AMD Radeon RX 480 Video Card Review @ [H]

Modred189

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Le sigh.
I was hoping this would end up being a good card for HTPC gaming at 1080p. Performance-wise, it's there. But that power draw... just to much.
But until 1060 drops, if you're putting together a budget build, this is a winner.
 

schizo

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Le sigh.
I was hoping this would end up being a good card for HTPC gaming at 1080p. Performance-wise, it's there. But that power draw... just to much.
Why? Its idle power usage is fine, and the GPU will be idle while playing videos in Kodi or Plex or whatever. When you're gaming it'll draw more power, but that's a very small portion of the time the computer is turned on.
 
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Nice card for a low/mid machine but not worth all the hype from the AMD PR machine. Definitely not the revolutionary GPU they are touting but a great 1080p value card none the less.

Kudos to Steve and Brent for not directly comparing the 480 to the 10X0 cards. Other sites have been doing it and it is just silly. Like putting a Mustang against a Ferrari. 2 completely different price points and performance goals. Curious how NV will respond.

I need a card for a new 1080 SFF I am building but the temps seem awfully high. It will be another, wait to see what AIB's do, before buying.

Would love to see how it performs with the OR/Vive. I know the card is VR ready but from my experience playing with the OR/Vive, brute horsepower is king. Only time I felt sick playing VR sims is when they were testing lower end hardware.
 

N4CR

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Back read N4CR. The RX480 is close to consuming at much as the 1070. Now are you going to tell me the 1060 will consume as much as the 1070?
No, just that I wouldn't expect the same perf/W as those higher models. It'll be less, perhaps enough to make it nearly a moot point when we're talking under 150W already..
 

Bowman15

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I'm not a fan and haven't been from the beginning on how [H] presents benchmarks and or only uses highest playable settings but, its just a different prospective vs the normal reviews so I add it to the other reviews to form my opinion. What I really appreciate and think is overlooked by many is the detailed power/temp, overclock and conclusion pages. They not only give you their thoughts what they did but why they did it that way, how they did it and why they came up to the conclusion(s) they did. Sometimes you also get Brent, Steve and Kyle's thoughts in the conclusion as well. Sometimes its more informational then straight benchmarks.
 

heatlesssun

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Kudos to Steve and Brent for not directly comparing the 480 to the 10X0 cards. Other sites have been doing it and it is just silly. Like putting a Mustang against a Ferrari. 2 completely different price points and performance goals. Curious how NV will respond.

It's not a practical comparison and curiosity killed the cat but it is interesting just to get an idea of where things line up. I think the power consumption numbers are useful though and it goes to the heart of Kyle's editorial about Polaris being "hot" compared to Pascal. The 480's power efficiency compared to Pascal looks pretty bad. And I think this is why the 1060 might end up embarrassing the 480 depending on pricing and availability of the 1060.
 
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This new format is god awful, no optimization, no apples to apples. I don't see any useful information in this review.

Thanks [H] I now have to become fluent in German to read a decent GPU review.
?? Die Gesamtheit des neuen Formats ist um A2A Vergleich basiert. Die Bewertung Karte wird in seiner besten Einstellungen gewählt und dann konkurrieren Karten durch die gleichen Tests an den gleichen Einstellungen setzen. Wie ist das nicht Äpfel mit Äpfeln?

Fixed that for you...
 

andrewaggb

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Well it seems like a pretty good card. I was also hoping for 980 performance and we got 970 performance. I was also hoping for $229 and we got $239. Power consumption was also slightly higher. The question for me is when is the 4GB 470 available? I suspect that will be a great 1080p card for the money and still fast enough to run 1080p maxed. For higher res it sounds like the 1070 or whatever AMD's next card is is the way to go. I suspect the nvidia 1060 will be a bit faster and a lot cooler than the 480 when it comes out in a few months.

Any idea when a 470 review is coming?
 

daglesj

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Prices in the UK are good. Seems more 8GB cards available than 4GB. I think I will wait for the non-stock coolers to arrive so maybe in the next 6-8 weeks or so I'll be able to make a new purchase.
 

