Extended and enhanced testing of the Radeon RX 480 graphics card


AMD recently delighted users with the release of the new Radeon RX 480 graphics card based on the Polaris 10 core. The novelty opened a new generation of AMD graphics cards and brought a fresh stream to the mid-range segment. The Radeon RX 480 offers an updated GCN architecture, high video memory and good performance for its class at low power consumption and a moderate price. A detailed review of the reference version of the Radeon RX 480 was presented by us in a previous article. Now we decided to slightly supplement the results of comparative testing. In the first article, the Radeon RX 480 card was compared with the GeForce GTX 970 and the representatives of the top segment. We have now added a closer-class AMD device to the comparison, namely the Radeon R9 290. This video adapter is often mentioned for comparison with the newcomer by the manufacturer itself, and together with the Radeon R9 390 they can be called the predecessors of the Radeon RX 480. At the same time, tests were carried out in new modes for some games. As a result, this article will give a more complete picture of the capabilities of the Radeon RX 480 in comparison with other solutions in its price category and will allow you to better evaluate the progress relative to previous AMD video accelerators.

We will not go into lengthy descriptions of the video adapter in question. We recall only the main characteristics, frequencies at nominal and overclocked.

AMD Radeon RX 480

The reference version is made in a simple, strict design. A cooler of a traditional design, built according to the “turbine” type.

AMD Radeon RX 480

The CO design uses a simple aluminum heatsink with a copper core at the base. No heat pipes. Cooling is clearly focused on regular operating modes, without additional potential for a significant increase in frequencies.

AMD Radeon RX 480

The graphics processor operates at frequencies up to 1266 MHz. If the power and temperature limits are exceeded, the frequency is reduced. The minimum base value is 1120 MHz. During our tests, we observed frequency drops to 1200 MHz or less. GDDR5 memory operates at an effective 8000 MHz.

AMD Radeon RX 480

For overclocking, the fan was brought to maximum speed, the power and temperature limits were raised. As a result, this made it possible to achieve stable operation with a frequency configuration of 1325/8720 MHz.

AMD Radeon R9 290

The old Radeon series is represented by the ASUS R9290-DC2OC-4GD5 video card. Powerful cooling ensures stable operation at the recommended frequencies and overclocking.

AMD Radeon R9 290

For testing, the frequencies were lowered to the standard level of 947/5000 MHz for the core and memory. Overclocking is not the most outstanding – the frequencies were raised to 1100/5620 MHz.

It is worth noting that the Radeon R9 290 operates with 2560 stream processors, 160 texture units and 64 render units. And the Radeon RX 480 has fewer of these blocks – 2304/144/32. At the same time, the Radeon R9 290 also has a 512-bit memory bus instead of 256 bits for the new product. So a comparison of the real capabilities of these video cards will be very interesting.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970

This opponent is also represented by a non-reference model – MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G. Since we need to compare the performance of the standard versions, the MSI frequencies have been reduced so as to limit Boost to a ceiling of 1200-1220 MHz. The memory frequency was 7012 MHz

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970

A feature of the GeForce GTX 970 is the organization of memory. Of the 4 GB, 3.5 GB work at high speed. The last segment of the video buffer at 512 MB is slower, which is why this address space is not always used in applications. Theoretically, this can seriously affect the performance in some heavy games with high memory requirements.

As for overclocking, we achieved a base frequency of 1288 MHz with a stable Boost of 1490 MHz. This is not the full maximum for this video card, but closer to the average result for the representatives of the series. The memory was overclocked to 7908 MHz.


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