Hello there! You might have noticed that in this article about driver issues on the 5700XT, I kept updating the article about the current situation and that my last update says I still had issues with the graphics card.
Funnily enough, I had to rewrite this article since it was intended as a big rant on AMD. I was going to rant about the current situation because no driver update fixed my issue, hell I’ve even tried to reinstall Windows 10 to be 100% sure! I’ve tried to get rid of anything that might have interfered with the card like the MSI software for my motherboard and so on.
But during the redaction of the rant article, I was listing my hardware configuration :
- Motherboard: MSI B450 Gaming Pro AC
- CPU: Ryzen 2400G @4Ghz
- RAM: Ripjaws 2x8Go @3200Mhz
- SSD: Intel 760p 256Go nvme
- Graphics card: Sapphire 5700XT Pulse
Was my CPU the root of my issues?
Then it clicked, I wondered if it was the CPU that was the culprit. I was planning to upgrade it with the Ryzen 3700X for some 8 cores goodness but I kept pushing the upgrade back waiting for CPU price to fall.
After checking some resources, I’ve noticed that the Ryzen 2400G had only 8 PCIe lanes available for the graphics card as there are 8 dedicated for the integrated GPU even if disabled. Checking this using GPU-Z proved that yes, my graphics card was on PCI-Express x8*. But I dismissed this theory quickly because aside from some bottleneck in speeds, no major issue would occur.
*Note: Modern graphics cards will throttle themselves to PCI-Express 8x or 4x as long as they are not fully solicited, this is to keep power draw low. To force your graphics card to go full throttle, using GPU-Z click that “?’ button then click “Start Render Test”.
But as the days went on, I couldn’t get that thought off my mind. Sadly I couldn’t really find a nice deal on the Ryzen 3700X. After a lot of research and reconsideration of my priorities, I’ve decided to go for the Ryzen 3600 + a 1To nvme SSD because I was running out of space on the current setup, I ended up spending almost the same as the 3700X but to be honest I think 8 cores would have been overkill especially that my desktop has become a gaming machine and nothing more.
The 5700XT worked smoothly after the upgrade
Anyway, got the components, made the upgrade, reinstalled windows to be sure that everything was well working. Booted up some games and started testing. I deliberately didn’t try overclocking the CPU to be sure everything was stable. After almost one week of testing, with no issues, I can safely state that I’m having no issues. I didn’t want to bother with trying to throttle the PCIe to 8x to try to replicate the issues. I honestly had my fair share of issues and I’m finally very happy to be able to enjoy my games without issues.
The Sapphire 5700XT Pulse was a nightmare software wise. I know it’s not entirely their fault, but consumer-wise it’s very frustrating. I’ve even considered to RMA the card or sell it. I still can’t believe I could play Half Life Alyx with no issues while still equipped with the 2400G. I’ve even noticed that the graphics were set to low on that CPU to compensate for some performance issues (I guess it was also a bottleneck for the graphics card). Starting Half Life Alyx on the 5700XT with the Ryzen 3600 was a very different experience, a lot of details were disabled to save performance I guess.
Another odd fact is that HDR seems to work on my Philips TV. I can’t really vouch for it because I’m suspecting that Windows 10 is also playing a part in the messy HDR situation. On my old configuration though, when I activated HDR, the PC just threw at me a Blue Screen Of the Death and refused to boot correctly.
To sum it up, for whatever reason, the AMD 5700XT Saphhire didn’t like being on PCI-Express 8x. I imagine that at AMD’s side, they couldn’t really test all the possible hardware configurations. But this is very strange, especially when we consider that if we put the graphics card on a Thunderbolt case (like the Razer Core for example), the issue might occur and the user will struggle with no clue in sight.
Keep in mind that this article reflects my experience and conclusions. Your experience might differ. If you’re having issues with your 5700XT and tried everything, you can let me know in the comment section, I will be happy to help.