Article written by Federico Barutto
Another year, another AMD GPU, another efficiency article. As every recent AMD GPUs, RX5700XTs are set with their GPU voltage too high.
Why every single one is like that? Too little time to fine-tune BIOSes? Bad 7nm yields? Too little budget? That was, is and will always be a mystery. This behaviour is going to hurt AMD, as Radeon GPUs will always be tagged as the powerful but inefficient cards, and in a market dominated by “the green ones” that’s going to make things even worse.
But that’s good news for the tweakers like me! As Vega GPUs (in a lesser way, though), we can easily enhance both temperatures and power draw.
Let’s remember that custom RTX2060s draw around 175W (as reported by GPU-Z). The goal is to be as close as that number as possible, but at the same time keep the same good, RTX2070 Super-like (or even 2080-like, in DirectX 12 and Vulkan games) or 2070-like (in older DirectX11 games) performance of stock Nitro+ cards, to enhance the card’s efficiency.
Differently from Vega chips, core voltage isn’t affected by the so-called “memory voltage” (which in reality is more like the lowest core voltage possible), so undervolting is easier.
The biggest difference from the previous Vega test is that the platform isn’t my watercooled gaming PC anymore, but it’s its air-cooled “little brother” which I built for a friend. Another big difference is the card: it isn’t a reference one with a waterblock, but it’s the best air-cooled 5700XT on the market, the mighty Sapphire RX5700XT Nitro+, with 3 fans.
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