While both AMD and Nvidia have released their respective “mid-range” latest-gen graphics cards, the RTX 4060 and RX 7600, it looks like it will still take a while before we get to the latest-gen budget graphics cards. So, when PowerColor reached out asking us to review its Radeon RX 6500 XT Fighter, we were initially baffled as it’s supposed to be an outgoing card. That said, we still said yes as it would be a great opportunity to test the PowerColor RX 6500 XT Fighter against the GTX 1650 and Arc A380 in modern titles.
PowerColor RX 6500 XT Fighter – A Closer Look
At first glance, you could already tell that the Radeon RX 6500 XT Fighter packaging is a budget one due to its size as well as the glossy finish. Unlike most graphics cards, there’s no image of the card found both in the front and at the back of the box.
Packaging contents are straight forward as you only have the PowerColor RX 6500 XT Fighter wrapped in an ESD bag.
The PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT is one of the most straight forward GPUs we’ve handled here in the labs. The Cooling shroud is simple with only a matte black finish and the branding can only be found on the two 80mmm fans.
Like most entry-level graphics cards, there’s no backplate on the Radeon RX 6500 XT Fighter meaning there’s no protection especially when the GPU gets wet via AIO leaks or pesky rodents infiltrating your PC chassis.
The PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT Fighter measures 191 x 126 x 40mm. It’s a one-slot graphics card that could literally fit any PC case so long as it has at least one PCI-E slot. Its very compact nature makes it an ideal upgrade for older systems.
The Radeon RX 6500 XT has a TGP of 113W hence requiring one 6-pin PCI-E connector to power the graphics card. AMD and PowerColor recommend a 400W PSU for the RX 6500 XT.
While it’s understandable that PowerColor tries to cut corners around the RX 6500 XT Fighter to make it cost less for consumers, the choice to cut corners on the video outputs is a double-edged sword for the brand. The Radeon RX 6500 XT only has one DisplayPort 1.4a port and one HDMI 2.1 port. While these ports are considerably the latest and have high bandwidth, the commission of extra ports or even a VGA/DVI port hurts the card’s value as it’s supposed to be an upgrade for those rocking older systems or way older graphics cards. Should these users upgrade to the RX 6500 XT and also have an older monitor, they’d either go for a different GPU or also upgrade their monitor, the latter of which is a less sensible option.
Benchmark Setup and Test Methodology
Gadget Pilipinas’ testing philosophy is to provide detail-oriented results as accurately as possible so that our readers can replicate our tests given that these conditions are met. Different benchmarking apps and sequences are used depending on the tested component or device.
|CPU||Intel Core i9 13900K|
|COOLER||ASUS ROG RYUJIN II 360mm V2 – Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste|
|MOTHERBOARD||ASUS ROG Strix Z790-E Gaming|
|MEMORY||Kingston Fury Beast RGB 32GB(2x16GB) 6000 MHz DDR5|
|GPUs||Intel Arc A380 | Gigabyte GTX 1650 | PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT Fighter|
|STORAGE||Kingston KC3000 1TB PCI-E Gen 4 SSD|
|POWER SUPPLY||FSP HYDRO GT PRO 1000W Gold ATX 3.0|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Windows 11 Pro Build 22H2|
We use CapFrameX 1.7.1 as our primary FPS capture and analysis tool for all our gaming benchmarks. The latest build version of Windows 11 Pro and WHQL-certified drivers are used for our benchmarks. Readings such as temperatures and power draws are recorded using HWINFO64, and other relevant software for cross-checking.
PowerColor RX 6500 XT Fighter Benchmarks
Most gamers play at least one of the following free-to-play titles: League of Legends, CS: GO, Dota 2, and/or Fortnite. Dota 2 is a good representation of the F2P titles as it is the most demanding game in the spectrum. The benchmark will give you an idea of the graphic card’s relative performance on other lesser demanding titles. Our benchmark sequence is based on a replay of OG vs. Liquid in the TI9 grand finals from the team fight that happened from 28:30 to 29:30.
COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive aka CSGO is an 11-year-old first-person shooter title that’s still widely popular despite its old Source Engine. CS:GO is a great game to test out CPU performance as the game is heavily CPU-dependent like any other FPS title. Our CS:GO benchmark process uses ULLETICAL’s FPS Benchmark workshop mod to measure the hardware’s performance.
CALL OF DUTY MODERN WARFARE
The latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise is a sequel to the much-loved Modern Warfare game that launched in 2019. Call of Duty Modern Warfare II is one of the most demanding titles to date, pushing the latest hardware from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia. CODMW2 is one of the few games that comes with the DLSS feature without Ray Tracing.
