The recent news of the upcoming consoles, might make some users consider a GPU update. Oddly enough if the rumored specs of the new Xbox Series X are true, the GPU we are looking at today should be very similar to what users will see next year, with a few caveats.
Today we are looking at a model that may be a bit faster than what will actually end up with, though it will lack the Ray-Tracing ability of the next generation RDNA2 design, and some updated instruction sets.
We will be looking at the XFX Radeon 5700XT THICC III Ultra.
|RX 5700 XT||XFX RX 5700 XT THICC III Ultra||EVGA GTX 1080 TI SC2|
|GPU Core||Navi 10||Navi 10||GP102|
|Memory||8GB GDDR6 256-Bit||8GB GDDR6 256-Bit||11GB GDDR5X 352-Bit|
As for the card itself, the XFX 5700XT THICC II was released earlier this year with some pretty poor reviews due to claims of a lackluster cooling design, and noise levels. In a move that surprised many, XFX listened to the criticism and went back to square one on the drawing board.
They redesigned the cooler from the ground up, and for many people who bought the original cards, gave the new cooler for free- or offered to replace the original cooler with the newer and improved Ultra model.
Those coolers were dual fan, as the II in the name suggests. Our cooler should therefore be a triple fan cooler, and lo and behold this card has dual 90mm fans on the ends sandwiched between a 100mm fan. They say this adds up to a 50% noise reduction, which I believe is over the earlier THICC II design.
Like other modern GPUs it also includes Zero DB fan technology which, during light gaming or video streaming turns the fans off. Though once the GPU gets taxed the fans speed up as the temperature increases.
The GPU testing methodology we will be using at Niche Gamer will be similar to what you may have seen at hardware-focused sites.
We take each game, test it in 1080P and 1440P over 3 runs, which are then averaged out. Any extreme results (more than 5%) are thrown out and retested, to insure we can be accurate with the hardware’s performance in a given game.
The two metrics we will use today is average FPS, the other is 99th percentile frame rate. This is taking the data, and looking at the 99th percent of frames, or the worst noticeable stutter. Ideally the lows should still remain above 60fps or as close as possible to the average.
For this review we will be using a Radeon RX 5700XT, versus a GTX 1080TI- the top dog of last generation (barring the incredibly expensive GTX Titan). The 1080TI is still one of the better gaming cards available, although it is starting to show its age in more modern titles and DX12 games.
The focus of this review is to take the best of last gen, and compare it to the current XFX card that is a step below it. Most of the time, while the 1080TI should come out faster due to its older design, the RX 5700XT should be a better card today and for the future.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Motherboard: MSI X570 Godlike
RAM: G.Skill Trident-Z Royal 16GB DDR4 3600MHZ
GPU: XFX Radeon 5700XT THICC Ultra III Vs. EVGA GTX 1080TI SC2
Forza Horizon 4
For this game, I tested at 1440P and 1080P at high settings in the in-game benchmark. I ran the software from the start and to the end of a race, roughly a minute and 40 seconds.
At 1080P we see a significant gap between the XFX 5700XT THICC VS the 1080TI. In the averages, the THICC comes out about 12% faster. Rather impressively, in the 99th percentile it is just under 30% faster than the last generation NVIDIA equivalent.
Looking over the 1440P results, we see a smaller gap (which is rather odd) of just about 9% for the AMD card. The 5700XT once again loses some of their 1080P lead here, with a 17% gap within the 99th percentile data. This still is a rather large lead and is impressive.
We again tested at 1080P and 1440P, this time at ultra settings and used the in-game benchmark.
In Gears 5, we see at 1080P the GTX 1080TI taking a 15% lead in the average FPS. However, it ends up almost dead even in 99th percentile. Most of the time I’d take a slower, but more consistent frame rate over a faster one with jumps.
This performance is indicative of the campaign, so 1080p and 1440P is sort of a toss up here. The experience for the campaign would be better with the 5700XT, but for multiplayer the 1080TI would be more suitable.