Modred189

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Why does this thing only have 1 HDMI port? Anyone buying a$200 card is going to have basic, possibly adding 1080p monitors, which almost all come with HDMI, and often lack DP, of which this has three...
 

cyclone3d

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Not sure why there are a bunch of people essentially hating on the RX 480 here.

Seems to me that at the price point, it would be a very good choice.

The stock cooler is not good for overclocking, but who is this card aimed at? It is aimed at the greatest percentage of consumers who buy video cards. Most of them will never even try to overclock.

They would rather have a quiet system, which this card is at stock settings, along with a well performing card.

At 1080p, this card rocks for the price.

And seeing that a lot of reviews used the reportedly bugged drivers that were sent out, the performance, even with early drivers, is going to be a bit higher than what is being reported.
 

schizo

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Can't have it both ways, most people with basic needs don't have two monitors. And of course you can just get a DVI->HDMI cable, no adapter required.

Edit: No DVI port on the 480, my bad.
 
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raghu78

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Look at it this way, it takes time, money, resources to make these products, they don't come out of thin air or at a turn of a dime. AMD did the best they could with all these restriction. I think TIME was the major thing that was against them, when their competition makes a product that really overwhelms the perf/watt catagory it takes time to change your designs to reflect in your response. And this is something that we probably won't even seen in Vega (maybe some of it) but Navi will probably be the real change that we will see from AMD's design point of view.

The bigger risk is that AMD cannot stop bleeding money due to uncompetitive products and end up filing for bankruptcy. I hope that does not happen but given the current state of their products it could happen. I think with Pascal and Polaris we are beginning to see the effects of a dominant cash rich company and a weak bleeding company. The situation is already looking beyond saving. Nvidia's R&D is way more higher than AMD and we can see that reflect in the competitiveness of the respective companies products.

It's not a practical comparison and curiosity killed the cat but it is interesting just to get an idea of where things line up. I think the power consumption numbers are useful though and it goes to the heart of Kyle's editorial about Polaris being "hot" compared to Pascal. The 480's power efficiency compared to Pascal looks pretty bad. And I think this is why the 1060 might end up embarrassing the 480 depending on pricing and availability of the 1060.

Its now confirmed that GP106 will destroy Polaris in terms of perf/watt. AMD Polaris will not be able to compete with Nvidia Pascal in terms of power efficiency. End of story.
 

collegeboy69us

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If you are a newcomer to PC gaming, or someone who hasn't upgraded in the past 5 years, this would be a helluva good card if you are on a budget.

Personally - I game at 1440p, and require a little more muscle, so I already made my choice and went with a 1070 G1 and while I do love competition, I'm not willing to wait for AMD's big guns. I'm pretty neutral, last go around was Xfire 290s, this time it's single card 1070.
 

andrewaggb

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Does anybody see Canadian availability? I thought this was supposed to be a well-stocked non-paper launch? I can't find anywhere claiming to have any in stock, it's all pre-order, and only 8GB 480's. went to nowinstick and it's not promising either. So add that to my list of not quite living up to expectations.
 

schizo

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Its now confirmed that GP106 will destroy Polaris in terms of perf/watt. AMD Polaris will not be able to compete with Nvidia Pascal in terms of power efficiency. End of story.
Certainly does seem likely, but I don't actually care. The 390x used a ridiculous amount of power, 275w as I recall. That give me a bit of a pause. But 150w is fine.

Only inflection point where most people care about power is 75w, so it doesn't need a power connector at all. If the 1060 makes the grade there, that would be a real selling point.
 

jmilcher

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Interesting move to not compare it to the 980, since that is what almost everyone compared it to (or the ti if you factored in the fan boys).

Maybe you initially did and when it failed to stack up you just removed the 980 results? Seems logical to test it against the 980 non ti.
 

jbc029

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Hmm no it matches or edges out the 970 in perf/watt, it doesn't match the 980 in perf/watt though

Total system wattage under gaming load the 480 system went from 67 to 249 watts. Considering the power consumption of the CPU has an 80 W swing between idle and full load, I'd chalk about 20 W of that increase up to CPU consumption. Meaning that the 480 is sitting somewhere around 160-165W. Same adjustments here, and in past reviews here at [H], put the 970 in the 180-190W range.

