AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB CrossFire Review @ [H]

Discussion in 'AMD Flavor' started by Kyle_Bennett, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB CrossFire Review - We were lucky enough to get our hands on two AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB video cards last week. We configured these in CrossFire to find out if $480 of brand new AMD GPUs can beat NVIDIA's new $700 GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, just like Raja Koduri suggested to enthusiasts from Computex. And we throw in GeForce GTX 1070 too.
     
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  2. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman [H]ardness Supreme

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  3. Streiw

    Streiw Bad Santa Gifter 2016

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    Eh, I'll pick up another one in 2 years when they cost ~$150.
     
  4. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    Awesome review - thanks for the time and effort, [H].

    For a sub-$250 brand new GPU, it's a pretty hard task to beat the 480 today. When the Pascal 1060 arrives soon, I would not be surprised to see it eventually drive the 480 8GB price down to sub-$200 territory fairly quick. Hope we see the 480X, 490, and 490X emerge quick and they perform in a very competitive in single-GPU config, or AMD is going to get beat to the punch by the lower and middle tier Pascal models that are about to flood the market and lose customers that will not be so inclined to wait for their Radeon models.
     
  5. britjh22

    britjh22 Limp Gawd

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    Great review as always, and very interesting detail about mGPU in the conclusion about Dev's being responsible for it in DX12. DX12 seems to be the last bastion of hope for AMD (other than being priced more sensibly) against NVIDIA. As someone with a 290X at 1440p/60, who is fine with turning some details down to get good frame rates, I really am left wondering what to upgrade to. The 1070/1080 are decent upgrade, but the price premium over MSRP and seemingly lackluster DX12 performance are leaving me unimpressed. I think I'll be waiting till Q4 and look to grab a deal around Black Friday on a Vega (if that launches in time) or a 1070/1080.
     
  6. jbc029

    jbc029 Limp Gawd

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    I agree that the 1060 is most likely going to push the 8gb 480 down to the $200 price and the 4gb sku will probably just be dropped completely (if it ever actually physically existed, with the bios limiting weirdness of turning 8gb cards into 4gb cards). Couple that with the fact that there is no SLI option for the 1060 means that the 480 at least still has that going for it. At $200, it would still be the prime buy over a $250 1060 and $400 against a 1070 is fairly compelling. It will be an interesting black friday this year, if the 1080ti and Vega are still MIA by then.
     
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  7. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Having had experience with both SLI and Crossfire, I'll never do it again. Multi-GPU is just more trouble than it is worth, even if both GPU's are on the same board.

    If I had to choose between a single fast card, vs two slower cards in SLI or Crossfire, I'd go with the single fast card every time, even if it's numbers were slightly lower.

    And actually, that's what I'm doing right now. I'm in the process of selling my two 980ti's and replacing them with a single 1080. I'll lose some performance, but I'll also get rid of the SLI headache, and in my personal experience, the Crossfire headache is even worse than the SLI headache.


    This was the constant bane of my existence in Red Orchestra 2 both back in 2010/2011 when I had dual Radeon 6970's and most recently with my dual 980ti's

    I do understand that some titles are more forgiving to SLI/Crossfire from a frame time perspective, but it seems like my favorite titles (except for Civilization, of course) constantly wind up having frame time issues in multi-GPU. Maybe its because I tend to like large outdoor map, many player FPS:es, and there is something about those games that don't lend themselves well to multi-GPU?
     
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  8. GoodBoy

    GoodBoy Gawd

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    Thanks for the review Kyle. And it seems somewhat worrisome that SLI and Crossifre support is now solely in the hands of game devs for anything DX12... I know I've ran into bugs in both Crysis and Crysis 2, the Crysis2 bug was never fixed, so I never got to play that one... Now we have to rely on them for mGPU support? Ugh. Maybe if consoles are all mGPU they will have reason to learn supporting it.. But the safe bet is to stay away from mGPU.

    Any chance of seeing an update to this review with Overlcocks all around? I suspect the gap between the 480x2 and 1070 might shrink some... The 1080 would pull out ahead as expected, but would be nice to get a feel for it's oc range as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  9. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Awesome review. Did you test the new Tomb Raider patch under DX12? I was reading that it was a nice boost to performance for AMD cards like the Fury series under DX12. Just wondering if it made a difference for the RX 480.

    Again thanks for taking the time to test this!
     
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  10. Chris_B

    Chris_B [H]ardness Supreme

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    Once again amd are dropping the ball on frame pacing it seems :(
     
  11. Space_Ranger

    Space_Ranger Limp Gawd

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    Saddened that AMD's offering is this power inefficient. If I was moving to Michigan for the winter, I'd get 2 480's and use them to heat my place.
     
