UPDATE: Sadly, when things seem too good to be true, they often are. AMD put to rest the recent rumor that RX 5700 XT and RX 5700 reference boards would be discontinued. They indicates that they plan on continued support for the god-awful blower designs. Well, all we can say is this: Please, buy an AIB Navi card. Like really, please.
Hurray! Quick rant. I hate reference AMD parts. And I specifically mean AMD. NVIDIA makes some fantastic reference cards. I’ve personally overclocked a reference GeForce 980 Ti and a reference 1070 to within spitting distance of third-party offerings, with very reasonable temps. But reference AMD parts? They’re hot and the damn blower fans just sound like a helicopter.
Thermal throttling is a big part of why AMD cards tend to lose out in the performance race and it’s no different with the newer Navi cards, AKA the Radeon RX 5700 XT. The reference design has been overclocked by brave Redditors to upwards of 2.1 GHz, at which point it starts competing with the 2070 Super. But that’s with the blower turned all the way up and temps in the 90s.
Lucky for us, AMD’s caught on and it looks like all reference models of the RX 5700 and 5700 XT are being discontinued. Going forward, we’re only going to see third-party designs. Board partners can work absolute miracles with custom cooling. The Fury was considered immense power-hungry and hot. But My Sapphire Fury Nitro with triple fans was one of the quietest and coolest cards I’ve owned.
We’ve seen a lot of exciting AIB designs for the Navi cards, though few have actually hit the market. With the upcoming discontinuation of reference models, that looks set to change. We’d love to see just how far AIB Radeon RX 5700 XT parts will overclock. If consumer cards can reliably hit 2GHz-plus, the implications are tremendous: RTX 2070 Super and 2080 level performance at 2060 price-points. AMD’s preemptive price cut on Navi right before release made the 5700 and 5700 XT decent price-performance parts.