Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5700 review: A stunning value supercharged by clever software tricks

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider ($60 on Humble) concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with that. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider.

sotr Brad Chacos/IDG

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Move over, Crysis. If you crank all the graphics options up to 11, like we do for these tests, Ghost Recon Wildlands ($50 on Humble) and its AnvilNext 2.0 engine absolutely melt GPUs, even with a sequel due later this year. It’s by far the most strenuous game in our suite, even with newer stunners like Division 2 in the mix. 

grw Brad Chacos/IDG

F1 2018

The latest in a long line of successful games, F1 2018 ($60 on Humble) is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options—making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the fourth version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies.

f1 2018 Brad Chacos/IDG

GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a game that isn’t really a visual barn-burner, but still tops the Steam charts day in and day out. We test Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gtav Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Trixx Boost tested

At a Glance
  • The Radeon RX 5700 already provided stunning value for 1440p gamers. Sapphire's custom Pulse RX 5700 builds atop that for just $9 more, and pushes performance even further with its excellent Trixx Boost upscaling.

    Pros

    • Excellent gaming performance
    • Cooler and quieter than reference designs
    • Trixx Boost software uses upscaling for great FPS gains
    • Dual-BIOS for performance or acoustic focus
    • PCIe 4.0 compatible

    Cons

    • Plastic shroud
    • No dedicated ray tracing hardware
    • Trixx Boost feature not available at launch
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