AMD Radeon RX 5700XT and 5700 Should Get a 10% Performance Boost via Driver Update

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The RX 5700XT and RX 5700 certainly have no shortage of power on tap: Our review showed them frequently matching and even exceeding the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2060 Super respectively, at lower price-points. However, there were a few anomalous results—both AMD parts had unusually low minimum framerates in some titles, and we saw poorer-than-expected performance in some AMD-friendly titles.

Apparently, this isn’t because the two Navi parts have inferior hardware. It’s because of a launch driver screw-up on AMD’s part. The company already has a bad rep for releasing dysfunctional launch drivers for their new hardware. When the RX 480 came out, team red came under fire for a launch driver issue that resulted in excessive power draw from the motherboard than the PCI-E spec recommends.

AMD’s latest Adrenalin 19.7.1 drivers once again show a clear lack of optimization. This isn’t just a Navi problem: The folks over at PC Gamer benched the RX 590 with the old drivers and compared them to 19.7.1: They came to the conclusion that 19.7.1 exhibits as much as a 10 percent performance regression relative to older drivers. The performance deficit is big enough that in some titles, like AC: Odyssey, installing the new drivers drops the average framerate below playable levels.

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This is actually good news if you just purchased a 5700XT or 5700: It means that the Navi cards may have an additional 5-10 percent of extra performance that’s untapped as of now. Considering the close framerate margins between the 2070/2060 Super and the RX 5700 lineup, it’ll be very interesting to see how the RX 5700 series does with new drivers. As we’ve mentioned in our review, first-gen Navi offers phenomenal value, especially in the Indian market, with GTX 1080 Ti levels of performance now available at the sub-40K price point. We’re excited to see how much more performance we can squeeze out of the new Navi cards once AMD releases an updated, viable driver.

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