Sapphire Pulse AMD RX 5500 XT 4GB Review – Worth the Wait?

AMD’s had a pretty good year, with their new Ryzen 3000 processors and RX Navi GPUs shining in the spotlight. But while we’ve had the higher end RX 5700 and 5700 XT for a while, AMD’s kept us waiting for the budget card, the RX 5500 XT. Now that it’s out, was it worth the wait? Let’s find out with our Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT 4GB graphics card.

The Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT is a big card, for the kind of performance bracket it falls in, so if you were planning to put it in a small PC, like a mini-ITX build, you need to be wary of that. But on the plus side, a bigger heatsink translates into better cooling. The GPU has a dual-slot, twin fan design, covered in a black shroud with the Pulse logo on the fans. The simplistic design looks great and should fit in with most color schemes on your build. And, it has a full backplate too, which is something we generally don’t get to see in budget GPUs.

AMD has added an impressive feature set to its GPU line-up, which every gamer can use to their advantage. One such feature is Radeon Anti-lag, which reduces input latency, or the delay between pressing a key and seeing the effect on the screen. Depending on the title, it can help reduce the input lag by up to 30%, giving you a massive advantage in multiplayer and competitive games. Another useful feature is Radeon Boost, that gives increases your framerate by dynamically reducing resolution during movements like camera rotation, and scales it back up once the movement stops. Both these features are useful for gamers looking to get the most out of their hardware. And then you have the benefit of FreeSync, supported by some of the most economical monitors as well.

Talking about specs, the Sapphire Pulse RX 5500 XT has 22 compute units and 1408 stream processors. The boost clock goes up to 1845 MHz and there are two variants for memory, one with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM and the other with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM. For display options, the card comes with three DisplayPorts and one HDMI port, which is becoming more of a norm nowadays. But how good is the card when it comes to performance? Let’s take a look at the benchmarks.

To put it straight, the RX 5500 XT’s performance is a mixed bed. It’s impressive and falls in line with what you’d expect with the price tag, but it can be a bit inconsistent depending on the game, sometimes even falling behind the RX 580, which is a last-gen graphics card. The GTX 1650 Super, while it doesn’t perform as well as the RX 5500 XT, is more consistent. But this problem could possibly be a driver issue which will probably be resolved with an update, as we’ve seen happen previously with both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

The 4GB variant we have is pretty solid for esports gamers and people who don’t need to play games at the highest possible settings, but if you’re thinking about the long-term, it’s better to go with the 8GB model as newer and better-looking games will require more VRAM. At a price point of about INR 15,000, the RX 5500 XT offers a decent performance and feature set offering. It might seem a little high for now, but once the drivers are stabilized we should see more improvement. And if we get to see a price cut like we did with the RX 5700 GPUs, this has the potential to be the best bang for buck GPU for budget gamers.

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