The sub-$200 markets have always been a sweet spot for AMD. In 2016 Team Red launched the RX 480, a card that delivered GTX 970 levels of performance at a mainstream price-point. That’s what makes the newly launch (Navi 14 based) Radeon RX 5500 XT–and how it fares against the GTX 1650 Super–so relevant.
The Turing launch last year delivered high-performance parts from Nvidia with the addition of ray-tracing. Pricepoints were disappointing, however. Even the “budget” GTX 1660 Ti cost nearly $300. The Super line delivered a much better bang for buck across the board. And, more recently, the GTX Super line, headlined by the GTX 1660 Super and 1650 Super. The 1650 Super, in particular, offered 1080p gamers tremendous value in the $150 price bracket. This is an area where AMD parts have traditionally outdone the Team Green competition, and so big question today is this: Does the Radeon RX 5500 XT deliver better performance and value than the GeForce 650 Super?
Initial benchmarks on the interwebs paint a complicated picture. The new Radeon RX 5500 XT is available in both 4GB and 8GB variants. The 4GB part costs $169, commanding a $10 premium over the GTX 1650 Super. Meanwhile, the 8 GB variant costs $199. This would bring custom 8 GB variants perilously close to the significantly faster GTX 1660 and 1660 Super.
If you’re willing to settle on the 4 GB variant, an extra $10 nets you consistently better performance (albeit in the +1-5 FPS range) over the 4 GB GTX 1650 Super, along with the whole host of AMD goodies like Radeon Boost. But with texture assets increasingly exponentially, we find it hard to recommend any 4 GB card, even for 1080p gaming.
There will be situations where you simply don’t have enough VRAM. While the 4GB Radeon RX 5500 XT makes sense in certain situations, the $199 8 GB Radeon RX 5500 XT is a much tougher sell. For just $20-30 more, when factoring in custom variants, you can get hold of the GTX 1660 Super, a part that offers near-GTX 1070 levels of performance. You give up 2 GB of VRAM but gain enough GPU headroom to comfortably run just about anything at 1080p.
Our RX 5500 XT benchmarks and review will go up soon. But in the meantime, we’ll call it right now: Look to Little Navi only if you’re considering the 4 GB variant.