The AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT is known to be one of the best graphics card that provides the best bang for the buck. In our previous review of the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT 6G Graphics Card, we’ve showed how well the graphics card can perform for gaming at 1080p resolution. In today’s review, we are going to take a look at the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT and see what makes this card different.
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
|PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT||Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT||AMD Radeon RX 5700 (Reference)||Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5500 XT|
|14 Gbps GDDR6||14 Gbps GDDR6||14 Gbps GDDR6||14 Gbps GDDR6|
|Memory Bus Width||192-bit||192-bit||256-bit||128-bit|
|Typical Board Power||160W||160W||180W||130W|
|Architecture||RDNA (1)||RDNA (1)||RDNA (1)||RDNA (1)|
|GPU||Navi 10||Navi 10||Navi 10||Navi 14|
Just based on specifications of the card, you can see that the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT is almost identical to the AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics card. The main difference only comes in its core clock and video memory capacity. Interestingly, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT, which is a factory overclocked graphics card, even has a higher boost clock than the reference AMD Radeon RX 5700. So, I guess that the real difference that sets the Radeon RX 5700 to be of a higher tier is its 8GB of GDDR6 video memory. While the RX 5600 XT only has 6GB.
The Red Dragon graphics card variant is considered to be one of the high-end range within PowerColor’s offerings. Being part of the Red Dragon clan, the RX 5600 XT spots a rather simple, but intimidating look. It doesn’t require any RGB lighting to flaunt its attitude. The dragon tattoos etched on its body says it all.
As the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT is a factory overclocked graphics card, a proper cooling solution is required to ensure that the card runs optimally. It is equipped with 2x 100mm fans, which brings airflow directly onto the large heatsink that covers over the whole card. (It may be just me, but don’t you find this dual fan design looks rather similar to reference NVIDIA Founder Edition graphics cards?)
The heatsink is divided into two segments. One comes in direct contact with the GPU die, while the other cools its power components. Both sides of the heatsink are interconnected with 5 dedicated 6mm diameter heatpipes, ensuring that heat dissipation is maximized.
The card is also supported by a single 1.5mm thick metal backplate that helps to both support the PCB, as well as to cool the components on the back of the card. Of course, the Red Dragon tattoo is also a mandatory feature for the graphics card to show its loyalty to its clan.
Like most high-end graphics card, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT comes with 3 x Display Ports and 1 x HDMI Port.
It also requires a single PCIe 8-pin power connector to be attached in order to properly power up the card. We also spotted a rather unique switch on the card, which allows users to select between OC or Silent mode.
OC Mode / Silent Mode
Similar to the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT 6G Graphics Card, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT is equipped with two BIOS. By flicking a little switch on the graphics card, users can select between either OC Mode or Silent Mode. A system restart is required to apply the new settings.
As expected, to cater to silent operations, the Silent Mode feature of the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT reduces both the GPU and memory clock speed. On the other hand, the OC Mode is brings out the best of what this card is capable of.
In the market today, there are two different types of Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics card. There are some which can only achieve a maximum of 12Gbps memory bandwidth (those with memory clock speeds set at 1500MHz, similar to Silent Mode), as opposed to 14Gbps. Of course, being part of Red Dragon also means that it will never settle for anything worse. Therefore, the OC mode of the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT runs its GDDR6 graphics memory at 14Gbps (1750MHz).
Test Setup and Methodology
We will be running our standard suite of synthetic graphics and gaming benchmark tests to understand the performance difference between the RX 5600 XT and the RX 5700. Because performance is the key area of consideration, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT will be configured and tested only in OC Mode.
The specifications of our test bench is as such:
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3900X|
|RAM||G.Skill Trident Z Royal 3600MHz, 2 x 8GB DDR4 Kit|
|Main Storage||Transcend SSD230S 512GB|
|GPU||PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT 6GB GDDR6
Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 5600 XT 6G
AMD Radeon RX 5700 8G (Reference)
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER
|Motherboard||ASRock X570 Steel Master|
|CPU Cooler||AMD Wraith Spire Cooler|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro 64 bit|
|Drivers||Radeon Software Adrenaline 2020 20.2.2|
(Disclaimer: Test setup used only with PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT and the Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 5600 XT 6G . Please view the respective linked reference articles for their test setup)
The following benchmarks and performance tests will be executed in the settings stated below. All tests are conducted with 1080p resolution.
|3DMark Time Spy||Default||DirextX12|
|3DMark Fire Strike||Default||DirectX11|
|Far Cry New Dawn||High||DirectX11|
|Deus Ex Mankind Divided||High||DirectX12|
|Total War Warhammer 2 (Battle)||High||DirectX11|
|Tom Clancy Division 2||High||DirectX12|
|Assassins Creed Odyssey||High||DirectX11|
|Final Fantasy XV Benchmark||High||DirectX11|
|World of Tanks enCore||Ultra||DirectX11|
|F1 2018 Australia||High||Direct X11|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High||DirectX12|
|Middle Earth Shadow of War||High||DirectX11|
Based on the synthetic benchmarks which gives a good indication of the performance of the graphics cards, we can see the Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX5600XT has an advantage over the PowerColor Red Drageon RX 5600 XT. This is expected, as the Sapphire has the upper hand in both Game and Boost clock.
Gaming – 1080P
The PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT performed consistently well while running games in 1080p. Despite being clocked at a lower rate than the Sapphire PULSE Radeon RX 5600XT, both their performance remained largely similar and negligible.
Gaming – 1440P
It is expected that when running games at a higher resolution, more video memory is required. Based on the limited number of games which we’ve tested, we can see that the in OC mode, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX5600XT performed quite well as well. It managed to achieve a considerably smooth average FPS.
However, in these 1440p games benchmark, we also identified the true strength of its bigger brother, the Radeon RX 5700. Thanks to its larger video memory capacity, it was able to manage the games more effectively, and therefore producing higher FPS in some of the games which are more memory intensive.
Temperature and Power Consumption
Even in OC Mode, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT’s fan does not spin to maintain its silent operations. This could be the cause of its high temperatures in idle mode. However, when tested in Furmark GPU stress test, the Red Dragon cooler was able to shine when compared to the Sapphire Pulse’s cooler. The former was able to tame the GPU at a lower temperature than the latter.
Better Cooling, Better Performance?
We understand that the PowerColor Red Dragon’s cooling solution performs better than the Sapphire Pulse. It could likely be that the improved cooling solution has enabled the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT to run at a higher clock speed when compared to Sapphire’s, thus allowing it to even perform better in some of our tests.
As AMD defined the Game Clock and Boost clock for their graphics card, it is difficult to immediately know how a graphics card performs just by looking at clock speeds. Because of its better cooling solution, the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT is expected to run nearer to its Boost Clock. This could be one of the advantage of the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT.
There is no doubt that the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT is an excellent graphics card for gaming at 1080p resolution. It consistently produced high frame rates throughout all the tests which we have tested, much more than the required 60FPS threshold for smooth gameplay. We would even consider the graphics card for gaming at 1440p as well, as the performance results has shown it to be very capable in this setting as well.
The PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT was able to surprise us consistent good performance results, even when it had an disadvantage in clock speed when compared the same Graphics Card from a different brand. We attributed this to its highly effective Red Dragon cooling system.
This makes the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5600 XT a highly recommended choice. If you are looking for a new graphics card for AAA gaming at either 1080p or even 1440p resolution, do check out this graphics card.