It took a few months, but Asus has finally made available firmware updates for certain model Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics cards that unlock faster memory speeds. Once applied, the upgraded BIOSes increase the GDDR6 memory speed from 12Gbps to 14Gbps.
In case you missed it, AMD created a bit of a headache for its add-in board partners and consumers alike when, at the 11th hour, it dished up a BIOS update to unlock faster memory speeds on its 5600 XT cards in January.
While never outright stated, this was a clear response to Nvidia dropping the price of the GeForce RTX 2060 (opens in new tab) right as AMD was going to launch. The problem with the last minute BIOS update is that some cards already shipped with slower memory. That put the onus on AMD's hardware partners to make available BIOS updates for affected models, if they chose to go that route.
Updating a BIOS can be a scary thing for an inexperienced user, even though it is relatively easy to do these days. If a customer messes things up—for example, if they power off their PC in the middle of an update—it can render the card unusable and in need of an RMA.
Further complicating the matter is that not all cards were designed with faster memory speeds in mind. The chips used are basically the same, but as MSI and PowerColor noted at the time, it's not always as simple as flipping a switch.
"Our Stock model 5600 XT follows AMD's reference specs but we share [the same] memory modules as Red Devil and Red Dragon. You would ask why we don't run at 14Gbps then—the reason is Red Devil and Red Dragon have a higher PCB layer count, 10 versus 8 found on the stock 5600 XT, which means the memory signal is much cleaner and stable with our premium models. Having a 10 layer PCB is important to the higher clocks on the GDDR6 14Gbps memory," PowerColor explained.
Nevertheless, some early 5600 XT models did in fact receive BIOS updates to enable faster memory. As spotted by Andreas Schilling from HardwareLuxx, a couple of Asus cards have now joined the fray, and specifically the following models:
- Asus TUF Gaming X3 Radeon RX 5600 XT Evo (opens in new tab)
- Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 5600 XT (opens in new tab)
If you own either of those models, you can hit the above links to snag the newest BIOS revision. Before you attempt to apply a firmware update, be sure to read through the guide Asus put together (opens in new tab) for detailed instructions.