Can AMD Radeon RX480 Compete With The Big Boys?

Shortly after GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 was announced, AMD came front at Computex 2016 and announced a budget graphics card named RX 480 based on the Polaris 10 chip and will supposedly have >5 TFLOPS , and will be available for just $199 (4GB VRAM) and $239 (8GB VRAM). During the reveal, they bench-marked the RX 480 CrossFire (2x RX 480)  against the newly announced Nvidia’s GTX 1080 and the results were shocking.

Benchmark results: (Ashes Of Singularity running on DX 12 API)

2x Radeon RX 480 – 62.5 fps | Single Batch GPU Util: 51% | Med Batch GPU Util: 71.9 | Heavy Batch GPU Util: 92.3%

GTX 1080 – 58.7 fps | Single Batch GPU Util: 98.7%| Med Batch GPU Util: 97.9% | Heavy Batch GPU Util: 98.7%

So, Can two of AMD’s new budget graphic cards in CrossFire setup ($200+$200) beat the GTX 1080 ($700)?

 

Well, the short answer is NO. First of all, forget the benchmark results, because there are very few games running on DX12, and the benchmark was running on 2x RX 480. Nvidia is continuing to work on optimizing the drivers for the GTX 1080. Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry bench-marked a single RX 480 on many of the latest AAA titles and found that the RX 480 surely delivers a high level of performance for this kind of money but, is only good for playing games at 1080p Ultra Settings. The performance level were equivalent to Nvidia’s GTX 970, and falls short of GTX 980. They also bench-marked the RX 480 in 2K and 4K resolution and the performance was slightly higher than GTX 970 but still barely playable, as the GTX 970 and RX 480 is not meant for UHD gaming.

Coming back to the RX 480 CrossFire, the performance level was equivalent to GTX 980 but never catches up to the GTX 1080. The benchmark results of one game doesn’t mean that one is greater than the other.

Issues

Early owners of RX 480 noted RX 480’s power consumption issues in which reviewers found that it was drawing too much power from the PCIe graphics (PEG) slot, and that the total power consumption of the card was at times exceeding 150W, which is the technical limit for a card with a 6-pin power connector. This led to crashes, stutter and automatic restarting on several machines. This issue was quickly fixed by AMD by rolling out new drivers (16.7.1) which fixed the power consumption issue and shifted some of the power load off of the PCIe Graphics (PEG) slot connector in order to bring PEG slot power consumption within the PCIe spec.

Verdict

Sure buy for those who don’t have 4K monitor and prefer playing on 1080p. Although you can’t play at 4K with fluid performance, Ultra settings on 1080p is definitely possible without doubt (1080p 60 FPS is also possible for some titles). The RX 480 offers equivalent performance of a GTX 970 at lesser cost, and having 2x RX 480 can surely offer at least a 2K gaming experience. On the positive note, the RX 480 is also VR ready and we would definitely recommend the RX 480 for those looking to build a budget PC.