If one thing is clear from this review, it’s that 4GB of VRAM can be a big detriment to performance at 1080p. The fps difference between 4GB and 8GB models of the RX 5500 XT in Forza, Battlefield V, and Far Cry 5 are huge, with Shadow of the Tomb Raider also seeing a larger-than-we’d-expect performance difference. If you would like to maintain the same performance level across all games and have some headroom for new upcoming AAA releases, 8GB is the only option. If lowering image quality settings and playing at medium is acceptable on these titles, both cards are plenty capable of smooth 1080p performance.
The Gigabyte RX 5500 XT Gaming OC 8G takes the reference specs and improves upon them with slightly higher clock speeds and a capable Windforce 3 cooler. The cooling solution offers modern features such as 3D-fan capability where the fans are off when idle and low loads, only spinning up when needed. When they ramp up, although the speeds are higher, the cooling solution was still quiet in our testing. Between the 5500 two cards, thermally, the Gigabyte card does a better job overall. The card’s appearance is designed not to offend and will blend in with most build themes. That said, if you want lots of RGB lighting on your card, you should look elsewhere.
Gigabyte’ Gaming OC 8G has an MSRP of $219.99, or $20 more than AMD’s SRP of $199. For the extra money, you get a full-size cooling solution, slightly increased clock speeds, and the “Ultra-Durable” components. While that’s not a bad deal for what you get over a baseline 8GB RX 5500 XT, the Nvidia GTX 1660 will delivers performance that’s a few percent better overall at a similar price point--or a little less, with 1660s starting at $199 as of this writing. Also, previous-generation Polaris-based RX 590s perform slightly better than the RX 5500 XT and can be found well under $200. Just know that the RX 590 uses much more power (and therefore produces more heat and fan noise).
In the end, Gigabyte’s RX 5500 XT Gaming OC 8G played well at 1080p with our Ultra settings. Performance matched AMD’s expectations, with it falling between the GTX 1650 Super and GTX 1660. The Windforce 3 cooling proved more than adequate with the card able to run cool and quiet during our testing. But at current prices, unless you’re specifically after an AMD card for no-compromises 1080p gaming, most users are better off opting for an Nvidia 1660 that will deliver slightly better performance while using slightly less power under load, at a starting price $200) that’s also a little less than this $220 Gigabyte card.
MORE: Best Graphics Cards
MORE: All Graphics Content