In a previous article, we covered the apparent boost in specifications to the Radeon RX 5600XT lineup as a way to possibly counter the drop in the price of the RTX 2060. They would boost these specs by allowing for a BIOS update to the graphics cards for the manufacturers that would essentially overclock the GPU core frequencies as well as take the memory from 12Gbps up to the much faster 14Gbps resulting in an increased bandwidth to 336GB/s from 288GB/s, a welcome boost. The boost also comes at the expense of TDP by bumping the RX 5600XT cards from 150w to 160w, a modest lift for what should be more than worth it in performance but as always the reviews will reveal if that's the case or not.
PowerColor, in a press release shared by Videocardz, revealed that it was indeed a last-minute change on the heels of Sapphire. The caveat for this is it appears that some cards had already shipped out to retailers with the initial RX 5600XT BIOS loaded meaning that if end users want this performance-boosting BIOS they will need to load it themselves.
Flashing graphics cards, like the RX 5600XT, is a fairly easy affair for those of us who are familiar with it but to the average customer out there it may seem like a daunting task so many of those initial buyers may be left with that BIOS for the life of the product, unfortunate but just a reality. Hopefully, PowerColor and others make a very easy to use tool for those non-tech savvy folks who pick up the RX 5600XT.
But What Specs Changed?
The changes to the RX 5600XT aren't massive but they're enough to maybe shift the playing field when the card hits the market. We see the memory take the obvious leap from 12Gbps to the much more desirable 14Gbps which results in a 16% increase from 288GB/s to 336GB/s. We see the Red Dragon card's Game Clock take a jump from 1460Mhz to 1570MHz while it's Boost Clock remains the same. The Red Devil, however, takes a bigger jump across the board with the Game Clock raising from 1570MHz to 1660MHz and the Boost Clock going from 1620MHz to 1740MHz.
For those concerned about a failed flash causing your new RX 5600XT to brick PowerColor has at least equipped both of these models to feature a dual BIOS so that should alleviate most of those concerns. This move to constantly change things leading up to the launch of products has become a strange norm for Radeon, and while I get it as a tactic to keep your competition guessing, I'm not sure how it comes across to the customer and now the added "did I get the new BIOS or not" is added in doesn't exactly make for a fun time.
For those who do pick up an RX 5600XT at launch and are curious about which BIOS you have it's a relatively easy thing to figure out. Just head over to Techpowerup and grab the latest GPU-z and load it up. Once loaded just check the memory bandwidth section, if it says 288GB/s you're on the 12Gbps BIOS and if it says 336GB/s then you're on the 14Gbps BIOS.