AMD’s 5500 XT and 5600 XT could finally replace Vega, RX 500-series

AMD’s Navi range of graphics cards could be set to expand and broaden in the coming months, providing modern alternatives to the company’s aging RX 500-series Polaris GPUs. Alongside the existing RX 5700 and 5700 XT graphics cards, AMD will reportedly debut a new RX 5500 XT in December, with multiple memory options, and an RX 5600 XT at some point in January next year.

The launch lineup of AMD’s RX 5000-series was impressive, but limited. While the 5700 XT and 5700 offered credible competition for Nvidia’s RTX 2070 and 2060 (and to a lesser extent the Super variants), two graphics cards is a limited GPU range, even for a new architecture like RDNA. While AMD fans await a second generation of RDNA graphics cards that push the upper-end of performance, the RX 5500 XT and 5600 XT look set to flesh out the lower end of AMD’s modern GPU lineup.

AMD officially announced the RX 5500 in October, but very few details have been released about it since, and we’re still unsure when it will be released. Videocardz is confident that where the RX 5500 may remain an OEM part, the 5500 XT will debut as a dedicated gaming graphics card this month (December). It will reportedly come in two configurations, one with 4GB of GDDR6, and another with 8GB. Both will feature the same 128-bit memory bus, but details like core counts and clock speeds remain unknown at this time.

We’ll need to wait for third-party testing to give us an idea of what the real performance of these cards will be like, but since early leaked benchmarks suggest the OEM RX 5500 approached RX 580 performance, it would make sense if the RX 5500 XT could equal or surpass it at a competitive price and with much lower power and thermal demands. That could push down the RX 590, RX 580, and RX 570 to lower prices as stock clears, giving an expansive lineup of AMD cards while we await a new-generation of Navi to further expand the modern offerings.

But this brings to question what the RX 5600 XT will perform like. With the RX 5500 XT pushing the RX 580/590 down the product stack, and the RX 5700 doing the same to the Vega 64, it would make sense if the RX 5600 XT was more of an analog for a slightly faster Vega 56.

Details of its real-world performance and specifications are almost nonexistent, but Videocardz has heard tell that it will sport a 192-bit memory bus — that sits it perfectly between the RX 5700 and 5500 XT — along with 6GB of GDDR6. That seems like an odd choice considering the 5500 XT will offer an 8GB configuration.

All signs point to an early 2020 release for that card, though whether it’s in January or a little later on is hard to nail down. If it is priced competitively with dwindling Vega 56 stock, that could see the 5600 XT launch at a price somewhere between $250 and $300, which could make it a very attractive alternative to Nvidia’s GTX 1660 Ti and newly released GTX 1660 Super.

We don’t have long to wait to find out more about these cards. Whether the December launch prediction for the RX 5500 XT holds true or not, with CES 2020 just around the corner in January next year, we’ll hear a lot more about what AMD has planned for the next 12 months. With AMD’s Ryzen 3000 and Threadripper processors cleaning up in the CPU space, it will no doubt want to ape that success in the GPU space, if it can.

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