Faster than Navi: RTX Super reaches good Result in Meta Benchmark

The two Nvida GeForce RTX Super gpus reviewed recently got listed in shops today. In Germany at least they are not properly in stock yet, but they can now be ordered in advance. Prices vary, the RTX 2070 Super ranges from 529€ to 649€, the RTX 2060 Super from 419€ to 519€. Prices in the US are similar, $499 to $629 and $369 to $469 (before taxes) respectively.

That’s more expensive than the AMD alternatives released this weekend, Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700 XT. Good for Nvidia that the Super cards are faster:

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Please check this comparison page to see which games and reviews went into that rating.

The GeForce RTX 2070 Super is a bit slower than a GeForce RTX 2080, but faster than a Radeon RX 5700 XT, the RTX 2060 Super is a tiny bit faster than a Radeon RX 5700.

Current prices and availability are a convincing argument for the Radeon cards here, despite the slightly lower performance. But the comparably bad cooler on the reference model (with partner cards now announced for mid August) are less convincing, the Nvidia cards are more attractive partner cards with proper cooling.

Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT - Benchmark Review

Yesterday AMD not only released the Ryzen 3000 series, the company also released two new graphics cards. I guess they didn’t want to make the life of reviewers too easy.

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Those two cards are:

  1. The Radeon RX 5700 XT, with a launch price of $399/420€, a boost clock of 1905 MHz and 225W TDP.
  2. The Radeon RX 5700, with a launch price of $350/370€, a boost clock of 1725 MHz and 180W TDP.

And to everyone’s big surprise those cards are actually good and priced competitively.

Why is that surprising? It’s because of AMD’s recent track record with gpu launches. Over the last years the company had a dual strategy: Releasing iterations of the Radeon HD 7800/7900 cards (that were high end in 2012) and at the same time placing new experiments on the market. The first part of that strategy worked somewhat: The current iteration of the Radeon HD line is the Radeon RX 500 series, and the RX 570 and RX 580 are great cards – at the lower end of the market up to 200 bucks. While the second iteration, R9 290X, was still a high end card, its current version – the RX 590 – sits at position 17 of the meta benchmark. Nvidia’s stronger cards play in a different league.

At the same time the experiments and efforts to place a card at that level failed. Fury still tackled the high end (at that time defined by the GTX 980 Ti), but was a bit behind. It took a while till a successor was released. Vega was hyped a lot, but suffered from high energy usage, being loud at load and being unavailable during the crypto bubble. And finally the recent Radeon VII was slower than cheaper alternatives by Nvidia.

Despite that history the Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT look great:

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Please check this comparison page to see which games and reviews went into that rating.

In the meta benchmark, the Radeon RX 5700 XT reaches the 5th position, right below the way more expensive Radeon VII. And the smaller Radeon RX 5700 follows two positions below, above Vega 64, GTX 1080 an RTX 2060. That’s especially nice because of their energy usage: Yes, those are with 225W and 180W still energy hungry cards, but their competition does not need less to reach their performance. The RTX 2080 is also at a TDP of 225W, the Vega 64 is at 300W(!), the (slower) RTX 2060 still at 160W.

Missing in that benchmark are the RTX Super cards. They are not in there because they are not released yet. But benchmarks are out, and it’s clear the RTX 2060 Super is at the performance level of a RTX 2070 and the RTX 2070 Super a bit below a RTX 2080. Which in effect means the RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT are still competitive, in absolute performance and price/performance.

One drawback is the cooler. Till now only a reference version is available, and the blower style cooler gets loud under load. It seems to be better than at the Vega release, but it is still not ideal. Partner cards should fix that in August.

AMD Ryzen 3000 beats Intel - but by how much?

The newly released Ryzen 3000 series arrived with a bang. So many reviews, so many good results. The bulk of the reviews focused on the Ryzen 9 3900X, Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 5 3600. Only two benchmarked the Ryzen 5 3600X, in a very limited way. So what does the Internet say about the performance of AMD’s new processors?

In games they succeed in beating the Intel Core i5-9600K. The Ryzen 5 3600 already comes close, the Ryzen7 3700X and Ryzen 9 3900X are faster – depending on the game selection though. Only the top processors of Intel stay ahead, by a bit: The i9-9900K is still the fastest gaming processor, the i7-9700K the close second.

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Please check the comparison page to see exactly which benchmarks were used for this rating.

But more than ever the Ryzen 5 is the more attractive option. The i5-9600K it is the more reasonable option for gamer anyway, and that’s the processor Ryzen is now matching, with a 12-thread processor. That makes for an attractive offering. It will be interesting to see where the 3600X lands when more benchmarks get released, so far it is underrepresented and its positioning might still change.