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  12. skline00

    skline00 Limp Gawd

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    I sold my 2 R9 290s in CF, moved my GTX 980TI SC to my 4790k rig and bought a GTX 1080 for my 5960x. I'm done with multi gpus.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
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  13. Lakados

    Lakados Limp Gawd

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    I along with my PC gaming friends who have used multi GPU setups over the years swear we wont use them again until something huge changes in how the setups work, supposedly DX12 and Vulkan will implement the changes needed but it will be years before that becomes mainstream enough and honestly even if we were to see the results we would probably still be sceptical of them. Between driver issues, and game bug issues, and all the nuances and complications it seems to bring it just isn't worth the hassle. Sure it may be $300 cheaper for similar performance under ideal circumstances, but they almost never seem to pan out. Just hold off buying that system for that extra bit and buy the bigger single card SLI/XFire just isn't worth the headaches anymore.
     
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  14. Dullard

    Dullard [H]ard|Gawd

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    No Ashes of the Singularity? That's literally the only benchmark that matters to many, and it has mGPU support IIRC. Your Reddit fans will likely notice the omission ;)
     
  15. Space_Ranger

    Space_Ranger Limp Gawd

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    I am glad to see Timeframe graphs being used here. They definitely point out the areas AMD need to work on to improve the playing experience for the 480 (In CF). Would have been nice to see them in the original 480 Review (so that we see single card to single card A-to-A comparisons).
     
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  16. defaultluser

    defaultluser [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Thanks for the review guys, someone finally shows the insane frame times, not just those fucking averages like TechPowerUp :D

    Even when you get a game that supports SLI/CF, the frame times are just all over the place. And a single driver bug can break mGPU at any point, making it a very fragile system. I can only imagine how bad DX12 EMA will be, after seeing how poorly Mantle BF4 was supported after the game went into "no longer updated" mode.
     
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  17. Nenu

    Nenu Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    Good review.
    Really glad you are including frame times.
    It will be interesting to see NVidias as well.

    The 4GB cards are out of the running for sure since the slightly faster 8GB didnt make the grade.
     
  18. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    When have we seen frametime issues with single GPU configurations? At least outside of VR implementations.
     
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  19. heatlesssun

    heatlesssun Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    So this looks to be in line with the 480 CF review that JayzTwoCents did on YouTube. The results are interesting when you look at all of the numbers. Good performance numbers of paper, same old technical issues of CF/SLI at a price point that seems to be in line with the performance of 1070,480 CF and 1080. But at $480 dollars, it seems a lot of money to spend on a dual GPU solution based on lower end cards that consumer tons of power and suffer the classic technical issues of multi-GPU. Just not sure how one recommends this setup out of the gate. Sure buy one 480 now and maybe another later as an upgrade, but not two simultaneously.
     
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  20. Merc1138

    Merc1138 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Like I said in the 1060 thread in response to people complaining about the lack of SLI support on that card, even the "buy one low end card now, get a 2nd later" really makes little sense unless you score one hell of a deal on that 2nd card and it seems like most people(as in, the people these $200-250 cards are aimed at) don't bother, since you'll still not have top end performance after spending the cash, and have all of the scaling, frame time, and other problems of an SLI/CF setup.

    Now for the people where a single card(higher end GPU) just can't give enough performance(reasons don't really matter since this is [H]), it makes more sense to go with a multi-gpu config.
     
  21. Space_Ranger

    Space_Ranger Limp Gawd

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    We haven't, but I was looking at it from a comparison point of view since the 480 in CF is compared to the single 1080 in the 480 CF review. That's all.. :)
     
  22. bluesynk

    bluesynk Limp Gawd

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    Is it really fair to compare frame time graphs from a single card to a multi card? I know amd claimed equal performance and stuff but this is a hardware review not an editorial.

    Yes it is important to know about a negative aspect of crossfire. But to showcase it in this way without a sli to compare it to is also unfair. Is frame time also an issue for sli? This is not a crossfire vs sli review. That might be nice to see and would have been much more appropriate place for showcasing frame time.
     
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  23. The Cobra

    The Cobra 2[H]4U

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    Thanks for the review. I was thinking about dumping my current trifire setup and going with a RX480 trifire setup....I think I will actually pass on this.
     
  24. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    Yes, it is 100% fair. Raja Koduri made this exact comparison at AMD's Polaris launch stating that RX 480 CF/mGPU was a competitor to single card GTX 1080. If AMD can do it touting its hardware, I would suggest it is 100% appropriate to validate those claims in a review. YMMV.
     
  25. Space_Ranger

    Space_Ranger Limp Gawd

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    Fair enough Kyle. Raja did dig himself into this situation. I don't think we'll ever see a CF/SLI setup actively compete in the Timeframe arena. In 1 or 2 benchmarks, maybe (see Rise of the Tome Raider 4K charts), but valued across the whole suite of tests I doubt CF/SLI can hang with a Single card in Timeframe measurements.
     
