True Performance Of The Radeon RX 480 Examined


True Performance Of The Radeon RX 480 Examined

After the Radeon RX 480 was found to draw excessive power from the PCI Express bus, AMD released the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver. This is a non-WHQL driver that was promises to reduce the Radeon RX 480‘s power draw from the PCI Express bus. It also promises to improve the Radeon RX 480‘s performance to correct for the expected drop in performance.

The reduction in power consumption is not enabled by default though, because it reduces performance. Instead, AMD will add a Compatibility Mode option in Radeon Settings, which you must manually toggle. Check out what the new Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver offers :

  • The Radeon RX 480’s power distribution has been improved for AMD reference boards, lowering the current drawn from the PCIe bus.
  • A new “compatibility mode” UI toggle has been made available in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This option is designed to reduce total power with minimal performance impact if end users experience any further issues.  This toggle is “off” by default.
  • Performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the “compatibility” toggle.

In this article, we will examine the drop in performance caused by the reduced power consumption. Then we will compare it to the boost in performance from the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver. Check it out!


3DMark (1920 x 1080)

We started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the most common gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

In the lower resolution of 1920 x 1080, the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] received a performance boost of 3% to 3.8%. That was sufficient to completely erase the 2.4% to 3% drop in performance due to the reduced power consumption.


3DMark (2560 x 1440)

Then we took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. According to AMD, this is the sweet spot for the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon]. Let’s take a look!

When we increased the resolution to 2560 x 1440 though, the performance boost from the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver dropped to just 2.3% to 2.9%. It just about erased the drop in performance from the reduced power consumption.


3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is torture, even for the 8 GB version of the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon].

At the 4K resolution, the 2.3% to 2.85% boost in  from the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver was not enough to offset the 3.7% to 4% drop in performance from the lower TDP. The Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] ended up 1% to 1.8% slower.

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