So gaming is not even a weakness anymore. But those processors are still, like Ryzen 2000 and 1000, especially nice because of their software performance:

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Please check the comparison page to see exactly which benchmarks were used for this rating.

The i9-9900K is still a strong processor in that discipline, but it is not stronger than the Ryzen 9 3900X. And the cheaper Ryzen 7 3700X is very close, making it the better option for a new PC.

So this is the situation: If you want the fastest performance in games the i9-9900K remains the top processor. But one level below Ryzen is now stronger than ever, with Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X being valid alternatives to the saner i5-9600K gaming processor. In most other software workloads there are three reasons to get Ryzen: The Ryzen 9 3900X, to get something stronger than the i9-9900K, the Ryzen 7 3700X, to get something cheaper at the same performance level, or the Ryzen 5 3600(X), as a budget option that still is stronger than the i5s.

The Radeon VII fails to beat the GeForce RTX 2080

As welcome as some healthy competition on the gpu market would be, sadly the newly launched Radeon VII is not the card to challenge Nvidia at the high end. It is a loud and expensive 300W card with 16GB very fast HBM2 VRAM that still gets beaten by the RTX 2080:

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Please check the comparison page to see exactly which benchmarks were used for this rating.

There is a silver lining: AMD almost reaching the GeForce RTX 2080 is a good thing. AMD’s fastest card so far was the Vega 64, which was also loud and energy hungry but only at the performance level of a GeForce GTX 1080. The Radeon VII delivers at least a respectable performance improvement compared to that predecessor card, even if it is not enough to win in the FPS arena. That means AMD has the potential to release good consumer gpus at the high end, which could lower graphics card prices for all of us.

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But missing gaming performance is not even what hampers the Radeon VII the most. It is just a bit slower than the RTX 2080, a price correction could make up for the FPS difference. The real issue is that it is loud and energy hungry. Computerbase reports that the gpu runs on a much higher voltage than needed, undervolting it costs no performance, the card still runs stable, it just reduces energy usage by a lot and makes the card much quieter. That’s not a first for AMD: Both Vega cards run on voltage outside the peak efficiency of their chip, also Polaris can profit from being undervolted.

AMD needs to step up its game: It is not enough to just come close performance wise. If it wants to grab market share the company needs to beat Nvidia with cards that run faster than Nvidia’s products in the same price bracket; at the very least it needs to stop releasing cards that are obviously not ready for release, that miss the crucial fine tuning with regards to default voltage and cooler quality.

Reaching the high end: Nvidia's new RTX 2060 vs Vega 64 & Co

The GeForce RTX 2060 is a good release, beating its low expectations. It was rumored that the 2060 might be a slightly bigger jump compared to its next bigger GTX variant, the 1070, than the RTX 2070 was to the GTX 1080. Remember, the RTX 2070 was only able to match the performance of the GTX 1080, it was not really faster. A slight advantage over the 1070 would have been enough for the new RTX 2060 to fulfill this mission. Instead, the new Nvidia card not only beats the GTX 1070, it also beats the Vega 56. It even comes close to the performance of the next tier, with the performance level of the GTX 1080 and RTX 2070 firmly in reach of a reasonable overclock.

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To see exactly which benchmarks were used, check the comparison page.

Performance wise this is an excellent result for a new middle class graphics card. Which leads to the drawbacks. The first one is its price.

With $349 the card costs a lot more than what the GTX 1060 did. Price wise this new card is not a xx60, it is a xx70. Given the performance that’s not unjustified: It is after all faster than the GTX 1070, and faster than the even more expensive Radeon Vega 56. But $349 - or 369€ for the Founder’s Edition in Europe - are just outside the target price of a middle class graphics card, which was traditionally 200 to 300 bucks.

There is more. Energy usage is up, it sits at the level of a GTX 1070, not a 1060. Bad for systems with a weak power supply, which happens often when making an office PC gaming ready via a gpu upgrade. And finally: The RTX 2060 still has only 6GB Vram. Which is enough for a lot of games, but is less than AMD offers with the cheaper Radeon RX 580, and the Vram difference will likely cause stutters on higher settings in coming AAA games.

Ignoring the price this would have been an excellent release. Jumping one tier, catapulting the middle class from the level of the GTX 1060 to almost a GTX 1080 would have been a dream come true for many gaming PC builder out there. But the RTX 2060 isn’t simply a new and improved GTX 1060. For that it is just too expensive. It is closer to a GTX 1070 and a Vega 56; It is more attractive than both, as such it will play a role in the market. But that makes it more a card for those who want a cheaper RTX 2070, maybe overclock it to that level, than the right card for someone who just wants a new mid class graphics card for 1080p gaming. For those a cheap Radeon RX 590 or Radeon RX 580 is the more reasonable choice.