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AMD Retires CrossFire & Limits mGPU Capability

AMD Retires CrossFire & Limits mGPU Capability

When AMD announced the ability to run two Radeon RX Vega cards simultaneously, they conspicuously called it mGPU (short for multiple GPU) instead of the far more familiar CrossFire. That’s because they are retiring the CrossFire brand in favour of the generic mGPU moniker. They also limited the mGPU capability. Find out why!

 

End of the road for AMD CrossFire

The first AMD Polaris-based graphics card, the AMD Radeon RX 480, was showcased in Computex 2016 with Raja Koduri showing off its CrossFire performance in Ashes of the Singularity. But when AMD released the Radeon RX Vega family, they did not mention any CrossFire support.

In fact, the AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics cards was only capable of running as single cards until the release of Radeon Software 17.9.2. It also represented the end of the road for AMD CrossFire. With this release, AMD officially abandoned it for mGPU.

Why? Here is AMD’s response when they were asked that very question by Brad Chacos of PCWorld :

CrossFire isn’t mentioned because it technically refers to DX11 applications.

In DirectX 12, we reference multi-GPU as applications must support mGPU, whereas AMD has to create the profiles for DX11.

We’ve accordingly moved away from using the CrossFire tag for multi-GPU gaming.

This is a surprising turn of event because the CrossFire brand goes all the way back to 2005. Almost 12 years to the day, as a matter of fact. That’s a lot of marketing history for AMD to throw away. But throw it all away, they did.

Nothing has changed though. They just decided to call the ability to use multiple graphics cards as mGPU, instead of CrossFire. In other words – this is a branding decision.

AMD will continue to use CrossFire for current and future DirectX 11 profiles, but refer to mGPU for DirectX 12 titles.

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Limited mGPU Capability

AMD is also limiting the mGPU support to just two graphics cards. The 4-way mGPU capabilities that top-of-the-line Radeon cards used to support have been dropped. The AMD Radeon RX Vega family are therefore limited to two cards in mGPU mode :

Gamers can pair two Radeon RX Vega 56 GPUs or two Radeon RX Vega 64 GPUs

This move was not surprising. Even NVIDIA abandoned three or four card configurations with the GeForce GTX 10 series last year. With fewer games supporting multi GPUs and interest in power efficiency burgeoning, the days of 3-way or 4-way multi GPUs are over.

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AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Review – 1440p Gaming FTW!

The road to Vega has been a rather long one. We first saw the AMD Vega prototype running DOOM in December 2016. Not unlike a baby, it took AMD nine months to give birth to the AMD Radeon RX Vega. Today, we are going to take a close look at the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) graphics card that is designed to take on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. Let’s see how it performs!

 

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Specification Comparison

This table compares the specifications of the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 against those of its rival, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070.

SpecificationsAMD Radeon RX Vega 64AMD Radeon RX Vega 56NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
GPUVega 10Vega 10NVIDIA GP104
Stream Processors409635841920
Textures Per Clock256224120
Pixels Per Clock646464
Base Clock Speed1247 MHz1156 MHz1506 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1546 MHz1471 MHz1683 MHz
Texture Fillrate319.2~395.8 GT/s258.9~329.5 GT/s180.7~202.0 GT/s
Pixel Fillrate79.8~98.9 GP/s74.0~94.1 GP/s96.4~107.7 GP/s
Graphics Memory8 GB HBM28 GB HBM28 GB GDDR5
Graphics Memory Bus Width2048-bits2048-bits256-bits
Graphics Memory Speed945 MHz800 MHz2000 MHz
Graphics Memory Bandwidth483.8 GB/s409.6 GB/s256.0 GB/s
TDP295 W210 W150 W
Retail Prices$499$399$379
$449 (Founder's Edition)

 

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 Up Close

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) looks exactly like the AMD Radeon RX 480, just longer. It has the same black shroud design that debuted with that Polaris-based card.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 still offers a dual-linked DVI port, but the AMD Radeon RX Vega skips that for three DisplayPorts and a single HDMI 2.0b port.

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Next Page > Power Consumption, Thermal Output, Noise Level & Benchmarking Notes

 

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Power Consumption

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) uses the Vega 10 GPU with 12.5 billion transistors fabricated using the 14 nm FinFET process technology. Even though it’s using a finer process technology than NVIDIA, the extra 5.3 billion transistors need more power.

Hence, the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) has a TDP of 210 W60 W (40%) more than the GeForce GTX 1070. On a watt per transistor basis, this makes the Radeon RX Vega 56 is 24% more efficient than the GeForce GTX 1070. Of course, what matters more is power efficiency on a watt / performance basis.

Curiously, AMD equipped the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) with not one, but two 8-pin PCI Express power connectors for a peak power draw of 375 W.

Incidentally, there is a GPUTach LED light strip right next to the two 8-pin PCI Express power connectors, which tells you the GPU load at a glance. There are two switches nearby that allows you to turn it on or off, and switch between the red and blue LED colours.

 

The Thermal Output

We recorded the peak exhaust temperature of the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) and compared it to the GeForce GTX 1070, GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 480 graphics cards. Take a look.

Note that these are not the recorded temperatures, but how much hotter the exhaust air is above ambient temperature.

Despite its much higher TDP, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56’s exhaust temperature is just slightly higher than that of the GeForce GTX 1070. That is likely because it uses a more powerful fan with a larger heatsink.

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The Noise Level

Needless to say, you will be wondering about the noise level of the more powerful cooler used to keep the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) cool. In this video, we recorded the Radeon RX Vega 56 running the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark at the 4K resolution.

 

Benchmarking Notes

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

Operating System : Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit

Processor : AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor running at 3.6 GHz

Motherboard : AORUS AX370-Gaming 5

Memory : 16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 memory (dual-channel)

Storage : 240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

Monitor : Dell P2415Q Ultra HD Monitor

We used the GeForce driver 385.41 for the NVIDIA graphics cards, and Radeon Software 17.9.1 for the AMD graphics cards.

Next Page > The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 3DMark Benchmark Results

 

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3DMark DirectX 12 Benchmark (2560 x 1440)

3DMark Time Spy is the DirectX 12 benchmark in 3DMark. It supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) did well in this DirectX 12 benchmark. It was 6.5% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, 51% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 57% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

For Direct 11 performance, we started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the entry-level gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

Due to the relatively low resolution, this is a CPU-limited test for many high-end graphics cards.

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) did well in the two graphics tests, beating the GeForce GTX 1070 by 8-12%. Curiously, it ended up slower than the GeForce GTX 1070 in the combined test results.

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3DMark (2560 x 1440)

We then took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s take a look at the results!

At 1440p, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was about 10% faster in the graphics tests, and matched it in the overall score.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is torture, even for high-end graphics cards.

At this resolution, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) did even better, beating the GeForce GTX 1070 in the graphics tests. It still tied with the GeForce GTX 1070 in the overall scores though.

Next Page > Ashes of the Singularity & Warhammer Benchmark Results

 

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Ashes of the Singularity (1920 x 1080)

We tested Ashes of the Singularity in the DirectX 12 mode, which supports the Asynchronous Compute feature. We started with the full HD resolution.

At this resolution, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was 9% faster than the GeForce GTX 107028% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 34% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (2560 x 1440)

We then took Ashes of the Singularity up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s see how the cards fare now…

At this higher resolution, the performance gap between the Radeon RX Vega 56 and the GeForce GTX 1070 narrowed to 7.5%.

On the other hand, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was now 39% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 45% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (3840 x 2160)

Finally, let’s see how the cards perform with Ashes of the Singularity running at the Ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160.

At this ultra high resolution, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) did well, pulling away from the GeForce GTX 1070, with an 11% performance advantage. It was also 50% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 52% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

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Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At this resolution, most fast graphics cards are CPU-limited. Even so, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) is able to beat the GeForce GTX 1070 by 9%. Not bad.

 

Warhammer (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

The 1440p resolution appears to be the sweet spot for the GeForce GTX 1070, where it almost matches the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) in performance. Both graphics cards are about 33% faster than the other three cards.

 

Warhammer (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the Ultra HD resolution, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) widened its performance lead over the GeForce GTX 1070 to 3.4%. Both cards are now about 40% faster than the remaining three cards.

Next Page > The Witcher 3 & For Honor Benchmark Results

 

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The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

At 1080p, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was about 4% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070. Both graphics cards were about 40% faster than the other three cards.

 

The Witcher 3 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

At 1440p, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) maintained its 4% performance lead over the GeForce GTX 1070. Again, both graphics cards cards were about 40% faster than the remaining three cards in this comparison.

 

The Witcher 3 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

At this Ultra HD resolution, both the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) and the GeForce GTX 1070 were more or less equal in performance. They were also both about 42% faster than the remaining three cards.

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For Honor (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

Both the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) and the GeForce GTX 1070 tied for the top spot, and they were both 37-46% faster than the other three cards.

 

For Honor (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the higher 1440p resolution, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 was slightly (3.2%) faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was 35% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 41% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

 

For Honor (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the Ultra HD resolution, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 extended its performance lead over the Radeon RX Vega 56 to 4.4%. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was 34% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 48% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

Next Page > The Mass Effect: Andromeda Benchmark Results & Our Verdict

 

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Mass Effect: Andromeda (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

At this entry-level gaming resolution, all five cards did well, delivering average frame rates in excess of 60 fps. Both the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) and the GeForce GTX 1070 tied for the top spot, and they were both 24-40% faster than the other three cards.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 endured the jump in resolution better than the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check), with a 6.7% advantage. Still, the Radeon RX Vega 56 maintain an average frame rate in excess of 60 fps, and was 28% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 42% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

The resolution increase to 4K slightly levelled the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070‘s performance advantage over the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 to 6%. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was now 33% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 47% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

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Our Verdict

Ever since we saw AMD Vega running DOOM, we had such high hopes for it. The success of the AMD Ryzen family of processors only buoyed that optimism. However, the AMD Vega turned out not to be the Pascal-killer we thought it would be.

On paper, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) has considerable advantages over the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. It has a 53% advantage in texture fill rate, and a 60% advantage in memory bandwidth. The GeForce GTX 1070 only beats it in pixel fill rate by 22%.

In real life though, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) was virtually equal in performance to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. In some games, the Radeon RX Vega 56 was slightly faster. In other games, the GeForce GTX 1070 was slightly faster.

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Hence, it’s no wonder AMD priced it at $399 – just $20 more than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. It would be hard to justify a higher price, especially since the GeForce GTX 1070 is already a year old!

Even though the AMD Vega GPU was built using the smaller 14 nm process technology, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) uses considerably more power because it has significantly more transistors. It has a maximum TDP of 210 W – 60 W (40%) higher than the GeForce GTX 1070.

Earlier, we pointed out that the Radeon RX Vega 56 is 24% more efficient than the GeForce GTX 1070 on a watt per transistor basis. However, the GeForce GTX 1070 is ultimately about 40% more efficient in terms of watt / performance, which is ultimately what really matters.

