AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB

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Who needs 8GB?

10-BIT COLOR COM­PRES­SION: that’s what you have to thank for AMD and Nvidia re­tain­ing the 192-bit and 256-bit bus mem­ory band­widths. Both these man­u­fac­tur­ers use ex­cep­tional color com­pres­sion to en­sure that the mem­ory bus never sat­u­rates when trans­fer­ring high­res­o­lu­tion tex­tures across to the GPU. It makes a dif­fer­ence—a huge one—as you’ll soon see.

AMD’s RX 480 comes in two vari­ants: 4GB and 8GB. Apart from that and the price, there’s no dif­fer­ence be­tween the two cards. Who would be mad enough to buy the 4GB ver­sion, though—right, guys? Af­ter all, we need that 8GB frame buf­fer, es­pe­cially with the graph­i­cal fi­delity of most AAA ti­tles to­day. Well, maybe not. While test­ing the 4GB RX 480, we were blown away by the dif­fer­ence be­tween these two mid-range bud­get be­he­moths. Or should we say, lack of dif­fer­ence? All the way from 1080p to 4K, both av­er­age and min­i­mum frame rates fluc­tu­ated by no more than one or two frames per sec­ond. Stag­ger­ing. Ab­so­lutely stag­ger­ing.

That aside, it’s still es­sen­tially the same card. You still get the same Po­laris 10 core at its heart, the same mem­ory band­width, the same num­ber of shaders, and all the good­ies as­so­ci­ated with GCN 4.0. It’s cool, quiet, and can be over­clocked by a good 6–8 per­cent, de­pend­ing on your luck with the sil­i­con lottery, bring­ing it well in line with the GTX 980 in terms of per­for­mance, for a lit­tle less than 200 bucks.

Right now, you can pick up an RX 480 8GB for $260—a good $60 more than the 4GB va­ri­ety. And what do you get for it? A per­for­mance in­crease of al­most noth­ing. In fact, you lose money when it comes to frames per dol­lar. What’s im­pres­sive about that is that the 8GB RX 480 was al­ready as­ton­ish­ingly good value. It top­pled last gen’s ti­tan of in­dus­try, the GTX 970, and the re­al­ity is that it’s still good value. But com­pared to the 4GB RX 480? Noth­ing com­pares. If you’re af­ter a cheap, pow­er­ful, 1080p gam­ing sys­tem, the RX 480 4GB is the way to go.

VERDICT9

AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB

RE­DEEMER Phe­nom­e­nal value; solid over­clock­ing po­ten­tial; cool and quiet; strong 1080p per­for­mance.

RE­SCINDED AIB cards will clock higher. $200, www.amd.com

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