Our test system
Our dedicated graphics card test system is packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.
- Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($350 on Amazon)
- EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($120 on Amazon)
- Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard ($395 on Amazon)
- 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($390 on Amazon)
- EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($320 on Amazon)
- Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow ($130 on Amazon)
- 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($75 each on Amazon)
We’re comparing the $440 XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc II Ultra against AMD’s $400 reference Radeon RX 5700 XT and its little sibling, the $350 RX 5700, as well as the $400 GeForce RTX 2060 Super Founders Edition and the $500 GeForce RTX 2070 Super Edition, its nearest competitors. For a broader look at how AMD’s core GPU stacks up against other cards, be sure to check out our original Radeon RX 5700 series review.
All prices cited are launch MSRP. You can often find reference RX 5700 cards cheaper on the streets these days, while custom RTX Super GPUs tend to sell for more than the (now gone) Founders Edition cards.
Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets, with VSync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled, and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enabled to push these high-end cards to their limits. If anything differs from that, we’ll mention it. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test. As noted in the previous section, we tested the Thicc II Ultra using the “fixed” Performance BIOS provided by XFX, rather than the wonky profile that shipped with the first wave of shipments.
Because the XFX Thicc II Ultra is a faster Radeon RX 5700 XT at its core, we’re going to skip our usual commentary after each gaming benchmark and let the testing speak for itself. We’ll provide more analysis during the thermal and noise results, and put a bow on things in our closing recommendations.
Gaming performance benchmarks
Let’s start with the latest games. The Division 2 is one of the best looter-shooters ever created, and the luscious visuals generated by Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine make it even easier to get lost in post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. The built-in benchmark cycles through four “zones” to test an array of environments, and we test with the DirectX 12 renderer enabled. It provides better performance across the board than the DX11 renderer, but requires Windows 10.
Far Cry: New Dawn
Another Ubisoft title, Far Cry: New Dawn drags Far Cry 5’s wonderful gameplay into a post-apocalyptic future of its own, though this vision is a lot more bombastic—and pink—than The Division 2’s bleak setting. The game runs on the latest version of the long-running Dunia engine, and it’s slightly more strenuous than Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark.
Strange Brigade ($50 on Humble) is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test the DX12 renderer with async compute off.
Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue