Radeon RX 5500 XT Comparison – 4GB vs 8GB – AMD’s new Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card is available with both 4gb and 8gb options. But what are the differences between these and which should you get? I’ve compared 17 games at 1080p and 1440p resolutions to help you decide!
Radeon RX 5500 XT Price
In terms of specs, both are the same, with the only difference being the memory sizes. The 4gb model starts at USD 170, while the 8gb model begins at USD 200.
Radeon RX 5500 XT Specs
For the testing, I’m using the Gigabyte Gaming OC 8GB and the Sapphire Pulse 4GB. The system that I’m experimenting including an Intel i7-8700K CPU overclocked to 5GHz on all cores in an MSI Z390 ACE motherboard. Along with 16GB of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory in dual channel. Testing was done with the latest Windows 1909 entirely up to date, and with the latest Radeon drivers available at the time of trial. So with all of that out of the way, let’s get into the results.
COD Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode. I’ve got the 1080p results on the lower half of the graph, and the 1440p results towards the upper half. In this test, the 8gb card was 9% ahead in average FPS at 1080p, increasing to a higher 17.6% increase at 1440p.
Control is an example of a game where the extra memory doesn’t really seem to matter too much. At 1080p, the effects were very close together and inside the margin of the error range. At 1440p, though, the 8gb was now almost 2% ahead in the average frame rate. Granted with these frame rates, you wouldn’t be playing at 1440p high settings anyway.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games built-in benchmark tool. The 8gb option had a significant 33% higher average frame rate over the 4gb. Lowering a little to a 28.5% lead at 1440p, so the extra memory seemed quite beneficial in this test.
Battlefield V was examined in campaign mode and saw the most significant difference out of all 17 titles tested. I triple checked these results and consistently got the same numbers. It seems that this game greatly favors additional VRAM, or at least the area I test in. At 1080p, the 8gb 5500 XT was 58% higher in terms of average FPS, rising up to a massive 63% boost at 1440p. Even the 1% low from the 8gb card was ahead of the averages the 4gb was able to offer.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was experimented by the game’s benchmark. It also was a different experiment that heavily favored the 8gb 5500 XT. At 1080p, the average FPS on the 8gb was 25% higher than the 4gb. Rising up to a 34% lead at 1440p.
Apex Legends was tested with all graphical settings at maximum. However, the memory limit in the game’s settings was set to 4gb for the 4gb card or 8gb for the 8gb card. At 1080p, the 1% low from the 8gb wasn’t too far off the average FPS from the 4gb. And it came out 22% ahead in average frame rate. At 1440p, though, the difference dropped, with the 8gb now 11.5% ahead of the 4gb. Though both were still delivering above 60 FPS averages.
Borderlands 3 was tested with the game’s benchmark tool. And was another title where the 1% low performance from the 8gb card was near the average FPS from the 4gb. At 1080p, the 8gb 5500 XT was scoring 16% higher average FPS when compared to the 4gb. Rising to almost a 19% increase at 1440p.
Fortnite was tested using the replay feature. With the exact same replay file used for all testing. This was another case where there was no significant difference between the two. With just a one to two percent increase with the 8gb version, so basically margin of error stuff.
PUBG was also tested using the replay feature, with the same replay file again. The results were kind of similar, with no significant differences regardless of using the 4gb or 8gb 5500 XT.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was experimented with applying the built-in benchmark. And this was another test that saw significant gains from the 8gb variant. At least with the very high setting preset anyway. At 1080p, the 8gb version was 23% ahead of the 4gb, and then it was 30% faster at 1440p. Where the 1% low was now ahead of the average FPS from the 4gb.
The Witcher 3 manages to be a fairly GPU massive game. However, the memory difference didn’t really seem to be a factor in ultra settings. As there was very little difference between the two in this title.
Division 2 was tested with the games benchmark tool. And at 1080p, the 8gb version was just 3% ahead of the 4gb. But then at 1440p, there’s a much bigger difference where the 8gb was now almost 27% higher in average frame rate, with a 1% low ahead of the 4gb’s average.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint was more experimented using the built-in benchmark. And the 8gb 5500XT had an 8% lead in average FPS at 1080p over the 4gb, increasing significantly to a 21% lead at 1440p. So another where the extra memory was more beneficial above 1080p.
Overwatch was tested in the practice range, so while not quite the same as actual gameplay. It lets me make the related test pass more accurately, which is ideal for comparison purposes. In any case, there was minimal difference between the two in this test. Not enough that you’d actually notice a difference in practice anyway.
Rainbow Six Siege was experimented by the games benchmark tool. Again the decisions were pretty similar between the two and well within the margin of error ranges. Then it doesn’t look to matter which you pick here.
I’ve tested CS: GO with the Ulletical FPS benchmark. And this was another test where the extra memory hardly made a practical difference. You could just as easily go the 4gb option in this title and save the money. Overall, 16 games tested, the 8gb card was performing around 12% better in terms of average FPS.
As you can see, though, it really depends on the specific game. The bottom 9 games are only seeing a zero to three percent performance improvement with the 8gb model. So clearly, the extra VRAM isn’t very beneficial in these titles at this resolution with the settings I’m using. Some of the games like Battlefield 5 saw a massive improvement with the extra VRAM, though. And these titles with larger gains are clearly influencing the overall average.
At 1440p, the average improvement was seen with the 8gb increases to 15%. While neither of these is really meant for 1440p gaming. It should be possible with lower settings in some titles. And the extra VRAM with the 8gb model is offering more of a benefit compared to 1080p. That said, though, 8 of the games still only saw a zero to two percent increase on the 8gb.
Here’s everything system power draw from the wall looks like during two different games. In the Witcher 3, there was only a 0.5% improvement to average FPS with the 8gb card. And this was resulting in about 3% more power used. In Battlefield 5, though, there was a much larger 60% boost with the 8gb card. And this time, the 8gb card was using 13.6% more power.
As both cards, I’m testing with have different cooling solutions, I haven’t looked at thermals as it would be less of a fair comparison. Now for the final difference, the price. At the time of recording, the 4gb version starts at USD 170, while the 8gb version begins at USD 200. So 17.6% more money for the 8gb. Here in Australia, the 4gb begins at AUD 299 while the 8gb goes for AUD 349. Or 16.7% more money, so a similar ratio.
In terms of cost per frame, the 4gb is winning as it’s a better value. I had the 8gb averaging 95 FPS overall 17 games and the 4gb averaging 88 FPS. So not that big of a difference compared to the price difference. If you’re playing games that won’t really benefit from the extra VRAM, then you can definitely save some money by just sticking with the 4gb model, at least for today. Games that do take advantage of the extra memory and perform better, though, could see the 8gb being worthwhile. But it’s really going to depend on the specific game.
Over time future games will tend to make use of more memory. So the 8gb model would likely last you longer. But you could save cash today than just upgrade in the future when something better exists. With the specific cards I’m testing, the Sapphire Pulse with 4gb memory goes for $180 USD., while the 8gb Gigabyte card I’m using is USD 220, so 22% more money in this instance. If you’re considering either of these options, you’re also going to want to investigate the 1650 Super. Which tends to be better valued than the 5500 XT. I’ve already compared the 8gb 5500 XT with the 1650 Super, and I’ll compare the 4gb model in a future article. So besides all of that in memory, which would you pick? The 4gb or 8gb version of the Radeon RX 5500 XT?