Today we’re comparing Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2060 and AMD's Radeon RX 5600 XT head to head in over 30 games at two resolutions: 1080p and 1440p. But before we move on to the benchmark phase, let's put things in perspective for the newly launched mid-range Radeon and the year-old RTX 2060 that has received a price cut down to $300 for some models.
It’s been a month since our initial 5600 XT review and it’s fair to say we weren’t blown away by the new sub-$300 Radeon. Wrapping up that review we said “The Radeon RX 5600 XT is a respectable product that has pushed for lower prices and better performance at $300. For that alone, we commend it. The GPU won’t blow your socks off and yet it's better value than the Radeon RX 5700 and makes the RTX 2060 Super a really tough buy. Given the competition in this price range, we think AMD has done fine.”
We also questioned whether many RTX 2060 models would actually hit $300 and what kind of stock you could expect for so-called KO and FE models at that more aggressive price point.
About a month later, where are we now? Well, the RTX 2060 is still kind of a $300 GPU as you can buy the FE model for $300 directly from Nvidia and the EVGA KO version is also available for $300. Meanwhile, 14 Gbps 5600 XT’s can be had for $290. That makes the RTX 2060 just 4% more expensive for the FE version, or about 10% more when comparing most AIB models. In some regions 2060 FE/KO models are not available, making the GeForce option a little more costly.
But price is only part of the equation, there's obviously the performance aspect which we’ll look at in a moment, and then there's drivers. After seeing numerous user reports of AMD driver issues, we ranted about it recently and the reports have kept coming. Drivers with these Navi GPUs is unfortunately another factor that needs to be considered.
For today's testing we are using the MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z and the Sapphire Pulse 5600 XT, equipped with the latest VBIOS supporting 14 Gbps memory transfer speeds. Powering our GPU test rig is the Core i9-9900K overclocked to 5 GHz with 16GB of DDR4-3400 memory. As usual, rather than covering each of the 32 game benchmarks we'll look at a dozen closely and then jump into performance breakdown graphs.
First up we have Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and here the 5600 XT just nudges ahead of the RTX 2060 at both tested resolutions, offering 5% more performance at 1080p and just a single extra frame at 1440p. You can safely call this identical performance.
In Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order we see that using the latest drivers it’s very tight between the RTX 2060 and 5600 XT, again we’re looking at basically identical performance.
The Outer Worlds almost always favors Nvidia hardware and we see this is once again the case. It’s worth noting that the 1% low performance is identical at both tested resolutions, so at least the 5600 XT is offering a smooth gaming experience in this title.
Next up we have Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and once again we see very close numbers at 1080p and 1440p, the former in particular is an identical match.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is another title where these two GPUs deliver virtually identical performance at both tested resolutions, with no more than 2 fps in it which is negligible.
The 5600 XT struggles a little bit in Control when using MSAAx4 which can be magnified when you look at the 1% low performance dipping down a little, even at 1080p. If we only look at the average frame rate, the RTX 2060 is up to 7% faster, but if we focus on the 1% low results, the GeForce GPU is up to 14% faster.
AMD often does well in World War Z and we see that the 5600 XT had no trouble taking it to the RTX 2060 at 1080p. Here the Radeon GPU was 11% faster. However the margin does swing back in Nvidia’s favor at 1440p, and now the 5600 XT is 7% slower.
Radeon GPUs have always performed well in the F1 titles and the 5600 XT is able to beat the RTX 2060 here, offering 10% more performance at 1080p and 14% more at 1440p, a solid win for the red team.
The RTX 2060 offers stronger performance in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, at least when using the Vulkan API which AMD doesn’t appear to have optimized for yet. The 1% low performance suffers compared to what we see when using DX11. We’ll stick with Vulkan for the foreseeable future and see how AMD gets on over the coming months.
We expected the RTX 2060 to make up more ground on the 5600 XT in Fortnite but AMD has made sure their GPUs are well optimized for this massively popular title. In the early days of Fortnite Nvidia GPUs dominated, but it’s good to see that AMD has worked to optimize this title. The end result is identical performance between these GPUs at both tested resolutions.
Using the ultra quality settings in Gears 5 sees the 5600 XT easily beat the RTX 2060 providing 18% more frames at 1080p and 15% more at 1440p.
Frame rates in Shadow of the Tomb Raider were very similar and this is yet another title where the RTX 2060 and 5600 XT deliver virtually identical performance.
Performance is also very similar in Apex Legends, the 5600 XT does a little better at 1080p while the RTX 2060 does a little better at 1440p, but overall the gaming experience will be much the same using either GPU.
Last up we have PUBG, a title that has always favored GeForce GPUs. The RTX 2060 was 9% faster at 1080p and just 6% faster at 1440p in this comparison.
Just as we saw when testing the Radeon RX 5600 XT in our day-one coverage, the GPU appears evenly matched with Nvidia’s RTX 2060. At launch we only tested a dozen games but now we've included a much wider range of titles, with 32 games tested in total. Let’s see how they compare across a variety of recently released and popular titles.
In the end, the 5600 XT wins by a marginal 3% difference. Helping the Radeon edge ahead were big 20% or better wins in Borderlands 3, Metro Exodus and DiRT Rally 2. The only games to really trip up the 5600 XT were The Outer Worlds, Vermintide 2 and Strange Brigade.
The already small 3% margin favoring AMD at 1080p shrinks to 1% at 1440p. On average that's identical performance, if we couldn’t say that already at 1080p. Our launch review of the RX 5600 XT showed something similar, so it seems we did well with a dozen game sample that was very representative of what we see here with 32 titles.
What to Buy
Bottom line, the 5600 XT and RTX 2060 are very evenly matched in terms of performance. As it's usually the case when we see this kind of result, the best option for you will probably come down to the games you play.
The two GPUs are so evenly matched that it prompts us to consider the driver angle, especially with a large base of users reporting issues with crashing and black screens over the past few months. At least in the short term, it should be a concern and it makes recommending the 5600 XT quite difficult. The RTX 2060 is a proven product at this point, it offers a similar level of performance, and generally costs anywhere from $10 to $30 extra which is a tiny price to pay for stability.
You also don’t have to be particularly careful regarding which RTX 2060 you buy. The cheaper base models are comparable to the premium versions and that’s certainly not the case with the 5600 XT.
We do believe the 5600 XT is a decent product and with a little more time to iron out driver issues and shipping cards with the proper VBIOS, it will be a serious contender down the line. But for now we must go with the RTX 2060, we simply believe you’ll be better looked after with the GeForce graphics card option.
- GeForce RTX 2060 on Amazon
- GeForce RTX 2060 Super on Amazon
- AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT on Amazon
- AMD Radeon RX 5700 on Amazon
- AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT on Amazon
- GeForce GTX 1660 Super on Amazon
- GeForce RTX 2070 Super on Amazon
- GeForce RTX 2080 Ti on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 9 3900X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600 on Amazon