And so the much awaited AMD Radeon RX 480 is here. This rectangular black box is what we’ve all be waiting for and I can tell you it doesn’t disappoint.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

The AMD Radeon RX 480 is medium length but that’s only because the blower type cooler is extended beyond the PCB length, the length of the PCB reminds me of the one on the R9 Nano. The RX 480 is a result of AMD’s effort to reduce power draw while improving performance, it requires only a single 6-pin PCI-E connector for operation.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

The RX 480 model is without backplate, however RX 480 models from partners like XFX have backplate on it.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

As for the output the RX 480 comes with 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

Here’s the GPU-Z of the RX 480.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

Test Setup

Processor Intel Core i7-5960X @ 4.5Ghz
RAM Apacer Blade Fire 2x 8GB DDR4 3000Mhz
Motherboard ASRock X99 OC Formula
Power Supply Cooler Master V850
Operating System Windows 10 64bit

Overclocking

Now before we head to the benchmarks I’d like to highlight that overclocking on the RX 480 is a huge disappointment. Overclocking can only be done on the Wattman on AMD’s Radeon Software and try as I may I could only get it to 8% overclock on the core that leads to about 1366Mhz on core clock. Benchmark results on the other hand went the opposite direction regardless how I tweaked the settings.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

Benchmarks

Before we begin I wish to highlight that the GTX 970 does not have 4K results because I typically do not test cards of that level at 4K UHD resolution. I tested the R9 390 (that’s in my lab) solely for comparison purpose, same goes to the RX 480 itself, just to give an idea on what one would expect from it.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Heaven 4.0
*NOTE : Details are set to maximum.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 52 14
PowerColor R9 390 56 15
Nvidia GTX 970 Reference 54 N/A
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 92 24

Metro Last Light

Heaven 4.0

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 80 26
PowerColor R9 390 78 27
Nvidia GTX 970 Reference 80 N/A
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 120 44

Shadow of Mordor

Heaven 4.0
Settings : Set to ULTRA, V-sync off.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 90 33
PowerColor R9 390 92 39
Nvidia GTX 970 Reference 71 N/A
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 132 52

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite
Settings are at
2 – UltraDX11_DDOF | 2 – Custom | 1 – 16:9 | 4 – FullHD / 4K

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 110 35
PowerColor R9 390 111 38
Nvidia GTX 970 Reference 112 N/A
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 158 55

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V
Settings : Every option to the MAX setting available.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 37 27
PowerColor R9 390 39 30
Nvidia GTX 970 Reference 38 N/A
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 61 44

The Division

The Division
Settings : Set to ULTRA, V-sync OFF.

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 56 23
PowerColor R9 390 61 25
Nvidia GTX 970 Reference 60 N/A
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 82 33

Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity
Settings : Set to CRAZY

Card 1080p (avg) 4K UHD (avg)
AMD RX 480 33 24
PowerColor R9 390 31 24
Zotac GTX 1070 FE 48 33

Performance Analysis : The PowerColor R9 390 is an overclocked unit while the GTX 970 is a reference unit, both of them exchange blows with the RX 480 but the RX 480 runs at much lower power draw, thus able to run cooler or more silent, depending on how you prefer your system to be.

Temperature

Furmark Burn-in Test was used to stress the card. Fan settings are at Auto. Room set to ~27c.

Card Idle(°C) Load (°C)
AMD RX 480 41 82
AMD RX 480 (Full RPM) 30 65

The fan on the AMD Radeon RX 480 hovers at around 40% all the way, running as silent as possible while having the GPU hovering at around 80.

Power Consumption

The stress was done with Furmark Burn-in Test. Power consumption reading was taken from the watt-meter, actual power draw by the entire system from the wall point. I’m using an Cooler Master V850 with around 90% efficiency and the estimated system power draw (CPU, not including GPU) during Furmark test is 107w.

Card AMD RX 480
Furmark Burn-in 246
Estimated Actual System Draw 221
Estimated Card Power Draw 114

So there, the AMD Radeon RX 480 draws just a little over 100W but able to deliver the performance of a GTX970 that often draws almost 200W and the R9 390 cards that draws more than 200W.

The Verdict

The AMD RX 480 retails at RM 1,299 and it’s certainly a sweet card. You might come across some shops selling it at RM 1,249. The card is great, it performs well, runs silent and draws little power and it’s something no card at that price point has ever accomplished.

It’s just too bad that AMD priced it at RM 1,299 and instead of around RM 1,000 range, the impact could have been greater and so could the demand.

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