AMD’s 5600 XT Debacle – A Post Mortem of Arguably the Worst Launch in PC history.

Final Thoughts

The RX 5600 XT with its new VBios is an even better value now than it was when it launched in my eyes based on the fact that I judged the card based on the VBios I had available at the time of writing. Once using the new VBios and with the pull of a memory slider, this card actively can displace the RX 5700 in several cases. The RX 5600 XT is now a 1080p monster as far as I am concerned.

However, the RX 5600 XT is also a monster in regards to early adopters and the struggle they may face with the GPU both in flashing the card and with long term longevity. Pushing the RX 5600 XT to this level for 24/7 usage, and we do now know how all cards will fair. Some cards could quite easily exceed their initial design parameters and therefore put extra stress on components. which could potentially fail over time leaving users with a bad taste in their moths for both AMD Radeon GPUs but also the AIB or board partner that makes the card (XFX, Sapphire, ASUS, etc.).

The threat to the industry as a whole with the jebaiting and the new cool trend of trying to trick one another while the community watches and specs, clocks, and prices change on a whim is real. The latest trend is troubling, and I believe as a community, not just reviewers, but consumers need to let their thoughts known on this. I do like that we now have an RX 5700 competitor at the $279 price point, but I have some apprehension as to how this card will advance in the future. Will the OC clocked models like I have today, fade away into obscurity while the price is increased for newer OC labeled models with the new Performance tuning at play? If so, then early adopters will be getting a great card at a great price, pending it survives in the long run (but hey they do have warranty).

 

 

There is also the aspect of time allocation and the feeling of bait and switch that many media have recently brought into question. This is based on what I covered in the preceding statements and pages. There is a lot of apprehension on how AMD and AIB partners will handle the virtual cannibalization of their RX 5700 part by the RX 5600 XT with its new VBios, and AMD may have painted themselves into a corner for the time being, as they still have “Big Navi” potentially coming soon.

Thank you to those of you who made it through all of this, and I hope I created a real feel or optic into what it was like to have one of these early cards. The launch of the RX 5600 XT was a mess in the best case and an utter disaster at the worst. Still, I do think gamers wound up getting a potentially kickass card out of the deal, but the user experience is something I would never recommend even for seasoned hardware professionals. I genuinely hope that AMD learns from this experience as I have seen several outlets now echoing my sentiments in some form or another, and I feel like this is the sort of thing that we as technical media and you as consumers should not stand for.

Both AMD and XFX in this specific case had a hand in what happened, even if it was merely AMD being complicit in the decision to push a VBios update to a card that categorically changes the card in a significant way. This is something that should have been appropriately refreshed, or even the launch pushed to allow the processes and procedures to be ironed out properly. Exposing media and customers to such a disjointed launch creates an awful image for both AMD and AIB’s, and let’s face it AMD launches have been anything but smooth, so they need to work on this.

Heres how the updated score breaks down

Value – 97 The RX 5600 XT, with its new performance level at the current $279 price point for the model I have on hand, is genuinely impressive from a pure performance/dollar standpoint.

Performance – 98 The RX 5600 XT performs even better if pushing the VRAM and steps up to take a crack at the RX 5700 and others, which are well above its weight class when considering price.

Innovation – 90 AMD has not reinvented the wheel here as they simply created a lower binned RX 5700 with 6GB VRAM on a 192-bit bus, but they did it in such a way that it fills an essential gap in price/performance. The ability to repurpose parts to fit where you need them could be seen as an innovation of sorts and no different than what others do in the space.

Quality – 65 Quality includes not just the feel and quality of the part but the quality of the experience. This is going to hurt a bit as the experience with the VBios flash, post-launch has to be added to the account. Previously we rated the RX 5600 XT at 80, and I have to knock off another 15 points based on the frustration factor of trying to get such a common procedure completed. I will call this the incompetence tax, and I think I am more than fair here.

I still do feel that AMD/RTG did a great job with RX 5600 XT, and it went from a “filler card” to a “killer card,” even if it did kill my sanity in the process. I cannot say that the $279 price tag will continue at this performance level. Still, I think if AMD wants to rectify this situation and ensure the best user experience they will have no choice but to keep the price and not shift it upward with OC variants as penance for this mess.

Overall if the value stays true and the performance can come out of the box with hardware that can handle it in the long run, the RX 5600 XT can be a steal of a deal.

 

All I ask is AMD (I’m looking at you) fix your launch strategy, and let’s stop with the “jebaiting” games as they do no real service unless you are purely looking for the notoriety for trolling the competition. You may get internet love for it, but Karma has a way of biting in the ass, and well, on this one, you wound up jebaiting yourself, your media partners, and, unfortunately your customers.

 

For the card, we moved from the Approved award to the “bang for the buck award.”

In regards to the launch, i’ll just let Bart deliver it.

 

ProsCons
  • With memory tuning, it can surpass an RX 5700
  • 7nm RDNA NAVI GPU
  • GDDR6
  • Quiet operation
  • Ridiculous price/performance results
  • Many supported open standards
  • Serious future potential
  • RT Features absent
  • A price drop by NVIDIA could end this cards relevance
  • XFX build quality comes into question
  • Atrocious launch issues
  • Need for early adopters to flash their card (risky)

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