCN architecture. PC gamers won’t go wrong with any of these graphics cards.

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Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

Zak, excellent review. You always have interesting observations for each game and how the cards deal with the game. That in-the-second commentary is what brings the nerds to the yard.

willmore
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willmore

Did you crush that 5700? Or is that really how the shroud looks?

willmore
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willmore

Sorry, it was the XT model that looks crushed.

K-L-Waster
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K-L-Waster

That is in fact what the reference shroud looks like.

(As if peeps didn’t have enough reasons to hold out for 3rd party coolers…)

willmore
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willmore

I wouldn’t call it ugly, but I really don’t like the look.

Kretschmer
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Kretschmer

What this review tells me is that my 1080Ti held up really, really well. I got 2070 Super performance for two extra years at a $150 premium.

Sure no ray tracing, but I’d rather buy into that tech when it becomes better developed.

plonk420
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plonk420

thank you SOOOO much for this review! Time Spent Beyond x ms / average frametime now is the first thing i look at with reviews

LoneWolf15
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LoneWolf15

One note I don’t think I recall being brought up (the lack of index drop-down in the pages listed makes me loath to go back and check): Everything I’ve seen says that if Navi is your card, do not buy a reference design. Some reference blowers are quite good (nVidia Pascal was; I was very happy with the noise level on two 1070 Founders Edition cards at full load, and a single one was whisper quiet). AMD’s blower -is not. It is both loud, and a poor cooler; Sapphire’s own dual-fan Pulse 5700XT runs twenty degrees cooler. Twenty degrees [i]Celsius[/i]… Read more »

LoneWolf15
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LoneWolf15

I should add, this is not meant to denigrate the AMD’s Navi. Just AMD’s reference cooler design.

I think the Sapphire cards (specifically, the Pulse 5700XT or Pulse 5700) for ten bucks more than the reference design, is competitive, and worth looking into. But they may be hard to find at the moment.

https://www.newegg.com/sapphire-radeon-rx-5700-xt-100416p8gl/p/N82E16814202349?Description=sapphire%20pulse%205700xt&cm_re=sapphire_pulse_5700xt-_-14-202-349-_-Product

https://www.newegg.com/sapphire-radeon-rx-5700-100417p8gl/p/N82E16814202350?Description=sapphire%20pulse%205700&cm_re=sapphire_pulse_5700-_-14-202-350-_-Product

anotherengineer
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anotherengineer

“For gamers like myself who use myriad monitors—I’m currently using five—”

got a matrox card? 😉

when are the $235 card coming out?!?!

Mr Bill
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Mr Bill

I have a Matrox G650. Its a fabulous office card for multi-monitor but far too slow for gaming.

StuG
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StuG

I feel like a lot more cards should have been included in the conclusions graph (given that was already charted on previous reviews) so we could see where a larger range of cards would fall (even if the dots were marked as previous reviews or something).

Captain Ned
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Captain Ned

If those cards were not benchmarked on the same rigs as used for this review, the comparison would not be univariate. Multivariate is what proper reviews try to avoid.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Vega will continue on as general compute solutions while RDNA will focus more on graphical prowess.

Yomom
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Yomom

So sad that great content like this has to get fakked by this horrible horrible generic template.

DPete27
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DPete27

Nvidia’s new Ultra Low Latency setting description may shed some light on AMD’s implementation:
https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/news/gamescom-2019-game-ready-driver/

By reducing maximum pre-rendered frames to 1, you go to a just-in-time frame scheduling….Sure, that would improve latency, but it would also leave you susceptible to frame-time spikes if a frame takes a little longer than expected. I suspect that using VRR can reduce this effect, but still would be interesting to test. How many pre-rendered frames is optimal?

DPete27
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DPete27

Also of note:
“in DX12 and Vulkan titles, the game decides when to queue the frame”
would be nice to include in your review write-up.

Jesse
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Jesse

I usually set mine to 2 globally in the Nvidia control panel – enough for double-buffered vsync if I want it, and much less latency in game engines that pre-render like 5 frames by default.

Jason Deford
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Jason Deford

So… Are the Radeon Vega cards an evolutionary dead end?

I was disappointed to see the Nvidia 1080 ti card in testing, but not the Radeon RX Vega 64. If you’re making a generational comparison including the Nvidia 10-series and its follow-ons, I’d think you should include the Radeon Vega-series in comparison to the RX 5700-series. The RX 580 card shown in the comparison isn’t in the same price/performance range as the newer cards being benched.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Vega will continue on as general compute solutions while RDNA will focus more on graphical prowess.

StuG
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StuG

This was exactly what I thought as well. No VII/64/56?

tfp
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tfp

I was wondering the same, that said a check on newegg shows that VII is very limited. Is AMD running into production issues with the VII?

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Radeon VII was a stopgap solution until Navi was ready. It was a way to clear out excessive Vega 20 stock that ate too much power for ISV customers.

Navi already bests Vega 20 at gaming performance when memory bandwidth isn’t a factor.

LoneWolf15
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LoneWolf15

Yup. Radeon VII owners are sadly being left high and dry.

It was a lousy buy even for the most die-hard AMD fans, and its short market time is pretty disappointing for anyone who bought one.

jihadjoe
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jihadjoe

My guess is AMD doesn’t really want to make any more of the VII than is necessary. It’s relatively cheap for something that uses such expensive components, and built on an expensive process.

90% of those chips they rather go into the Mi50 accelerators.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Yep, the Radeon VII is a much better general compute/content creation card then a gaming card. There’s nothing close to it in its price point. You have to spend a lot more if you want to get performance in either market.

It was a steal for general compute hobbyist like Kepler-based Titans back in the day.