That said, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) is a step in the right direction. It is almost 50% faster (on average) than the Radeon RX 480, which used the last generation AMD Polaris architecture. It may not have met our overly high expectations, but it is still a big improvement.

After all, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check finally offers AMD fans 1440p gaming at 60 fps at a sweet price point!

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HP & Acer Introduce AMD Ryzen Gaming Desktops!

Intel processors have always been the de facto CPUs for gaming desktops. But recently, AMD has been making real inroads with their new Ryzen processors. In fact, they just announced that HP and Acer have started shipping AMD Ryzen gaming desktops!

In this article, both HP and Acer will share with you the key features of their Ryzen gaming desktops – the HP OMEN and Acer Aspire GX-281. Don’t forget to catch Peter Chambers’ presentation on the AMD Ryzen family for the second half of 2017 and going forward!

 

The AMD Ryzen Update For 2H 2017

AMD Director of Consumer Sales for Asia Pacific and Japan, Peter Chambers, kicked off the event with an update on the AMD Ryzen family of processors, including Ryzen Threadripper and Ryzen Mobile.

 

OMEN by HP, Now Powered By AMD Ryzen 7

We shared details and videos of the new HP OMEN gaming desktops and laptops with you just two weeks ago. However, they were all powered by Intel Core processors.

Now, HP is introducing a new HP OMEN gaming desktop powered by the AMD Ryzen 7 processor. That’s not all – this Ryzen-powered HP OMEN gaming desktop will feature dual AMD Radeon RX 580 GPUs in CrossFire!

 

 

The Acer Aspire GX-281, Powered By AMD Ryzen 7

The Acer Aspire GX-281 is a gaming desktop that is exclusively powered by the AMD Ryzen processor. In some countries, it may use the AMD Ryzen 5, but here in Malaysia, it will be offered only with the AMD Ryzen 7 processor.

The Aspire GX-281 will ship with the AMD Radeon RX 480 initially, but Acer will offer the Radeon RX 580 eventually.

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AMD Radeon RX 580 Performance Comparison

The gaming enthusiast community may be eagerly waiting for AMD Vega to arrive, but AMD breathed life into the AMD Polaris microarchitecture with a refreshed line-up, which they called the AMD Radeon RX 500 Series. Headlined by the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon), the Polaris Refined series is basically an overclocked version of the Radeon RX 400 series.

AMD is pitching the Radeon RX 500 Series as a great upgrade option for gamers with 3 years or older systems, with the introduction of 27 new graphics cards. But just how much faster is the new Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) compared to its predecessor, the Radeon RX 480, and the NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards? Let’s find out in this performance comparison!

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Radeon RX 580 Specification Comparison

Here are the specifications of the five graphics cards in this performance comparison :

SpecificationsGeForce GTX 1050 TiRadeon RX 480Radeon RX 580GeForce GTX 1060GeForce GTX 1070
Texture Units4814414480120
ROPs3232324864
Core Speed1290 MHz1120 MHz1257 MHz1506 MHz1506 MHz
Boost Speed1392 MHz1266 MHz1340 MHz1708 MHz1683 MHz
Texture Fill Rate (Max)61.9 GT/s182.3 GT/s193.0 GT/s136.6 GT/s202.0 GT/s
Pixel Fill Rate (Max)44.5 GP/s40.5 GP/s42.9 GP/s82.0 GP/s107.7 GP/s
Memory Bus Width128-bits256-bits256-bits192-bits256-bits
Graphics Memory4 GB GDDR58 GB GDDR58 GB GDDR56 GB GDDR58 GB GDDR5
Memory Speed1752 MHz1750 MHz2000 MHz2000 MHz2000 MHz
Memory Bandwidth112 GB/s224 GB/s256 GB/s192 GB/s256 GB/s
TDP75 W150 W185 W120 W150 W

 

Further Reading On The Radeon RX 500 Series

 

Further Reading On AMD Vega

Next Page > Benchmarking Notes, 3DMark Benchmark Results

 

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Benchmarking Notes

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

Operating System : Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit

Processor : AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor running at 3.6 GHz

Motherboard : AORUS AX370-Gaming 5

Memory : 16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 memory (dual-channel)

Storage : 240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

Monitor : Dell P2415Q Ultra HD Monitor

We used the GeForce driver 382.05 for the NVIDIA graphics cards, and Radeon Software 17.5.1 for the AMD graphics cards.

Note that we do not actually have any Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) graphics card. We simulated the Radeon RX 580 by overclocking the Radeon RX 480 graphics card according to AMD’s specifications for the Radeon RX 580.

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3DMark DirectX 12 Benchmark (2560 x 1440)

3DMark Time Spy is the DirectX 12 benchmark in 3DMark. It supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.

The AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was just 1% faster than the Radeon RX 480 in this DirectX 12 benchmark. It was 69% to 76% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and just 3% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

For Direct 11 performance, we started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the entry-level gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

At this resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was virtually neck-to-neck with the GeForce GTX 1060. It was 62% to 69% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

 

3DMark (2560 x 1440)

We then took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s take a look at the results!

At this higher resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was about 1.5% faster than the Radeon RX 480. With its much higher pixel fillrate, the GeForce GTX 1060 pulled away with a 6% average performance advantage.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is torture, even for the GeForce GTX 1070!

At this resolution, the GeForce GTX 1060 was still 5% to 7% faster than the Radeon RX 580 (Amazon), which was itself 61% to 65% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

Next Page > Ashes of the Singularity & Total War: Warhammer Benchmark Results

 

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Ashes of the Singularity (1920 x 1080)

We tested Ashes of the Singularity in the DirectX 12 mode, which supports the Asynchronous Compute feature. We started with the full HD resolution.

The AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was just 1% faster than the Radeon RX 480, and 3.7% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (2560 x 1440)

We then took Ashes of the Singularity up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s see how the cards fare now…

At this higher resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was 1.5% faster than the Radeon RX 480, and 2.3% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060. It was also 63% to 70% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (3840 x 2160)

Finally, let’s see how the cards perform with Ashes of the Singularity running at the Ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160.

The AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was virtually tied with the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1060 at this resolution. They were all about 67% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and 26% slower than the GeForce GTX 1070.

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Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At this resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was 1.5% faster than the Radeon RX 480, 6.5% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, 13% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 80% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

 

Warhammer (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

When the resolution increased to 1440p though, the GeForce GTX 1070 pulled away and was 24% faster than the Radeon RX 580. The average frame rate of the Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was just 1.5% faster than the Radeon RX 480, but it also delivered a significantly higher minimum frame rate.

 

Warhammer (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At this ultra high resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was now 3% faster than the Radeon RX 480. It was also 5% and 82% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060 and the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti respectively.

Next Page > The Witcher 3 & For Honor Benchmark Results

 

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The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was 4% faster than the Radeon RX 480 at this resolution, putting it neck-to-neck with the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

The Witcher 3 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

At this higher resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was essentially between the Radeon RX 480 and the GeForce GTX 1060 in performance, with a 4% difference either way. It was also 78% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, but 27% slower than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

 

The 4K resolution in The Witcher 3 is really tough on graphics cards, virtually halving their frame rates. The AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was, again, between the Radeon RX 480 and the GeForce GTX 1060 in performance, with a 4-5% difference either way. Only the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 was able to deliver an average frame rate above 30 fps.

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For Honor (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At 1080p, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was exactly between the Radeon RX 480 and the GeForce GTX 1060 in performance, with a 4% difference either way. It was also 56% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, but 31% slower than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

For Honor (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

Yet again, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) maintained its position between the Radeon RX 480 and the GeForce GTX 1060 in performance, with a 4% difference either way.

 

For Honor (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At this ultra high resolution, the GeForce GTX 1060 finally pulled away, with a 7% performance advantage over the Radeon RX 580 (Amazon), which was 3% faster than the Radeon RX 480. Only the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 was able to deliver an average frame rate above 30 fps.

Next Page > Mass Effect: Andromeda Benchmark Results, Our Verdict

 

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Mass Effect: Andromeda (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

At this entry-level gaming resolution, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was no faster than the Radeon RX 480. They were both 9% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060 and 45% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

With the jump in resolution, the Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was just 1.5% faster than the Radeon RX 480. They were both 13% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060 and 48% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

At this ultra high resolution, the Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) was now 2% faster than the Radeon RX 480. They were both 13% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060 and 53% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Only the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 was able to deliver an average frame rate above 30 fps.

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Our Verdict On The Radeon RX 580

It’s pretty obvious from our benchmark results that the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) is just a slightly faster version of its predecessor, the Radeon RX 480. That is no slight, as the Radeon RX 480 is a fast graphics card. In fact, it was so fast that NVIDIA was forced to introduce the GeForce GTX 1060 at a lower price point to compete.

The Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) reused the Polaris 10 GPU from the Radeon RX 480, running it and the GDDR5 memory at a 9% and 14% higher clock speeds respectively. However, it only delivered an performance boost of between 1.5% and 4%.

Obviously, you wouldn’t upgrade to the Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) if you already own the Radeon RX 480, or GeForce GTX 1060. But it would make for a great upgrade if you are using an older, slower graphics card. That is precisely why AMD is targeting the Radeon RX 500 Series at gamers with 3 years or older graphics cards.

Here is the key takeaway point from all these benchmarks. Like its predecessor, the Radeon RX 480, the AMD Radeon RX 580 (Amazon) is designed for 1440p gaming. With some tweaks to the graphics settings, you should have no problem achieving an average frame rate of 60 fps at that resolution.

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Don’t forget to check out our other articles on AMD Radeon graphics technologies :

Go Back To > First Page | Computer Hardware + Systems | Home

 

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The GeForce GTX 1050 & 1050 Ti Performance Comparison

On 20 October 2016, NVIDIA officially launched the new GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards. Built around the new NVIDIA GP107 GPU, the two new GeForce cards are designed for entry-level and eSports gaming at very attractive price points of US$99 and US$139 respectively. But just how fast are they? Find out for yourself in our GeForce GTX 1050 & GTX 1050 Ti performance comparison!

 

The Graphics Cards Compared

In this comparison, we will take a look at six different graphics cards launched in 2016 – 3 from AMD, and 3 from NVIDIA. We will pit the GeForce GTX 1050 against the Radeon RX 460, and the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti against the Radeon RX 470 (Review). We also included the higher-end Radeon RX 480 (Review) and GeForce GTX 1060 (Review) in this comparison.