So to be more specific, same performance, 10-18% more power consumption. I admit, the 30% was an exaggeration. It is objectively more efficient than a 970. Full stop. The 980 is a 190-200W card. It *may* be 20% faster than a 480 (because a 980 lives in the 15-20% faster than its little bother area) I'll stipulate that the 980 may match the 480 on perf/watt.
 

Armenius

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I have mixed feelings here.
First there's the pricing. In northern Europe the 8GB reference design cards are now at about $270 plus sales tax, which puts them on par with or above AIB GTX 970. (AIB RX 480 are >$300 plus tax.)
Then we have the VRAM bandwidth dependence. One would expect that this 8GB card should do better compared to a GTX 970 with only 4GB at higher resolutions, but the higher the resolution the more advantage to GTX970. VRAM bandwidth is a (THE?) bottleneck for this card, and the 4GB version has even lower bandwidth.
At least your review show this card to be more energy efficient at gaming (whereas other reviewer show a higher power draw at 100% synthetic load).
The 4GB RX 480 has the same bandwidth as the GTX 970, though (224 GB/s).
I think [H] visitors are a minority. Of all the people I know who are gamers, nobody else (but myself) has a 1440p lcd.

My coworkers think my 1440p at work is great, but they're not willing to spend $200 to get one themselves. I don't understand people.
1440p is essential for office use. 1440p is GREAT for gaming.

But, the majority of people are playing 1080p and pay <$200 on a video card. I just told my coworker this morning about the new RX 480 and the $240 price. He said "that's about as high as I'd pay" (coming from his $75k salary).

He's also not an [H] reader, but definitely a gamer.

The RX480 looks like a "meh" for me, but for him it'd fit the bill. I hope AMD is profitable on these, because they really need the income to help fuel future generations.
Cheapskate. I was able to save up for my Titan X while I was still only making $42,000/year gross. I'm making $56k/year now and I plan on building a new PC with Skylake-E next year using a preliminary budget of $4,000.
 

FrgMstr

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Your apples to apples comparison used to show the cards at max settings, regardless of your subjective playable settings. This was the most helpful part of your reviews as it showed what the cards could actually do.
Honestly, Brent and I never agreed on how A2A were done in the past. I do not think there was intrinsic value it in, I am sorry you did find value in it, but I am removing it.

Your highest playable settings now seem to be much more vague than before, like in Fallout 4 your highest playable settings are above 60fps while in The Lecher 3 your highest playble settings are in the 30-40 fps range for 1080p, and for 1440p the highest playable settings is in the high 40's range.
Reposted from above - There was no reason to test the 380X and 960 at 1440p, since they "fail" there. And certainly the 390 and 970 are "overpowered" for 1080p, hence 1440p. We needed to find out where the true talents of the RX 480 lined up....and that is 1080p, which perfectly acceptable for a $200 card IMO. I did finally see a $199.99 card for sale this morning, and I think 4GB will be fine for 1080p

Can you tell me again what you think is playable for fps? Why do you feel The Lecher 3 is playable at ~35 fps at 1080p but at 1440p it needs more fps?
That changes from game to game, we have no set number for all games.

Maybe you initially did and when it failed to stack up you just removed the 980 results? Seems logical to test it against the 980 non ti.
You are very correct. We decided to pull the 980 to give us more time with other cards. We showed it line up almost perfect in perf with the 970, and the delta between 970 and 980 is a known already.
 

jbc029

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Correction, You really mean 70% faster at least... (y) ;)..

No. Stock and OC benches from here place a 1070 at ~45% faster than my 390. The 1080 is 70% faster than a 480. The 1070 is good, but it's not that good.
 

razor1

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Total system wattage under gaming load the 480 system went from 67 to 249 watts. Considering the power consumption of the CPU has an 80 W swing between idle and full load, I'd chalk about 20 W of that increase up to CPU consumption. Meaning that the 480 is sitting somewhere around 160-165W. Same adjustments here, and in past reviews here at [H], put the 970 in the 180-190W range.

