Fan Speeds, Clock Rates, and Temperatures
AMD’s reference Radeon RX 5700 XT starts in the 700 RPM range and jumps quickly to around 2,100 RPM under a gaming load. Meanwhile, Sapphire’s card starts idle on the Windows desktop, pulses to life when active cooling is required, and ramps up to more than 1,500 RPM through the duration of our test. Its fan speed isn’t constant, though. The card flirts with a range between 1,500 and 1,600 RPM, speeding up and slowing down to maintain its target temperature.
Although we like centrifugal coolers for their ability to exhaust waste heat from your case, this chart makes clear why so many enthusiasts prefer axial fans on their graphics cards. Sapphire’s Dual-X thermal solution barely breaks a sweat to keep Navi in the mid-70°C range, while AMD’s single blower-style fan spins way faster for mid-80°C temperatures.
An average clock rate of 1,865 MHz through three loops of the Metro benchmark gives Sapphire’s Pulse Radeon RX 5700 XT a slight advantage over AMD’s reference model, which averages 1,850 MHz. That means we’re looking at better performance at lower core temperatures from an add-in board partner card that uses a little more power at a $10-higher price point than AMD’s version.
Sapphire’s Dual-X cooler behaves similarly under FurMark as it did in Metro. It idles in passive mode (GPU-Z reports this as 127 RPM), then pulses up over 1,500 RPM before wobbling back and forth between 1,500 and 1,600 RPM through the rest of our test.
The Pulse Radeon RX 5700 XT heats up quickly in the face of FurMark’s intense load. But once Sapphire’s cooler spins up, it keeps the card at a similar temperature as what we saw under Metro. Meanwhile, AMD’s reference Radeon RX 5700 XT almost hits 90°C.
According to GPU-Z, both of our Radeon RX 5700 XTs experience significant clock rate dips and spikes through FurMark. It’s especially interesting that they do this at a similar point in the run without any direct correlation in the fan speed or temperature graphs.
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