SpecificationsRadeon RX 460GeForce GTX 1050GeForce GTX 1050 TiRadeon RX 470Radeon RX 480GeForce GTX 1060
Texture Units56404812814480
ROPs163232323248
Core Speed1090 MHz1354 MHz1290 MHz926 MHz1120 MHz1506 MHz
Boost Speed1200 MHz1455 MHz1392 MHz1206 MHz1266 MHz1708 MHz
Texture Fill Rate (Max)67.2 GT/s54.2 GT/s61.9 GT/s154.4 GT/s182.3 GT/s136.6 GT/s
Pixel Fill Rate (Max)19.2 GP/s46.6 GP/s44.5 GP/s38.6 GP/s40.5 GP/s82.0 GP/s
Memory Bus Width128-bits128-bits128-bits256-bits256-bits192-bits
Graphics Memory4 GB GDDR52 GB GDDR54 GB GDDR54 GB GDDR58 GB GDDR56 GB GDDR5
Memory Speed1750 MHz1752 MHz1752 MHz1650 MHz1750 MHz2000 MHz
Memory Bandwidth112 GB/s112 GB/s112 GB/s211 GB/s224 GB/s192 GB/s
TDP75 W75 W75 W120 W150 W120 W
Current PriceUS$ 99US$ 99US$ 139US$ 169US$ 239 (8 GB)US$ 249

 

Benchmarking Notes

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

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Operating System : Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit

Processor : Intel Core i7 6700K processor running at 4.0 GHz

Motherboard : ASRock Z170 Extreme4

Memory : 8 GB DDR4-2133 memory (dual-channel)

Storage : 240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

Monitor : Dell P2415Q Ultra HD Monitor

We used the GeForce driver version 375.63 for the three NVIDIA graphics cards, and the Radeon Software 16.9.2 driver for the three AMD graphics cards used in our tests.

Okay, let’s get on with the GeForce GTX 1050 & 1050 Ti performance comparison!

Next Page > 3DMark DirectX 12 & Direct 11 Benchmark Results

 

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3DMark DirectX 12 Benchmark (2560 x 1440)

3DMark Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark that supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.

The GeForce GTX 1050 is virtually equivalent to the Radeon RX 460 in performance, with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti delivering 23% better performance. The Radeon RX 470 was 60% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and twice as fast as the GeForce GTX 1050.

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

For Direct 11 performance, we started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the most common gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti did better in DirectX 11. In this test, they were 17.6% and 27.4% faster than the Radeon RX 460 respectively.

The Radeon RX 470, on the other hand, was now 48% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and 67% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050.

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3DMark (2560 x 1440)

Then we took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s take a look!

Surprisingly, the GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti did even better at this resolution. Despite having only 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, the GeForce GTX 1050 was 24% faster than the Radeon RX 460. The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti was now 34% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

They also edged a little closer in performance to the Radeon RX 470, which was now 47% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and 60% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is torture, even for the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and the GeForce GTX 1070!

It is definitely a very, very bad idea to play any game at this resolution on the GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti. Especially the GeForce GTX 1050, which only has 2 GB of memory. In this resolution, the Radeon RX 460 (which has 4 GB of memory) was actually 7% faster! The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti was now 33% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

The Radeon RX 470 was now 49% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and twice as fast as the GeForce GTX 1050.

Next Page > Ashes of the Singularity & Warhammer Benchmark Results

 

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Ashes of the Singularity (1920 x 1080)

We tested Ashes of the Singularity in the DirectX 12 mode, which supports the new Asynchronous Compute feature. We started with the full HD resolution.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti were 6% and 17% faster than the Radeon RX 460 respectively. All three delivered playable frame rates of over 30 fps at this resolution.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (2560 x 1440)

We then took Ashes of the Singularity up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s see how the cards fare…

Only the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti was fast enough to deliver a playable frame rate above 30 fps at this resolution. The Radeon RX 460 was actually slightly (2%) faster than the GeForce GTX 1050, probably due to its larger memory size.

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Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti were 2% and 15% faster than the Radeon RX 460 respectively. All three delivered playable frame rates of about 40 fps at this resolution.

 

Warhammer (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti did better at this resolution, coming in 9% and 20% faster than the Radeon RX 460 respectively. Only the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti delivered (barely) playable frame rates at this resolution.

Next Page > The Witcher 3 & Fallout 4 Benchmark Results

 

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The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti did well in this game, coming in 17% and 32% faster than the Radeon RX 460 respectively. The two new GeForce cards delivered reasonably playable frame rates.

 

The Witcher 3 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti maintained their performance advantage over the Radeon RX 460, but their frame rates were poor. Definitely not a good idea to play The Witcher 3 at 1440p with these cards.

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Fallout 4 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

The GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti performed very well in Fallout 4, both delivering 20% better performance than the Radeon RX 460. This is the perfect resolution for all three cards.

 

Fallout 4 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

Surprisingly, the GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti extended their lead over the Radeon RX 460, with 22% and 24% better performance respectively. Both new GeForce cards actually delivered playable frame rates at this resolution.

Next Page > Our Verdict, Lowest Prices

 

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Our Verdict

Hitherto, AMD had a real advantage in the entry-level and eSports gaming market with their Radeon RX 460 and Radeon RX 470 graphics cards. Priced at US$109 and US$179 respectively (at launch), they were much more affordable options for gaming at 1080p or lower resolutions.

That changed with the launch of the GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards.

The GeForce GTX 1050 was targeted squarely at the Radeon RX 460, with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti offering slightly better performance and more graphics memory for those who can afford an extra US$40.

AMD is cognisant of the danger the new GeForce cards pose. So they preemptively slashed the prices of their Radeon RX 460 and Radeon RX 470 cards to make them more competitive. Did they succeed?

GeForce GTX 1050

Both the GeForce GTX 1050 and the Radeon RX 460 are priced at US$99. However, the GeForce GTX 1050 either matches the Radeon RX 460 in performance, or outperforms it by up to 22%. It does this despite having only 2 GB of memory.

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So if you are looking for a graphics card at the US$99 price point, the obvious choice is the GeForce GTX 1050.

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is roughly 10-15% faster than the GeForce GTX 1050, and has twice as much graphics memory. However, that is a limited advantage since it is still best used for 1080p gaming.

If you can cough up the extra US$40, you might as well cough up an extra US$30 to get the newly-repriced Radeon RX 470. That will buy you 45-70% better performance, enough for 1440p gaming.

 

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AMD Doubles Down On mGPU Frame Pacing

Adding to Radeon Software Crimson Edition’s enhancements for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, and DirectX 11, Radeon Software 16.9.1 enables multi-GPU frame pacing support to DirectX12 on all GCN-enabled GPUs and AMD A8 APUs or higher with GCN.

Frame pacing delivers consistency by increasing smoothness in gameplay. In multi-GPU (mGPU) configurations, GPUs render alternating frames and push each frame to your screen. Each render can be created at various speeds causing differences in frame time. With frame pacing enabled, frames are distributed evenly, i.e. with less variance between frames, creating liquid smooth gameplay. For more details, please watch the following video:

 

Radeon Tech Talk: DirectX 12 mGPU Frame Pacing

A number of games currently take advantage of frame pacing in DirectX 12. Total War – Warhammer, Rise of the Tomb Raider and the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark also show smoother run-throughs.

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Let’s look at the some real-life scenarios:

 

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AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Comparison

You have seen our Radeon RX 480 review, so today, we are going to take a look at its CrossFire performance. For the uninitiated, that’s two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards running together.

You may recall that when Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group, Raja Koduri, first revealed the Radeon RX 480, he made a startling claim that two Radeon RX 480 cards only utilized 51% of their processing capabilities to beat the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card.

That was later clarified by Robert Hallock as a CPU-limited result. He also revealed that two Radeon RX 480 cards will deliver 83% better performance than a single Radeon RX 480 card.

Today, we are going to check out those claims in a variety of benchmarks and games. Let’s get down to it!

 

The Graphics Cards

Specifications Radeon R9 380 Radeon RX 480 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce GTX 1070 Radeon RX 480 CrossFire
Textures Per Clock 112 144 80 176 120 288
Pixels Per Clock 32 32 48 96 64 64
Clock Speed 970 MHz 1120 – 1266 MHz 1506 – 1708 MHz 1000 – 1075 MHz 1506 – 1683 MHz 1120 – 1266 MHz
Texture Fill Rate 108.6 GT/s 161.3 – 182.3 GT/s 120.5 – 136.6 GT/s 176.0 – 189.2 GT/s 180.7 – 202.0 GT/s 322.6 – 364.6 GT/s
Pixel Fill Rate 31.0 GP/s 35.8 – 40.5 GP/s 72.3 – 82.0 GP/s 96.0 – 104.5 GP/s 96.4 – 107.7 GP/s 71.7 – 81.0 GP/s
Graphics Memory 4 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 16 GB GDDR5

(8 GB effective)

Memory Bus Width 256-bits 256-bits 192-bits 384-bits 256-bits 256-bits x 2
Memory Speed 1425 MHz 1750 MHz 2000 MHz 1752.5 MHz 2000 MHz 1750 MHz
Memory Bandwidth 182.4 GB/s 224.0 GB/s 192.0 GB/s 336.5 GB/s 256.0 GB/s 448.0 GB/s
TDP 190 W 150 W 120 W 250 W 150 W 300 W
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Benchmarking Notes

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 10 64-bit

ProcessorIntel Core i7 6700K processor running at 4.0 GHz

MotherboardASRock Z170 Extreme4

Memory8 GB DDR4-2133 memory (dual-channel)

Storage240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

MonitorDell P2415Q Ultra HD Monitor

We used the GeForce driver version 372.54 for all three NVIDIA graphics cards used in our tests.

We used the Radeon Software 16.8.2 driver for the AMD graphics cards used in our tests. In addition, we enabled the Compatibility Mode for the Radeon RX 480 cards to ensure that they keep to their rated 150 W TDP.

Next Page > 3DMark DirectX 12 and DirectX 11 Benchmark Results

 

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3DMark DirectX 12 Benchmark (2560 x 1440)

3DMark Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark that was released just days ago, just in time for this review. It supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.

In this DirectX 12 benchmark, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 93% faster than the single Radeon RX 480. Very impressive. This allows the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire to beat the GeForce GTX 1070 by 33%. This gives the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire a slight (5.7%) price-performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1070, albeit at twice the power consumption.

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

For Direct 11 performance, we started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the most common gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

At this relatively CPU-limited test, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 95% faster than the single Radeon RX 480. It was also 31%-35% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, 79-86% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

Note that the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire ended up about 12% slower than both the GeForce GTX 1070 and the GeForce GTX 980 Ti in the Combined Test, probably because it was CPU-limited.

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3DMark (2560 x 1440)

Then we took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s take a look!

As the higher 1440p resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 96% faster than the single Radeon RX 480. However, its performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1060 dropped to 27% and 74% respectively.

At this point, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire loses its price-performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1070. However, it still maintains a comfortable price-performance advantage over the GeForce GTX 1080.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is a torture test, perfect for comparing the GeForce GTX 1070 and the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire.

At the 4K resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 23% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, and 73% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060. If we had a GeForce GTX 1080, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire would likely be slightly faster, with a significant price-performance advantage, albeit with significantly higher power consumption.

