Navi 10 Returns to Sash. Excellent Hardware, but software needed improvement. Time for second chance
I was so happy with my (reference!) RX 5700 as a piece of hardware; it was (despite popular opinion) quiet and well mannered, and efficient too - whilst providing fantastic performance in any game I play. The Radeon 2020 software suite is also excellent - with tons of features that I find myself using in my day to day gaming, such as Radeon Image Sharpening, Anti-Lag and even Radeon Boost.
The problem was the driver stability. At the time I was doing significant amounts of World Community Grid work on my main PC, and the display driver crashing was causing significant loss of work (corruption), and the requirement to hard reset was in istelf a pain in the posterior. I eventually sold the card to a friend and used my trusty RX 590. After a short while with this card I eventually bought a GTX 1660 Super, used it for about a week then returned it (second time returning a 16 series) due to concerns about the 6GB of VRAM. I then bought an RTX 2070, and after completing Metro Exodus Sam's Story DLC with RTX, I then sold the RTX 2070 and used the RX 590 again. :D
I keep trying to go to Team Green, but it never 'feels right'. That's right, Sash is a Certified AMD Fanslut™.
Fast forward to about a week ago; I bought an RX 5500 XT (8GB) based on Navi 10's smaller brother - Navi 14, to achieve my RX 590's performance with a vastly more efficient processor. I wasn't disappointed in the efficiency of the card, and the performance was even outpacing my slightly derpy RX 590 in most of the games I tested. Navi 14 and the RX 5500 series have all the ingredients to achieve the accolade of the 'Peoples' Champion' (currently still held by the venerable Polaris-based RX 570 8GB or 580 8GB), except the price point didn't quite hit the spot I was hoping for. That said, it did hit a specific set of criteria that the competition couldn't, so I was happy.
But that's not what I was most pleased with. The drivers have been (and still are, I am typing this on my RX 5500 XT) stable for me. I haven't had a single black-screen crash. It's been a few driver revisions so I assume AMD's driver team (poor guy) has been working hard to fix some of these pretty huge issues that affect the Radeon brand image, in a time where AMD has some fantastic hardware available (RDNA is Radeon's return to being ultra competitive on a [gaming] technology PoV with Nvidia).
While the RX 5500 XT offers good performance for me, I longed for my RX 5700 again, though I'll be using the RX 5500 XT in another machine for Folding at Home and as a backup card. The reference card, believe it or not, is a thing of such beauty to my industrial, utilitarian eyes. The card says to me "I'm here to render graphics". Rather than being a pretentious mess of unicorn puke and RGB that creates a retarded miniture disco in your PC.
So here we are, I am back with an RX 5700. I don't need to justify myself to internet strangers (I'll leave that to the Intel fans) but there are three main reasons as to why I made this decision.
1). This card was insane value. At £275, there was simply no way I could refuse given the other reasons;
2). This card is the best looking graphics card I've ever owned, and I wanted that in my PC again;
3). Since the deferred rendering update, Warframe actually pushes the RX 5500 XT RX 590 tier of performance to the very limit of what I am OK with. In a game such as this, I would like 80 FPS or above, to Sync with my FreeSync monitor and reduce input delay whilst performing an intricate display of murderising choreography with my ornate Scythe, to synthwave music. The RX 5500 XT manages this in interior tilesets, but external areas such as the Plains Of Eidolon and Orb Vallis have dropped below 60 in heavy fight scenes, which I really notice.
No fault of the RX 5500 XT; but the performance requirement of this game, for me, just went up. Especially as I don't want to compromise on any settings including Adaptive Resolution (as I would in other games, including Doom Eternal).
So there you have it. Sash returns to RX 5700 once again. At the moment, I can confidently say the RX 5700; for sub £300; is the best value mid-high end gaming graphics card available. My only 'negative' is that the RDNA1-based Navi 10 Graphics processor doesn't fully support the newly announced DirectX12 Ultimate, due to lack of hardware support for Ray Tracing (though shader-based approaches are viable; AMD doesn't enable them), and Variable Rate Shading. Time will tell if VRS becomes a game-changer, and it would be nice to have Ray Tracing support; but at this price point the only alternative option which does, is the vanilla RTX 2060. With its 6GB of memory and diminutive RT performance, I'd rather have the extra performance (and memory) in most games and stay with Radeon.
In any case, I am excited to see an RDNA2-based contender to the value/performance segment, and it is more than likely that I will buy one within the next year.
Sash. Sash Never Changes.