AMD IS COMING for the mid-range graphics card arena once more with the reveal of the Radeon RX 5500 series, Team Red's second wave of Navi-based GPUs.
The Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT were the first Navi cards off the blocks sporting AMD's new RDNA 7-nanometre core graphics architecture and squaring up against Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2060. But AMD didn't have any Navi cards to take on the likes of the GeForce 1660, which took Team Green's Turing architecture and reworked it into more budget-friendly cards minus the ray-tracing chops.
The Radeon 5500 series, comprising the RX 5500 for desktops and RX 5500M for laptops, would appear to be aimed at filling that gap.
The AMD Radeon RX 5500 comes with 22 compute units, 1,408 stream processors, up to 8GB of GDDR6 video memory, a 128-bit memory interface, clock speeds of up to 1,717MHz and a boost of 1,845MHz. All this equates to up to 5.2 TFLOPS of compute power.
The mobile GPU is pretty much the same deal, only 4GB of GDDR6 are on offer and clock speeds go up to 1,448MHz as standard and 1,645MHz under boost. Up to 4.6 TFLOPS can be delivered as a result.
AMD claims the RX 5500 is 37 per cent faster than Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1650 when running games like Fortnite, Apex Legends and Rainbow Six Siege at 1080p resolutions.
As such, we'd expect the card to sit somewhere between a GTX 1660 and GTX 1650, and come with some aggressive pricing to match. No prices have been revealed yet as board partners like MSI need to, er, get on board and crank out standalone graphics cards before the end of the year as AMD will be concentrating on providing cards for pre-built systems from the likes of Acer, Lenovo and HP.
AMD also compared the performance per watt of the RX 5500 to the older GCN-based RX 480, rather than the RX 580, touting a 1.6 times performance boost.
We'd rather see a direct comparison to the more recent GPU, but that wasn't the case, which leads us to believe that the RX 5500 might not offer that much of a performance boost over the RX 580 at launch, though we'd expect it to be a little more energy efficient at least.
Regardless, the Radeon RX 5500 series looks to potentially offer renewed punch for AMD to throw in the budget to mid-range graphics card fight.
And we're quite interested to see what laptop makers can do with an RX 5500M, as a thin and light gaming laptop with a Ryzen 3000 series mobile CPU and RX 5500M GPU could provide quite strong 1080p mobile gaming machines for prices that are likely to be noticeably lower than Intel and Nvidia equivalents.
This is speculation at the moment, but as ever, time, the march towards the end of the year, and inevitably CES 2020, will tell. µ
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