XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra review: A roaring muscle car, barely heard

XFX fixes flaws to field a fat, fantastic graphics card.

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Our test system

Our dedicated graphics card test system is packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($350 on Amazon)
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($120 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard ($395 on Amazon)
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($420 on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($230 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow ($130 on Amazon)
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($78 each on Amazon)

We’re comparing the $440 XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra against the Thicc II Ultra, obviously, which launched at the same price. We’re also including Sapphire’s excellent $450 Nitro+ Radeon RX 5700 XT, as well as the reference $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT. Rounding things out, we’ve tossed in results for the step-down $350 Radeon RX 5700 reference edition, and Nvidia’s $400 GeForce RTX 2060 Super $500 GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founders Editions, the Radeon RX 5700 XT’s nearest competition.

Be sure to read our guide to the best graphics cards for PC gaming for a more holistic look at the GPU landscape.

Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets, with VSync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled, and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enabled to push these cards to their limits. If anything differs from that, we’ll mention it. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.

We tested the XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra using its default Performance BIOS, clocked at 1,935MHz, rather than its secondary Quiet BIOS that increases efficiency and lowers fan speeds at the cost of performance.

Because all of these GPUs are known quantities at this point, we’re going to let the benchmark results speak for themselves and save commentary for our conclusion. Our power and thermal section will include analysis, however.

Gaming performance benchmarks

Division 2

The Division 2 is one of the best looter-shooters ever created. The luscious visuals generated by Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine make it even easier to get lost in post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. The built-in benchmark cycles through four “zones” to test an array of environments. We test with the DirectX 12 renderer enabled. It provides better performance across-the-board than the DX11 renderer but requires Windows 10.

division 2 Brad Chacos/IDG

Far Cry: New Dawn

Another Ubisoft title, Far Cry: New Dawn drags Far Cry 5’s wonderful gameplay into a post-apocalyptic future of its own, though this vision is a lot more bombastic—and pink—than The Division 2’s bleak setting. The game runs on the latest version of the long-running Dunia engine, and it’s slightly more strenuous than Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark.

fcnd Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • The refined triple-fan XFX Radeon RX 5700 XT Thicc III Ultra pushes the pedal to the metal while fixing the cooling flaws of its predecessor. This muscle car roars, but you'll barely hear it.

    Pros

    • Excellent gaming performance
    • Stunningly gorgeous design
    • Dual-BIOS switch
    • Idle fan stop feature for silent desktop use
    • PCIe 4.0 compatible
    • Supremely cool and very quiet

    Cons

    • Very high power consumption
    • Long, thick card won't fit in some cases
    • No real-time ray tracing capabilities
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