So to be more specific, same performance, 10-18% more power consumption. I admit, the 30% was an exaggeration. It is objectively more efficient than a 970. Full stop. The 980 is a 190-200W card. It *may* be 20% faster than a 480 (because a 980 lives in the 15-20% faster than its little bother area) I'll stipulate that the 980 may match the 480 on perf/watt.


Oh yeah in the [H] review, I was talking about overall reviews
 

TheHig

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If you are a newcomer to PC gaming, or someone who hasn't upgraded in the past 5 years, this would be a helluva good card if you are on a budget.

Personally - I game at 1440p, and require a little more muscle, so I already made my choice and went with a 1070 G1 and while I do love competition, I'm not willing to wait for AMD's big guns. I'm pretty neutral, last go around was Xfire 290s, this time it's single card 1070.


On point man. I am going 2k shortly and to do that single card its 1070 level perf at least. I also am brand neutral and have gone with whatever budget/need/fit was achieved when its build time. Once I find a 1070 I like for about 400 Its go time on the upgrade.
 

razor1

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You may have been too kind in your editorial about "hot". There's reports that I'm sure you know about showing the 480 pulling power past its spec and over the PCIe limit.


Yep and its way over PCIe bus spec, which is not good at all. Don't know if this is driver problem or something deeper.
 

cptnjarhead

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Man the whole nerd kingdom is all up in arms, shit like "it does not beat the 1070", or "barely beats 970".
1070 $400 . 970 two years of driver optimization, and the neck-beards are whining.
I have seen reviews that show the 480 8gb beating a GTX980 and a 390 @ 1440 in DX12 in a couple of games.
For 1080 and VR gaming, this card hits a sweet spot. Sure your not going to upgrade from a 290 and up, but its not meant for them.
I think AMD has a winner here.
 

FrgMstr

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It changes from resolution to resolution too?
We set up the game and dial in what we think are the Best Playable Settings every time we test. We have NO set rules on this. We set the resolution and find out what is the highest IQ that is playable at that resolution. We truly do not focus on any set frames per second except in multiplayer testing using BF4. Online twitch gaming has a bit different profile.
 

trandoanhung1991

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Certainly does seem likely, but I don't actually care. The 390x used a ridiculous amount of power, 275w as I recall. That give me a bit of a pause. But 150w is fine.

Only inflection point where most people care about power is 75w, so it doesn't need a power connector at all. If the 1060 makes the grade there, that would be a real selling point.

RX480 performance at 75w would be insane. I don't think it's possible, though. More likely at 90W.
 

Hornet

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Good review. Took me awhile to get use to the new format, with different comparison cards for different resolution, but I can certainly see the reasoning behind this.
 

Algrim

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Man the whole nerd kingdom is all up in arms, shit like "it does not beat the 1070", or "barely beats 970".
1070 $400 . 970 two years of driver optimization, and the neck-beards are whining.

Get with the times, man! Everyone knows that nVidia shits on the old architecture the moment the new cards come out. So, that's only 1 year and 8 months of optimizations for you! :ROFLMAO:
 

Krenum

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Well damn. Was hoping this card would edge out my 980. Too unrealistic?

Hopefully we can see some better OC results and heat dissipation withe the AIB cards.
 

razor1

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Anyone who is disappointed in the rx 480

Rules to recovery:

  • Stop listening to the hype
  • Stop going to youtube for information on upcoming graphics cards
  • Stop believing AMD marketing

Course over, rinse, wash repeat.

Its good for where it is and at its price.
 
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harmattan

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Another good review. Glad you kept the 960 amd 380x in, if anything, it's good to see how far price/performance has come over the past year or two.
 

Wiseguy2001

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I haven't seen any reviews yet, but I just brought one anyway! (I'm sure it's fine)

Edit: Looks like a good deal, was hoping for more overclocking (aka another 9700pro).
 
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heatlesssun

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Anyone who is disappointed in the rx 480

Rules to recovery:

  • Stop listening to the hype
  • Stop going to youtube for information on upcoming graphics cards
  • Stop believing AMD marketing

Course over, rinse, wash repeat.

Its a good for for where it is and at its price.

Exactly. This is a good card at the price, for now. It's big weakness is its power consumption, simply not competitive.
 
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