AMD Radeon 5500 brings a secret weapon to the GPU midrange

Today, AMD announced the Radeon RX 550 line of GPUs for both laptops and desktops. While AMD gets a lot of attention for its high-end cards, these new GPUs are decidedly mid-range, boasting support for resolutions up to 1080p and framerates that fall between 60 and 90 FPS depending on the game. While you won't be running new triple-A titles at 4K with these graphics cards, not everyone needs that enthusiast-level hardware.

The RX 5500 line will be comprised of two main series: the RX 5500 series for desktops and the RX 5500M series for laptops. AMD didn't talk about the individual graphics cards in these series, but it did say that these cards are built with the company's 7nm process and integrate AMD's new RDNA architecture instead of its old GCN architecture.

The result, AMD said, is that these RX 5500 cards provide "up to 1.6X higher gaming performance-per-watt than current Radeon graphics card based on the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture," which sounds like a pretty solid upgrade. As they compare cards from other companies, AMD says that its new desktop cards will offer up to "37% faster performance on average" over competing GPUs when playing games at 1080p, while the mobile version will offer up 30% faster performance.

Additionally, AMD says that these cards can achieve 60+ FPS in some recent triple-A games (listing Monster Hunter: World and Borderlands 3 as some of the games that were testing) and up to 90 FPS in some eSports titles like Apex Legends. Obviously, we need to wait until these cards are out in the wild before we can get some real-world results, as it's typically a good idea to take manufacturer tests with a grain of salt.

We won't need to wait much longer before these graphics cards are out there, though, as MSI is preparing to launch its Alpha 15 laptop with and RX 5500M series GPUs later this month. HP and Lenovo will both be using RX 5500 desktop GPUs in new machines come November, while Acer will be using them in the Nitro 50 in December. Finally, we'll begin to see manufacturers offer standalone 5500 series GPUs at some point in Q4 2019.