Next Page > Ashes of the Singularity, Total War: Warhammer Benchmark Results

 

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Ashes of the Singularity FAILED!

We tested Ashes of the Singularity in the DirectX 12 mode, which not only supports the new Asynchronous Compute feature, but is necessary to support the CrossFire mode for the two Radeon RX 480 cards.

Unfortunately, Ashes of the Singularity kept crashing whenever multi-GPU mode was enabled. There was simply no way to get it to run reliably, even though we tried 3 different driver versions.

As our GeForce GTX 1070 review shows, we have no issues running it with single graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. It only failed when multi-GPU support was enabled. We will update this section when we finally get CrossFire mode running on Ashes of the Singularity.

 

Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

Looks like CrossFire isn’t working in Total War : Warhammer. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was actually 6.5% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card. It was just slightly faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Warhammer (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the higher 1440p resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 7.7% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 3.7% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Warhammer (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the 4K resolution, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was 4.9% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 6.9% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060. It would definitely be a good idea to disable CrossFire mode when you play Total War : Warhammer.

Next Page > The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 Benchmark Results

 

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The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The CrossFire mode worked in The Witcher 3 though. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire achieved an average frame rate in excess of 100 fps. That makes its 59% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, 49.6% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 5% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire maintained its performance lead at the 1440p resolution. It was 59% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, 47.8% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 5.6% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire increased its performance lead at the 4K resolution. It was now 64.4% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, 52.3% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060, and 8.9% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

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Fallout 4 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

CrossFire did not work in Fallout 4, at least not in 1080p. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was actually 2.7% slower than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 16% slower than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Fallout 4 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

At the higher 1440p resolution, the CrossFire mode finally kicked in. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire actually became 24% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 9.6% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

 

Fallout 4 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

Amazingly, when we hit 4K, the CrossFire mode really showed its mettle. The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire was now 62% faster than the single Radeon RX 480 graphics card, and 43.2% faster than the GeForce GTX 1060.

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire even edged out the GeForce GTX 1070, and beat the GeForce GTX 980 Ti by 8.7%.

Next Page > Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Summary, Our Opinion

 

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Performance Summary

Here is a summary of our benchmark results. We highlighted the benchmarks in which the CrossFire mode worked (in green), and when it didn’t work (in red).

Benchmarks Radeon R9 380 Radeon RX 480 GeForce GTX 1060 GeForce GTX 980 Ti GeForce GTX 1070 Radeon RX 480 CrossFire
Time Spy (1440p) Slower by 65.1% Slower by 48.2% Slower by 45.8% Slower by 36.5% Slower by 24.8% Baseline
Fire Strike (1080p) Slower by 64.0% Slower by 48.8% Slower by 45.2% Slower by 28.7% Slower by 25.1% Baseline
Fire Strike Extreme (1440p) Slower by 63.4% Slower by 49.0% Slower by 42.4% Slower by 25.1% Slower by 21.2% Baseline
Fire Strike Ultra (2160p) Slower by 61.2% Slower by 48.3% Slower by 42.1% Slower by 22.5% Slower by 18.8% Baseline
Ashes of the Singularity Failed
Total War: Warhammer (1080p) Slower by 26.1% Faster by 7.0% Slower by 0.5% Faster by 30.7% Faster by 36.1% Baseline
Total War: Warhammer (1440p) Slower by 26.4% Faster by 8.4% Faster by 3.9% Faster by 40.3% Faster by 43.8% Baseline
Total War: Warhammer (2160p) Slower by 29.4% Faster by 5.1% Faster by 7.5% Faster by 48.6% Faster by 51.0% Baseline
The Witcher 3 (1080p) Slower by 57.6% Slower by 37.2% Slower by 33.1% Slower by 8.0% Slower by 4.8% Baseline
The Witcher 3 (1440p) Slower by 57.0% Slower by 37.2% Slower by 33.1% Slower by 7.8% Slower by 5.3% Baseline
The Witcher 3 (2160p) Slower by 57.5% Slower by 39.2% Slower by 34.4% Slower by 10.2% Slower by 8.1% Baseline
Fallout 4 (1080p) Slower by 20.5% Faster by 2.8% Faster by 19.1% Faster by 27.8% Faster by 29.6% Baseline
Fallout 4 (1440p) Slower by 41.7% Slower by 19.6% Slower by 8.7% Faster by 16.7% Faster by 22.6% Baseline
Fallout 4 (2160p) Slower by 54.3% Slower by 38.1% Slower by 30.2% Slower by 8.0% Slower by 1.1% Baseline

 

Our Opinion

The Radeon RX 480 CrossFire showed great promise in the 3DMark benchmarks. It was able to deliver 93% to 96% better performance than a single Radeon RX 480 graphics card.

The actual boost in frame rate was smaller, of course, due to CPU limits. But it proved to be faster than the GeForce GTX 1070 by 15% to 18% in DirectX 11, and 26% in DirectX 12. Very impressive.

Unfortunately, we do not have an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in our benchmark suite, but we know that it is roughly 20%-25% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070. So we can guesstimate that the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire will be slightly faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 in DirectX 12, and slightly slower in DirectX 11.

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From a price-performance perspective, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire ties with the GeForce GTX 1070, if we only take into account the 3DMark results. It loses out to the GeForce GTX 1070 when it comes to actual games, particularly in games that don’t work well or at all with CrossFire.

As you can tell from the table above, the reliability of the CrossFire mode is still quite iffy. That is really too bad, because the 3DMark results show that the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire has great potential, particularly in DirectX 12.

If AMD can get the CrossFire mode to work in all games, the Radeon RX 480 CrossFire is a great alternative to the GeForce GTX 1080. It offers equivalent performance at a 20% discount (US$478 vs. US$599), albeit with much higher power consumption (300W vs. 180W).

 

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The Radeon Technologies Group’s First Year Achievements

On September 9, 2015, AMD spliced off their Radeon graphics team into a separate Radeon Technologies Group. They also promoted Raja Koduri to Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of the new Radeon Technologies Group, reporting directly to AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

It has now been a year since Raja Koduri took the helm of the newly-formed Radeon Technologies Group. Chris Hook, Senior Director of Global Marketing and Public Relations, Radeon Technologies Group, gave us a run-down of what the Radeon Technologies Group accomplished in just 12 months.

Then Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, gave us a 40 minute Q&A session – a rare opportunity as you can imagine. Check out the full Q&A session below!

Now, join us for a quick tour of their achievements in the first year! If you would like to peruse the slides from the presentation, you can check them out here. [adrotate banner=”5″]

 

The First Year Of The Radeon Technologies Group

Right after its formation, the Radeon Technologies Group dove straight into the melee, delivering the Radeon Software Crimson Edition in November 2015, and then launching GPUOpen in December 2015.

 

Then in March 2016, they released their first Vulkan-capable driver. They followed that up with the launch of the AMD Radeon Pro Duo graphics card.

Their efforts culminated in the AMD Polaris launch during Computex 2016.

A month later, they launched the AMD Radeon Pro family, featuring the Radeon Pro WX series and the Radeon Pro SSG.

Finally, AMD announced in August that the AMD FreeSync technology is now available in just over 100 gaming monitors.

Next Page > The Radeon Technologies Group First Anniversary Presentation Slides

 

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Here are the presentation slides used by Chris Hook, Senior Director of Global Marketing and Public Relations, Radeon Technologies Group, during his presentation :

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Sneak Peek Of The AMD Radeon RX 460 In Action Rev. 2.0

During the AMD Polaris & 7th Generation APU tech briefing here in Malaysia, we stumbled upon an actual Radeon RX 460 graphics card.

AMD was using it to power a virtual reality demo of a space turret shooting game on an Oculus Rift VR headset. That was our first encounter with the Radeon RX 460, so we took off the perspex cover to take a closer look.

Updated @ 2016-07-30 : Added details of the virtual reality demo the Radeon RX 460 was powering, as well as a slide with its key specifications.

 

AMD Radeon RX 460 In Action

As AMD revealed earlier, the Radeon RX 460 is powered by the AMD Polaris 11 GPU, which has 14 Compute Units. It comes with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit memory bus. For display output, this reference card has a DisplayPort, a HDMI port and a DVI port.

The Radeon RX 480, and the upcoming Radeon RX 470, on the other hand, are powered by the larger Polaris 10 GPU with 36 Compute Units, and 32 Compute Units respectively. They also have a much wider 256-bit memory bus with either 4 GB or 8 GB of GDDR5 memory.

We also took a video of the Radeon RX 460 in action. Check it out!

The Radeon RX 460 is designed to use very little power. It is powered entirely by the PCI Express bus and does not require an additional power connector. AMD has just revealed its official TDP as less than 75 W (see below).

With its low power requirement, the Radeon RX 460 is targeted at eSports gamers. It also makes for a great HTPC graphics card, as it supports hardware encoding and decoding of H.264 and HEVC (H.265) videos at 4K resolution.

 

AMD Radeon RX 460 Specifications

AMD just revealed some details of the Radeon RX 460’s key specifications, including the official design. Check it out!

As you can see, the final Radeon RX 460 card will have a slab-sided shroud that is similar to the one used in the Radeon RX 480. The Radeon RX 460 will be officially released on August 8, 2016. There is no official price indication, but we expect it to cost less than US$99.

 

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More AMD Polaris Information

Get more details or information on the new AMD Polaris graphics cards and architecture here :

 

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GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING Launched

Taipei, 19 July 2016GIGABYTE, the world’s leading gaming hardware brand, today announced the launch of Radeon RX 480 G1 GAMING graphics cards that come in variants of 4GB (RX480G1 GAMING-4GD) and 8GB (RX480G1 GAMING-8GD) of GDDR5 memory.

Based on the latest Polaris architecture with groundbreaking 14nm FinFET technology, the power-efficient GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING cards up the ante with the cherry-picked GPU core, WINDFORCE dual-fan cooler and RGB illumination, delivering exceptional performance and value with style to gamers looking for smooth gameplay at superior frame rates, as well as those wishing to enter the world of VR for the first time.

 

GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING

Taking advantage of the renowned WINDFORCE 2X cooling system, the GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING ensures cool and quietness when taking on the most graphics-intensive game titles. Two 90mm fans paired with three composite copper heat pipes which directly touch the GPU keep the card cool for extra overclocking headroom. The airflow is enhanced by the unique blade fan design to increase the cooling capacity by 23% while reducing turbulence to a minimum.

The cards also feature silent semi-passive cooling as the fans remain off at idle or low loads, offering a complete silent, interruption-free experience during light gaming. The Fan Stop indicator provides a user-friendly, instant display of the fan status.

Forged with top-notch GPU cores through the very own GPU Gauntlet Sorting technology, the GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING provide excellent power switching and thermal efficiency. The cards are further backed by a 6+2 power phase design for load balance that effectively extends the stability and longevity with lower component temperature. It ultimately allows greater overclocking capability, reinforcing higher, stable boost clocks at heavy load. In case of any power abnormality, the smart power indicator could immediately bring the issue to the gamer’s attention.

