AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Review – Polaris Is Here

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AMD is back in the “game of graphics cards” with their new AMD Radeon RX 480 featuring the new Polaris architecture. By now, you most probably have read about the RX 480 already, otherwise you might be living under a rock. The RX 480 is basically the company’s new mid-range graphics card that is geared towards 1080p and 1440p PC gamers, and for gamers who want to experience VR without spending too much on a graphics card. The RX 480 is totally a new GPU and not a rebrand or rebadge just like the R9 300 series. AMD has also introduced some new technologies and improved software together with the new card. The RX 480 is available in two variants, a 4GB version that retails for $199, and an 8GB version that retails for $239. Is the Radeon RX 480 the new bang for buck mainstream graphics card? Let’s find out in our review below.

AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Review-04

AMD Radeon RX 480 Review

This time around, AMD didn’t release the fastest graphics card they could muster for this year. Instead they released a mainstream graphics card that will target most of the PC gamers. These are the PC gamers who buy a $100-$300 graphics card and who games at 1080p resolution. With the RX 480, AMD also hopes to bring VR to more PC gamers without breaking the bank.

The AMD Radeon RX 480 is based on the new 4th gen. Graphics Core Next (GCN) making use of the 14nm FinFet process from Samsung and Global Foundries; and features the new Polaris Architecture with AMD LiquidVR technology. It supports Asynchronous Compute, DirectX12, Vulkan, and obviously AMD FreeSync technology.

Some say that the Polaris 10 on the RX 480 isn’t a full core yet, or it’s a trimmed down version of a larger Polaris chip. Well, the core on the RX 480 is not a cut down version. It’s a full Polaris GPU, the cut down version are used in the RX 470 and RX 460. The next higher graphics card after the RX 480 will be based on a new architecture called Vega. Here’s a slide showing the RX 480’s GPU at a glance.

AMD Polaris Architecture-03

Below is the full specification of the AMD RX 480 graphics card. Note that non-reference cards from AIB’s may have (slightly) different configurations. On the next page we’ll discuss more about the new Architecture and after that we’ll take a closer look at the RX 480 itself.

AMD Radeon RX 480 Specifications

SpecificationsRadeon RX 480
GCN Architecture4th Generation
Fab. Process14nm
GPUPolaris 10 (Ellismere)
Stream Processors2304
Compute Units36
Clock Speeds (Boost / Base)1266 MHz / 1120 MHz
Peak PerformanceUp to 5.8 TFLOPS
Graphics Memory4GB / 8GB GDDR5
Memory Speed (Effective)7 Gbps or higher
Memory Bandwidth224 GBps / 256GBps
Memory Interface256 bit
Board Power150W
Power Connector1x 6-pin
AMD FreeSync TechnologyYes
DirectX 12 SupportYes
Vulkan SupportYes
Virtual Super ResolutionYes
HDMI Version2.0b
DisplayPort Version1.3 HBR / 1.4 HDR Ready
AMD Radeon RX 480 GPUs latest pricing and availability:
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