ASUS Radeon RX 5600 XT TUF EVO Review

Today, we have for review the ASUS Radeon RX 5600 XT TUF Gaming EVO graphics card positioned a notch below the ROG STRIX Radeon RX 5600 XT TOP OC graphics card we reviewed earlier. The TUF Gaming line of PC hardware and peripherals by ASUS represents durable, high cost to performance products targeted at gamers. The brand itself, though, has had some bad press in recent times over sub-optimal cooler designs that weren't well received by reviewers. Since then, the company worked extensively on improving the cooler and thermals of its Navi TUF Gaming graphics cards, and the culmination of that work is the TUF Gaming EVO board design, which made its debut with products based on the RX 5700 XT and RX 5700 series and has now been put onto the performance-segment RX 5600 XT. The important part in the nomenclature is the "EVO" as it denotes the new cooling solution.

AMD originally intended for the RX 5600 XT to take the performance crown unopposed by NVIDIA, as it designed the SKU to outclass the entire GeForce 16-series. With ray-tracing hardware off the table, the playing field was supposed to be level between AMD and NVIDIA; that is, until NVIDIA pulled a last-minute rabbit out of its hats with a price cut down to $299 for the GeForce RTX 2060. AMD scrambled to revise the specifications of the RX 5600 XT by increasing clock speeds and memory bandwidth in a bid to compete with the RTX 2060. Since products with the original specifications were already in circulation, the update in specifications was sloppily put out through video BIOS updates targeting only those cards that shipped with VRM and memory chips capable of the new specifications. The ASUS TUF Gaming EVO was conceived after this mess and yet only partially implements these. The default memory speed of the card is 12 Gbps, or 1500 MHz, with ASUS providing a BIOS update on their website to 14 Gbps, or 1750 MHz, to match other high-end Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards.

Based on the same 7 nm "Navi 10" silicon as the RX 5700 series, the Radeon RX 5600 XT is configured with 2,304 stream processors spread across 36 RDNA compute units—same as the RX 5700, but with the memory amount slashed by a third, down to 6 GB, along with the memory bus, down to 192-bit GDDR6. AMD also tinkered with the GPU clock speeds a bit. The idea behind the RX 5600 XT is to dominate the sub-$300 graphics card market, providing 1080p gaming at frame rates of around 90 FPS, or even 1440p with reasonable frame rates.

The ASUS Radeon RX 5600 XT TUF EVO in this review is based on the revised TUF Gaming EVO board design we mentioned earlier. This design sees an overhaul of the heatsink underneath the cooler shroud to make it vent out heat better, and the inclusion of ASUS's premium Axial Tech fans that feature webbed impellers that guide all of their airflow axially (none bleeding laterally). The board draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector and includes a few premium touches, such as a metal backplate and an ARGB embellishment. ASUS is pricing the card at $320, a $40 premium over the $280 AMD baseline price.