The outlook of the GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING follows the latest G1 GAMING aesthetics with the angular shroud design highlighted by orange accents. The cards bring life to PC builds with their full-spectrum RGB lighting. Gamers could enjoy maximum freedom to choose the right scheme for their gaming rigs with 16.8M customizable color options and numerous lighting effects with the software. The graphics cards also come with a metal back plate, keeping a clean look, whilst adding rigidity to the structure and protection of delicate PCB components.

Complementing the GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 GAMING series is XTREME Engine, the newly developed utility software. Via its redesigned, intuitive interface, clock speeds, voltage, fan profiles, power target, and RGB illumination could be easily managed and customized. With a simple click of the OC Mode button built in the XTREME Engine, gamers can easily overclock the card for an instant gaming performance boost.

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AMD Polaris GPU & 7th Generation APU Tech Briefings

AMD officially revealed the AMD Polaris GPUs and the 7th Generation AMD APUs at Computex 2016. The first graphics card based on the AMD Polaris architecture was the AMD Radeon RX 480, and that was officially launched on June 29th.

As part of their aggressive push to promote both the Radeon RX 480, and 7th Generation AMD APUs; David Nalasco and Peter Amos flew all the way from AMD Markham in Canada to give a thorough tech briefing on the new AMD technologies in those products.

BONUS : We stumbled upon the first Radeon RX 460 seen in action. Check it out here!

 

AMD Polaris Launch

Ryan Sim, Channel Sales Director of AMD ASEAN & India, started the event with a short welcome speech. He pointed out how the new AMD Radeon RX 480 offers unrivalled power efficiency, and brings virtual reality to the mainstream with a shockingly affordable price.

Then AMD officially launched the AMD Radeon RX 480 here in Malaysia, with this launch gambit. Check it out!

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AMD Polaris GPU Tech Briefing

In this video, David Nalasco, Senior Technology Manager for Graphics in the Radeon Technology Group, gives a thorough tech briefing on the new AMD Polaris architecture, and the first three graphics cards based on the Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 GPUs.

 

AMD 7th Generation APU Tech Briefing

Then Peter Amos, APU Product Marketing Manager, AMD Client Business Unit, gave a tech briefing on the new 7th Generation AMD APUs, as well as upcoming desktop processors based on the new AMD Zen architecture. Check it out!

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Vulkan Support For DOOM Now Available

Today, id Software announced the availability for the Vulkan version of DOOM that relies on innovative features to deliver incredible performance.

As many of you already know, the Vulkan API is a descendant of AMD’s Mantle that supports close-to-metal control across Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Linux. Compared to OpenGL, Vulkan substantially reduces “API overhead” – the background work a CPU does to interpret what a game asks of the hardware – to deliver meaningful features, performance, and image quality and expose GPU hardware features that wouldn’t ordinarily be accessible through OpenGL

 

DOOM

DOOM benefits from Vulkan support by using several great features:

  • Asynchronous Shaders: Using multiple command processors — the Asynchronous Compute Engines in AMD’s Graphics Core Next and Polaris GPU architectures — each queue can submit commands without waiting for other tasks to complete.
  • Shader Intrinsics or Shader Intrinsic Functions, also called built-in functions, provide a way for game developers to directly access graphics hardware instructions in situations where those instructions would normally be abstracted by an API. This approach has been used successfully on gaming consoles to extract more performance from the GPU — and now AMD is enabling PCs with the same capability.
  • Frame Flip Optimizations which basically pass the frame directly to the display once it’s ready, i.e. skips the copy and save.

As Robert Duffy, Chief Technical Officer of id software pointed out at the AMD event at Computex 2016, “Vulkan is a modern API, with roots to AMD’s Mantle technology, and it provides real benefits to both us as developers and the large community of gamers using a wide range of hardware. When you factor in additional AMD features, like true Asynchronous Compute, custom intrinsic instructions, and combine those with a raw speed of idTech 6, we believe the experience on AMD will be hard to beat.”

 

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Faster Performance

Performance numbers produced by AMD internal testing show the performance benefits of Vulkan versus OpenGL implementation:

 

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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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Next Page > Fallout 4, Witcher 3 & Warhammer Results, Conclusion

 

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Fallout 4 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

In Fallout 4, the new Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver boosted the average frame rate enough to make up for the drop in performance from the reduced power consumption.

 

The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

In The Witcher 3, the performance boost was substantial enough to give the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] a small 1.3% boost in average frame rate, even with the Compatibility Mode triggered.

 

Total War : Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by the Total War : Warhammer benchmark.

Surprisingly, the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver did even better in Total War : Warhammer. Even with the reduced power consumption, the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] received a nice 2.2% boost in the average frame rate!

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Conclusion

The Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver does two things – reprogram the Radeon RX 480‘s power controller so it will pull more current from the 6-pin PCI Express power cable, and less from the PCI Express bus. This fix does not reduce performance. However, it still means that the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] will exceed its rated 150 W TDP.

The higher TDP should not cause any concerns normally. However, those want their Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] to adhere to the rated 150 W TDP can enable the new Compatibility Mode switch in Radeon Settings. This reduces the Radeon RX 480‘s TDP to 150 W.

The reduction in power consumption reduces performance, of course. But for all of the furore over the Radeon RX 480 power draw controversy, it looks like the performance boost that the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] received from the higher-than-rated TDP was less than 4%.

We will be correcting our AMD Radeon RX 480 Review to reflect this change. Yes, 4% may be small, but it is still a significant change, and we have to be accurate.

The good news though is that the small drop in performance is virtually offset by performance optimisations for the AMD Polaris architecture in the new Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver. So if you are a Radeon RX 480 user, go get it now!

 

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HiAlgo Brings New Capabilities To Radeon

Sunnyvale, 7 July 2016AMD today announced the acquisition of software company HiAlgo Inc., a developer of unique PC gaming technologies designed to help Radeon RX Series GPUs transform gaming experience, increase GPU efficiency and improve the overall consistency of gaming experiences. The acquisition lays the groundwork for future gaming innovation in Radeon Software that will benefit owners of Radeon RX Series GPUs.

“Software is an integral part of advancing the science of graphics, enabling us to best harness the silicon of the GPU to maximize performance and deliver outstanding experiences in games and applications,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “HiAlgo embodies our spirit of passion, persistence and play by delivering a number of creative approaches to software that improve gamers’ experiences, and helps future-proof the GPU.”

Radeon Software enables the ultimate in performance, features and stability of Radeon graphics to ensure an exceptional user experience. Today, launching alongside the Radeon RX 480 graphics card are nine new features of Radeon Software Crimson Edition designed to give users more control over their computing experience, including multi-GPU, display, and power efficiency settings, and a redefined overclocking tool in Radeon WattMan.

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Radeon Software 16.7.1 Performance Comparison

Radeon Software 16.7.1

Following the Radeon RX 480 power draw controversy, AMD released the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver. This is a non-WHQL driver that was pushed out quickly to fix the Radeon RX 480‘s excessive power draw from the PCI Express bus. However, it also comes with a 3% boost in performance for the Polaris architecture.

Finally, we’ve implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%1. 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.

So we decided to take a look at the performance improvements it delivers in the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon]. We also took a look at how it affects the AMD Radeon R9 380 graphics card, which is based on the previous-generation Fiji architecture. Check it out!

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

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

The Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] received a 3.15% boost in the Overall Score, a 3.77% boost in the Graphics Score and a 3% boost in the Combined Score. Very nice! The Radeon R9 380, however, did not benefit from the newer Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver at all.

The frame rate breakdown shows the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] edging even further away from its predecessor, the Radeon R9 380. It is now 44-48% faster than the Radeon R9 380, thanks to the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver.

 

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!

At this higher resolution, the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] received a smaller performance boost of 2.6% in the Overall Score, 2.9% in the Graphics Score and 2.3% in the Combined Score. The Radeon R9 380‘s performance actually suffered slightly (by 1%) with the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver.

The small boost in performance from the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver only gave the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] a small 0.5-1 fps boost in frame rate. Coupled with the slight drop in the Radeon R9 380‘s performance, the Radeon RX 480 is now 40-50% faster than the Radeon R9 380.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is torture, even for the 8 GB version of the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon]. The Radeon R9 380 would do even worse, with just 4 GB of GDDR5 memory.

For some reason, the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver caused the benchmark to fail while running on the Radeon R9 380. However, we can see that it gives the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] is a small 2.4% boost in the Overall Score, a 2.3% boost in the Graphics Score and a 2.85% boost in the Combined Score.

Based on the Radeon R9 380 running on the earlier Radeon Software 16.6.2 driver, the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] is now 36-49% faster than the Radeon R9 380 at this resolution.

Next Page > Fallout 4, Witcher 3 & Warhammer, Conclusion & Downloads

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Fallout 4 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

The new Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver seems to greatly increase the frame rate range for the Radeon RX 480, and slightly in the Radeon R9 380. However, only the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] saw a small 1.9% boost in the average frame rate.

 

The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver gave both the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] and the Radeon R9 380 a small boost in frame rate of 3% and 1% respectively.

 

Total War : Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by the Total War : Warhammer benchmark.

Surprisingly, the Radeon R9 380 saw an appreciable boost in the frame rate range, although the average frame rate only creeped slightly higher. The Radeon RX 480 [Amazon], though, received a more substantial 2.8% boost in average frame rate.

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Conclusion & Downloads

If you are using the new AMD Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] graphics card, you should download and use the new Radeon Software 16.7.1, even if you don’t care about its excessive power draw from the PCI Express bus.

In the 3 games we tested, the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] enjoyed a small boost of 2-3% in frame rate. Not earth-shattering, to be sure, but still a nice boost. The performance boost alone is worth upgrading to Radeon Software 16.7.1, even though it’s not WHQL-certified. You can download them here :

However, if you are using a Fiji-based graphics card like the Radeon R9 380 we tested, you should not waste your time with the new Radeon Software 16.7.1. You will not see any improvement in performance. In fact, it may even deteriorate a little, or worse, fail to run properly when rendering in 4K.

We also investigated how much performance is lost when the Radeon RX 480 [Amazon] is set to its Compatibility Mode to comply with the PCI Express standard. Check it out in our article – True Performance of the Radeon RX 480 Examined!

 

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AMD Radeon RX 480 Power Draw Controversy Rev. 3.0

After the AMD Radeon RX 480 was officially launched, several websites reported that their cards were drawing substantially more power from the PCI Express bus than the 75 W allowed by the PCI Express specifications. AMD has now come up with responses to this developing controversy.

2016-07-06 : Added a new page on the AMD driver solution, and our take on it.

2016-07-09 : Added a new section on the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver.