  26. SnowBeast

    SnowBeast [H]ard|Gawd

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    :mad: Hey, I did this with a single GTX 980Ti this last winter. My 980Ti is a much more cost effective/efficient heating solution than 2 RX 480's. :D

    "980Ti, for more warmth in the winter months and less $$$ than competitons 2 cards!"
     
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  27. SeymourGore

    SeymourGore 2[H]4U

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    2x RX 480 made the 1070 its bitch!

    Those power consumption numbers are kinda ugly. I hope I don't get a slap on the wrist for this (and missed my answer in the article), but how were noise levels? I see that the CF setup is working at a high temp so assumed it would be fairly loud.
     
  28. Dayaks

    Dayaks [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yeah but OC vs OC they'd be equal in fps. Take frame times into account and the 1070 pulls ahead for cheaper. I didn't see noise either.

    From the single 480 review,
    "Fan Sound Profile
    At the default fan profile setting, the fan is silent while gaming. Even during long sessions of gaming there is not an audible increase in fan noise or air moving while gaming with the RX 480.
    Manually increasing the fan speed is another story, at maximum RPM the fan sounds like a screaming banshee."

    So someplace between silent and screaming banshee? :D

    I was excited to see frame times!!
     
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  29. kalston

    kalston Gawd

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    This is pretty ugly. Frametimes, power consumption and the fact you had to lower a lot of settings in most games. Wtf...
     
  30. prime2515102

    prime2515102 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I was thinking the same thing. It's not really a fair comparison to put single cards up again dual-cards like that. Although, from a purely "what you're getting for the money" perspective I guess it's kind of useful.
     
  31. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    Then was AMD "not fair" when it presented RX 480 CF/mGPU as an alternative to single card GTX 1080?
     
  32. prime2515102

    prime2515102 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Good point... lol
     
  33. Brent_Justice

    Brent_Justice [H] Video Card Managing Editor Staff Member

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    IMO anything that is price comparable is fair game to compare, including the GTX 1070 puts RX 480 CF comparing to GTX 1070 pricing, and the result (when CF is working well) does provide more performance than a GTX 1070. I think information like this is very important. Also, as Kyle has said, AMD themselves have compared RX 480 CF to GTX 1080. It is all fair game.
     
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  34. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    And I was laughed at when I said you would need 3x RX 480 to match a single GTX 1080 in another thread.

    I'm glad to see you guys finally including frametimes. This is the second review I've read in the new format and I like it even better now. Shows the comparisons with other cards really well.
     
  35. Schmave

    Schmave [H]ard|Gawd

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    Great review guys. It just goes to show that CF is not worth it for this card. If you want more performance you'd be better off just getting a 1080 or 1070. As some others have mentioned, the only reason to go CF/SLI is if you need more performance than the top end card can give you (e.g., SLI a pair of 1080s or even 1070s).

    I'm still interested in a single RX 480 as a 1080p solution, but am anxiously awaiting release of custom cards...
     
  36. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    I have no intention of presenting frametime data in single GPU reviews of video cards for desktop gaming. You have guys have asked for it for a while, and now it is becoming a bit less resource intensive, so we will show it where we think it is pertinent. Quite frankly, I did not want to spend the time showing GTX 1080 frametimes today, but we would have gotten a ton of shit had we not. Frametime data for single is just not needed at this time in our coverage of single GPU. mGPU is another story.

    And think about this aspect of our testing today. We showed you RX 480 frametimes that were when the cards delivered an acceptable level of real world gaming performance. Once you get into questionable IQ territory, those only get worse.
     
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  37. Pieter3dnow

    Pieter3dnow [H]ardness Supreme

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    I liked the review. It shows that the frame times is something they still have to improve upon which makes dual cards work or look bad.

    If we are getting the DX12 version can you include the scaling factor as well please (1 vs 2 cards)

    Ashes of the singularity uses the Nitrous engine it is used in other games as Warhammer . And it is pretty awesome engine it will appear in other games as well.
     
  38. Kyle_Bennett

    Kyle_Bennett El Chingón Staff Member

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    OK, so I got some time and had to go look. Looks like no mention of HardOCP today. :) Seems the reddit trolls have pretty much STFU lately. Hmmmm, wonder why? Oh yeah, I know, because everything we have said about Polaris has been spot on. Even the died in the wool Red fanboys can't trash our statements any more. A little vindication feels good.

    And I did address AotS in our conclusion as well. It is a good tech demo IMO, and a good tool for certain testing, but it has no business in our GPU reviews.
     
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  39. Glyphic

    Glyphic [H]ard|Gawd

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  40. kalston

    kalston Gawd

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    Interesting comments, completely ignoring the frametime issues lol.
    With those frametimes and the settings used in some of the games I'd argue a 1070 offers better actual gameplay despite the slightly lower fps numbers.