Far Cry 6
FarCry 6 is an FPS game published by Ubisoft and uses the Dunia engine. It heavily relies on and takes advantage of DirectX 12 to render a realistic environment that makes it taxing to both the CPU and GPU. It’s also the first game of the franchise to support Ray Tracing.
Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Seige is one of the few popular AAA games that’s still popular in 2021 due to its competitive gameplay mechanics. R6S uses the AnvilNext game engine, which the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, developed. As of writing, Rainbow Six Siege is currently the most popular Tom Clancy title beating out Wildlands, Breakpoint, and even Division 2.
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably the most hyped game of 2020. Developed by CD Projekt Red, the dystopian open-world, action-adventure RPG sports is one of the most demanding titles to date. Cyberpunk 2077 also supports three Ray Tracing settings as well as DLSS which makes the game a great tool to measure Ray tracing performance for both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
Metro Exodus is the third Metro game trilogy based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels. The game is a first-person shooter with survival horror and stealth elements. The post-apocalyptic game uses 4A Engine by 4A games. Released last 2019, Metro Exodus remains to be one of the most graphically pleasing and demanding games that’s popular to date.
Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the latest Assassin’s Creed game from Ubisoft Montreal making it the twelfth major installment in the franchise. It uses the AnvilNext 2.0 game engine, an updated version of Rainbow Six Siege’s game engine, and uses the DirectX 12 API.
F1 2020 and F1 22
F1 22 is the official video game of the 2022 Formula 1 and Formula 2 championships developed by Codemasters. F1 2022 is the fifteenth installment in the franchise and uses the Ego Engine 4.0. F1 22 is a good representation of racing games thanks to its realistic graphics and fairly demanding spec requirements as well as support for Ray Tracing and DLSS 3.
HORIZON ZERO DAWN
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the most popular console-port RPG developed by Guerilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Horizon Zero Dawn is a multi-award-winning action RPG, and its popularity resulted in an exclusive Complete Edition game bundle on Steam.
PowerColor RX 6500 XT Fighter Temps and Power Draw
Considering the RX 6500XT Fighter’s compact design, the recorded peak load of 63°C is impressive for its size. You have a lot of headroom for overclocking or in case you’ll install the GPU in an airflow-restricted case. Nonetheless, cooling sure isn’t a factor for the GPU’s poor performance in some of the games we tested – more on this later.
Power draw-wise, the GPU only peaked at 86.456 watts which is great, especially for those rocking older systems as they won’t have to upgrade their power supply should they go for the RX 6500XT Fighter.
Performance Summary and Conclusion
While in the process of doing this review from the moment we accepted the card all the way to benchmarking and writing only one question went into mind which is “Is it still relevant?” Having tested the GPU against its competitors and a wide array of titles, the answer is a superficial “it depends.” Looking back to our benchmarks, the PowerColor Radeon RX 6500XT Fighter plows through both the GTX 1650 and Arc A380 in games where the 4GB VRAM isn’t an issue. In the case where it’s being bottlenecked by its 4GB memory buffer, the RX 6500 XT produces poor frame rates and in some cases renders frames that aren’t even playable. It mostly shines on older titles or non-memory-intensive games like Esports. However, if you’re looking to play the latest triple-A titles then you’re out of luck.
That said, at Php 9,950 the PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT is better than the GTX 1650 and Arc A380 in terms of raw performance. However, it’s not that simple as mentioned earlier, the story changes when you take into account its 4GB memory buffer. So, to answer the “Is it still relevant?” for 2023, the answer would greatly depend on what types of games are you playing. If you’re into Esports and older titles, then the RX 6500 XT is a decent upgrade path for your dated system. If however, you want to play the latest titles even at lower settings, then you might want to wait up for its next-gen replacement or save up some more to get a slightly higher-tier graphics card.
At Php 9,950 the PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT is better than the GTX 1650 and Arc A380 in terms of raw performance. However, it’s not that simple as mentioned earlier, the story changes when you take into account its 4GB memory buffer. So, to answer the “Is it still relevant?” for 2023, the answer would greatly depend on what types of games are you playing. If you’re into Esports and older titles, then the RX 6500 XT is a decent upgrade path for your dated system. If however, you want to play the latest titles even at lower settings, then you might want to wait up for its next-gen replacement or save up some more to get a slightly higher-tier graphics card.
- Compact Form Factor
- Decent Temperatures
- Decent Power Draw
- 4GB VRAM limit esp on newer titles
- Limited Video Output
- Very Plain Aesthetics
Grant is a Financial Management graduate from UST. His passion for gadgets and tech crossed him over in the industry where he could apply his knowledge as an enthusiast and in-depth analytic skills as a Finance Major. His passion allows him to earn at the same time help Gadget Pilipinas' readers in making smart, value-based decisions and purchases with his reviews and guides.