 

Excessive RX 480 Power Draw

The PCI Express specification allows for up to 66 W of power to be supplied by the 12 V line (12 V x 5.5 A) of the PCI Express bus. However, reviewers who have the necessary equipment to measure the power draw from the PCI Express slot have noted that the Radeon RX 480 draws 78-88 W of power from that 12 V line.

If their measurements are correct, the Radeon RX 480 exceeds the PCI Express power draw specification by a minimum of 18% and up to 33%. It also means that the Radeon RX 480 is exceeding its thermal design power (TDP) of 150 watts.

 

The Implications

The AMD Radeon RX 480 has to be certified to meet the PCI Express specifications to qualify the card as a PCI Express card, for branding and legal purposes. If the Radeon RX 480 does not fulfil its certification requirements, AMD has to fix the issue within 3 months. Failure to do so will result in the Radeon RX 480 being denied the right to be branded and sold as a PCI Express card.

For certain, AMD would certified the Radeon RX 480 to be PCI Express-compliant before the launch. However, independent testing has revealed that the Radeon RX 480 can and do exceed the power draw specifications. Why there is a discrepancy pre- and post-launch is yet unknown.

 

AMD Responds

Initially, Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, responded on Reddit that :

Great question and I am really glad you asked.

We have extensive testing internally on our PCIE compliance and RX480 passed our testing. However we have received feedback from some of the reviewers on high current observed on PCIE in some cases.

We are looking into these scenarios as we speak and reproduce these scenarios internally. Our engineering team is fully engaged.

Just two days ago, AMD’s Communications Lead, Garrath Johnson, issued an update on their ongoing investigation of the issue :

As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5.

Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPUs tuning via software in order to resolve this issue.

We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016).

We will keep you updated on this developing Radeon RX 480 power draw story, so stay tuned!

Next Page > New Driver To Correct RX 480 Power Draw, Our Opinion

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New Driver To Correct RX 480 Power Draw

At 3:14 PM on July 6 (GMT+8), AMD’s Communications Lead, Garrath Johnson, emailed us the solution that AMD has developed – a new driver to correct the excessive Radeon RX 480 power draw from the PCI Express bus. Check it out :

We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We’re pleased to report that this driver—Radeon Software 16.7.1—is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours.

In this driver we’ve implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 – this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus.

Separately, we’ve also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the “compatibility” UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is “off” by default.

Finally, we’ve implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%1. 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.

AMD is committed to delivering high quality and high performance products, and we’ll continue to provide users with more control over their product’s performance and efficiency. We appreciate all the feedback so far, and we’ll continue to bring further performance and performance/W optimizations to the Radeon RX 480.

1: Based on data running ’Total War: Warhammer’, ultra settings, 1080p resolution. Radeon Software 16.6.2 74.2FPS vs Radeon Software 16.7.1 78.3FPS; Metro Last Light, very high settings, 1080p resolution, 80.9FPS vs 82.7 FPS. Witcher 3, Ultra settings, 1440p, 31.5FPS vs 32.5, Far Cry 4, ultra settings, 1440p, 54.65FPS vs 56.38FPS, 3DMark11 Extreme, 22.8 vs 23.7  System config: Core i7-5960X, 16GB DDR4-2666MHz, Gigabyte X99-UD4, Windows 10 64-bit. Performance figures are not average, may vary from run-to-run.

 

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1

The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver is now available! Here are the compatibility and performance updates that promises to solve the Radeon RX 480 power draw problem :

  • 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.

Also, the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver appears to fix the limited PCI Express bandwidth on the Radeon RX 480, giving it a further boost in performance :

  • Radeon RX 480 limited PCI-E Bandwidth (PCI-E bandwidth is now at the correct speed on the Radeon RX 480) with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1.

You can download the new drivers below :

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Our Opinion

AMD has basically acknowledged that the Radeon RX 480 does indeed draw more power over the PCI Express bus than is allowed by the PCI Express specifications. That is also a tacit acknowledgement that the Radeon RX 480 has a thermal design power (TDP) in excess of 150 W.

They claim that the excessive Radeon RX 480 power draw will not damage the motherboard or related components. However, they also qualify that as limited to “expected usage” – that means using the Radeon RX 480 as is, and not overclocking it.

The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 driver they just released offers 3 changes :

  • shifting the excessive power draw from the PCI Express bus to the 6-pin PCIe power cable.
  • reduce the power consumption of Radeon RX 480 through a “compatibility” toggle in the driver.
  • improve the Radeon RX 480‘s performance by 3%, to offset the reduced performance when the “compatibility” toggle is enabled

We have a dedicated article covering the Radeon Software 16.7.1, which looks at its performance improvements. You can check it out here -> Radeon Software 16.7.1 Performance Comparison.

Although AMD implied that the performance impact of the “compatibility” toggle is substantially less than 3%, we examined its real impact and how much the Radeon Software 16.7.1 driver’s performance offset it. Check it out in our article – True Performance of the Radeon RX 480 Examined.

Going forward, we expect the Radeon RX 480 cards to eventually ship with an 8-pin PCI Express power connector for “compatibility” reasons.

 

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4GB Radeon RX 480 A Better Deal After 8GB Price Hike

When AMD first revealed the Radeon RX 480 during Computex 2016, they announced that it will come with 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 memory. They also revealed that the 4GB Radeon RX 480 will cost US$199, while the 8GB model will cost US$229.

Yesterday, AMD officially launched the Radeon RX 480, but they increased the price of the 8GB model from US$229 to US$239. That’s a hike of US$10 over the original price, and a US$40 (20%) premium over the 4GB model.

 

4GB Radeon RX 480 A Better Deal

Of course, the original $229 price of the 8GB Radeon RX 480 was not set in stone, like the $199 price for the 4GB Radeon RX 480. It was an indicative price at that point. However, the higher price will make the 4GB Radeon RX 480 a more enticing proposition than the 8GB model.

After all, our AMD Radeon RX 480 review showed that it was best used for 1080p gaming. If that is what you are using it for, then there is not much need for additional 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Sure, having 8GB of RAM may improve benchmark scores a little, but it won’t be as much as the 20% price premium it demands.

This means the 4GB Radeon RX 480 will offer the best bang for your buck, and is therefore, the best choice for 1080p gaming from AMD. Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of 4GB Radeon RX 480 cards in the market. Obviously, we are not the only ones to come to the same conclusion…

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Sapphire & XFX Radeon RX 480 Available In Malaysia

Local tech retailer, TECH Armory, just revealed the local pricing for the new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card. They brought in the 8 GB model of the Radeon RX 480 from Sapphire and XFX. Unfortunately, the 4 GB model is currently not available.

Both the Sapphire Radeon RX 480, and the XFX Radeon RX 480 are being sold at RM 1,299 (~US$ 325), inclusive of the 6% GST. This is a 36% premium over the official price of the Radeon RX 480 (8 GB) graphics card of US$ 239.

Of course, the prices in Malaysia are always significantly higher than the official prices in the United States. The Palit GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070, for example, cost RM 3,099 (~US$ 775) and RM 1,999 (~US$ 500) – a premium of 29% and 32% respectively.

So is it worth getting the Radeon RX 480 (8 GB)? Or is it better to top up and get the GeForce GTX 1070? You decide.

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The AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card Review

On the 23rd of June 2016, we received a surprise delivered by a special courier – the AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card! This is one of the first few samples in the country. W00t!

Due to our existing commitments, we didn’t have all that much time to do a more thorough test, but here is a quick review for now. We will update the review with more benchmarks and details later.

 

The AMD Radeon RX 480 Hands-On Preview

Here is the hands-on preview video we created on the same day we received the Radeon RX 480, so please forgive the unpolished effort. Basically, it gives you an overview of how the card looks like, and what connectivity options it comes with.

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The AMD Radeon RX 480 Up Close

The next best thing we can do right now is take photos of the card to show you. Enjoy!

Next Page > AMD Radeon RX 480 – Size, Thermal Output, Noise Levels

 

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How Big Is It?

For those already measuring their cases to see if the AMD Radeon RX 480 will fit, we measured the card and added the measurements for your convenience.

As you can see, the Radeon RX 480 is “technically” a 7″ long card, but its cooler extends 6.7 cm or 2.65″ beyond the card.

 

The AMD Radeon RX 480 Thermal Output

The AMD Radeon RX 480 uses the new AMD Polaris 10 GPU, which is fabricated on the latest 14 nm FinFET process. This not only means AMD can stuff more transistors into a smaller chip, it also means lower power consumption and thermal output.

We tested this out by recording the peak exhaust temperature of the Radeon RX 480, its predecessor – the Radeon R9 380, as well as two NVIDIA graphics cards – the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and the new GeForce GTX 1070. Check out the results!

Note that these are not the recorded temperatures but how much hotter the exhaust air is above ambient temperature.

As you can see, it is a relatively cool-running card, producing significantly cooler (8 °C) exhaust air than the Radeon R9 380 graphics card.

But you might wonder – is this because it has a more powerful, and therefore, noisier, fan? Let’s take a look…

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The AMD Radeon RX 480 Noise Levels

AMD put a lot of work into reducing the noise levels for the Radeon RX 480. According to them, it is comparable to the noise levels of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. Take a look at the table and graph comparing the noise levels of the Radeon RX 480 against the GeForce GTX 970.

But nothing beats hearing it for yourself. So we recorded the sound of the cooler’s blower fan while it’s running the 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra benchmark.

Okay, now let’s take a look at some benchmarks!

Next Page > AMD Radeon RX 480 Performance In 3DMark – 1080p, 1440p, 2160p

 

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Our Test Bed

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

Operating System : Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit

Processor : Intel Core i7 6700K processor running at 4.0 GHz

Motherboard : ASRock Z170 Extreme4

Memory : 8 GB DDR4-2133 memory (dual-channel)

Storage : 240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

Monitor : BenQ XR3501 Gaming Monitor

 

3DMark (1920 x 1080)

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

The AMD Radeon RX 480‘s 3DMark score for full HD gaming was very impressive. It was, on average, about 38% faster than the Radeon R9 380! In fact, the Radeon RX 480’s pure graphics score was 41% higher than the Radeon R9 380.

The frame rate breakdown shows just how much more superior the Radeon RX 480 is to its predecessor, the Radeon R9 380. It is 40-42% faster than the Radeon R9 380.

 

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. Let’s take a look!

The Radeon RX 480 continued to maintain its performance lead of about 38% over the Radeon R9 380.

These are hardly playable frame rates but it is impressive to note how much the Radeon RX 480 is trouncing the Radeon R9 380.

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3DMark (3840 x 2160)

Okay, this is torture, even for the 8 GB version of the Radeon RX 480. Even the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and the new GeForce GTX 1070 have trouble handling the 3DMark 4K torture test. 😀

In the 4K graphics test, the Radeon RX 480’s performance lead over the Radeon R9 380 slipped a little to about 34%.

There is no doubt that the Radeon RX 480 is ill-suited for 4K gaming. Still, this is VERY impressive performance, considering the fact that it consumes 20% less power than the Radeon R9 380!

