110 degrees within RX 5700 series operational specs: AMD

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT reviews have gathered decent impression by independent review websites. The same however couldn’t be said about its 100 degrees celsius+ TJ temperature on gaming workload. This is followed by its criticism about its inefficient blower design. The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is having its junction temperature hit 100 degrees Celsius on load. This is generally considered ‘terrible’ by the mass.

AMD’s official statement

AMD’s Mithun Chandrashekar addressed the issue by writing the following:

In the past, the GPU core temperature was read by a single sensor that was placed in the vicinity of the legacy thermal diode. This singular sensor was used to make all power-performance optimization decisions across the entire GPU. However, depending on the game being run, the type of GPU cooling and other related metrics, different parts of the GPU might have been at different levels of utilization. As a result, ramping up or throttling down the entire GPU based on this single measurement was inefficient, often leaving significant thermal headroom – and resulting performance – on the table.

Based on the write-up, the new thermal calculation method started with the AMD Radeon VII graphics cards, which was quietly discontinued.
He continued:

Paired with this array of sensors is the ability to identify the ‘hotspot’ across the GPU die. Instead of setting a conservative, ‘worst case’ throttling temperature for the entire die, the RadeonTM RX 5700 series GPUs will continue to opportunistically and aggressively ramp clocks until any one of the many available sensors hits the ‘hotspot’ or ‘Junction’ temperature of 110 degrees Celsius. Operating at up to 110C Junction Temperature during typical gaming usage is expected and within spec. This enables the RadeonTM RX 5700 series GPUs to offer much higher performance and clocks out of the box, while maintaining acoustic and reliability targets.

The criticism over AMD’s blower cooler design in terms of cooling ability and noise couldn’t have resurfaced at a worse time as Radeon’s AIC partners rolled out its custom cooling and PCB design at the time AMD published this blog post.

Would RTG even improve its reference cooling system?

Even when TJ temperatures are compared between the reference and non-reference graphics card, the justification doesn’t exactly hold up. According to Gamers Nexus‘, the Sapphire Pulse RX 5700 XT‘s TJ max at 40 dBA at 83.4 degrees Celsius. That is a massive drop against 109.6 degrees Celcius under the same setup and ambient on the reference edition. Yes, the dual fans and the much better GPU block makes a large difference. But the difference between the pricing of both variants is only $10 US at the time the review was posted.

This is a concern for the PCB and the neighbouring components. Nvidia’s reference (AKA ‘Founders Edition’) GPU cooler designs were also criticized, eventually prompting NVIDIA to evolve for the RTX 20 series. Hopefully, Nvidia will stick to the better blower design and improve its implementation on time. Can AMD do the same with its Radeon graphics, especially when they are having an ‘Nvidia killer’ in the works?

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