AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB

New Generation AMD Graphics Card Offers Great Value and Solid Performance

AMD Radeon RX 480 PC Graphics Cards
Radeon RX 480. &169;AMD
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The Bottom Line

Jul 8 2016 - AMD has struggled heavily in the graphics card market against NVIDIA but their new Radeon RX 480 might turn that around. This new card offers a great value for the majority of gamers when it comes to performance. Most people are not looking to play games at 4K resolutions, but for those looking at gaming at 1440p or 1080p and even thinking about getting into virtual reality will be surprised at its performance.

Pros

  • Great Performance for the Price
  • Card Runs Much Cooler and Quite Than Past Radeon Cards

Cons

  • Not Suitable for 4K Gaming
  • Benefits of 8GB of Memory at This Point Not Well Known

Description

  • AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Processor
  • Base GPU Clock 1120MHz, Boost Clock 1266MHz
  • 8GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 256-bit Memory Busy
  • Three DisplayPort 1.4, One HDMI 2.0
  • Single Fan Blower Design
  • 9.5-inch Long, Double Wide Card
  • 500 Watt Power Supply Recommended
  • Microsoft DirectX 12 Compatible
  • PCI-Express 3.0 Interface

Review - AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB

Jul 8 2016 - Unlike NVIDIA that is aiming for the very highest performance and price point with their latest GeForce GTX 1080, AMD is looking at the mainstream market by producing a much more affordable card for their next generation. With a price point of $200 for the 4GB version and between $230 and $250 for the 8GB version, the Radeon RX 480 graphics card is aimed at the majority of computer users by offering a solution that is even more affordable than GeForce GTX 1070.

Of course, the card is much more than just price as well as it is a major jump for AMD that has struggled to compete with NVIDIA the past few years.

Before we get into what the Radeon RX 480 offers in terms of performance and features, let's talk a bit about power efficiency. NVIDIA's past few generations of cards have done an impressive job of reducing the amount of power required to drive the card while still improving the performance.

AMD has struggled as their cards were stuck with older technologies for chip production that require much higher power. As they used a greater amount of power, they also produced a large amount of heat. This resulted in bulky cards with high-speed fans making them less than suitable for those looking for quiet gaming rigs. The RX 480 corrects much of this by reducing the die size and also the power requirements. Admittedly, the card still is recommended to have a 500 Watt power supply which is as large as that for the GTX 1080 but it has just a single 6-pin PCI-Express power connector meaning it likely will actually use much less. Even better, the fan noise is greatly reduced such that it produces very little noise even under heavy usage.

Back to performance, this card is not intended for use with 4K gaming. Instead, it offers an affordable solution that is more than enough for 1080p and even 1440p gaming with a high level of graphics detail and filtering. In terms of relative performance, it is roughly on par with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 which is still at roughly $300 at the time of the launch of the Radeon RX480. The 8GB of graphics memory is probably overkill when it comes to those looking at it specifically for traditional PC gaming where I would recommend saving a bit and getting a 4GB version.

So why would you want to get an 8GB version of the card? Well, AMD is aiming for the Radeon RX 480 to be an affordable option for those looking to get into virtual reality. It certainly is more affordable than the NVIDIA GTX 970 or the 1000 series cards. The problem is that the VR gaming is still in its early stages and performance is not so concrete compared to standard gaming using Direct X or OpenGL. The hardware and software platforms are still quite early development and changes can produce some major shifts in performance or capabilities.

Overall, the Radeon RX 480 is a great card and is a disruptive influence for the mainstream market as much as the NVIDIA GTX 1080 and 1070 are for the performance segment.

With its release, the is little reason to look at the NVIDIA 900 series cards or even past generation Radeon cards. This is now the card to get if you are looking for something on a budget.