Next Page > AMD Radeon RX 480 Gaming Performance – Fallout 4 & Witcher 3

 

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Full HD Gaming

We had some problem with the BenQ XR3501 gaming monitor, which prevented us from using virtual resolution to test the four graphics cards. So we benchmarked The Witcher 3 : Wild Hunt and Fallout 4 in full HD resolution – 1920 x 1080. Here are their average frame rates :

The AMD Radeon RX 480 is perfect for full HD gaming. It is fast enough in both games to deliver frame rates in excess of 60 fps… most of the time. In The Witcher 3, it was actually 47% faster than the Radeon R9 380. Very impressive.

Of course, these are average frame rates. Let’s take a closer look at both games…

 

Fallout 4 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, FRAPS recorded in Fallout 4.

The Radeon RX 480 shows a much wider range of frame rates, matching the Radeon R9 380 in the most difficult scenes but beating it as much as 28% in less arduous scenes.

 

The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The new Polaris architecture is certainly giving the RX 480 a big boost in The Witcher 3. It is roughly 50% faster than the Radeon R9 380. Very impressive!

Next Page > AMD Radeon RX 480 – Our Initial Verdict, Award, More Information

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Our Initial Verdict

The AMD Radeon RX 480 is no beauty, with its slab-sided cooler. Neither is it the fastest kid on the block. But if you are a gamer on a budget, you are going to thank AMD for creating the Radeon RX 480.

For one thing, the Radeon RX 480 is 38% faster than its predecessor, the Radeon R9 380… while producing roughly 20% less heat.

While it is about 1/3 slower than the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, the Radeon RX 480 sells for 40% less. That means it offers better value for money, IF you only want to game in full HD resolution.

Yes, while AMD may tout 1440p gaming as the Radeon RX 480’s sweet spot, our preliminary results show that it is best used for 1080p gaming. You can use it for 1440p gaming if you are not fussy about achieving 60 fps.

Based on current results, we feel confident enough to award AMD our Reviewer’s Choice Award for this job well-done. It’s not the fastest kid on the block, but it sure offers a lot of bang for the buck… with low power consumption to boot! Congratulations, AMD!

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More Radeon RX 480 Information

For more information on the AMD Radeon RX 480, take a look at our previous articles :

Go Back To > First Page | Review | Home

 

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AMD Radeon RX 400 Series Revealed

During Computex 2016, AMD revealed the AMD Radeon RX 480 – the first graphics card powered by the new AMD Polaris 10 GPU. Today, AMD officially reveals the full details and specifications of the new AMD Radeon RX 400 series of graphics processors, including the Radeon RX 470 and the Radeon RX 460.

AMD also revealed the Radeon R5, R7 and R9 nomenclature will be replaced by the Radeon RX nomenclature for cards that are designed for gaming, while those not targeted at gamers will just use the Radeon moniker.

 

AMD Radeon RX 400 Series Video Presentation

AMD invited us to an exclusive media conference call yesterday. We recorded it for you and compiled it into a video presentation so you can better understand what the new AMD Radeon RX 400 series brings to the gaming and VR scene. Check it out!

 

AMD Radeon RX 400 Series Presentation Slides

For those who prefer to check out the slides, there are 25 of them. So we have to divide them into 3 pages for your convenience. Enjoy!

Next Page > More AMD Radeon RX 400 Series Presentation Slides

 

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Next Page > Even More AMD Radeon RX 400 Series Presentation Slides

 

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If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

AMD Radeon RX 480 Hands-On Preview

Yesterday, we received a surprise delivered by a special courier – the upcoming AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card! This is one of the first few Radeon RX 480 graphics cards in the country. W00t!

The detailed information on this card is under embargo, as are any benchmark results that we may get. But we were told that it’s okay to post pictures. After all, Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group, publicly revealed the AMD Radeon RX 480 earlier this month!

So this is our hands-on preview of the actual working card. The real deal. The genuine muffin. Yes, for all of you to drool over until launch day. 😀

ALERT : We will have more on the AMD Radeon RX 480 at 9 PM tonight (June 29, GMT+8).

 

AMD Radeon RX 480 Hands-On Preview Video

Right after we received permission to post pictures of the Radeon RX 480, we created a hands-on preview video. Basically, a quick look of the card with our narration of its key features.

We didn’t think it would be a problem since a video offers (arguably) lower resolution views of the card than actual pictures, and the details we revealed had already been posted earlier.

Unfortunately, we received a request to take off the video, “because they are not pictures“. So while we technically did not break the NDA, we unlisted the video pending a request to reinstate it. It will be up as and when we get AMD’s go-ahead.

Updated : The video is now available for viewing!

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AMD Radeon RX 480 Up Close

The next best thing we can do right now is take photos of the card to show you. Enjoy!

 

AMD Radeon RX 480 Size

For those already measuring their cases to see if the AMD Radeon RX 480 will fit, we measured the card and added the measurements for your convenience.

As you can see, the Radeon RX 480 is “technically” a 7″ long card, but its cooler extends 6.7 cm or 2.65″ beyond the card.

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More Radeon RX 480 Information

For more information on the AMD Radeon RX 480, take a look at our previous articles :

 

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AMD Radeon RX Series Pre-Launched @ E3

Los Angeles, California, 13 June 2016 — Today at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) AMD CEO Lisa Su delivered a pre-launch showcase of the full line of forthcoming Radeon RX Series graphics cards set to transform PC gaming this summer by delivering enthusiast class performance and features for gamers at mainstream price points.

AMD previously showcased the Radeon RX 480 graphics card, designed for incredibly smooth AAA gaming at 1440p resolution and set to be the most affordable solution for premium VR experiences starting at just $199 SEP for the 4GB version.

Joining the Radeon RX family are the newly announced Radeon RX 470 graphics card delivering refined, power-efficient HD gaming, and the Radeon RX 460, a cool and efficient solution for the ultimate e-sports gaming experience.

 

Radeon RX Series

The Radeon RX Series of graphics processors are designed to transform the PC gaming industry across a variety of form factors, delivering on three fundamental “entitlements” for gamers and game developers:

  • Extraordinary VR experiences at price points never offered before – Previewed at Computex, the Radeon RX Series will expand the VR ecosystem by democratizing exceptional VR experiences, making them available to many form factors and millions of consumers by lowering the cost barriers to entry.
  • Great game content delivered to PC Gamers in real time – Through a combination of Radeon RX Series performance profiles and close-to-the-metal APIs that closely mirror console APIs, AMD believes that developers will be further empowered to co-develop high quality, high performing game content for both consoles and PCs, enhancing the PC gaming ecosystem.
  • Console-class GPU performance for thin and light notebooks – Gaming notebooks have traditionally been large and cumbersome or under-powered for today’s gaming needs. The Radeon RX Series addresses this with flagship technology that effectively gives mobile users GPU performance that rivals that of consoles with exceptionally low power and low-z height to drive thin, light and high-performance gaming notebooks, and 1080p 60Hz gaming experiences for both eSports and AAA titles.

“Gamers and consumers today are being left behind,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “Today only the top 16 percent of PC gamers are purchasing GPUs that deliver premium VR and Gaming experiences.2 Hundreds of millions of gamers have been relegated to using outdated technology. Notebook gamers are often forced to compromise. And tens of millions more can only read about incredible PC VR experiences that they can’t enjoy for themselves. That all changes with the Radeon RX Series, placing compelling and advanced high-end gaming and VR technologies within reach of everyone.”

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Gamers in the market for a new graphics card need look no further than the forthcoming Radeon RX Series, consisting of:

  • Superior technology engineered for unprecedented performance– The Radeon RX Series features the most advanced graphics and gaming technologies ever seen in a GPU priced under $300 SEP, delivering cutting-edge engineering to everyday PC gamers and VR consumers. The Radeon RX Series harnesses the revolutionary Polaris architecture optimized for the 14nm FinFET process, the most cutting-edge process technology in the world featuring the smallest transistors ever used in a GPU, engineered to deliver unprecedented performance and power efficiency from incredibly small and thin chips.
  • Extraordinary VR experiences never widely affordable before – With models starting at $199 SEP, the Radeon RX 480 is the most affordable solution for a premium VR experience, supplying the graphics capability necessary to bring high-quality PC VR experiences from Oculus and HTC3 to anyone who wants it.
  • Future-proof technologies1 – The Radeon  RX Series continues the Radeon tradition of innovation, like being first to 14nm FinFET process technology, first in memory types and bandwidth like HBM, and first to support low overhead gaming APIs. Gamers will enjoy these products for a long time to come with a range of “future-proof” benefits including:
    •  Leading DirectX 12 and Vulkan gaming – The Polaris architecture-fueled Radeon RX Series is built to deliver phenomenal DirectX 9, DirectX 10, and DirectX 11 gaming performance, and designed to absolutely scream in DirectX 12 and Vulkan, the future of gaming. Polaris architecture uniquely supports asynchronous compute for superior experiences in games and VR applications using DirectX 12 and Vulkan. AMD brings gamers incredible DirectX 12 and Vulkan game experiences including phenomenal VR content, by collaborating with the top DirectX 12 and Vulkan developers in the world who want to develop on Radeon to bring the best games to market.
    •  Next-generation display technologies – Radeon RX Series includes support for next-generation HDR gaming and video on new HDR monitors and TVs. The Radeon RX Series also supports HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 supporting the new generation of high-resolution HDR and high-refresh displays. The Radeon RX Series features exceptional accelerated H.265 encoding and decoding, enabling effortless streaming or recording of 10-bit 4K video at 60 FPS4.
    •  Radeon Software designed to provide the best performance, features, stability and control – Equally as sophisticated as the Radeon RX Series graphics cards is the software that powers them. Radeon Software enables the ultimate in performance, features and stability to ensure an exceptionally smooth and fast out-of-box experience, and one that gets better with age as updates roll out.

 

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Odd Radeon RX 480 AOTS Benchmark Results Explained

When we posted about the revelation of the AMD Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards, we pointed out the odd Radeon RX 480 AOTS benchmark results that were presented by Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group.

The good news is we now understand how AMD derived those results. The bad news is it casts AMD in a rather bad light, and detracts from the great value proposition that the Radeon RX 480 brings to the table. But first, a quick recap of the Radeon RX 480 AOTS benchmark controversy…

 

Odd Radeon RX 480 AOTS Benchmark Results

In the final minutes of his presentation, Raja Koduri showed how two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards can beat the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 [Amazon] graphics card for far less money. Based on the sub-$500 price, the results are based on the 8 GB variant of the Radeon RX 480. Check it out in this short video clip :

What’s really odd is that Raja Koduri explicitly pointed out that the two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards were only utilised to 51% to slightly best the GeForce GTX 1080. Those are frankly, really odd numbers.

If it’s true that the two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards have a 49% headroom after beating the GeForce GTX 1080, then a single Radeon RX 480 would actually beat the GeForce GTX 1080 [Amazon]!

