The RX 5500M and RX 5600M are currently the best options available from AMD for gaming laptops, so which one should you get and what are the differences? I’ve compared both in 16 games and applications to help you decide.
GPU spec differences
Comparing the specs side by side, the 5600M is clocked lower, but it’s got more compute units, stream processors, and memory, so overall we’re expecting it to perform better. The 5500M just has 4gb of VRAM, a little low, but it’s the same as the GTX 1650 on the Nvidia side that it competes with, and to be fair the 5500M does beat that.
Test laptops used
I’m using the MSI Bravo 15 for the RX 5500M and the Dell G5 special edition for the RX 5600M. These two laptops were chosen because, well, honestly they’re the two laptops I have with these GPUs. There’s not actually that many gaming laptops currently available with either option, and it also just so happens to be that I have both of them with the same CPU and memory configurations, so we should be in for a somewhat fair comparison. That said, the G5 does make use of AMD’s smartshift, so we may see a boost due to this as that can’t be disabled.
We’ll start out by comparing both in 16 games, then some applications afterwards. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark with the high setting preset. The 5600M was able to give us above 60 FPS here, putting it 38% faster than the 5500M, however this is an above average difference out of the titles tested.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games benchmark tool. Again the 5600M was able to get us past 60 FPS even with the highest setting preset, with a 24% higher frame rate when compared to the 5500M below it. Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in the Sydney landing challenge with the highest ultra setting preset. In hindsight I probably should have dropped back a setting level for actual playable results, but hey even at this most resource heavy level the 5600M was 37% faster in average frame rate. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the games benchmark tool with Vulkan, and this game saw the largest difference between the two GPUs in terms of average frame rate. The 5600M had a massive 46% higher average frame rate when compared to the 5500M, and the 1% low was 41% higher too. Battlefield 5 was tested running through the same section of the game in campaign mode on both machines. The 5600M was 32% faster in average frame rate in this one, however the 5500M was still capable of above 60 FPS even with the highest ultra setting preset in use. I’ve included CS:GO to demonstrate how a game that depends more on the processor behaves. There’s less than a 4% boost to average FPS with the 5600M in this one, with a larger 18% 1% low, the smallest difference out of all 16 games tested. Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the games benchmark, and again another test that depends more on processor performance in my experience, as the 5600M was only 5% faster in average FPS here, which equates to less than 4 FPS, so no real difference. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested with all settings maxed out. Even the 1% low from the 5600M was higher than the average FPS from the 5500M, while the 5600’s average FPS was 30% higher than the 5500M. Borderlands 3 was tested with the games benchmark, and the results were extremely close to the last game with the 5600M again 30% faster in terms of average FPS, with a slightly higher 34% improvement seen in 1% low performance. Control was tested running through the same part of the game on both laptops. Just a couple of frames difference in terms of 1% lows, however the 5600M was 18% faster when it came to average FPS, granted this was still one of the smaller differences seen out of all games tested. I’ve thrown in F1 2020 to see how racing games are affected, and the 5600M was 22% faster than the 5500M here, so similar difference to Control, a nice little boost but still a below average difference and nothing too major. Death Stranding had massive differences to 1% low performance. The 1% low from the 5600M was ahead of even the average frame rate of the 5500M, putting it a massive 62% ahead. Average FPS was about 28% faster which is a somewhat average result, that 1% low boost was far more impressive. Metro Exodus was tested with the games benchmark. This game had the second largest performance difference out of all 16 games tested, with the 5600M reaching average frame rates 40% higher than the 5500M. The Witcher 3 didn’t have that big of a difference to 1% lows, and although the average FPS gap was wider, the 5600M was just 18% ahead of the 5500M, the third smallest change out of the games we’re looking at here. Overwatch had an above average improvement with the 5600M, which boosted average FPS with the highest epic setting preset by over 32%, the 5600M would be a better matchup for a 144Hz screen in this case, granted you could lower setting levels from max and still get nice results with the 5500M. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the games benchmark tool, the performance gap was similar to overwatch just before it with the 5600M coming in 33% faster than the 5500M in average FPS, while the 1% low was 40% higher.
The Radeon RX 5600M was around 27% faster than the RX 5500M on average out of the 16 games that I’ve tested. As we can see, results can vary significantly by game. CS:GO and Far Cry New Dawn for instance only received a 5% performance boost with the 5600M as the GPU change hardly matters compared to a processor upgrade. On the other hand, GPU heavier titles were seeing around a 40% improvement from the 5600M, again it just depends on the specific game.
I’ve also tested FireStrike and TimeSpy from 3DMark, and in both tests the 5600M was scoring around 44% higher than the 5500M, so close to the best case results seen in the games. I’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests various professional 3D workloads. The margin between the two varied based on the specific test, however the 5600M was ahead in all cases.
Prices of these GPUs are going to vary based on what model of laptop you’re looking at. Like I said earlier though, there just aren’t that many laptops with these GPUs available currently. The Bravo 15 is $979 USD at Newegg, while the G5 SE is $870. Yes you’re hearing that right, the Dell G5 is over $100 cheaper and it performs 27% faster in 16 games on average. Even without this sale the G5 is still cheaper, but Dell run sales all the time.
The MSI Bravo 15 is basically just a rip off when you compare it to other options that are available for similar money. Unfortunately there just aren’t that many RX 5500M gaming laptops available. It just doesn’t seem like that many companies decided to adopt it this generation, and that’s why this one is basically all I’ve got for comparison. In a perfect world, the 5600M would cost more money, but MSI have priced the Bravo 15 so high and it’s one of the few if only 5500M laptops with Ryzen 4000 CPU available, that that just doesn’t end up being the case in the real world.
GPU aside, the G5 is a far better machine compared to the Bravo 15, and the Bravo is also sold with single channel memory, I know this because I bought this from that same Newegg listing I showed earlier. Dell at least sells the G5 with dual channel memory, which does offer a performance boost. I did all my testing with dual channel in the Bravo 15, but yeah in the real world you’re paying more for a 5500M with single channel memory which is just straight up going to perform far worse compared to the G5 with 5600M and dual channel.
As we saw, the 5600M does do better in games, so I’d be willing to pay $100 or so over the Bravo 15 no problem. I’m definitely not saying the G5 is an awesome machine, you can refer to my full review videos linked in the description if you need more details. I’m just saying it’s definitely better than the Bravo 15 with lower powered GPU.