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In Search Of A Small Form-Factor AMD RX 5700XT

A discouraging cheat-sheet for small form-factor PC builders

Nov 16, 2019 · 4 min read

My gaming PC belongs to a category called small form-factor (SFF) PCs. The definition of this category is somewhat debated, some drawing the line at 20L or less. To me, SFF means building a PC that uses at most an ITX board, an SFX PSU, a 2-slot GPU, and a case that barely fits all of these - a configuration that's common on all popular SFF cases like the Dan Case A4-SFX, Loque Ghost S1, Fractal Design Node 202, and more.

Building SFF PCs is all about trade-offs. Processing power, silence, compactness - choose two. There's also power density - how much processing power you can pack in the smallest space possible. And of course, physical compatibilty starts becoming an issue. Doing extensive research is very important. Buy the wrong components, and you'd easily have expensive paperweights.

I was curious if it would be possible to upgrade my GPU to an RX 5700XT. However, my case has a console-style layout (i.e. components lie on the same plane) that can only fit a 2-slot reference-sized card. After some data gathering, I've compiled a list of custom, pre-overclocked 5700XT cards with their clocks, dimensions, and power requirements.

Brand       Model                  Base  Game  Boost L    W   H    PWR  Product page

ASRock      Challenger D OC        1650  1795  1905  281  42  137  8+8  https://www.asrock.com/Graphics-Card/AMD/Radeon%20RX%205700%20XT%20Challenger%20D%208G%20OC/index.us.asp
ASRock      Phantom Gaming D OC    1690  1835  1945  287  54  127  8+8  https://www.asrock.com/Graphics-Card/AMD/Radeon%20RX%205700%20XT%20Phantom%20Gaming%20D%208G%20OC/index.us.asp
ASRock      Taichi X OC+           1810  2025  1935  325  54  146  8+8  https://www.asrock.com/Graphics-Card/AMD/Radeon%20RX%205700%20XT%20Taichi%20X%208G%20OC+/index.us.asp
Asus        STRIX Gaming OC        1840  1965  2035  305  54  130  8+8  https://www.asus.com/Graphics-Cards/ROG-STRIX-RX5700XT-O8G-GAMING/
Asus        TUF Gaming X3 OC       1730  1870  1980  270  54  125  8+6  https://www.asus.com/Graphics-Cards/TUF-3-RX5700XT-O8G-GAMING/
Gigabyte    AORUS                  1770  1905  2010  290  58  123  8+8  https://www.gigabyte.com/Graphics-Card/GV-R57XTAORUS-8GD#kf
Gigabyte    GAMING OC              1650  1795  1905  280  50  115  8+6  https://www.gigabyte.com/Graphics-Card/GV-R57XTGAMING-OC-8GD#kf
HIS         IceQ X²                1650  1755  1905  307  51  147  8+6  http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-969.shtml
MSI         EVOKE OC               1690  1835  1945  254  51  129  8+6  https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-5700-XT-EVOKE-OC
MSI         GAMING X               1730  1870  1980  297  58  140  8+8  https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-5700-XT-GAMING-X
MSI         MECH OC                1670  1815  1925  232  46  126  8+6  https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-5700-XT-MECH-OC
PowerColor  AXRX 5700XT 8GBD6-3DH  1605  1755  1905  230  41  111  8+6  https://www.powercolor.com/product?id=1565842787
PowerColor  Red Devil              1770  1905  2010  300  53  132  8+8  https://www.powercolor.com/product?id=1565160726
PowerColor  Red Dragon             1650  1795  1905  240  41  132  8+6  https://www.powercolor.com/product?id=1565953800
Sapphire    PULSE                  1670  1815  1925  254  47  135  8+6  https://www.sapphiretech.com/en/consumer/pulse-radeon-rx-5700-xt-8g-gddr6
Sapphire    NITRO+                 1770  1905  2010  306  49  135  8+8  https://www.sapphiretech.com/en/consumer/nitro-radeon-rx-5700-xt-8g-gddr6
XFX         RAW II Ultra           1730  1870  1980  278  58  140  8+6  https://www.xfxforce.com/gpus/radeon-tm-rx-5700-xt-8gb-gddr6-raw-ii-ultra
XFX         THICC II Ultra         1730  1870  1980  293  55  130  8+6  https://www.xfxforce.com/gpus/radeon-tm-rx-5700-xt-8gb-gddr6-thicc-ii-ultra
XFX         THICC III Ultra        1810  1935  2025  315  57  131  8+8  https://www.xfxforce.com/gpus/radeon-tm-rx-5700-xt-8gb-gddr6-thicc-iii-ultra

Actual 2-slot cards:
MSI         Reference 5700XT       1605  1755  1905  270  40  110  8+6  https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-RX-5700-XT-8G
MSI         Radeon VII             1400  1750  N/A   267  40  121  8+8  https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/Radeon-VII-16G/

Regular 2-slot cards are about ~40mm wide and ~110mm tall. For reference, I threw in both reference model 5700XT and the previously released Radeon VII from MSI, both of which I know fit my build.

As you can see, most 5700XTs are chunky. In this table, only one card fits the description of a reference-sized, custom-cooled card: PowerColor's AXRX 5700XT 8GBD6-3DH. All the rest are either too tall or too wide or both. This is bad news for SFFPC builders who want to use this specific generation of cards for their builds.

Hopefully, a 2-slot, 3-fan card is in the works. Something along the lines of the Radeon VII. Board partners are also known to do a limited release of a rare ITX variant, like the Vega Nano or OEM releases. But until these happen, I guess there will be no upgrading for me.


PS: Vanilla markdown never had tables, you had to use embedded HTML (which markdown allows). Extended versions of markdown incorporated a syntax for tables. However, something as simple as aligned data in code blocks does the job just fine.

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