In fact, if we extrapolate the results so that both cards have the same 98.7% GPU utilisation, the Radeon RX 480 would deliver a frame rate of 60.5 fps. That would make the Radeon RX 480 about 3% faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 [Amazon], which we know is just not possible…

 

How The AOTS Benchmark Was Conducted

Robert Hallock, Head of Global Technical Marketing, AMD, helped to clarify the controversial Radeon RX 480 AOTS results. First, let’s start with the technical details of the benchmark setup :

Testbed System Specifications

CPU : Intel Core i7-5930K
Motherboard : ASRock X99M Killer
RAM : 32 GB DDR4-2400
Operating System : Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

AMD GPU Configuration : 2 x Radeon RX 480 @ PCIe 3.0 x 16 for each GPU
AMD Driver : 16.30-160525n-230356E

NVIDIA GPU Configuration : GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
NVIDIA Driver : 368.19

Ashes of the Singularity Version v1.12.19928
Ashes of the Singularity Game Settings : Crazy Settings | 1080P | 8x MSAA | VSYNC OFF

Robert then revealed the actual AOTS benchmark results and his take on them, which we will post verbatim :

Benchmark results:

2 x Radeon RX 480 – 62.5 fps | Single Batch GPU Util: 51% | Med Batch GPU Util: 71.9 | Heavy Batch GPU Util: 92.3%

GTX 1080 – 58.7 fps | Single Batch GPU Util: 98.7%| Med Batch GPU Util: 97.9% | Heavy Batch GPU Util: 98.7%

The elephant in the room:

Ashes uses procedural generation based on a randomized seed at launch. The benchmark does look slightly different every time it is run. But that, many have noted, does not fully explain the quality difference people noticed.

At present the GTX 1080 is incorrectly executing the terrain shaders responsible for populating the environment with the appropriate amount of snow. The GTX 1080 is doing less work to render AOTS than it otherwise would if the shader were being run properly. Snow is somewhat flat and boring in color compared to shiny rocks, which gives the illusion that less is being rendered, but this is an incorrect interpretation of how the terrain shaders are functioning in this title.

The content being rendered by the RX 480 — the one with greater snow coverage in the side-by-side (the left in these images) — is the correct execution of the terrain shaders.

So, even with fudgy image quality on the GTX 1080 that could improve their performance a few percent, dual RX 480 still came out ahead.

As a parting note, I will mention we ran this test 10x prior to going on-stage to confirm the performance delta was accurate. Moving up to 1440p at the same settings maintains the same performance delta within +/-1%.

* Credit for this find goes to Acid 에이스. Thanks, mate!

Next Page > The Odd Results Explained, Summary Of Key Points, What Does This Mean?

 

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The Odd Radeon RX 480 AOTS Results Explained…

Robert Hallock was then asked about the odd 51% GPU utilisation result. He clarified that it was based on the single-batch (normal batch) data set, which was CPU-limited.

The single-batch or normal batch data set is about 60 seconds of scenes with lower (typically under 10,000) draw call counts. The medium batch data set consists of another 60 seconds of scenes with typical draw call counts between 10,000 and 20,000. The final heavy batch data set tests scenes with draw call counts in excess of 20,000.

To clarify this, the scaling from 1->2 GPUs in the dual RX 480 test we assembled is 1.83x. The OP was looking only at the lowest draw call rates when asking about the 51%. The single batch GPU utilization is 51% (CPU-bound), medium is 71.9% utilization (less CPU-bound) and heavy batch utilization is 92.3% (not CPU-bound). All together for the entire test, there is 1.83X the performance of a single GPU in what users saw on YouTube. The mGPU subsystem of AOTS is very robust.

 

Let Us Summarise The Points…

Based on his explanation, we can derive the following conclusions :

  • AMD claims that the GeForce GTX 1080 is performing a few percent better than it really should because it was improperly rendering the terrain in AOTS.
  • Two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards will deliver 83% better performance than a single Radeon RX 480 graphics card.
  • The benchmark scores are the average for the entire AOTS benchmark, which consists of the Normal Batch, Medium Batch and Heavy Batch data sets.
  • The 51% GPU utilisation was cherry-picked from the Normal Batch / Single Batch results.
  • The frame rate for Normal Batch / Single Batch data set was not revealed, but it would have been much, much lower than the 62.5 fps average frame rate.
  • The average GPU utilisation for the two AMD Radeon RX 480 cards was 71.7%, while the average GPU utilisation for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 [Amazon] was 98.4%.

In short, the controversy was created by AMD cherry-picking the GPU utilisation of the most CPU-limited portion of the AOTS benchmark, while comparing the average frame rate achieved in the entire AOTS benchmark.

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What Does This Mean?

Despite what Raja Koduri said in the video clip, there isn’t “much, much more headroom” for developers to squeeze out of the Radeon RX 480. That 49% headroom was only seen because the test was CPU-limited.

The two Radeon RX 480 cards were literally “chilling” 49% of the time, because they were waiting for the CPU to finish processing the AI and physics, before rendering a new frame. In fact, they most likely delivered a much lower frame rate as a result of being CPU-limited.

AMD inaccurately compared the average frame rate of the entire Ashes of the Singularity benchmark with the GPU utilisation of the Single Batch / Normal Batch portion of the benchmark (which is CPU-limited). Here is our rough correction of their comparison, based on the average GPU utilisation for the entire benchmark :

The adjusted results are still impressive, because it shows that there is still some headroom. Just not as much as was presented. We have no idea why they needed to cherry-pick that result, since the Radeon RX 480 will still impress gamers from the performance/cost point of view.

Based on our extrapolation of their comments, we can guesstimate that a single AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card will deliver an average frame rate of 34 fps in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark. That means the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition [Amazon] is about 72.6% faster than the Radeon RX 480.

That sounds about right, and is hardly surprising since the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition [Amazon] costs US$699 while the Radeon RX 480 (8 GB) will only cost US$229. There is nothing for AMD to be ashamed of achieving “only 58%” of the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition’s performance. After all, it costs less than 1/3 of the price!

 

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AMD Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 Revealed

On the second day of Computex 2016, AMD unveiled the AMD Radeon RX 480, the first salvo of their “Water Drop” strategy for the upcoming AMD Polaris architecture. Their “Water Drop” strategy is focused at releasing new graphics architectures in high volume segments first to maintain market share growth for Radeon GPUs.

Set for launch and availability on June 29, 2016, the new AMD Radeon RX 480 will deliver more than 5 TFLOPS of performance at just US$199! The Radeon RX 480 is both HTC Vive-Ready and Oculus Rift compatible. AMD expects the Radeon RX 480 to jumpstart the growth of VR adoption by offering premium VR experience at less than half the current cost.

We were present at the Westin Taipei, when Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, revealed the AMD Radeon RX 480. Check it out!

“VR is the most eagerly anticipated development in immersive computing ever, and is the realization of AMD’s Cinema 2.0 vision that predicted the convergence of immersive experiences and interactivity back in 2008,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. “As we look to fully connect and immerse humanity through VR, cost remains the daylight between VR being only for the select few, and universal access for everyone. The Radeon RX Series is a disruptive technology that adds rocket fuel to the VR inflection point, turning it into a technology with transformational relevance to consumers.”

 

Odd Radeon RX 480 Results

In the final minutes of his presentation, Raja Koduri showed how two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards can beat the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card for far less money. Based on the sub-$500 price, the results are based on the 8 GB variant of the Radeon RX 480.

What’s really odd is that Raja Koduri explicitly pointed out that the two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards were only utilised to 51% to slightly best the GeForce GTX 1080. Those are frankly, really odd numbers.

If it’s true that the two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards have a 49% headroom after beating the GeForce GTX 1080, then a single Radeon RX 480 would actually beat the GeForce GTX 1080! In fact, if we extrapolate the results so that both cards have the same 98.7% GPU utilisation, the Radeon RX 480 would deliver a frame rate of 60.5 fps. That would make the Radeon RX 480 about 3% faster than the GeForce GTX 1080, which we know is just not possible…

We now know how AMD derived those results. Check out our 2-page explanation of what those odd results mean, and what the REAL results are!

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Juicy Radeon RX Series Tidbits

We left right after the announcement, and missed the Q&A, but we managed to glean some additional tidbits after that :

  • The AMD Radeon RX 480 will come in two variants – one with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, and one with 8 GB of GDDR5 memory.
  • The Radeon RX 480 with 4 GB of GDDR5 will sell for US$199, while the 8 GB variant will sell for US$229.
  • AMD will also announce the Radeon RX 470 and Radeon RX 460 graphics cards, based on the same AMD Polaris architecture and 14 nm FinFET fabrication process.
  • The AMD Radeon RX 470 (codenamed Polaris 10 Pro, formerly Ellesmere Pro) could have a TDP of 120 W.

More details on the Radeon RX 470 and Radeon RX 460 should be revealed during the official June 29 launch.

 

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AMD Technologies Revealed at Computex 2016

On the second day of Computex 2016, AMD held a press conference at the Westin Taipei. In that hour-long press conference, they announced multiple updates on their latest and upcoming processor and graphics technologies. The key AMD technologies revealed at the press conference include :

 

AMD Polaris Architecture

The unveiling of the upcoming AMD Polaris architecture-based Radeon RX series of graphics cards. The AMD Radeon RX Series will be headlined by the AMD Radeon RX 480, providing great 3D and VR performance at just US$199. The AMD Radeon RX 480 will be formally launched on June 29, 2016

 

7th Generation AMD A-Series Mobile APUs

The launch of the new 7th Generation AMD A-Series mobile APUs (Accelerated Processing Units). They will deliver significant double-digit improvements in gaming, video rendering and file compression performance, over the previous 6th Generation AMD A-Series mobile APUs.

 

Future AMD “Summit Ridge” Desktop Processor

The first public revelation of the upcoming AMD “Summit Ridge” desktop processor. Based on AMD’s next-generation x86 “Zen” processor core, the AMD “Summit Ridge” desktop processor will have eight cores that are capable of simultaneously handling sixteen threads.

 

The AMD Technologies Update Press Conference

Here is the full hour-long AMD press conference at the Westin Taipei during Computex 2016. The speakers include :

  • Dr. Lisa Su, President and Chief Executive Officer, AMD
  • Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group
  • Jim Anderson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Computing and Graphics Business Group, AMD
  • Matt Perry, Partner Group Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Josephine Tan, Vice President, Consumer Product Management (Notebook and Premium), HP
  • Ray Wah, Vice President, Consumer Product Group, Dell

“We entered 2016 with a great product lineup and growing momentum for AMD’s technologies,” said AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su. “Today’s launch of our 7th Generation A-Series mobile APUs, to be followed closely by new Radeon RX Series GPUs and then our next-generation ‘Summit Ridge’ desktop processor powered by our ‘Zen’ core represent key proof points of our strategy to firmly re-establish AMD as a high-performance design leader.” [adrotate banner=”5″]

 

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