Red Dead Redemption 2
This title features bot Open GL and Vulkan APIs, and a bevy of settings to change and tweak to your hearts content. We test using the last section of the in game benchmark, which takes just under 2 minutes.
At 1080P we see our Thicc boi winning by about 6% or 7% in the averages, and the 99th percentile is within the margin of error. This time AMD has the problem of higher averages, and lower 99th percentiles. A 40% gap is not ideal ideal, and at 1440P the story only gets worse.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
Featuring very dense jungles and beautiful views, as well as some of the latest technology, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint is an ideal game to benchmark.
For this game we test using the in-game benchmark, giving it 5 seconds to “warm up” since texture pop in and loading issues happen in the beginning, and let the recording software run for 60 seconds.
AMD had worked closely with Ubisoft’s team on the Windows PC version, making sure that this game runs properly with their cards, and we can see that as the 5700XT takes a solid lead. The 99th percentile gap is wider.
At 1440P, while the XFX Thicc Ultra III 5700XT does have a wider margin, it does maintain 60 FPS. Which is certainly something to keep in mind.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is definitely one of the oldest games we are testing today, but it is still a relevant title that has been updated constantly over the course of its existence.
The test was done using the in-game benchmark for the entire run.
At 1080P we see the Thicc Ultra III win out in both average and 99th, a little over 10% and 12% respectively. This is a noticeable improvement when using high refresh rate gaming monitors and trying to get the best twitchy experience.
The 1440P results are about the same, and give a better experience overall. This is probably a bit more relevant for more users, since the cost of 1440P 144Hz monitors have gone down quite a bit.
Fortnite is one of the most popular games on Windows PC and has recently added DX12 to its game allowing both DX11 and DX12 APIs to be played with.
Our test is setup for 60 seconds from dropping out of the battle bus.
Fortnite – DX12
The 1080P numbers here show Nvidia leading, and in gameplay the Nvidia card did seem to have a higher frame rate overall. Even so, both cards hit margin of error in 99th percentile. At 1440P the gap widens, and the 5700XT loses overall by about 20% to 15% respectively. DX12 did help close the gap slightly.
Fortnite – DX11
In DX11 the results are a bit clearer, and both cards just perform better. Unfortunately this didn’t seem to help, and AMD still loses here. Once again, Fortnite is still an Nvidia favored game, which honestly shouldn’t be to surprising since Nvidia did put a ton of development effort into the Unreal Engine.
So what did I think of the XFX Radeon 5700XT THICC III Ultra? I’ve been running it in my personal system for over a month now, and I like it better than my 1080TI. The THICC uses more fans that run at lower RPM, the increased thickness and length of the card does actually have a use, and the cooling on the card is top notch while being whisper quiet.
The games where the performance loss comes up seem to be a toss up. I’ve actually seen a performance increase in my most played games. That being said my case is an interesting one, and anyone with a 1080TI is hard pressed to buy this card.
For those looking to upgrade and pick up either this or the similarly priced Nvidia 2060 Super, should keep in mind the THICC has a better performance value than the 2060 Super. Although the Super does have RTX functionality for Ray Tracing.
There are a few more features that both companies have though for sake of brevity for this review I’ll keep it simple, for $30 over the cheapest 5700XT I can find on Amazon and about the same price as most “budget” 2060 Supers the THICC III Ultra is a hell of a card that should keep you gaming for years to come.
If you are looking for a GPU to power your PC through out the next console cycle, this also should be a solid investment. A card as well built as this one should last a long time, considering XFX’s fantastic three year warranty, and incredible overcorrection from the original 5700XT THICC cards means this should be a great buy.
It’s also important to remember the next gen consoles will use Navi based graphic,s and use the same RDNA2 instruction sets that this card supports.
The XFX Radeon 5700XT THICC III Ultra is available now on Amazon for $409.99. Editor’s Note: This Amazon link is an affiliate link. Purchasing the product through that link will support Niche Gamer.
The XFX Radeon 5700XT THICC III was reviewed on Windows PC using a review copy provided by XFX. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.