Krogoth
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Krogoth

It is likely that Zak simply doesn’t have any Vega hardware on hand and his test system is different from previous Vega benches making an apples to apples comparison difficult at best.

If you want a ballpark figure just take 5700XT results and reduce them by like ~2-10% to get Vega 64 stock/tuned Vega 56 results.

Colton Westrate
Editor

^ This. Zak was working with what he had, or in some cases, what he could borrow for a couple days.

Jason DeFord
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Jason DeFord

“If you want a ballpark figure just take 5700XT results and reduce them by like ~2-10% to get Vega 64 stock/tuned Vega 56 results.” I think you’re over-simplifying the comparison. I still think seeing the Vega GPUs on the ‘scatter charts’ would be valuable data points. In addition, there is the price dimension that needs to accounted for. Right now, an ASRock Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX Vega 56 can be found for US$270, while a ASRock Radeon RX 5700 goes for US$330 @ TheEgg. Saving ~20% of GPU cost for a difference of “~2-10%” in performance is worth considering.… Read more »

Krogoth
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Krogoth

Vega 56 is a bit of a wildcard because it is highly depend on how well you can undervolt the unit. Unlike the 5700 and 5700XT which can operate at their performance levels without too much hassle. Vega 64 only pulls ahead if you are brave enough to overclock/undervolt to its limits and are willing to tolerate the power consumption.

Vega units are decisively better if you care more about general compute performance.

Oliv
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Oliv

Completely agree, especially since the model used was the 4GB version. One if these things is not like the other.

juzz86
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juzz86

Oh Zak, you’ve done it again mate. I know any of our staff who were tasked with carrying the site’s major drawcard articles would give it every bit of justice you had – as you all do with your own posts. But to see what we all crave seeing on the site hold the same format, same prose, same detail as it always has – means an awful lot to a sentimental fella like me. [Site] Formatting and [staff] introductory niggles around the ownership change aside, I’m heartened to see the stalwart content keep coming (Fish, Bruno, Ben, Josh, Nath)… Read more »

unknown-error
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unknown-error

The “all-white” background is going to take a lot more getting used to. On my desktop, sorry say, but it looks really amateurish. Since there is no drop-down menu with the relevant page titles, it would help us a lot if you put the “Page listing:” at the bottom of each page. So we can skip to pages that interest us. What I do now is, I open the page with the “Page listing:” in one tab and open the pages I like in another tab.

The reviews itself is great as usual and thanks a lot for that.

John
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John

On some pages you mention about “Jeff’s write-up” and you link to another article, but that article has a different author name, without “Jeff” anywhere. You should correct it to not confuse the readers (yes, I know Jeff wanted his name removed from TR). Also, it is disappointing you did not use some other DX12 games like Metro Exodus. It is a perfect game to test performance with RTX enabled and also useful for comparing GPUs without RTX effects. It is also disappointing that you did not select some popular MMORPGs for benchmark, something like Black Desert Online or FFXIV.… Read more »

Fonbu
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Fonbu

Thank You ! Tech Report Staff for making this possible.
Many of us I am sure have waited for this review. And it was smart of the Tech Report to wait for all the Geforce Super cards and the new Radeons to arrive, and showcase them against each other. Being the most productive choice.
I like how all the new driver features of the products were showcased.
Was this Zaks first major video card review? It was well done.

Ben Funk
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Ben Funk
Sam
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Sam

Adding a page title listing to the content of the first page would help a lot, since we lost the convenient dropdown box after the refresh. Some people just want to see benchmarks for a certain game and don’t want to click through 14 pages to find that.

chuckula
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chuckula

Thanks for the review!

As for the product well, let’s say that 7nm has allowed AMD to avoid some of the worst issues with previous cards essentially being overclocked out of the box. But given how much guff Nvidia has gotten for dedicating silicon to RTX, it’s also pretty telling that their 16nm parts (2060 super in particular) are still competitive even when you never turn RTX on and even when you look at power consumption.

I think this calls for some market disruption by a third party (and of course I mean S3!)

Krogoth
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Krogoth

No, a dark shadow from the distance past will emerge from its somber…..

[b]Bitboys[/b]

chuckula
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chuckula

Bitboys??!!

Oy!!

LoneWolf15
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LoneWolf15

I upvoted a Chuckula post. Demons must be shivering in hell as we speak.

Waco
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Waco

It makes me wonder just how much of Nvidia is currently propped up by datacenter sales – their die sizes compared to AMD are monstrous.

Also, Nvidia is at 12 nm, not 16.

chuckula
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chuckula

Die sizes are irrelevant since AMD is clearly paying a fortune for 7nm silicon or else they would have launched these chips for a small fraction of the price of the RTX parts to grab market share. Furthermore, TSMC’s “12nm” is the 16nm process with a couple of tweaks and a marketing name change.

As for the data center you should have paid attention to Nvidia’s most recent earnings beat where the data center was actually down a good bit but overall results beat the street and –unlike AMD — Nvidia just raised it’s outlooks for the rest of 2019.

Neutronbeam
Guest

That is one hell of a review Zak! Excellent work; well done!

Krogoth
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Krogoth

It was worth the wait.

Waco
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Waco

It’s good to see essentially price-parity on the XT / 2060 Super. That’s good news for anyone in the $400 and below market. The standard 5700 looks to stand on its own pretty handily between the 1660 Ti and 2060 Super, it’s slightly better value than either if you look at 99th% FPS / dollar.

Frenchy2k1
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Frenchy2k1

TR left out the RTX2060 which will continue at $350 and is in direct competition with AMD 5700.
The other “SUPER” cards supersede the previous models (RTX2070 SUPER completely replaces the original 2070), but the original 2060 will continue.
It seems TR was not sourced one and hence did not include it in the graph.

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