In the latest episode of the MSI Insider podcast (opens in new tab), hosts Eric Van Beurden, MSI marketing director, and Pieter Arts, MSI product marketing manager, had a discussion saying that not every single Radeon RX 5600 XT (opens in new tab) graphics card can run its memory at 14 Gbps.
Unlike motherboards, graphics cards (opens in new tab) usually don't get many vBIOS updates, especially not a few days before launch. However, AMD did just that with the RX 5600 XT and boosted performance, likely in response to Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2060 price drop (opens in new tab).
Beurden said that AMD's RX 5600 XT vBIOS increases the card's power limit, which in return enables it to run at higher clock speeds. However, the memory increase was never part of the update. This means that some brands that are bumping the memory from 12 Gbps to 14 Gbps are doing so at their own discretion.
Clearing things up further, Arts said that AMD, just like Nvidia, supplies its partners with the silicon and memory chips necessary to build the graphics card. For the RX 5600 XT, AMD provided GDDR6 memory chips validated to operate at 12 Gbps. Although some memory chips might have overclocking headroom to run at 14 Gbps, MSI cannot guarantee its RX 5600 XT graphics cards' stability and longevity at 14 Gbps, since they weren't originally designed and tested for that speed.
|Model||Game Clock Rate||Boost Clock Rate||Memory Speed|
|MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Gaming Z||1,615 MHz||1,750 MHz||14 Gbps|
|MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Gaming X||1,615 MHz||1,750 MHz||12 Gbps|
|MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Gaming||1,420 MHz||1,600 MHz||12 Gbps|
|MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Mech OC||1,460 MHz||1,620 MHz||12 Gbps|
|MSI Radeon RX 5600 XT Mech||1,375 MHz||1,560 MHz||12 Gbps|
|AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT||1,375 MHz||1,560 MHz||12 Gbps|
It also looks like not every RX 5600 XT will receive the vBIOS update either. Depending on the graphics card's design and the quality of the silicon that's inside, it seems some of the entry-level models might not be capable of accommodating higher clock speeds.
In MSI's case, its RX 5600 XT Gaming and RX 5600 XT Mech is not getting the vBIOS treatment. Their clock speeds will remain the same as previously announced. The Gaming X, Mech OC and Gaming Z variants, on the other hand, will enjoy the improved clock speeds.
The MSI execs confirmed that the first batch of the RX 5600 XT was probably already en route if not already in retailers' hands upon the vBIOS release. Those might require the vBIOS update, but future products should already come with the latest vBIOS.
This whole situation ultimately unlocks the doors for vendors to release new models that already carry the latest vBIOS and 14 Gbps memory.
As for MSI, it revealed the brand-new RX 5600 XT Gaming Z, which has the same clock speeds as the Gaming X model but with 14 Gbps memory onboard. The graphics card will be available in the middle of February.