AMD RX 580 GPU..............
“Why oh why AMD!” wails Zak Storey as he tests the latest GPU evolution.
Discover how the latest GPU release from AMD puts more oomph into your gaming PC, but not quite as much as we’d hoped for. It’s a tale of new processes and model numbers.
Let’s cut straight to the chase. This isn’t a brand new architecture. In fact, there’s very little new about the Radeon RX 580 at all. The launch of this new GPU came with little fanfare and frankly, with good reason: it’s not AMD’s new Vega tech.
In short, moving from the RX 480 to the 580 provides nothing more than a slight overclock to the base card. Indeed, you could achieve the same results by bumping up the power target to 110 per cent, and moving that clock frequency slightly higher. So why do it?
Good question. In short, we can only guess it’s down to improvements in the manufacturing process. It’s possible that with the RX 500 series, GloFo is using Samsung’s 14nm LPU tech, improving power efficiency and clock speeds in the process. This may explain the additional 30W TDP included on this card, and the slightly higher clocks.
That aside, it’s the nomenclature that gets us. Traditionally, with every new series of cards, you get one or two rebadges. For instance, a 380 becomes a 470, a 370 becomes a 460, and so on. Dropping the price point, and improving power efficiency in the process, is great for the consumer. This is because cards with substantial performance, coming in at an incredible cost, suddenly become more affordable.
The 580, on the other hand, has missed that beat. The RX 480 has migrated across to the 580. This would make sense if AMD were about to embark upon a new naming scheme, or even if it were to launch two new flagships with these rebadges, but that’s simply not the case. So what’s going on? If anything, these two cards should have been renamed the 485 and the 475. Especially when you include the lack of any reference variants.
Enough grumbling. How does it look from a performance perspective? Well, our RX 580 sample was the Sapphire Nitro+ pre-overclocked version, compared to our stock RX 480. Generally, in games we saw an increase of around 10 percent across our titles at 1080p. At times we saw jumps of, for instance, 34fps to 40fps. Impressive for a GPU that’s essentially just a rehash.
Who is this card aimed at? In short, anyone who still hasn’t upgraded from AMD’s R9 300 series, or the lower end of Nvidia’s GTX 900 series. It’s a rehash of an already well-priced graphics architecture, bringing that price-toperformance heritage forward into 2017. In fact, price-to-performance-wise, it’s in a bit of a sweet spot. It doesn’t quite wipe Nvidia’s GTX 1060 3GB off the top of the 1080p hill just yet, but it’s close. And with that extra performance? It’s tempting to say the least. Couple it with a decent FreeSync 1080p monitor, and you’ll be on to a winner. Be warned that the all-singing next-gen Vega GPU will appear during 2017, at some point.
If you’re planning a complete system update, AMD wins our vote.
Fancy a 10 percent rise in performance at 1080p? Then this is the card for you.